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  • The Affordable Transmissions Guide to Vehicle Diagnosis

    Aug 23, 2020

    Modern Brooklyn Park vehicles have several computers on board that control all kinds of things like engine functions, transmission shifts, traction control, anti-lock brakes, stability control, emissions – and on some vehicles, even steering, braking and the throttle.

    Think about that for a minute – things that used to be controlled by simple mechanical connections now have electronic controls that rely on computers, software and sensors. It's no wonder that when something goes wrong with their vehicle it can be pretty complicated for Brooklyn Park drivers to track down the source of the problem.

    To help your service advisor at Affordable Transmissions figure out what's wrong, your vehicle is equipped with on-board diagnostics. The Check Engine light comes on to tell you there's a problem and the engine management computer stores a trouble code. Your friendly and knowledgeable Affordable Transmissions technician connects a scan tool to your vehicle's diagnostic port and retrieves the trouble codes as well as other important data.

    Trouble codes are like clues for the technician to follow as he diagnoses what's wrong with your vehicle. In a way, it's like going to your Brooklyn Park doctor with a problem. She'll run some additional tests and gather the information she needs to make a diagnosis and form a treatment plan. How much a vehicle diagnosis costs at Affordable Transmissions in Brooklyn Park depends on how much time it takes to sort out the symptoms and find the underlying problem.

    Give us a call.

    Affordable Transmissions
    (763) 533-1169
    6301 WELCOME AVE N STE 28
    Brooklyn Park, MN 55429
    http://www.affordabletransmission-mn.com




    On Board Diagnostics for Your Engine

    May 17, 2020

    Starting in 1996, Affordable Transmissions service technicians have been able to use a standardized diagnostic system to help determine what is wrong with a vehicle. This diagnostic system works in tandem with the Engine Control Modules for each vehicle's engine. The Engine Control Module is a computer that monitors and controls many engine functions.

    Sensors throughout a vehicle send readings to the Engine Control Module. These readings help the computer make adjustments in various vehicle systems to allow for constantly changing driving conditions and even to compensate for minor problems. However, if the computer encounters a situation it can't adjust for, it turns on the Check Engine light. (The Check Engine light is called the “service engine soon” light on some vehicles.)

    If the Check Engine light is burning steadily, it indicates a problem that needs to be taken care of soon. If it is flashing, however, the vehicle needs immediate attention at Affordable Transmissions. When the Check Engine light is flashing, the vehicle should not be driven at high speeds, haul heavy loads or tow a trailer. Brooklyn Park drivers need to understand that doing so can cause major damage.

    When a vehicle is brought to Affordable Transmissions in Brooklyn Park because the Check Engine light is on, a technician will scan the Engine Control Module to learn why it turned the light on. The answer comes as a “trouble code.” The technician has access to software that allows him to enter the code and find out what it means. The software will also let your Affordable Transmissions technician know what might be causing the problem and how to diagnose it.

    Notice that the trouble code does not tell your technician at Affordable Transmissions exactly what is wrong with the vehicle. It can only let him know where to start looking to find the problem.

    Scanning a trouble code and determining what it means is fairly simple for the pros at Affordable Transmissions. But the ensuing process of actually diagnosing a vehicle's trouble can take a skilled technician some time. Sometimes this can add up to a significant repair bill. Some vehicle owners mistakenly believe  that the “trouble code” is all they need and think they can then fix their vehicles themselves. Some have tried to save money by purchasing an inexpensive scanner, or they take their vehicles to an auto parts store that offers the scan for little or no cost.

    These options are often not the money-savers they seem for Brooklyn Park vehicle owners. They can end up costing the vehicle owner extra in unnecessary repairs and engine damage.

    For example, the trouble code P0133 reads “Bank 1 sensor 1 circuit slow response.” Translated, that means the front oxygen sensor shows a slow response time in changing the mix of air to fuel. The seemingly obvious conclusion is that the sensor needs to be replaced. The vehicle owner purchases a sensor, installs it and happily goes on his way.

    However, read the trouble again: a slow response time in changing the mix of air to fuel. Nowhere does this indicate that the sensor is bad. There are a lot of parts involved in changing the air-fuel mix, any of which could be causing a slow reaction time. Those include a bad or contaminated airflow sensor, an exhaust leak, a problem in the electrical system or a leak in the intake manifold. The sensor is merely relaying that the response time is slow; it doesn't indicate where the trouble is.

    So the vehicle ends up with an oxygen sensor it did not need, and the delay in repairing the actual problem may have led to further damage to the engine. Both are added costs for the vehicle owner.

