The average driver today doesn’t know what’s lurking under the hood of their car. Sure, some may be savvy, but overall, there are a lot of different things going on underneath the hood. This becomes especially true in regards to modern vehicles. Today’s latest makes and models have computer systems in the dashboard and it controls a lot of the things that you would normally not know about. If anything goes wrong, what must be done is far more complex than at any time before in automotive history.
Look at the history of motor sport, and you’ll see that mechanics didn’t have to deal with the complexity of today’s manufactured options. In fact, some may think that it was easier. This can be true to a point, especially when you start to look at what is involved with repairing one of the newer options. Your standard sedan, fresh off the lot may not have an issue for a while, but when it does happen, you’ll have to fork over a lot of money.
Why So Expensive?
For those that have dealt with sticker shock in the past, it’s important to understand that the reason why things can get expensive is because the tools needed to even figure out what is wrong with a car. Today, mechanics utilize auto scan tools that can detect problem areas and figure out what is going on with a vehicle. Now, there are several branches of these to consider, some of which costing tens of thousands of dollars. The high cost of these has led many people to just go to a garage or a dealership for help when something goes wrong.
Aside from the cost of tools, cost of parts, and even the cost of an education in automobile repair certification is quite pricey. The costs all trickles down to the pocket books of the consumer, and can cost a fortune overall. If you’ve ever taken your car into the garage and found yourself with a thousand or more dollar bill, you’re not alone. There’s a lot that goes into this world, and you’ll see that it’s obvious once you look at the various tools that are used to help diagnose today’s issues.
OBD Scanners and Beyond
The most basic of auto scan tools can be considered an OBD. This acronym stands for on board diagnostics and it can be one of the best tools to purchase when you buy a car. This monitors the processes of your vehicle and gives you codes in regards to what may be wrong. When you lose power, or there’s a spark plug that blows, you’ll know immediately. There are some people that have a clinking sound coming from their car, or perhaps they smell a foul odor, but they aren’t sure what’s wrong. So long as the auto is running, they don’t go into the shop, to avoid costly repairs.
Avoiding repairs is going to cost more when things get sour overall. It’s for that reason why consumers are able to purchase OBD options, and use them whenever. Some can even run in real time, so that when you start your car, it will check over 100 different functions to ensure that you’re not going into the open road with a problem. Now, these things don’t repair the options out right; so don’t assume that it’s a miracle cure. You’ll find that it can detect issues, overall, but that’s about it. It’s a diagnostic option overall.
Types of Scanners and Tools
As with anything you may look for in technology today, there’s a lot of different types you can purchase. The basic scanners today can plug into your car, and relay information via a laptop that is wired to fit the tool, or you could find some that work with wifi or bluetooth. You’ll find that each solution can shift in terms of cost and ease of use. The standard solutions aren’t too pricey, only around a few hundred dollars. However, the more expensive options will come with software, and much more to help with the balancing act of figuring out what is going on with your vehicle overall.
Handheld scanners are available as well as options that plug into laptops and computer systems. These all have their advantages and disadvantages, but they do similar things. They run diagnostics and then return error codes that you can use to figure out what is going on with your vehicle. In most cases, nothing will be wrong, but when there is an issue, you’ll be sure to find out with ease.
Updated Software and Interfaces
There are some fancy auto scan tools that you can purchase. These will have full digital read outs, and even diagrams of different makes and models. They require a bit more money up front, and you will need to invest in updating software from time to time, but it will pay off fast, because it will be able to show you exactly where the problem is. Imagine getting a full color view of what’s going awry with your car, and you get the point of some of the latest in updated scanning software.
Software and scanners are different entities. Some people assume that purchasing a scanner automatically means that they will have the updated information for their make and model. That’s not the case. You’ll need to invest in software, or at least upgrade the software that comes with your OBD II or beyond.
At the end of the day, if you want your vehicle to last a long time, and want to make sure that you are not spending a lot of money at the body shop, this is great. It will help you communicate with mechanics, cut out the middleman, and get back on the open road faster than ever before. Many fixes aren’t even that complex, which makes scanning tools a well worthwhile investment today. They can detect issues, give you diagnosis fast, and they work with modern technology. In some instances you can even use a smart phone to get information on what is going on with your vehicle. Now that’s something worth spending a bit extra for.