Blonde woman with shocked face while her car is fixed

Be Careful of “Free” Diagnosis Offerings from Auto Parts Shops

January 31, 2019 10:48 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Chances are at some point you’ve seen some sort of advertisement for auto parts shops in your area that offer a “free” diagnosis of the problem your vehicle has when the check engine light comes on, or if you’re having particular issues with your vehicle. These advertisements might come in the form of TV commercials or roadside signs. But in any circumstance, you should be skeptical of these types of services.

Check engine lights usually come with certain codes that give an indication as to the type of problem your vehicle is dealing with. The parts store might correctly assess the code, but the code itself might only hint at a symptom of the underlying problem, and the workers at parts stores are often not sufficiently qualified to dig deeper and find the root issue. This is why you should trust a mechanic in Madison, TN to diagnose the issue instead.

One common scenario

Here’s one example of a scenario that demonstrates why these free diagnosis offerings ultimately are probably not in your best interest.

Let’s say your check engine light comes on, and you go in to get your free diagnosis from your local auto parts store. After scanning your vehicle, the code reveals an O2 sensor voltage low code. If you don’t know what that means, you’re probably going to start getting nervous. The worker might tell you that replacing the sensor and resetting the check engine light will resolve the issue. They’ll sell you a new O2 sensor and a tool to replace it. However, once you replace that sensor, your check engine light comes on again within a few miles of driving, and the parts store shows the same code.

After going to a certified mechanic, it turns out you have a bad catalytic converter, and the O2 sensor issue was just a symptom. But you already paid for the O2 sensor and won’t be able to return it to the auto parts store.

This is an example of the kind of superficial analysis you’d get at an auto parts store versus a certified auto repair shop. Mechanics will be able to dig deeper into your vehicle, and know that certain issues are often symptomatic of larger underlying problems you must deal with.

Ultimately, the “free” diagnosis offerings from these auto repair shops are done with the goal of getting you to buy parts right then and there, even if you don’t necessarily need them. People who are going to go to an auto parts shop for their free diagnosis are going to be less likely to have a thorough understanding of their vehicles, which means when they’re provided with the reason why the light came on, they aren’t going to be likely to be able to connect the dots and figure out exactly what the root cause is.

These are just a few examples of some of the reasons why it’s better to just go to a certified auto repair shop in the first place for your diagnosis. For more information, visit Rivergate Muffler & Auto Repair to speak with an experienced mechanic in Madison, TN.

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