Welcome to O'Brien's Auto Repair!
Now two locations to better serve you!

4414 Douglas Ave. in Beaverdale
Call us at 515-276-7327 or
Request an appointment online

8305 Hickman Rd. in Urbandale
Call us at 515-276-0137 or
Request an appointment online

DIY Diagnostics

What’s wrong with my car?

Occasionally a customer will call us on the phone, or walk in, and describe a problem they are having with their car. They want us to tell them what is wrong with the vehicle and how much it will cost to repair.

Or, the customer will tell us what they think is wrong with their vehicle and want to know how much repairs will cost. Here is the simple truth. The average person can not properly diagnose a problem with their car. We often hear about someone’s brother, friend or neighbor who “knows about cars” and says that “this” is the problem.

And they are always wrong.

Automobiles today are far more complicated than they were in the past. They are smart, complex and finicky. Some vehicles have 2 or 3 onboard computers managing and controlling many systems and accessories. There are dozens of sensors feeding information to those computers. We have three ASE Certified Master Technicians on staff. None of them are able to diagnose a car over the phone. For drivability issues they have to test drive the car and then put it up on a lift for a visual inspection. For other symptomatic issues we have incurred over $25,000 in diagnostic computers and equipment. There would be no need to invest in this equipment or training if we could accurately diagnose a problem over the phone.

Another common issue we have to deal with from time to time, is the customers vehicle that someone else has already worked on.

“It wouldn’t start so we put a battery in it. It started, but only ran for a day so we put an alternator in it. It ran for a little while but then it died again.”

The customer has invested over $500 in parts, plus his time, and he has gained nothing.

According to the Automotive Repair Service Industry’s 2014 Service Writers Guide, there are about a dozen reasons why a vehicle won’t start. There are over eleven-hundred reasons why it won’t run well. Never guess at what the problem is. Never let an uncertified or unqualified person work on your car. It will almost always cost you more in the long run.

If you are having a problem with your car. A rattle, squeal, vibration, something is leaking, it’s running rough or a warning light is on, bring it to a trusted certified repair facility. You may be charged for the diagnostics but it’s money well spent in the long run. You will know exactly what is wrong with your car, exactly how much it will cost to repair and how long it will take.