When it comes to car repair, many people assume that the best way to move forward is to simply go to a mechanic or the dealership that they purchased their auto from. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, and they will help you. However, when you get the bill, you have to be ready to pay a great deal of money for their experience and diagnostics. Even if you have a simple thing to fix, you’re going to find that things can get very costly. For instance, an oil change that requires full synthetic oil could cost you a pretty penny.
There are ways to offset the costs associated with this, but it requires you to look at several different elements overall. First, you’re going to need to look for what is known as an on board diagnostic tool. There are several of these on the market today, and most of them will seem appealing, but don’t just buy the first option you see. You should know a few things before you get one of these, especially if you’re going to purchase an OBD Code Reader.
As with anything that you buy, there are some common sense elements that you have to consider when you’re going to invest in anything for your car. First you’ll need to know what this even is, and how it can save you money versus going to the garage.
What Is OBD?
This acronym stands for on board diagnostics, and it’s associated with what mechanics use every single day to get cars fixed. They work in a simple manner, ideally sending and receiving messages about your vehicle from the inside out. You plug this in, run software, get a code, and then fix the problem that your car has, right away. Mechanics use this type of element all the time, as they can no longer just turn on your car and listen for things, or tinker under the hood.
You see, in the past a mechanic would have to run through a variety of different elements to ensure they find what is wrong. That was mainly because manufacturers in the past made simple engines with parts that were easy to find and fix. That’s not the case any longer. Just take a look at the dashboard of an old car versus one of the modern marvels today. You’ll realize that there’s a huge difference in computer imaging, software and more. This is a complexity that is not going to go away anytime soon. As consumers demand more and more from their cars, repairs become even harder to deal with overall. Mechanics, therefore, charge a lot more, because of the work involved in the diagnostic and repair that is involved with modern vehicles. An OBD helps with giving codes as to what’s wrong and where things are going awry, many of which can be used in handheld options.
Not A Cure All
There seems to be a little confusion as to what an OBD Code Reader can do. It’s important to understand that this is not something that is going to fix the car outright. It is not going to catch everything either. There are still some things that require manual checking, and it’s not going to be easy to manage for the average consumer. However, there are a lot of issues that you can in fact fix, once you know what the error code that you receive from a diagnostic scanner is. People think that this is a solo device that can fix problems as well as diagnose them, and that’s not the case.
When you get a problem diagnosed, you’ll need to apply the right fix. Whether it’s a spark plug that is powering down, a piston that is misfiring, or an air filter that needs changing, finding the right code and applying the right fix is crucial to the use of diagnostic scanning tools. Otherwise, you’re not going to get the right movement forward, simple as that.
Code Readers Are Not Scanners
There are stand-alone options here, and they are not always the same. While there are “all-in-one” units out there, the average scanner is not a code reader. That’s the big difference. Now, if you have good software to attach to the OBD II option you purchase, then you could get visual displays and much more. However, chances are that you are not going to have both at the same time. That’s why you will need to get a diagnostic scanner, then get a code reader to understand the problems associated with your vehicle.
This may all seem confusing, but remember, you’re going to be getting information that mechanics usually get. You are going to be cutting out the middleman, as it were, and you’ll have full range of how to go about fixing your car.
Codes Can Change
Perhaps one of the most important things to remember about getting an OBD Code Reader is that the codes change, and software gets updated frequently. If you don’t update the options that you have, or you have purchased a solution that is not able to receive an upgrade, you will find yourself dealing with a variety of difficult issues overall. Codes change all the time, and a reader is only as good as the last update that it had. It’s something that you have to consider overall. If you have an out dated reader, and the codes have changed, then you will not find the right problem, you could make things even worse.
The best bit of advice that you can take away here is to take your time. Make sure that you know what to look for, what you want out of your diagnostic scanning tools, and code readers. Don’t rush it, and don’t assume expertise without experience. It’s easy to assume that you have all the answers with these, but chances are, you can make a mistake if you’re not careful. These tools are the same that modern mechanics use, and if you do get good at using them, you’ll be able to make minor fixes, maintain your vehicle longer, and save money in the long run.