Few topics in the automotive repair business are as controversial and confrontational as the fee for a diagnosis. Should a customer have to pay for the time the mechanic spends figuring out what is wrong with a vehicle or only for the repairs he or she actually makes? These days, don’t technicians just plug the car into a computer to figure out what’s wrong?



Our Free Code Scan service is an informational service that we perform for free. We will connect to your 1996 and newer vehicle and retrieve the codes that are triggering your light to illuminate.  This service should be performed when you have a check engine light illuminated and are looking to receive preliminary information before committing to further work.


When your Check Engine light comes on, a trouble code(s) will be stored in one or more of your vehicle’s computers. There are certain conditions (usually 4-5 specific criteria) that have to be met for a trouble code to set, and it is vitally important that the technician who is diagnosing your car checks all of them before he/she makes a repair decision.

The diagnostic trouble code (DTC) is effectively the “tip of the iceberg”. The trouble code takes you to “an area” for further testing to properly determine where the real fault is. The diagnostic fee allows us the time to thoroughly test and accurately determine the real cause of the warning light using the professional test equipment we have invested in and the skills we have acquired from years of experience and schooling.  This is a much more cost effective option than to just replace parts until it’s fixed.

Sure, the local auto parts store can pull a code and tell you the code P0172, indicates an issue with the bank 1 oxygen sensor. They can even sell you a new oxygen sensor and you can watch a 5 minute video on Youtube to learn how to replace it.  The problem is, a P0172 code indicates a rich condition on bank 1.  Sure it could be a faulty oxygen sensor, but it can also be any of the following:

  • Dirty or faulty mass air flow (MAF)  sensor
  • Leaky fuel injector(s) allowing too much fuel into the combustion cylinders
  • Worn spark plugs
  • Stuck fuel pressure regulator
  • Faulty coolant temperature sensor
  • Faulty coolant thermostat

So you see there is much more to turning that check engine light off than just reading a code and swapping a part.