CarTalk.com Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Check Engine Light

In California is a mechanic who runs a diagnostic on my car when I take the car in for a ‘Check Engine’ light required by law to make available a printout of the diagnostic code(s)when requested? If not required by law, can a printout be made available from the mechanic’s diagnostic machine if requested? The reason I ask this question is because in the last 6 weeks I have taken my Lexus in to the dealer on three different occasions because of the check engine light and it has cost me nearly $2000. Up to this point I have taken the Lexus service consultant’s word at face value for each of the three check engine light diagnostics. Thanks.

So, if you get them, what are you going to do with the codes? None of them say what part is bad or needs to be replaced. All they do is tell you what the computer is upset about and this tells you where you need to start looking and what things to test. Unless you are going to do the proper tests, just knowing the OBD-II codes won’t allow you to verify the word of your service consultant. If you don’t trust them, why do you go there?

Thank you for your reply.

I am curious about what has been done for an aggregate of ~$2k.

The OP should be aware that a Lexus ES is mechanically identical to a Toyota Camry, and thus can be serviced by any competent mechanic. Even the Toyota dealer would likely charge less than the Lexus dealer to work on this fancy-dress version of a Camry.

To the best of my knowledge there is no law requiring it. However You can shop around for someone who will pull the codes, provide you a list and at least some explanation of what they mean mean. There is no need to go to the dealer.

Many car parts stores will pull the codes and give you a copy of the results for FREE.

Unless that Lexux is under warranty why in the world would you be taking it to the dealer unless you like to pay more? I am sure there is a local independent mechanic in your area that likely will do better than the dealer.

We may be able to provide some more specific help if you can tell us more about what the dealer has done for all that money.

I’m wondering if you happened to just ask them for the codes. It isn’t routine to report them to customers as codes since few people know what to do with them (as tardis mentioned).

Maybe if you provided more “back story” people could better advise you.