Intermittent Problems

Definition of an Intermittent Problem: A problem that occurs unpredictably. It may not occur while operating the system or even during a test drive.


Diagnosing intermittent problems can be very time consuming and requires patience and cooperation for us to be successful in fixing the problem. It may require more diagnostic time than originally estimated to recreate or find the cause of the symptom. It may be necessary to leave the vehicle for several days or return several times, so that we may observe the symptom or judge the results of diagnosis and/or repair to ensure the problem is corrected.

Although an intermittent problem may make diagnosis difficult, you have chosen a repair shop equipped with the latest repair information, technical service bulletins, and recall information. If your vehicle has a system of component with an inherent safety, emissions, or reliability problem and there is a factory fix available for it, we will be able to make you aware of it and repair the problem for you.

Our Process

The service writer will give you an initial estimate for diagnosis. The estimate is an educated guess of how long it may take to discover the cause of your problem. This initial estimate does not guarantee discovery of the cause of the symptom nor does it include the cost of the repair. The repair cannot be estimated until after the diagnosis is completed.

During the course of diagnosis, we will keep you informed of our progress. If additional diagnostic time is required, we will ask for your authorization of the cost before proceeding.

After diagnosis, we will ask for your authorization for the cost of the repair before proceeding.

Focused Testing Strategy

Regardless of the type of problem or the system at fault, certain aspects of diagnosis remain the same. In order to accurately diagnosis the cause of any problem, the technician needs the problem to (predictably) occur twice. This is because a first observation provides the technician with some insight needed to plan a focused testing strategy. A focused testing strategy saves diagnostic time and dollars. The problem must occur a second time while the technician has his test equipment hooked up, monitoring the system of components that may be involved.

All-Inclusive Systematic Method

Although the technician is prepared to attempt to recreate whatever operating conditions are necessary to make the problem occur, if the problem does not surface, a focused testing strategy cannot be planned or implemented.

This means testing of all systems is required until a defect is found. This all-inclusive systematic method takes more time and money, and there is no guarantee that the correction of a defect discovered along the way will resolve the problem.

This is because there is no proof a defect discovered during the systematic testing is the “real cause” of the problem.

Educated Guess

Another strategy for repairing an intermittent problem is to perform a repair based on an educated guess of what is causing the problem. This can be risky because, in most cases, the part cannot be returned and the labor the installation is non-refundable. However, when the symptom cannot be observed, or testing does not uncover the defect, it may be the only remaining option.

Now that you are aware of the intermittent problem diagnosis, call us to discuss the specifics of your vehicle’s problem.

The Economy of a Well-Maintained Vehicle

Regular Oil Changes

Have your oil changed regularly. Synthetics in the oil increase fuel economy and they also increase the life of the engine.


Tuneups improve fuel economy and also reduce sub-system wear.

Cooling System Flush

Flushing your cooling system — including a thermostat upgrade — facilitates better heat transfer and better fuel economy because the engine will reach an operating temperature more quickly. This reduces corrosion which can cause head gasket, hose, and heater and radiator failures.

Brake System Flush

Flushing the brake system cleans unwanted particle from the system and extends brake life. It also reduces brake drag, which increases your miles per gallon.

Purchase Proper Tires

When buying tires, you need not only the right type but also the correct inflation and rotation. Tires have a direct effect on fuel economy and safety. ARA uses NokianTM tires exclusively. Ask Casey about their benefits over other tire brands.