If you research the term – “car diagnostic tool”, the number of options available and the names may confuse you easily. If you have come across such names as a car scanner tool, OBD2 scanner, and many others you will know that they all describe the same tool.

Probably you have heard the suggestion to be cautious about an unusual sound that comes out of your automobile. Even though this can truly give you a hint that your vehicle requires attention it is sometimes late.  You need to be proactive and observe Check Engine Light frequently to avoid premium charges for maintenance.

What is a car diagnostic tool? 

As we have already mentioned, sound is not always the best way to tell if there is something wrong with your car. A much better option to be proactive is to use a brand new car scanner tool. It is a gadget that we use to determine any flaws that affect the car. When you drive an automobile that has some issues you are risking damage to the other parts as well. Hence leads to higher charges and a longer waiting time to repair your vehicle. Car diagnostic tool makes it easier, to measure and determine such issues to let you know what problem you are dealing with.

It is a great tool to check the well-being of your car frequently. Even if you know how to make your car last longer, once in a while you will still encounter the issues that you will have to deal with. In such cases, the car scanner tool will be the most useful gadget that you could have, without hesitating whether is it worth buying or not.

How does it work? 

Modern cars have microchips, sensors, and processors that detect any unusual ties about the car and let you know by checking engine lights. The fault can be related to vehicles’ engine, transmission, oil, exhaust systems, and many other systems. However, simply flickering light will not tell you what is the problem that you are dealing with. That is where the role of the car diagnostic tool comes in.

The car scanner tool helps to retrieve the information from the memory unit of the automobile to understand exactly what the vehicle’s problem is about. Sometimes it may be a minor issue that we can easily solve or a fault that requires instant action. You will not be able to answer this question unless you use the scanner that gives you explicit information.

If you already have such a professional tool you can simply plug it in the OBD port (image 1). of your car and turn on the device. The DIY tool is easy to use for any individual. The port might be situated in different places based on the maker and the exact model of your car. Hence, you have to check it online to find the exact location. Depending on the quality and the functionality of the device, you may receive the exact code of the error or explicit data about the code meaning.

What are the DTC and OBD codes? 

Diagnostic trouble codes (DTC) and On-board Diagnostic (OBD) codes refer nearly to the same thing. Therefore, people frequently use it interchangeably. Similarly, OBD codes can also be referred to as OBD II code as it is kind of the upgraded code that was introduced in 1996.

These are the codes that you will get when you use a car diagnostic tool. If your professional tool allows you to do so, you can check the problem details directly in the device or in the mobile application (app) that is integrated with OBD II Bluetooth scanner tools. If your car scanner tool doesn’t have such functionality, simply search for the code in Google and you will get all the information that you need to know.

As soon as you have the information about the fault the most advisable would be to go to a certified mechanic and solve the problem until it develops into something more important. However, if it is just a minor problem you can solve the problem on your own. This will save you not only the maintenance cost but also the time that you would have to wait in the queue.

Is Check Engine Light always a sign of caution?

Check engine light - facts that you need to know

Don’t freak out if you see a flickering light. Even though in some cases it might indicate a major problem, in some cases it just indicates that there is a small problem that needs fixing. Either way, it’s important to know what check engine light might mean. If you have automotive knowledge and general tools you may solve the issue without the interference of a technician. If you see a light make sure you check the error code as soon as possible to access the difficulty level of the problem and take appropriate steps. 

What extra functions can car scanners have? 

You may be surprised to hear but a car diagnostic tool can also be used to clean and reset the codes. This function can be useful for multiple purposes. Firstly, if you cannot solve the problem for some reason you may want to turn off the annoying light before you deal with the issues. Similarly, in some states in the US, you cannot register the car if the check engine light is on. The rule was active in 2020 and it is still active nowadays, in 2021. A high-end car scanner tool usually has the function to erase such error codes and make your car look flawless. 

Similarly, as we have already mentioned some diagnostic tools might also display the error message description. Without further research, it will tell you what problem you are dealing with. Hence, you can access the severity of the problem and take appropriate measures accordingly.

