Pat Goss sez no peeking!

Pat “Grouchy” Goss wants to protect us DIY’ers from ourselves and our “silly code readers”.

I know, I know, this is directed towards the typical automotive appliance owner.

That was sponsored by Rock Auto…I wonder how they feel about it.

Half right, half self - serving, a lot of that from Goss. His one on the need for periodic engine flushes just floored me.

I generally think Pat Goss is rather patronizing but in this case I agree with his advice, for most people. Too many people are afraid they will get ripped off if they don’t sound like they are knowledgeable when they bring their car in for service. They then TELL the tech what to fix rather than tell them the problem. The tech does what they request, and the problem persists. The customer is now upset… at the tech!

We see these folks post here all the time. If I change the temp sensor will my overheating go away? I changed the O2 sensor because the code reader said it was reading lean and the check engine light is still on, what do I do now? I hear this growling noise after I hit a curb and I’m afraid to take it to the mechanic, what’s wrong and can I keep driving it until my Christmas bonus comes?

I dunno. It sounds more like he dislikes customers coming in and saying “swap out the flux capacitor” vs “I cannot produce the necessary 4.7 GW for time travel…could you find out what’s wrong and fix it?”

OTOH, as far as his analogy of “not self-diagnosing medical conditions” goes…informed patients tend not to be the MD’s darlings–but they tend to have better outcomes. So, I can see why he personally prefers his customers meek and non-questioning–I just am not as concerned with brown-nosing my mechanic as I am with getting my problems fixed in the most expeditious manner possible.

Well, he isn’t very photogenic. When I first saw his image I thought “oh no, not another blowhard”. But I took the time to listen to the video and I agree with everything he said. And I thought he said it very well.

Well,I.m pretty bad about this,if the CEL comes on and the thing is running good and not stinking,I’m very tempted to ignore it.The CEL light comes on on my Dodge at intervals,good gas and a long trip will usually put the light out,so I dont worry about it, around here it doesnt cost a fortune to get the codes read,I went to advance onetime and had the codes read on a Focus,that was running rough,the diagnosis was left bank running lean,So I sent to California and got a set of injectors to replace those cheap ones Ford had in there,that thing ran better then ever(114K) miles,till it dropped a valve and believe me my Wife isnt hard on a car,so in the Hands of competence OBD is great.

One time I remember Pat Goss throwing a brand new Ford Variable Venturi carburator in the trash,He said they were junk and I believe experience proved Him right,thought it was pretty nifty,that He would do that.

I remember those things. What abominations.

He really didn’t say anything that we have not pointed out to some posters on this site.
We are always explaining to people that the code does not tell you what part is bad.

Though he does make it sound as though everyone (DYI’ers) don’t understand how to use a code reader, and diagnose a problem the right way.


If we follow his instructions, here’s the answer to 90% of the questions we’re asked:
“Take it to a mechanic and tell him the symptoms.”

wonder what our advice success rate is.

When I had a burst appendix and I finally went to the emergency room, I told the doctor I didn’t think it was appendix because it didn’t have the same symptoms as the book. He said sometimes they don’t follow the book. It was appendix. Surgery that night and only a week in the hospital.

I usually try to tell them everything that I have tried or what is happening then because by that time I’m at a loss or its not something I want to deal with. The problem is though at a dealership, you can’t get past the service attendant to talk to a mechanic and also can’t get a word in edgewise. Truly I think it would help all around if a mechanic would just step out for a few minutes to discuss the thing and save everyone some time and effort. I understand the issue though dealing with the public but when I tell the girl at the counter that the light only comes on when someone is in the back seat, seems to me thats something the mechanic should know about.

I remember one time with a new car and an intermittent extended crank issue, I was able to sit right with the mechanic while he had the fuel pressure tester hooked up. He was getting no results and then bingo the pressure went to zero so he knew it was a stuck injector. Just worked well all around but I’m sure he was doubting me for a while.

Yep,give us some credit.@Yosemite

I agree 100% with Pat but I repair my own vehicles so I always self diagnose a problem. I want to know what’s wrong…and what I need to do to correct it. It’s sounds simple but there is a lot more to it than that. If you take your vehicle to a mechanic…do as Pat advises. If you work on your own vehicles…self diagnosis is critical in finding the root cause of the malfunction. Once you’ve done that it’s easy but…as we all know…that’s also the hard part most of the time.

I do most… well, what my body will allow… of my own work on my car, so I self diagnose.
For medical issues, I go to the doctor. And then I generally ignore his/her advice anyway.

He isn’t wrong really. A lot of the codes generated by an OBD system even throw experts for a loop and many of these ‘experts’ are willing to just throw parts at a problem instead of properly diagnosing the issue. If people are going to self-diagnose, whether it’s a car or their own body, they really need to understand the interrelationships between systems and how they interoperate, which is what makes a diagnostician vs. a hack or quack.

