If a vehicle has a problem. Maybe a check engine light, a noise, overheating, leaks, or just not running well a diagnosis needs to be performed to determine the problem.
Step one is to decide what kind of test needs to be performed to address the specific problem. We call this the preliminary evaluation. It is usually free and takes about 10 minutes. We will check things related to the complaint to both verify and, decide what tests need to be performed in order to proceed.
We bill for these tests based on our hourly rate times the amount of time and materials needed to perform the test. We will give you an estimate for the test before we perform it and get your authorization. This authorization will be documented on your invoice.
This does not guarantee that we will locate the problem after the test. We may be led to perform more tests on a deeper part of the system. We will explain in detail to you what needs to be done and how much it will cost. We will obtain your permission before doing anything and document it.
This is exactly how diagnostics are performed in the medical field and are like our processes.
It is also possible to have multiple problems that are uncovered by the first repair and may require additional tests to address further issues.
A common misconception is that diagnosing mechanical and computer-controlled systems is an exact science. Not true! A good diagnostician uses a combination of theory and operation, experience, and intuition to find problems.
A second misconception is that the initial estimate is going to find your problem in full. Many times, this is true but due to the complexity of the newer cars may require further testing.
We are fair about the amount of time that we work for the estimate given and most of the time spend more time than we get paid for. Remember we have operational costs as well and technicians that are good at diagnosing are both expensive and hard to find so please be patient with us. Diagnostics are the most difficult work that we do.