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Getting to the bottom: each failure counts

Written by maryp posted on Monday, February 25th, 2008

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You were just told that you may have “an intermittent failure”. What does that mean to you? The first test showed that everything is good! And a week later, it’s testing “failed”. How can that be? This is called an “intermittent” failure.

It is possible that an electrical unit may be testing fine, (within specs), one day, but, tested an hour later, the next day or perhaps, 10 days later, it fails. It may fail under identical conditions or not. When you have an electrical component with an intermittent failure, it can be one of the most frustrating issues with your BMW, (or any car).

No one wants us to be guessing at what part is causing the problem. A good BMW tech should not just be changing parts or just guessing what is causing a problem, and should not condemn an electrical part/until it is has failed. A client would never be happy with that situation and it’s just not good automotive repair practice. That’s why tests and diagnostics are a must.

Consider this scenario and the parallels to your BMW; Remember, the time that you went to the doctor and he/she ran some blood tests, and everything came back fine. But, you knew there is something wrong, because you are not feeling, (or working) right. Your doctor cannot just tell you that is “probably” a “disconbobulated thingy” that could possibly make you feel bad. He has to test further, (or wait until you feel worse ), and you return to his office. When he/she finds out the specifics of what is causing your problem, only then you will be prescribed a remedy. And, when you have the lab work, (or tests) run, he/she does charge for that service. Sometimes, it is no different with your car.

Keep in mind, those same cool gadgets that every one is loving in their car will eventually fail. It’s no different than any new electrical component at your home, (or even the light switch in your office). Because of the electronics, our computerized, energy efficient washing machine will never make it to 15 or 20 years as it’s old predecessor did. (Seriously, that cool new energy efficient washing machine has already had it’s control unit changed 2 times in 3 years)!

Welcome to the new world of electronics in automotive, (and what is cool today), just may tick you off, tomorrow.

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