Posted under Car Inspection

We all do it. We all complain that technology confuses and complicates things. So it’s nice to know that computerized car diagnostics truly do make life easier. These systems are installed on all late model vehicles on the road today, which is a very good thing. A car diagnostic test detects trouble digitally and alerts the driver to malfunctions early, before they require expensive and time-consuming repairs or, worse, become dangerous.

How does a car diagnostic test work?

The diagnostic system provides a digital analysis of your car’s computer systems and components. 

  • Specialized software is activated when your car is powered on
  • Various features — engine, transmission, brakes, and more — are monitored 
  • Data reports are created
  • Analysis of these reports identifies any trouble spots

You can perform a car diagnostic test at home, if you have the proper knowledge and equipment. Refer to your vehicle owner’s manual for detailed instructions for your particular make and model.

Sound complicated? Not for the trained technicians at Jiffy Lube®.

You may find it’s easier to bring your car into Jiffy Lube when the Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) or check engine light comes on. Sometimes referred to as engine diagnostic testing, it begins with the technician using a scanner to read the DTC (Diagnostic Trouble Code) generated by the indicator light.

Then the DTC data is analyzed, which helps the technician effectively and efficiently identify any performance issues. If, for example, the data indicates an ignition system problem, the ignition system is the first place the Jiffy Lube technician will check.

Did you know your vehicle’s computer system has an impressive memory? It “remembers” problems that may have flared up briefly and then returned to normal. Reviewing this past data can help the technician detect patterns and irregularities, which is valuable in isolating the problem at hand.

After identifying any issues, the technician may recommend repairs, such as cleaning or replacing defective parts. But before any work is done, the Jiffy Lube technician will present you with a written estimate and answer any questions you may have. At Jiffy Lube, our goal is to make sure you understand what’s going on, every step of the way. 

How often is a car diagnostic test needed?

There is no quick and easy answer to this. Unlike other routine car care tasks — like a tire rotation, which should be performed every 6,000 to 8,000 miles — car or engine diagnostic testing is never “needed.” It’s a tool that is generally:

  • Used when an indicator light comes on OR
  • As part of comprehensive maintenance check

At Jiffy Lube, we recommend the diagnostic service be performed 

  • as recommended in your vehicle owners manual
  • when dashboard warning lights come on 
  • when drivability issues occur.

Which drivability issues could warrant a car diagnostic test?

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Rough idle
  • Stalling
  • Hesitation

When it comes to your car’s performance, and your personal safety, it makes sense to perform a car diagnostic test sooner rather than later. With more than 2,000 Jiffy Lube locations nationwide, you’re sure to be near one when the need for a test arises.

Let’s talk about the cost of a car diagnostic test.

The initial diagnostic costs are typically similar, regardless of your vehicle make or model. Basic tests, which don’t turn up significant issues, are generally affordable. Some auto parts stores may even provide a DTC scan free of charge. (Be sure to call and verify this before you drive on over.)

However more in-depth analyses of the data, and the repairs that may be recommended to repair any problems, could cause the cost to rise.

NOTE: Double-check the fine print in any service agreement before signing off on a car diagnostic test. Some service agreements may claim that they will provide free diagnostic services but can sometimes camouflage hidden fees into the granular details of their service agreements. Read through the document before agreeing to any services, which will help to ensure that you know all the details.

Why come to Jiffy Lube?

Because if work needs to be done on your car, you want it done right. Whether it’s something as sophisticated and high tech as a car diagnostic test, or as small as a wiper blade replacement, you can be sure every service will be performed carefully and professionally. Jiffy Lube technicians use quality Pennzoil® products whenever possible and consistently install parts that meet or exceed Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) recommendations.

Woman talking with a Jiffy Lube technician about her car diagnostic test

Read more about it.

Take a closer look at Jiffy Lube Engine Diagnostic Testing Services here.
Just as engine diagnostic testing can help you avoid costly repairs, so can a regular brake inspection. Learn more about this important service
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Please note: Not all services are offered at each Jiffy Lube location. Please check with your local Jiffy Lube service center or visit for specific services offered.