What is a diagnostic inspection?
Modern cars have an onboard computer or Engine Control Unit (ECU). This continually assesses performance, with sensors throughout the car letting the ECU know of issues such as raised engine temperature, low fluid levels or problems with emission levels or the windscreen wipers.
The ECU triggers an error once a problem has been found, and the relevant dashboard warning light will flash, but there are hundreds of potential error codes, which only specialist diagnostic equipment can read. So when a warning light flashes on the dashboard, a diagnostics check is needed to assess how bad the problem is, and what may have caused it.
We use state of the art diagnostic equipment
Live data shows multiple readings from across the engine to assess whether everything is working as it should. The equipment can also check and rectify braking systems where there’s an electronic handbrake, and adjust headlights where possible.
You don’t need to go to a dealership to get diagnostic testing done. Most garages and workshops will carry out diagnostic testing for nearly all models and types of vehicle.
What happens at a Fixter diagnostic inspection
We charge a fixed fee for diagnostic testing that can be done while you wait. This is usually done within an hour, but if further work is required, it will clearly take more time.
Our highly-trained and qualified mechanics will give you a no-charge, no-obligation repair quote if testing highlights issues with the engine or anything else, and talk you in detail through what is needed to put things right.
So next time a dashboard warning light flashes on, don’t pay dealership prices for diagnostic testing. Let us manage it all for you, picking up your car for its testing, and ensuring a fair price and a reliable service.
What happens when my dashboard illuminates a warning light?
The warning light is just the beginning—it doesn’t give the whole picture. There are hundreds of parts in your engine, so the exact nature of the fault may not be immediately apparent.
Examining fault codes to identify the problem
A diagnostic check accurately identifies the fault, avoiding more serious problems that could lead to costly repairs, potential safety hazards or worse damage. With these tests, your car is plugged into sophisticated diagnostic equipment which reads the error codes your car’s ECU has generated to explain the issue in full.
Diagnostic checking looks for errors across various vehicle systems, including tyres, engine management, lights, emissions and more.
Smart is a German automotive brand, established 25 years ago in 1994.
The company is a division of the automotive corporation Daimler AG and operated under the ownership of Mercedes-Benz.
How popular is Smart in the United Kingdom?
Smart isnt’ the most popular brand in the UK, most likely due to appealing primarily to parking-challenged city-dwellers; there are only 96k of their vehicles on the roads of the UK today.
Showing steady growth, however, since their introduction to the UK market in 2003, the trend would suggest that we’re likely to see more of these eccentric looking tiny cars as time goes by.
Smart: Quirky little microcars and subcompacts
Owned by Mercedes-Benz, Smart cars fit into the market you’d expect on first glance. They’re a fun and funky little city car; they’re solid, middle of the road machines, designed to be as versatile as they look.
A Smart car will never fool anyone that it’s a hi-end, luxury vehicle. There’s plenty of glossy plastic and groovy fabrics, yet in the cockpit, you’ll find up-to-the-minute touchscreen media options at the controls. They do come at an inflated price for the small city car market, but by nature of their unique design—there’s nothing quite like them.
Smart cars are cheap to run—but not so cheap to buy
Your Smart ForFour will be more expensive by comparison than its rivals: the Fiat 500, Skoda Citigo, Kia Picanto or Hyundai i10—yet it’s rather hard to pitch the Fortwo against anything because there isn’t anything on the market quite so small. Only the Renault Twizy comes to mind, and that’s barely a car at all.
Once you’ve got one though, your Smart car will cost next to nothing to run with their tiny wheels and low weight. The electric models perform even better with a fuel equivalent of 87mpg.
Smart’s reliability and reputation
Smart didn’t feature as one of the brands in the What Car? Reliability Survey in 2018 that we’ve been using to draw comparisons of reliability against other marques—but checking the user reviews gathered by the AA it would appear that most owners have very few problems and that their reliability scores are generally high.
Recent Smart recalls and reliability issues
Various recalls have been made on Smart models throughout their motoring history. The following are a list of the most recent in the UK and Europe.
14/10/2017 – Smart ForTwo, Smart ForFour (2017)
The strength of the left front steering knuckle may be insufficient
29/09/2017 – Smart ForTwo, Smart ForFour (2014–2015)
As a result of the weakening of the braking rope wrench adjustment knob, the hand brake lever travel could be prolonged gradually
24/06/2016 – Smart ForFour (2014–2015)
The anchorage for the rear seat backrest may not be sufficiently resistant
10/06/2016 – Smart ForTwo (2014–2015)
At high vehicle speed, combined with strong wind, the plastic front service hatch can detach from the vehicle and fall into traffic
05/06/2015 – Smart ForTwo (2014)
The steering mechanism screws used for some vehicles may break
All recall information sourced from gov.co.uk data.