Check Engine Light

Posted by on Oct 29, 2012 in Slider | 0 comments


Our cat recently got sick. He was fine one day, sick the next.  It was hard for us to tell what the problem was, because the little bugger just wouldn’t tell us what was wrong. With little to go by, we turned to the internet. What a mistake. If you want to REALLY worry about your pet’s health, your health, or your car’s health, go ahead and type some symptoms into the internet.

Scary stuff, the internet. Worst case scenarios, no matter how rare, lurk everywhere.

Luckily when a car gets sick, it will often tell us what’s wrong. The car communicates to you via its warning lights, the most common of which is the Check Engine Light. It varies from car to car, but most European manufacturers use a symbol of a motor. You won’t need an internet guess to tell you why the light is on because if your check engine light is on, we can use our diagnostic equipment to tell you exactly what is wrong with your car.

The most common question we get at the shop is, “My check engine light is on.  How much will it cost to fix?” This is often followed by, “Should I just ignore it?”

The answer to the first question is complicated.  There are thousands of possible reasons for your check engine light to come on. It could be a very simple problem or a very complex one. It may take minutes to fix or hours to fix.  It could be something as quick and easy as a diagnosis and repair of a coolant temperature sensor on an Audi A4 ($150 plus tax). If it is something complicated and expensive, we’ll let you know before we do anything.

The answer to the second question is easy: no, you should never ignore a check engine light. Bring it in to us.  For $100 or less, we will perform a basic diagnosis that will give you the peace of mind that you are not causing expensive damage to your car. Armed with the knowledge of what is wrong and what it will cost to fix, you can decide whether to fix it right away or not.

Many people wonder how a small shop can diagnose today’s complicated electronic vehicles. It’s a good question, because many shops have struggled to keep up. Even dealership staff are often surprisingly undertrained. We’ve stayed current by constantly researching, updating equipment, and being as proactive as possible. Because of that, we can confidently say that we are Vancouver’s top diagnostic experts.

Here is what we charge for check engine light diagnostics:

$60: Stage 1. Scan and Report. This will tell us (and you) what code you have. Often the code is enough information for us to tell you what your car needs.  We’ll include a quote that will tell you exactly what it will cost to fix. This is the case about 25% of the time.

$120-240: Stage 2. If your problem requires more than a quick scan to be properly diagnosed, we’ll spend more time using our special equipment to figure out the problem. In 95% of cases, we can diagnose your car with Stage 1 or Stage 2 diagnostics.

$240+: Stage 3. Very rarely, we’ll need to spend considerable time with your car to diagnosis its problems. This usually only happens when the car has several problems at once, or has had several problems accumulate without being diagnosed.

Our cat is fine. A quick visit to the vet and some antibiotics were all he needed. It was nice to have him in the hands of experts. For a fair price we were given peace of mind. Don’t let your check engine light worry you. Come see us and we’ll take care of it for you.