Guides

Got one to sell?

Got one to sell?

Get it in front of 160+ million buyers.

Automotive Diagnostic Tool

When you're not sure what's wrong with your car, an automotive diagnostic scan tool may help. These can help you determine what may be the problem, and if it requires going to a mechanic. No matter your mechanical experience, the check engine light doesn't have to be daunting.

What diagnostic tools are available?

There are several types of diagnostic tools available, including scan tools you can hold and those that work wirelessly. One of these diagnostic tools is an OBD2, or on-board diagnostic, hand-held scan tool. The end of the tool plugs into a fitting under the driver's side dashboard. Another tool is the Bluetooth scanner, which also plugs into the car. This code reader provides stats and sends the results to PC software. Automotive voltmeters read the electrical system of the car and test relays and fuses.

How do you use an OBD2 scanner?

The OBD2 scanner is a simple and effective tool to use. Simply follow the steps below:

  1. Plug the OBD connector into the port under the driver's side dashboard.
  2. Start the vehicle to send codes to the OBD scanner (provide Vehicle Identification Number if requested).
  3. Press the scan button on the OBD2 tool.
  4. Record the codes sent to the screen.

Once you have the codes from your code reader, you can research the diagnostics data online or in the mechanical manual for your car. You can also send the codes to your mechanic for evaluation.

How do you choose a diagnostics tool?

If you're planning to diagnose and fix your vehicle, the more advanced OBD2 code readers are likely a good choice for your needs. Look for brands and models aimed at professional mechanics. The diagnostic tools mechanics have will give updated software information for pin-point fixes, as well. On the other hand, if your need for the tool is to communicate major repairs to your mechanic and fix minor repairs yourself, some more direct tools are the option you may want to select.

What are other reasons you should own a diagnostic tool?

These devices can help you determine what may be the problem. If it requires going to a mechanic, you can give them information to make diagnosis more quickly. If your auto only needs minor fixes, diagnostic scan tools can help you learn more about your vehicle and making repairs. It's an inexpensive education in mechanical fixes. Over time, learning to repair your own auto can extend the life of your vehicle, making the diagnostic tools a wise investment.

Tell us what you think - opens in new window or tab