Tools of the Trade

Learn More About Some of the Tools We Use to Fix Your Vehicle, From Scan Tools to Lab Scopes

Is Your Car's Check Engine Light On?

The challenge of working on today’s vehicles is growing due to not only the ability to get your hands in there and remove items for replacement or inspection, but the knowledge of how the engineers program these engines, transmission, antilock brakes, etc. is always changing.

Many times a simple complaint of “Can you see why my check engine light is on?” is a simple matter of having the software in one of the computers updated. This is very similar to installing a software patch or upgrade on your home computer's operating system!

I have been diagnosing problems on cars and light trucks for some time now and the items used to check certain systems will vary depending upon what the complaint might be. Here is a simple explanation of what may be used on your vehicle and what it will tell us.

The Scan Tool

The scan tool is one of the most important tools used today. This is the tool that will let me see what the various computers are seeing from the many sensors on the engine and transmission. This tool will also be used to update your computer's software if needed. This is usually the starting point of any engine performance complaint or computer controlled system operation complaint.

The Fuel Pressure Gauge

This tool can lead us to the end of the trail on a lot of complaints with the way the engine is running. The fuel pressure gauge is used to get the story on how well the fuel is supplied to the engine. Too little or even too much fuel can cause a handful of complaints. Each engine will have a specified pressure that is needed to be supplied to the engine along with the quantity of fuel. This gauge will give us the ability to test all this and verify if there is a fuel supply issue causing the complaint.
Auto Repair

The Automotive ER

It takes all of the above to get your vehicle repaired, along with other items. The one item that can't be left out is being able to get information on a particular vehicle's system. There are many sources of information available to the technician. The problem with the information is the cost in most cases.

These subscriptions to the needed information are very expensive. At Powers Automotive Services Inc, we have many sources of electronic repair information. We use Mitchell and Alldata and have access to the same service information that the GM service centers have over the internet! We also have just recently purchased the factory information used by Ford technicians!
Auto Service

The Lab Scope

This little guy is my favorite tool! This is basically a voltage or an ohm meter that will graph or draw a picture of what the voltage is really doing. This tool's usefulness is only limited to the user's creativeness. I will use this on every diagnostic problem to help verify what is really going on.

Many times the scan tool will have a value displayed that is incorrect and now we need to check and see what the reason is for the faulty data. The lab scope will be the final test for many problems. This tool has been called my best friend for the last 7 years!

Things can get a little hectic under the hood with all this equipment hooked up to the patient! We can find the smallest of tire leaks! We see a lot of the valve stems leak with tire pressure monitoring sensors. We can rebuild the valve stems on a lot of these. Let us know if you have these issues. Contact us today!

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Read about some of the tools we use to repair, diagnose, and service your automobile.
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