Check Engine Light

Check Engine Light Service in Surprise & Goodyear AZ

When that Check Engine Light comes on, it is time to take action. This is your vehicle’s warning indicator that there may be a problem! While there are several reasons a Check Engine Light may come on, having an experienced Auto Repair shop properly diagnose the issue is always recommended. At Champs Family Automotive in Surprise and Goodyear, AZ, our ASE Certified Technicians have the knowledge and experience to diagnose the reason your vehicle your Check Engine Light has come on. Both of our locations use state-of-the-art equipment to ensure we get you back on the road as quickly as possible!


Common Questions About Our Process To Diagnosis & Fix Your Vehicle When The Check Engine Light Comes On

What is a “Diagnostic”?
The common misconception about Diagnostics that people have is that a “computer” plugged into your vehicle gives us what the problem is. The “computer” that people are generally referring to is a scanner. This scanner is connected to your vehicle, which will provide our Technician with trouble codes that are in your vehicle computer memory. All these scanners will ever tell you are the codes, which is not a substitution for a technician looking over the vehicle. There are thousands of codes and each code can only lead you into a specific system. Now our Technician needs to look into that specific system which again has several components. We then have a process of elimination to determine what failed in the system and why did the part fail? This is where having an experienced Technician comes into play. Their knowledge of the system will allow them to efficiently narrow down the problem and what caused the failure in the system.
Why should I pay for Diagnostics when the part store will diagnose my vehicle for free, isn’t it the same thing?
A parts store will connect your vehicle to a scanner and pull what code(s) are stored in your vehicle’s computer, but they’re not actually diagnosing what is wrong with your vehicle. What they have done over the years is tracked common codes and what parts are being bought to fix a particular code. Please understand, this is what people commonly purchase to fix specific codes, but this doesn’t mean it will actually fix your problem.

Now keep in mind the part stores are not following up with these customers to see if the said part purchased actually fixed the code/problem. It’s a shot in the dark and a gamble with your hard-earned money. You could get lucky on a DIY solution or you could be spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a repair that if you have properly diagnosed may of cost you a fraction of what you actually spent. A proper diagnostic is the key to a confirmed repair. Putting it plainly, a diagnostic is information gathering on what is wrong with the vehicle, so you know what repairs you need to do verses guessing at what repairs need to be done.

Any time you call either of our Champs Family Automotive locations and schedule an appointment, please keep in mind, for general services or repairs we do not charge diagnostic fees. The most common situation where a diagnostic charge may apply is if you’re experiencing for instance: drivability problems, a check engine light is on, you have a random noise you here or intermittent problem that takes time for us to diagnose and determine what the problem is. Now there are other times diagnostic charges may come into play, but you will ALWAYS be asked to approve diagnostic time charges prior to us doing the work. We will NEVER EVER apply diagnostic charges to your bill without your prior permission and authorization.

Isn’t Diagnostics just hooking my car up to a computer?
The very common misconception is that all we do when “Diagnosing” your vehicle is connect your vehicle to a computer and then the computer tells us exactly what’s wrong. This is actually very far the truth so let’s clarify what is involved in our “Diagnostics”.

  1. First of all, the “computer” that people are generally referring to is a scanner. This scanner is connected to your vehicle yes, but the scanner will provide our Technicians with codes that are in your vehicle computer memory.
  2. Each code is related to a specific system in your vehicle i.e. brake system, emissions system, transmission control system or one of many other systems.
  3. After determining which system(s) are causing the code(S), we then perform a visual inspection of the system(s) in question to look for obvious problems such as rats’ nest, lose or cut wires etc…
  4. If we don’t see any visual problems with your system, we then take time to locate and read your vehicles manufacturers trouble tree or as we call it Flow chart.
  5. After reviewing the flow chart our Technician begins to perform the necessary testing on the flow chart with the necessary tools and equipment i.e. DVOM, Lab scope, pressure gauges or whatever the particular test requires. Keep in mind our Technician(s) have all the necessary equipment to run these tests. Our Technician(s) have the knowledge and know how to accurately and efficiently use each tool and how to read test results.
  6. Then after testing our Technician(s) have to compare their test findings to flow charts to determine the next best course of action. Sometimes this can be a very lengthy and multistage process.
  7. At this point our Technician(s) have narrowed down what part or parts need to be replaced and why. Further testing may be required because the problem is very in depth and requires much more extensive system checks to determine the root of the problem.

