How to choose a diagnostic tool that works best for you
People may ask what’s the best car diagnostic tool that actually works? But there isn’t the best or cheapest car diagnostic tool. We should probably already know that there’s no real substitute for the car diagnostic tools that a professional diagnostic technician has at his or her disposal. Those tools, of course, typically consist of something like a Snap-on tool and a whole lot of prior experience diagnosing similar problems. However, technology has come a long way in recent years, and there are still ways for a determined do-it-yourselfer to save some money during tough economic times.
Getting at the Codes
The simplest ‘scan tools’ are really just “code readers,” and that may be what your local parts store tries to sell or rent to you. This type of scan tool tends to be very affordable, and it can get you on the right track, but knowing the trouble code is only the first step in a potentially long and complicated diagnostic process.
Live Data Streaming
In order to be a really useful car diagnostic tool, a scanner should have the ability to interface with the car’s computer and display live data. Some scan tools are only designed to show a long list of all the available data values, while others allow you to pull specific parameter IDs (PIDs) and create a custom list. That can be tremendously useful during the diagnostic process, since it allows you to watch for problems during a test drive
You can find decent scanners that perform those functions for under a hundred dollars, although thge cheapest option may be an Autel MaxiDiag MD801. These “scanners” plug into your OBD2 port and use an Autel Uni-SCAN technology to interface the computer in your car with a phone, tablet, or laptop via either a wireless or USB connection. If you have one of those devices already, then you should be able to buy some premium software and still come well under the price of a traditional scanner.
The Best Car Diagnostic Tools Include Diagnostic Procedures
The one thing that all “affordable” code readers and scan tools lack is the knowledge base that the best car diagnostic tools like the Autel MaxiDiag MD801 come with. In addition to pulling codes and displaying data in a highly efficient manner, professional scanners also provide technicians with diagnostic procedures to follow in order to get to the root of problems. In some cases, that includes specific procedures to test whether various components are in working order, which is the only way to avoid the “throw parts at it” method of car repair.
The key thing to remember is that if you’re experiencing a problem with your car, somebody else has probably experienced it before, and he’s probably posted about it to the Internet. Our blog station contains a wealth of troubleshooting information for DIYers, including solutions to many sticky diagnostic situations, so you might start here–after you’ve picked up the best car diagnostic tool withine your affordability. For diagnostic tool choosing and purchasing, you can always visit our website www.autointhebox.com. Our website is the authorized providers of Autel and Launch diagnostic tools and is one of the best.