A Comprehensive Guide on Diagnostic Tools

  • We have all been there before - you are driving around, minding your own business, when suddenly your check engine light comes on, or worse, you hear a strange rattle that you just cannot seem to identify. You realise you have one of two choices: either you take your car to a repair shop and hope the specialists will be gentle with your wallet, or you take the DIY route and attempt to figure it out yourself. More often than not, DIY enthusiasts will opt for the latter. Luckily, there are several different automotive diagnostic tools available on the market that can help you troubleshoot the issue before it turns into a major concern. (Information source: https://www.timingtoolssa.co.za/about-us/)

    In saying that, it is important to note that automotive diagnostic tools are not magical solutions that can fix all of your vehicular problems. While it can identify the issue, it cannot replace your windshield or fix your punctured tyre. In order to get the most out of your tool, you need to know when to use it. As mentioned previously, there are several different automotive diagnostic tools available on the market, some of which can do more than simply reading engine codes. There are advanced tools that can take live data measurements of your vehicle’s system and record its performance and statistics, thereby assisting you with fine-tuning the setup.

    Now that you are aware of when you will use the automotive diagnostic tools, let us discuss how to use it. In short, it is as easy as plugging the device into your vehicle and turning everything on. The trick, however, is to find the right port and figure out how the device works. In most vehicles, the OBD-II port can be found near the steering wheel, while other vehicles may have the port on the passenger side, or around the centre console. If you struggle to find the port, you can also check your vehicle’s user manual for details. Once you have found the port, turn your vehicle off, and plug the tool into the port.

    Finally, in terms of the methods and the way the automotive diagnostic tools work, they are all somewhat similar in design and function. While there are tools available on the market with more advanced features, majority of them are still plug-and-scan, meaning there is really only one process that you need to follow.

    The main purpose of automotive diagnostic tools is to produce the trouble codes your vehicle automatically records when a problem is detected. These codes will then essentially identify what said problem is. To summarise the entire process, it is as simple as plugging the tool into your vehicle’s OBD-II port; allowing the tool to then download and read the trouble codes being produced by your vehicle; interpreting the data by utilising a code reader, which will translate the code into words; and then fixing the issue. It is entirely up to you whether you would rather fix the issue yourself or hire a professional mechanic.