Top Methods for Diagnosing Car Problems

When a car isn’t working right, the first step is to figure out what’s wrong with it. This can be easy for someone with prior experience with the problem, but in many cases, it requires the help of an expert in vehicle diagnostic in Longmont. The expert has experience with many more types of problems than a single car owner will typically encounter. He or she also has tools to help diagnose issues that don’t have immediately obvious causes. Here are some of the methods that are used to pin down the causes of car problems:

Listening to the Customer

While this shouldn’t be the final step in a diagnostic operation, it’s a huge first step. If someone comes into a shop and says “the brakes are grinding,” the person is probably right. Even so, the technician should take the wheel off and physically check the brakes to be sure. This is because a few things can make the wheel area grind, and the mechanic has no way of knowing how much experience the customer has with such problems. Directly checking will ensure that no unnecessary work is performed. The same principles apply to any other reported problem.

Taking a Test Drive

Often, customer reports aren’t specific enough to even nail down a specific area of the car. It may be said that there’s a knock coming from “underneath somewhere” or that the car “lags a bit.” In these cases, the best way to find out what’s really going on is to take the car for a spin under the conditions reported by the customer. This direct experience will let an experienced mechanic know what’s actually happening.

Using Computer Diagnostics

Despite the popularity of computers, this technique is actually of limited use. Most cars, at least most older ones, don’t have the sensors needed to effectively pick up common mechanical issues. Therefore, skilled mechanics will use them as adjuncts rather than a front-line diagnostic tool.


This is what separates the person who just got his mechanic’s license from the true professional. It makes it possible for some practitioners to know exactly what’s wrong as soon as a car is turned on, find problems even when all the quick tools say there aren’t any, and generally spare customers from frustration. It’s always a good idea to get someone with plenty of experience to do auto repair in Longmont, but it’s even more important when intensive diagnostics are required.

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