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Your vehicle’s On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) computer gathers information from the dozens of sensors in your vehicle to regulate fuel delivery, timing of the spark plugs and other functions. When the computer receives values that are out of normal range, the Check Engine Light (or Malfunction Indicator Light) is triggered and illuminated. Since most of these faults cause a drop in fuel economy / efficiency, an active check engine light will cause your vehicle to fail emissions testing.
Today’s vehicles are more computer-dependent than ever. When your vehicle comes in for a diagnostic procedure, our ASE Certified technicians will scan for the diagnostic trouble code (DTC), and use that information to check all the components and systems that can contribute to the corresponding fault. Oftentimes the technician will have to use advanced tools like leak detection machines, oscilloscopes and ohm meters in addition to the vehicle scanner to test various components.
Unfortunately, no. A Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) merely gives the technician a fault number corresponded with a problem. It does not tell anybody what caused that fault in the first place or why. It’s similar to telling a doctor that your leg hurts – the doctor has to inspect all the components of your leg that might contribute to that pain.