If you’ve ever owned a vehicle that’s had the “check engine” light turn on, you are probably familiar with that “sinking feeling in your gut and in your wallet.” If you light comes on, stay calm and call Toyomasters right away. It’s not necessarily a major issue, but a warning that it is time for a diagnostic test.

All vehicles run on and are monitored by a computer. This computer communicates with all the internal sensors (the average car has about 60-100 sensors) and most of the electronic components inside your vehicle. When the computer registers an abnormal read from one of these many sensors, or if it detects that one of the sensors is not functioning properly, it marks an “error code” in its data log and turns on your vehicle’s check engine light.

Now comes the diagnostic test. To learn exactly what has triggered your check engine light, a scanner is plugged into your vehicle’s OBD-II port (all vehicles manufactured in the United States after 1995 are fitted with this system). The scanner can read your car’s computer log of “trouble codes”. Essentially, this is just a categorized list of all the abnormalities picked up by the sensors. Trouble codes provide our trained mechanics with clues to find the trouble. A trained technician can interpret these trouble codes, give you an experienced run-down of all the information gathered in the diagnostic test, and help you come up with a service plan.

It’s not uncommon for people to mistakenly believe that our use of a computer scan tool eliminates the need for diagnosis. The computer is a wonderful tool that aids us in diagnosis. It’s useful enough that we’ve spent thousands of dollars buying computers and keeping them updated, but a computer is still just a tool; it’s not magic, and it doesn’t know everything. Our technician’s knowledge, experience, and judgement is what makes the service at ToyoMasters second to none.

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