Another important characteristic of a high-end OBD II scanner is retrieving the information that is recorded in the car. This might be the mileage of the car or any other information that you might be interested in. Especially insurance companies are willing to get this information as they rely on mileage figures to charge you a premium. Basically, relevant units record almost all the information that we see in the automobile. An appropriate tool can help you retrieve this information with ease.

Do I need to have a car scanner tool?

Is car scanner tool essential?

If you would like to determine the reason for the check engine light you have two options to buy the OBD II scanner or visit the technician for a diagnostic test. Even if your “best buddy” is brand new you may require such testing time by time. Carmakers tend to exaggerate performance stats and unfortunately, some issues may arise after owning a car for some time.

A car scanner tool is a vital tool that would be good to have. However, whether it is necessary for you or not will depend on your preferences. Because of the multiple numbers of brands out there you can already find a decent car diagnostic tool under $100. However, if you want to have additional features that we have discussed you will need to pay much more than $100. Even though many providers claim to have all the features, they don’t always provide reliable data.

The cost of a car diagnostic test may vary from $40 to $400. It will depend on the information that you require and the maker of your automobile. Although some places claim that they provide free diagnostic tests they charge you extra for any additional services that you will still require. Hence, you can expect to pay the same price despite the claims that they make. However, these prices significantly vary in different countries.

Despite the price, these methods differ in terms of the time that they require. The car diagnostic tool needs several minutes to show relevant information. On the other hand, a diagnostic test at a mechanic might cost you more than an hour based on the queue. OBD2 scanner can truly help you protect yourself from being overcharged.

How does the car record mileage? 

If you cover more distance than the average person does, you may be cautious about the digits displayed on the odometer. Hence, it would be good to know how the car records mileage to determine how it is sometimes altered from the memory of the car.

In order to measure the mileage, the car counts the wheel rotations and multiplies it by the average size of the wheel. Multiple storage units record this information and display it on the odometer.

If you intend to buy a pre-owned car, it is vital to know everything about the mileage. Even though the mileage is not the main determinant factor of the car’s condition, some sellers still manipulate it before selling. Hence, depending on the method that they use you can determine how to track back the actual mileage.

What are the types of mileage correction tools? 

We can sort mileage correction tools into two main categories: odometer correction tools (mileage correction tools) and mileage stoppers (odometer blocker). The first device deals with digits that the odometer displays. However, the mileage stoppers can entirely alter the mileage details that you drive.

The main difference between these two types of tools is their purpose. The mileage correction tools are meant for deceptive purposes either for insurance companies or for individual buyers. On the other hand, manufacturers create the mileage stopper tools solely for testing purposes. If you would like to test your car in a controlled environment, you can install this module on your car and test it without recording the mileage.  There are many fraudulent websites that sell seemingly good odometer blocker tools. Although, make sure you purchase only the premium-quality mileage stopper.

Do car diagnostic tools detect mileage correction? 

The short answer to this question is No. The car scanner tool cannot really access the vehicle’s actual odometer reading. It just calculated the mileage based on the distance between the start and endpoints of the road that you take. 

However, we haven’t checked all the tools available for sale and there might be those that can detect mileage rollback. There are API tools that can truly determine such fraud. On the other hand, you can’t detect something that a tool never recorded. The mileage stopper tools entirely alter this information and no tool will ever be able to determine the altered distance. 

However, be aware that this tool is not meant for fraudulent purposes. The solo role is to test the performance of your car. Many people use this tool to sell their car with favorable mileage and you have to be cautious when you buy a car. When active, the module alters the traveled distance unconditionally. 

Takeaway 

Car diagnostic tool is a useful gadget that can come in handy when checking engine light flickers on the dashboard. It can tell you what is the main flaw with your car either through an error code or with a thorough explanation. However, it cannot detect mileage correction issues as the calculations that it makes are based on assumptions rather than calculations. If you have to visit a technician frequently, a good car scanner tool may be what you need to avoid extra charges.