As you can see there is A LOT involved when it comes to our Diagnostic time. We hope clears things for our customers. You can have all the tools in the world but if you haven’t invested the time into learning how to use the tools, what to look for and how to accurately diagnose a problem than your tools are irrelevant. You are paying for our Technicians expertise, the time and commitment they have spent years, even decades learning and perfecting. Knowledge is everything, just like a Doctor, we pay them for their skill and knowledge not necessarily the tools they use to get the right answers.

Why do I need to have my vehicle diagnosed, can’t you just tell me what’s wrong with it without charging me a diagnostic charge?
Diagnostics are important because it pinpoints what the problem is. For instance, if a customer comes in and says they need their alternator replaced, well what leads you to believe that’s what needs to be replaced? What’s the symptoms that lead you to believe replacing your alternator would fix your symptoms? This is where Diagnostics come into play. Our job is to listen to your symptoms and then based off your symptoms it can lead us to a specific set of systems to look into on your vehicle. We have to evaluate all the parts in each system to determine what and more importantly why something has failed. This can save you a great deal of down time and money on costly unnecessary repairs.
I went to another shop and they said they couldn’t diagnose my vehicle because they didn’t have the correct computer for my vehicle, do you have the computer to test my vehicle?

If a shop tells you, “we don’t have the computer for your vehicle”, most of the time that means they lack the knowledge and/or expertise to properly diagnose your vehicle. At Champs Family Automotive we continue to invest in our crew and equipment. We work diligently to properly diagnose all your vehicle questions and concerns. We have access to most software and are absolutely positive we can properly diagnose any problems your vehicle or RV may be having.

What does it mean when my Check Engine Light comes on?
When your Check Engine Light comes on it means there is a failure or problem with something emission related. When your vehicles computer detects a problem, it will set a specific code and turn on your Check Engine Light. There can be thousands of possible codes that can cause your Check Engine light to come on. It doesn’t mean having your Check Engine Light on is an easy Diagnostic process. Please keep in mind though, many people think if their Check Engine Light comes on than they have a problem with their Engine, this is not necessarily the case.
What does it mean when my Check Engine Light is on and flashing like a blinker?
If your Check Engine Light comes on and it’s flashing like a blinker, that typically signifies there’s something happening with the emissions system which is causing catalyst damage. Catalyst damage can be costly to repair and should be checked promptly. Now there are other reasons that can cause your Check Engine light to come on and flash which is why we highly recommend calling and/or bringing your vehicle into Champs Family Automotive as soon as possible for proper diagnosis to avoid causing further damage to your vehicle.
You just fixed my Check Engine light and now it came back on, why am I having the same problem you fixed?
At Champs Family Automotive when you come in for a Check Engine Light, we document each code we find in your vehicles computer system and what codes we repair. There are actually a couple reasons why a check engine light my come “back on”. One reason your check engine light my come back on is an intermittent problem. This intermittent problem may have been stored in your vehicles memory bank when we first diagnosed it but during our testing the problem was not currently active, nor relevant to the active issue, therefore no repairs were recommended. Another reason why your check engine light may be back on is because now your vehicles computer can continue to run the rest of its manufacturer required self checks since the original codes were repaired. Your vehicles computer may now see other non-related problems that are causing codes to be set and your check engine light to come on. Always keep in mind your check engine light can come on for a thousand different codes.
What happens if I ignore my check engine light being on, will it cause further damage to my vehicle?
If you ignore your check engine light you can potentially cause more damage to your vehicle which in turn can cost you more in repairs when you finally get your vehicle into the shop. There’s no way of telling just by looking at your check engine light being on if your problem is minor or major and there’s no way of telling if there’s other issues stacking up. It’s best to get your vehicle in as soon as possible. Benjamin Franklin states “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
Why should I come to Champs family Automotive instead of another shop to have Diagnostics performed on my vehicle?
Here at Champs Family Automotive we take great pride in what we do, and we are dedicated to getting you the answers that lead to the correct repairs. Some places will just automatically try to lead a customer to the most expensive repair that they think will fix the problem. At Champs Family Automotive we are here to educate and inform you about your vehicle and help you make the best decision about repairing your vehicle. At Champs Family Automotive we take a simple approach, “What’s wrong with your vehicle is what’s wrong with your vehicle”! We let our testing and diagnostics lead us to the correct repair. Our success in business is based on doing the right thing for our customers not charging them for the most expensive repair that most likely will not fix the problem. We’re here to fix the problem the first time you come in, not mislead you and cost you thousands of dollars in unnecessary repairs.