V. Ryan 2008


The symbols shown below represent the various checks carried out on a car when it is serviced at a garage. Engineers should carry out extensive tests to ensure that the car is safe and to identify potential problems. In most countries an annual inspection must take place every year, by law. The symbols below have been developed by a well known international car manufacturer.


This symbol represents a diagnostics check. This involves connecting the car engine to a computer system. The computer monitors the engine whilst it works. Any abnormalities are detected and problems identified so that engineers can make repairs.

Do you think this is a good symbol for diagnostics? Explain your answer.


Most modern car engines are controlled by microprocessors built into the engine management system. The engine management systems is like a mini computer system a controlling the way the engine works - from fuel consumption to idling speed and the braking system. The microprocessors have software in their memories and from time to time this needs to updated. This normally takes place during the routine maintenance of the car.


Do you think this is a good symbol for quality updates? Explain your answer.


Coolant and brake levels are always checked during routine maintenance. This symbol stresses the importance of checking fluid levels. For instance, if the brake fluid level is low the efficiency of the brakes could be reduced.

Do you think this is a good symbol for checking levels? Explain your answer.


Normal visual checks consist of an engineer looking and listening to the engine of the car. It also involves looking for rust or decaying parts that can be seen by eye.

Do you think this is a good symbol for visual checks? Explain your answer.


All modern cars must satisfy strict environmental standards. For example, exhaust emissions must be below a particular level. Environmental checks are normally carried out during annual testing.

Do you think this is a good symbol for environmental checks? Explain your answer.


Safety checks are amongst the most important checks an engineer carries out. This will include checking that the brakes are functioning properly. The seat belts are also tested and the suspension to ensure safe driving. Many more areas/parts of a car that are checked for safety.

Do you think this is a good symbol for safety checks? Explain your answer.


General checks include the lights, wiper blades, checks for rust/decay on the bodywork and important mechanical linkages and joints.
It is expected that an engineer will report any problems of this nature to the customer.

Do you think this is a good symbol for a general check? Explain your answer.