In 1970, the average car had only $25 worth of electronics. By 1981, the average car electronics had risen to more than $1,000 per car, and by 1996 to more than $1,500 per car. And the number is still rising.
Today, a vehicle’s computers operate almost every system — air conditioning, radios, airbags, alarm systems, antilock braking systems, traction control, ride control, cruise control, electronic digital and analog instrument panels, automatic transmissions, and last but not least, emission and engine controls.
Too many people have tried to take advantage of the computer system. Instead of using proper diagnostic procedures, some people (mostly do-it-your selfers, but also some so called professionals) resort to trial-and-error part swapping when they don’t know how else to fix a computer or performance problem. Unfortunately, electronic parts are easily damaged by improper installation or testing, and they are very sensitive to voltage overloads. It does not take much of a voltage spike to ruin a component.
Because of such risks (and the high cost of many parts), car dealership parts’ suppliers refuse to allow returns on any electronic components. This fact is posted on their invoice sand at their parts counters, leaving you — the consumer — with expensive parts you didn’t need. Most computer components range in price from $250 to as high as $1,500,depending on their function.
The major manufacturers have reported that as much as 80 percent of all computer components returned for repair were found to be working properly. For this reason, a complete computerized engine analysis can save you money by correctly diagnosing your vehicle’s problems the first time.
It is even more important to choose a shop that has experienced ASE-certified Master Technicians, the latest computerized diagnostic equipment and a computerized information system. Trying to diagnose today’s vehicles without the proper training and diagnostic equipment can result in misdiagnosis costing the consumer hundreds or thousands of dollars in unnecessary repairs.