    Cheap scanners also don't have the ability to read the history stored in an engine's computer. This operating history contains clues that can help in diagnosing engine trouble since it can indicate a developing problem. Affordable Transmissions invests a lot of money in high-end diagnostic equipment so that we have access not just to service codes but also to the operating history of the engine.

    On-board diagnostics, then, are a tool to help diagnose what is wrong with a vehicle. They cannot specify what part needs to be fixed or replaced, and they cannot replace a well-trained and well-equipped service technician.

    Unless you are a trained mechanic, it's good auto advice to use Affordable Transmissions for your car care. In the long run, it can save you time, unnecessary expense and frustration. Affordable Transmissions can also help you keep up with your scheduled preventive maintenance, which can also save you on repair bills by alerting you to potential problems before they get expensive.

    Affordable Transmissions
    6301 WELCOME AVE N STE 28
    Brooklyn Park, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169
    http://www.affordabletransmission-mn.com




    Diagnosing Your Vehicle at Affordable Transmissions in Brooklyn Park

    Oct 9, 2017

    When we Brooklyn Park residents get a car repair bill, we really shouldn't be surprised to find “diagnostic fees” as one of the line items. When we get a computer fixed, there is usually a charge for the time it takes to diagnose the problem. When we go to a medical doctor, most of his fee is for his ability to diagnose what's wrong. It's no different with our vehicles.

    Some diagnoses are fairly simple. Brake repairs at Affordable Transmissions usually require only a visual inspection, for instance. But other problems are much more difficult to diagnose. An intermittent engine problem, for example, takes time and expertise to pinpoint.

    Modern vehicles have multiple computers that monitor a variety of sensors throughout the vehicle. When one of those sensors has a reading that is higher or lower than the standard parameters, the computer turns on the Check Engine light. Technicians at a service center such as Affordable Transmissions in Brooklyn Park can scan the engine's computer for a trouble code. This code tells the technician which reading is too high or too low.

    That's where some Brooklyn Park residents get confused. They think that this reading concludes the diagnosis, and they don't understand why the diagnostic fee is as much as it is when all the technician did was to scan the computer. But the truth is the trouble code is only the beginning of the diagnostic procedure.

    Remember, the trouble code only tells which reading is out of parameter. It doesn't say what is causing the reading to be too high or too low. Your Affordable Transmissions service technician still has to find the underlying problem. It's a lot like going to the doctor. He can take your temperature and discover that you have a fever, but that doesn't tell him what is causing your fever.

    Automotive diagnostic technology can cut down the time it takes to figure out what's wrong with a vehicle that isn't running right. But it doesn't do away with the need for your friendly and knowledgeable Affordable Transmissions service technician to make a proper diagnosis. Car care, like medical care, still requires the human touch.

    Affordable Transmissions
    6301 WELCOME AVE N STE 28
    Brooklyn Park, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169
    http://www.affordabletransmission-mn.com




    Automotive Detective Work in Brooklyn Park

    Jul 26, 2016

    There's a reason we use the word “diagnose” when we talk about fixing cars in Brooklyn Park. Figuring out what's wrong with your vehicle has a lot of similarities to figuring out what's wrong with someone who is ill. Vehicles are a mass of complex systems that can produce a variety of symptoms when something goes wrong. As with human diagnoses, a specific symptom may be indicative of a number of problems, and figuring out the specific cause takes training and experience.

    Sometimes the diagnosis of your vehicle's trouble comes down to a matter of trial-and-error. This can be frustrating for Brooklyn Park drivers because time and money are on the line. You may feel you should only be paying for repair work. Of course, you only want to pay for the right repair – and a proper diagnosis is part of getting it right. Like at the doctor's office — some of what you pay for is the doctor's time and effort to figure out what's wrong with you, not for the actual cure.

    The good news is that Brooklyn Park drivers can do a lot to help out their friendly and knowledgeable service advisors at Affordable Transmissions in figuring out what's wrong with their vehicle. Again, the medical office is a good analogy. The more information you can give your doctor about where it hurts, when it hurts and how it hurts, the more quickly he will be able to help you. In the same way, the more you can tell your Affordable Transmissions service technician about when the problem occurs, what is sounds like, how often it occurs, where it occurs, etc., the more efficiently he will be able to get you back on the road.

    Good preventive maintenance goes a long way to keeping your car out of a Brooklyn Park repair shop, but if you need to get it , good communication will get you back on the road quickly.

    Affordable Transmissions
    6301 WELCOME AVE N STE 28
    Brooklyn Park, MN 55429
    (763) 533-1169
    http://www.affordabletransmission-mn.com