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3 min read

Why Do Auto Shops Charge For Diagnostics?

By Bill DeBoer on Aug 4, 2022 10:34:00 AM

diagnostic engine

There’s a common misconception that when you take your car to an auto shop, they can simply run a diagnostics test and know how to fix your vehicle. So when customers receive their bill and see a charge for the diagnostics, they are surprised and often question it. The truth is there is a lot more to a diagnostics test than simply plugging in a device and knowing exactly how to fix a vehicle. We’ve dug into this a little deeper and provided comparative examples to make it easier to understand.

How Customers Should Think About Diagnostics

A similar example to think of is if you have a knee that has given you trouble. You won’t simply go to the doctor and ask them to replace your knee. They will have to evaluate your knee first and then possibly get imaging done so they can see exactly what the problem might be. You will be charged for not only the office visit, but also the imaging, which is similar to the diagnostics. After a doctor looks at the diagnostics, they can better determine whether surgery is the best course of action or maybe physical therapy or injections. So essentially, the result of the diagnostics gives the expert the ability to determine the best way to handle the problem at hand.

Diagnostics Is Not As Easy As Getting An Answer Immediately

Diagnostic Experts (1)When we plug in our diagnostics tool it will provide our team with a code. This code isn’t the answer to the problem. It’s similar to trying to find a specific house in a neighborhood, but you only have the street name without the house number to work with. The diagnostics tool gives us an area to focus on, and then we have to take the time to figure out exactly what is causing the problem.

Performing Diagnostics Takes Time

The diagnostics tool could point us to the purge valve solenoid in your vehicle. This doesn’t mean definitively that the purge valve solenoid is bad. It could be the wires connecting to the computer that are activating the purge valve solenoid that’s faulty. Or it could even be the computer board connected to the purge valve solenoid. As you can see, the diagnostics tool is very helpful for auto shops, but they don’t eliminate manual labor completely.

DeBoer’s Auto always wants to be as transparent as possible with customers. Diagnostics charges are one of the most questioned charges we get, so we hope this clears things up. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, don’t hesitate to contact us at any time.

Bill DeBoer

Written by Bill DeBoer

William J. DeBoer (Bill Jr.) is Co-owner and Vice President at DeBoer’s Auto. As the company’s General Manager, Bill has been responsible for bringing innovations in daily operations to the full-service, high-tech auto repair facility for 20+ years. Passionate about computers from an early age, Bill’s interest in technology gravitated to cars while he was in college. By obtaining a Certificate in Automotive Technology followed by a B.S. in Business Management from Penn State, Bill was able to fuse his interests into a car technology specialization and join the family business shortly thereafter.