Most people will bring their vehicle in when the “check engine light” is on, or any other various warning light because something is apparently wrong. Occasionally you might consider bringing it in for a routine diagnostic check even without seeing a warning light.

We highly recommend that you visit your local Meineke Car Care vehicle repair shop when your vehicle’s “check engine” light switches on. Our shop will perform a complete engine diagnostic evaluation to solve any engine problems that your vehicle might have.

Engine Repair

How is an engine diagnostic performed?

When you take your vehicle to an auto repair shop, you can expect to find a technician to use specialized computer software to accurately and quickly pinpoint your engine’s problem areas.

It’s important to remember that your vehicle will have sensors, microchips, and built-in processors that will assist the mechanic in finding any issues in your vehicle or engine. For example, if your vehicle’s “check engine” light comes, an engine diagnostic will be the quickest way to find out why. Multiple systems in your vehicle have become computerized in recent years, so having a professional mechanic that knows and understands all the diagnostic equipment is valuable. Our mechanics are well versed in multiple systems and multiple brands of diagnostic tools.

The mechanic or technician will plug the engine diagnostic machine into your vehicle’s computer, providing reference codes. These reference codes will be compared to a list of codes from the manufacturer to determine the engine’s issue.

If there is a problem with your vehicle’s engine, the diagnostic computer will show either one or several codes. In contrast, no code will be displayed if there are no problems with the engine.

What does an engine diagnostic include?

There are some key components that you can expect in an engine diagnostic. These will include the following:

Checking error codes

As we’ve mentioned before, we will use a specialized device to find the error reference codes to find the problem with your vehicle’s engine. These codes will tell us and our technicians what the problem with your engine is.

They will then be able to compare these codes to the manufacturer codes to recommend any repairs or replacements that need to be done.


While the codes do tell the mechanics what the problem is, it doesn’t tell them what caused the problem. This means that further testing will need to be done to find out exactly what caused this problem so they can make a well-informed engine diagnosis.

The testing process will involve testing the mechanical and electrical components, visual inspections, and bi-directional control tests. This testing process will ensure that no unnecessary repairs or replacements will be done.

Vehicle repair

When the exact problem has been identified, the mechanics and technicians will clean the engine components, replace the components that need to be replaced, do maintenance work, and complete any maintenance work that needs to be done.

Verification testing

When all repair work has been completed on your vehicle’s engine, more testing will be done to ensure that your engine is in working order. If you still experience issues with your vehicle’s engine, such as not starting, unusual clicks or dings, or any other odd sounds, or if your vehicle’s “check engine” light still switches on, you will need to make an appointment for an engine diagnostic.

Benefits of engine diagnostics

Before engine diagnostics, it was difficult to identify problems. It was an expensive and time-consuming process, especially because most vehicle owners would only bring their vehicles to a mechanic when something was terribly wrong with their vehicle or after a breakdown.

Today, a vehicle’s computerized components can assist technicians and mechanics in identifying problems before they become too severe or even cause a breakdown.

These tools also make it easier to check a vehicle’s computer system for any manufacturer notifications or stored relevant information. This information will include the vehicle history, which will give the technician an overall picture of the work that’s been done on the vehicle.

How often should an engine undergo diagnostic testing?

While it’s recommended that you make an appointment for an engine diagnostic when the “check engine” light comes on, you don’t have to wait for this light. Remember that no one will know your vehicle better than you do.

If you hear some strange or unusual sound or if you feel as though something is “off,” it’s best to make an engine diagnostic appointment to figure out if there is a problem. But there are some technicians or mechanics that will recommend that you take your vehicle in for an engine diagnostic check once a year.

Final thoughts

Engine diagnostic testing is a handy tool that mechanics can use to check for any issues with your vehicle. This diagnostic can also be used to check for any issues and the history of a used car that you might be considering purchasing.

Reputable professional car dealers and private sellers will typically agree to their vehicles be subjected to diagnostic tests before you commit to purchasing a used vehicle. It should be considered an enormous red flag if a dealer or private seller refuses to agree to complete an engine diagnostic.