Tag Archives: check engine

How much was your free estimate?

FREE Estimate vs Diagnostic Service

Estimate vs Diagnostic




When does a FREE automotive estimate become a billable diagnostic service?  Each auto shop could probably answer this question differently.

At Axleboy, free estimates typically take place at the service counter.  Whether your vehicle needs repair services or you’re trying to discover the next step in off-road modifications, you can call or walk in and one of our service writers will be more than glad to take the time to understand your vehicle needs.

A classic example of a free repair estimate would look something like this: A customer breaks an axle while wheeling over the weekend and would like to know what it will cost to replace both front and rear axles with Tera 60 axles.  Our service writer would then provide an estimate that includes the cost of all parts and book-labor time. At that point the customer could then make an educated decision to proceed or pursue an alternative option.

By contrast, when a customer comes into the shop with either a check engine light or a mystery noise, we can speculate only so much before the vehicle needs to come into the shop for further clarification or discovery.  It is at this point, that a free estimate typically becomes a billable diagnostic service.

Most shops bill diagnostic services based on an hourly rate, so we recommend that before you hand over the keys, first review with the mechanic or service writer their diagnostic plans, including estimated cost.

For a quick reference to the differences between a free estimate and diagnostic services, just check out the infographic to the right.

Check Engine Warning

The Check Engine Light

The Light is On

You’re ready to leave work, so you go out to your car and turn the key…or push the button.  Typically all of your dash lights will turn on for a second and then turn off.  This time however, you notice an obnoxious yellow light continuing to illuminate your dash…the dreaded “check engine” light.   What the heck, right!?

If you’re like me, seeing that check engine light on can initially feel pretty aggravating.  Once the realization sets in that the light is still on, one of two very different personalities tend to emerge.  Personality ‘A’ will call or text family and friends, and vent their frustration all over social media.  Personality ‘B’ on the other hand will feel upset by the light but ultimately ignore it in the hopes that it will turn off on its own.

Just because the check engine light comes on, doesn’t mean that you have to immediately stop whatever you are doing but by the same token, ignoring the light altogether is a good way to make things worse.

 

At Axleboy, we want to help alleviate some of the anxiety surrounding the check engine light.  To do that, we’ll do our best to answer two questions:

 

What’s the deal with the check engine light?

Ever since the 80’s, onboard diagnostic (OBD) systems, inside the vehicle, have monitored and controlled more and more going on under the hood.  The OBD system checks things like engine speed, ignition timing, and fuel mixture.  Whenever one of these things isn’t working just right, the OBD is programmed to bring things back into balance and optimize engine performance.

The check engine light doesn’t trip unless the OBD has identified a problem, attempted to correct it and the problem persists.  This light can come on for something as little as a loose gas cap (easy fix) or as big as an engine that is misfiring (not so easy to fix).

 

What should I do now?

Take a couple of deep breaths…you’ll be okay.  Now, if the light just came on, and it’s not flashing, there’s no need to panic.  You might even try tightening the gas cap just to see if it’s an easy fix (this actually happen quite often).  If the light doesn’t go off after a few miles, consider making an appointment at Axleboy.  Our OBDII certified technicians can read the trouble codes stored in the vehicle and tell you what will correct the problem.

If, however, the check engine light is flashing, something may be critically wrong inside the engine and it would be in your best interest to get your vehicle checked out ASAP.

 

When you need auto service, you know who to call.  Axleboy, (636)939-5337.