No one likes it when their check engine light comes on. If you are in a hurry you may be asking how long does a car diagnostic take? If you do have that pesky light on your dash you can run down to your local autoparts store and then can pull the codes for free.
Autozone will download the check engine light codes for free. They will plug in the scanner to your car and retrieve the codes. After that they will plug the codes into their computer and they should be able to tell you what the codes mean.
In most cases they can print off the details of the issues or even sell you the parts you need. Your issue may be something as simple as a gas cap. If you recently filled up on gas and your check engine light came on you may need to retighten the cap.
How long does a car diagnostic take? It could take 5 minutes to a few hours to determine what’s wrong with your car. Something as simple as getting the check engine light codes is quick and easy. On the other hand, if there is an issue with your car that a check engine light won’t show diagnosing your car could take longer.
If the issue can be resolved by replacing the parts related to the check engine light codes then your diagnostic is complete. If you’re having a more advanced issue they you may need to take the car to a mechanic for a more thorough diagnostic.
Something like a vacuum leak may show up on a car diagnostic tool. Although tracking down where the leak is can’t be done by just anyone. There are multiple hoses throughout the car’s engine bay. With the right equipment you could find the leak. Though for most DIYers the process is a little advance.
What about diagnosing issues with no check engine lights?
If you have a stalling issue or an issue that doesn’t illuminate your check engine light then your mechanic will have to do more research. Some mechanics have advanced diagnostic tools which allow them to read the car’s computer when the car is on.
It’s easier to find out what the issue is by being able to replicate it. There have been plenty of times where a customer has brought in a car with an issue. Although if the mechanic can’t get the car to replicate the issue while the car is in the shop it makes it difficult to repair the car.
Car owners are used to their cars. They drive day after day. When something different happens you typically notice it. A mechanic on the other hand has never driven your car before. They won’t be able to immediately tell a difference until the car presents the issue.
How long does a car diagnostic take?
If you just have a check engine light you can get the codes pulled in under 5 minutes. If your problem more advanced it will take more time. Sometimes even a few hours. How long did it take you to get your car diagnosed? Let us know in the comments below!