How to Use an Automotive Diagnostic Tool – 2024 Guide

When your vehicle has problems running, not all of them can easily be spotted, and it requires a deep scan, similar to the MRI for the people who need that. The diagnostic tool is used to diagnose the whole engine, and check if there is something that is messing with the regular way of working. It will check all the crucial components, like the brakes, transmission, injection system, airflow, and the complete way your engine performs. It compares to the fabric data, so it can spot the differences, and the mechanical staff can know what to do.

These tools are used to identify what is causing the issue, and how it can be fixed. This is a crucial step in the mechanical operation since it’s easier to know what to do, instead of checking the whole engine by hand, until you find the issue. It provides faster repair and is more effective too.

The device is scanning the engine and also measures the important features of the vehicle, so the mechanics can determine what to do. It’s very useful when used for checking the system from leaking, the sounds the motor is producing, the airflow through the pipes, and the way all the parts are working at the moment. As you can see on, there are different types of diagnostic machines for different vehicles. Sometimes, universal automated diagnostics can be used, but the specialized one gives a better look over the problem and shows exactly what needs to be done.

The technician is connecting the device with a computer and performs basic tests through the commands, and it gives back the results – just like a doctor visit, but for cars. It can diagnose the system malfunctions, and help you fix the issue, and proceed using your car or any other vehicle just like before.

Basically, it’s used when the issue can’t be detected by simply listening or regular checking. While reading this article, you can get the impression that you can do the scan by yourself, but keep in mind that owning a tool like that is not like you are buying a microwave or a hairdryer. Also, there are some metrics and units you might not be able to understand, so taking your car to the professionals is the first best step you can take.

But, if you are a mechanic professional who wants to start using an automated diagnostic tool, you have to keep these things in mind:

1. Prepare for the scanning


Make sure the device is plugged in, connected to your computer, and that the car engine is working. Once you do that, you can run the software that comes together with the machine, and start checking the car. Be careful. You place the sensitive parts while the vehicle is turned off, and once you are done, you run it and check the diagnostic parameters.

2. Choose the appropriate method

The client will anyway explain and describe what’s happening, so a good mechanic always knows where and how to start. The diagnostic tool is listing the critical spots on the display and detects the issues successfully. After you turn on the vehicle, you need to read the codes that the tool has downloaded for you. Now you have the “medical” report for the particular vehicle, and you can start the appropriate “therapy”.

3. Data interpretation is crucial


Surely you need some training before you can read the data by yourself. You can do that together with someone more experienced in car diagnostics, or you can even sign up for a course, or simply, learn it by yourself. You can look on the internet too, or use special software to decode the issues. Some tools can even provide a whole description of the issue, so you can easily interpret the charts and values of the numbers.

4. Fix the problem

Fixing can take from a few hours to up to a few days. Some issues require longer intervention. During that process, you can run the diagnostics over and over again, to see if you are doing well. If something else is damaged, you need to react quickly, to fix it. If you are an individual who is running it on your own car, and you know how to fix it, it’s easy. But, some damages require professional intervention. Automotive repairs are needed regularly because the more you wait, the costlier the problem becomes.

5. Run the diagnostics once again


Once you are sure everything is done, just simply run the diagnostics again. You need to be sure the car works well before you hit the road once again.
Other important things you need to know

If you have an older car you also may need an older diagnostic tool. That’s why visiting a professional is a better solution than buying the device by yourself. Usually, the mechanic services already have more devices, so they can cover every client. If you are scanning it by yourself, but still need professional help, get the scans with you, so they won’t have to run it all over again and charge some fees for that.

Also, make sure the diagnostic tool works for vehicles with different origins. For example, they all work similarly, but there are differences between the American, European, and Asian vehicles. Keep that in mind if you want to buy a diagnostic device by yourself.

We are sure you want the best for your car, and that you exactly know what’s happening with it, but in some cases, it’s better to leave all these things to the professionals.

And if you are a mechanic who learns how to use a diagnostic device, it’s better for you to be monitored by someone more experienced, so you won’t make mistakes that can be very critical and dangerous.

Vehicle diagnostic is not difficult by itself, but reading the codes and charts can indeed be pretty challenging. So, don’t mind, and bring the car to the mechanic – they will know what they have to do.

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