Computer Diagnostics and Your Car

If you’re old enough, you remember when auto shops didn’t even know what computer diagnostics were. Times sure have changed. The first computer system in a vehicle was introduced by Volkswagen in 1968 and the automotive manufacturing industry has never looked back. Today’s cars, trucks, and SUVs are complex, technical machines, and mechanics rely on computer diagnostics to help them determine what is wrong with a vehicle so they can fix it. That includes us at Ultimate Auto Repair. Here’s why.


We hope we don’t get in trouble for that subhead! Your vehicle is not manufactured by Apple, or Microsoft for that matter, but it is one gigantic, rolling computer. Every system in your automobile from the brakes to the transmission has a sensor that records and reports massive quantities of data. When you start your car, truck, or SUV, the sensors test the vehicle’s systems to make sure they are all operating as they should be. This is why all dashboard lights turn on. If something is wrong, the sensor reports it to your car, truck, or SUVs main onboard computer chip – basically, a mini-mainframe.

Diagnostic Checks

Auto mechanics must run diagnostic checks to find out what each sensor reported to the main computer chip. When we hook up our testing machine to your onboard mainframe, it downloads all the data it received from each system sensor. Once the data is downloaded, we can print a report and review the findings. For example, if your vehicle’s catalytic converter is having problems converting carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide, the emissions system sensor will let the onboard computer chip know and the onboard computer chip will turn on your dashboard’s “check engine” light.

This tells you there is something wrong. The diagnostic report tells us what is wrong. Once the sensor reported that the catalytic converter was malfunctioning, an error code was assigned to the data. We know what each error means, and this points us directly to any problem your car, truck, or SUV has. So what does this mean for you? Today’s auto service industry has gone digital to a certain extent, but this saves you money because we don’t have to search for the problem before we fix it. Who would’ve thought in 1968 that automobiles would be giant computers in the future?

Call Ultimate Auto Repair in Jackson, MI, at 517-317-8890. We offer our customers topnotch preventative maintenance and auto repair, including diagnostic checks, to keep your vehicle safe and reliable every time you drive it. Call us today.

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