The Idiot Light
The Idiot Light
How many of you have heard someone say "It's an idiot light just ignore it."? There is an idiot somewhere and it is not you or the light that is on! The vehicles made from 1996 to present are very smart vehicles and have the ability to tell you when something is wrong. They do this through warning lights in the instrument panel, overhead console, or video screen in the center of the dash. When a warning light or message is displayed there is without a doubt something wrong. So the next step for you should be getting it to a diagnostic professional to tell you what is wrong with it.
If you take it to a private repair facility or one of these parts stores that scan the vehicle for free and they say there is nothing wrong with it, or we can shut the light off for you without fixing anything. It is time to take the car home and call us. If they reset the light for you without fixing anything they are doing you an injustice because they just erased all the information about why the light came on in the first place. This means you will have to drive the vehicle until the light comes back on. While driving the vehicle waiting for that light to come back on you are taking the chance of breaking down and having to call for a tow. So they really helped you out by just resetting the light huh?
These systems give us codes to look up in a repair manual to be able to identify what system is having the problem. Then the system needs to be tested to see what exactly is broken. Is it the component itself, the control module for the component, wiring between the module and component, or just a software issue within the module and it needs reprogramming. I guarantee you the parts store pulling your code for free does not have the ability to properly diagnose the system but will be more than happy to sell you a new part for the system that has the problem.
There are a lot of different computers out there that people will try to use when diagnosing your vehicle. We recommend finding someone that uses the manufacturer specific scan tool. This tool will save a lot of diagnostic time and money out of your wallet. It is designed for that particular vehicle and has specific programming for the vehicle it is made for verses a universal tool with universal programming in it. Please don't get me wrong there are some good universal tools out there. One thing to keep in mind... if you can get a code pulled for free it is probably being done with a cheap tool called a code reader, not an $8,000 scan tool. These specialty tools and education to run them is not cheap. This is why it usually costs a minimum of one hour labor to hook the scan tool up and pull the code. Then further charges for the diagnostic part of the repair.