White’s Automotive: What to do when your car is having issues

White's Automotive
Car mechanic doctor checking on the engine.(gremlin | Getty Images)

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In my last blog, I compared Computerized Diagnostics to going to the doctor. This comparison hopefully explained the diagnostic procedure to where it’s easier to understand. Now I want to do that again and explain how more than one problem can give the same symptom.

In this example, let’s pretend you have a limp on your left leg. Now, remember trouble codes only give general explanations. Three months ago, you had a limp and I replaced your knee. This time, you set a code for your ankle. Both problems will give you the symptom of limp, but they are two totally different repairs.

On the car, it is the same. For example, we have all seen the check engine light flash on and off and the vehicle is shaking violently. This is usually caused by a misfire on one or more cylinders. Now a misfire is when a cylinder does not burn the fuel and does not help the engine run. This misfire can be caused by spark plugs not giving spark. Whether it’s a plug, plug wires, or coil. Also, if the fuel injector did not deliver fuel, this can cause a misfire. In a worst-case scenario, the engine itself could be bad causing it to misfire.

In this example, I am going to talk about something we all want down here in the south, Air Conditioning. There are several things that can fail that will cause the A/C not to cool. Is there a Freon leak? Did the A/C Compressor break internally or did a sensor fail causing you to be hot and sweaty in your car? All these problems are different repairs at different places.

Just remember, if your car had the same symptom last month, it does not mean it was the same problem. If you take it in to be repaired, find out what the problem is before assuming it was the same problem. It could be under warranty, or it could be a new problem causing the same symptom.