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Diagnostic Codes vs Vehicle Diagnostics


The Check Engine light. Always friendly, rarely truly useful to the driver, and always seems to turn on at the worst possible time. An unnecessary stressor on an already unreasonable Monday, you head to your local auto parts store advertising Free Check Engine Light Diagnostic. “Ah! Here's your problem!”


Thanks detective, that's helpful” you think to yourself. You go home and Google the code. P0171 System Too Lean (Bank 1). Cryptic, and with a laundry list of contradicting solutions. Your question has been answered with more questions. We understand it can be frustrating. In many situations you wouldn't even know anything was wrong if the light hadn't come on, but paying attention to it can prevent expensive repairs later.


So what is a trouble code and how does it help? Well, it's only half of the story, but it's a start. Diagnostic codes help to narrow down what isn't wrong, and can help the technician pinpoint the cause and effect more quickly. You know something is broken, but what and why? More importantly, how can it be fixed?

Proper vehicle diagnostics are important. Reading trouble codes and real vehicle diagnostics are very different things. Here's what you should know about both:


Reading Vehicle Trouble Codes

Scanning for trouble codes in your vehicle's computer is the first step in knowing what's broken. An electronic scanning tool is plugged into your vehicle's computer, and error codes are printed off. Sometimes these codes are specific (P0301: Cylinder 1 Misfire Detected), sometimes they are vague (P2181: Cooling System Performance). It's important to take these findings a step further, that's where diagnostics come in.


Diagnostic Testing

Diagnostic testing involves using scanners and probes that give real-time information about what’s going on with your car. This can be done only by certified technicians who know how to run the right diagnostic tests for error codes found in the previous step.

At Belden's, we don't stop at telling you what’s wrong with your car. We'll let you know what steps are needed to fix the problems and leave the decisions to you. Our ASE-certified technicians are highly trained in diagnosing issues with your vehicle and getting you back on the road safely. Since we use the same diagnostic equipment used by manufacturers, we can provide you with a thorough inspection and analysis of what’s needed to get your car back into top running shape. Additionally, with AutoServe1 Digital Inspections, you'll be able to see exactly what we see; with real data, photos, and video proof so that you know you can trust our diagnosis. We will never sell you services, repairs or parts you don't really need.

Your life doesn't stop when your vehicle does. We offer courtesy inspections every time you bring your car for service. All major systems of your car will be checked and we'll keep you informed of any issues we find so you can stay on top of your car's maintenance. Whether you want to stay and relax in our lobby, or get a lift back to work or life with one of our courtesy vehicles, we’ll make sure both you and your car are taken care of.

Come see why Belden's Automotive & Tires is Your Dealer Alternative!