A little knowledge may be dangerous, but without any, blindly trusting anyone who claims to be knowledgeable, regardless of what degrees or certifications they hold is extremely dangerous. Plus, even experts make mistakes. The better informed you are, and the more you “pay attention to your surroundings”, the better you are at doing a “sanity check” when told you need a new engine or a major operation.

I retired in 1997 after 31 years in a very high tech factory. My role most of that time was Senior Diagnostician, though that isn’t what they called it. I was the go-to guy when everyone else struck out. Not just on electronics, but any serious problem.

I do not claim to be able to solve any problem on my car I don’t have the vast experience. But, OBDII is much like military equipments where it is called Self-test. Same concepts except limited to the electronics.

When I first got an OBD car, I was really nervous until I started reading up on it. And, realized soon, “I can do this. It’s just like Self-test!”

A few years ago, on my 2002 Sienna I had an intermittent code, something to do with evap. I have the codes written down, but am too lazy to look it up. Probably 0440/2/etc.

I did a lot of customer service, and intermittents can burn up a lot of money. The U.S. government can afford it. I can’t. I knew very well if I took it in and obediently told them the symptom odds were very high I’d get a large bill and NTF No Trouble Found. No thanks!

So, I kept track of it. Sometimes it would go months without a failure then it would be back for a while.

One day on Sienna Chat, a man reported the same intermittent problem, exactly. He owned two Sienna’s, so he swapped parts until the problem changed cars. As best as he could tell, the charcoal canister had self-actuated valves that would sometimes stick.

I took it to the McAllen dealer and requested the charcoal canister be replaced, no trouble shooting. They had me sign the waiver and I had no problem at all doing so. After many years, the trouble has not returned.

At that time, a poster here said if a car owner came in and told him what to replace, he’d hand him the tools and tell him to do it himself. It the mechanic had pulled that on me, I’d have helped him put those tools in a rather dark place… If you don’t want to get paid for changing my parts, I will find someone who will.

That attitude is about ego. I’d say male ego, because that is usually what it is, but I have seen women techs with the same attitude. Every tech wants to think he is God’s gift to the troubleshooting world. I can’t afford to pay for those ego bursts.

I am well aware that the dealer might well have had a sharp tech who would know the symptom at a glance and know what to do. I worked with many great techs myself. But, I also know it might be the luck of the draw, and whoever was out of work at that instance would get assigned to it. And, yes, lots of money gone and no fix.

If I am not sure of what is the problem, I do what everyone else does. Take it in and tell them the symptoms and burn incense…

I admit most folks who tell the mechanic what to do are not highly seasoned diagnosticians. But, i am (or at least was.)

"“You wouldn’t self-diagnose a medical condition on yourself.”

And, why not? Some time after being an experienced (electronic) diagnostician, I was thinking one day that over my lifetime, half the time i went to the doctor, they had no clue what my problem was. I do mean half, a full 50% of the time.

I went to the State University and walked into the medical students book section. I picked out some nice books, such as a couple different Physician’s Desk Reference, and walked to the cash register and paid for them. I was stunned. I had assumed I would not be allowed to buy those books. I still have them. But, now I have The Merck Manual as well.

I read them, and found medical diagnosis is much like electronic or automotive diagnosis. The one big difference is each electronic box needs its own diagnostic charts. All humans work pretty much the same, and over the centuries the best doctors have written manuals on the various problems. Those manuals have symptom charts, and differential diagnosis charts in great detail.

I didn’t just jump in like an idiot, risking my own life and limb. When I got sick, or a family member did, I would examine the symptoms and read up on it. Then go to the doctor and report the symptoms, and go home with his diagnosis and the medicine then observe what happened with the medicine.

After 20 or 30 years of this, i eventually developed some confidence in my own diagnoses.

Anyone who thinks that trusting his doctor will make him healthy deserves the slow and painful death he is facing. And, the very best doctors will tell you exactly that.

IF you want to be healthy, you must take charge of your health. And, the only way to do that is to learn basic medical issues. This morning my b.p. was 115/75. I prescribe my own diet, which is exactly backwards from what most doctors tell you. According to Guyton and Hall, publishers of a physiology text book used in medical schools, the average b.p. in the USA at age 73 is 165/95. This b.p. is a direct result of my diet, and I take no meds for it.

I do not recommend people plunge into self-care with no past experience. But, if you want to be healthy, you need to learn self-care before your health is permanently ruined, as it is for several of the regular posters. Also, every person is different, and you have to learn your own profile. What works for me may not work for others.

Maintenance of your self is like maintenance of your car. More information is better, and you need to work on it constantly. Trusting the doctor with your health is, to me, like trusting Jiffy Lube with your car. Good luck.

Careful @IR,I dont think Carolyn likes this type of post,but "Physican,in some circles means “teacher” and mostly the body will heal itself(given the proper advantages)unlike automobiles which will deterioate rather then heal itself