Seven must- have car diagnostic tools

These days, cars and trucks are more complex than ever. Not only are they jam packed with all of today’s most advanced mechanical components and features, but all of these sophisticated bits of machinery are all interconnected via computerized networks of interrelated Car Diagnostic Tool. These networks can be very useful in testing and diagnosing problems with your vehicle- but only if you have the right equipment. A lot of times, all this extra sophistication can seem like a great hassle- especially if you’re accustomed to the good old days of muscle-car simplicity where you just replace the part and fire it up. Well, for better or worse, those days are gone.


why need an obd2 scanner

The good news is there’s plenty of powerful tools available that- with a little bit of time in research- you can learn to perform complex diagnostic functions with that will give you a lot more power over the ins and outs of your car or truck than you would have had otherwise.

These tools will give you the ability to figure out what is going on with your modern computerized vehicle, so that you can get it fixed and get back on the road.

1. Obd2 Scanner

An Obd2 scanner is a diagnostic system that allows onboard computers in cars and trucks to tell you what’s wrong with the vehicle. This car diagnostic tool is used for a range of self-diagnostic and reporting purposes. Unlike the earlier, OBD-I system, the Professional Diagnostic Tool uses the same code designations, communication protocols, and connectors for cars made by all major manufacturers. The standardization has made the previous Obd1 almost completely obsolete.

2. Ignition Tester

Also known as a spark tester, this tool is absolutely indispensable for anything that relies on spark plugs- that means your car. Any time an engine won’t start, it’s possible that the reason is that there is no spark coming from the spark plug to get the engine started. An ignition tester allows you to diagnose the problem so that you don’t go all around your car solving every other problem whether you need to or not.

3. Airbag Tester

As you can imagine, it could be quite problematic to have a non-functional air bag and not know about it until the moment you need it. And naturally, testing your airbag by whacking your bumper with a rubber mallet is not ideal. Fortunately, there is a tool that can tell you whether or not all of the electronic components of your airbag system are working correctly without setting the safety device off.

4. Fuel Pressure Tester

Like a problem with your spark plug, a problem with low fuel pressure can cause your car or truck to fail to start- and if you can’t diagnose the problem directly, then you may have to work on several different things before finally finding the problem. A fuel pressure tester tells you where your vehicle’s fuel pressure is at, whether it’s too high or two low, enabling you to solve the problem straight away.

5. Timing Lights

A timing light is a special automotive stroboscope that mechanics use to set the ignition timing of internal combustion engines that are equipped with a distributor. Modern vehicle engines require timing lights to scan ignition timing accurately so that the timing can be adjusted to the optimal range for your vehicle.
6. Emission Analyzer

In most states, drivers are required to have their vehicles checked for proper exhaust emissions before the vehicle can be tagged and allowed to drive legally on public roads. Even if you are fortunate enough to live in a part of the country where vehicle emissions are not regulated, it still might be good for your conscience to have your emissions tested and adjusted accordingly. These devices are inserted into the exhaust pipe and, in addition to checking your emissions- they can also be used to diagnose a whole host of problems. It can also play an important role in certain safety checks, help with engine tuning, and certain kinds of repairs.

7. Vacuum Tester

A vacuum test is among the simplest diagnostic tools a mechanic can have. With a simple gauge, anyone can gain valuable insight into vacuum leaks, low compression, incorrect timing, and sticking valves just to name a few. You will need to know the vacuum specifications for your engine, and bear in mind that these gauges are adjusted for sea level. That means for every 1,000 feet your location is above sea level, you will need to subtract an inch of vacuum. The simplest check to perform is a running vacuum test. Simply start the engine and let it reach normal operating temperature. Find a vacuum port and connect the gauge. The Car Scanner should be on the manifold or below the carburetor. It shouldn’t be on the air cleaner, high on top of the carburetor, or on any of the emissions control components.

Best OBD2 Scanner Reviews – The Bottom Line


There you have it, all the information that you need to know to choose your Best obd2 scanner. We’ve gone through the things you should look for as well as what these tools can do for you.

Even if you never plan to do any repairs on your own car, you can still end up saving money by getting to know what your car’s check engine light is trying to tell you. With a little internet research, you can easily determine if this is something that truly needs to be addressed by a mechanic now or if it waits a little while.

We’ve also show you how to take your new diagnostic tool out of the box and get it hooked up and reading information from your vehicle. We’ve also answered some of the questions that come up about these most often.

If you are looking for the best Auto Scanner Tool that still comes in under $1000 take a look at the BMW ICOM A2. This is a great choice if you are starting out or want a good deal of power while saving some money.

Of course, if you would like to go with the best one that we’ve come across the clear choice is the Innova 3160e Code Reader / Scan Tool with ABS, SRS, and Live Data for OBD2 Vehicles. Either of these would make an excellent addition to your garage.

Check also other OBD II Scanners available on obd2tool

Lastly, we’d love to hear from you. Which of these choices did you go with and why? Let us know in the comment section below.

Problems with Ford Explorer Transfer Case


The transfer case of a Ford Explorer can encounter some possible troubles. It is fortunate for a typical owner that most of these problems can be repaired by OBD II Scanner. To make a preparation can make the experience more enjoyable for all involved.

Noisy Transfer Case

Usually a noisy transfer case is the result of adding the incorrect grade of lubricant or insufficient levels of the lubricant. It should be changed and refilled with the correct grade of lubricant to the correct levels.

Jumping Out of Selection

This condition can be caused by the transfer case not being fully engaged. Also, broken, loose or defective parts can make this type of “slip” happen, such as the shift fork being cracked.

Lubricant Leaks

The Auto Scanner Tool case can be overfilled, causing a leak. There is a vent in the case that may become clogged or jammed closed. Additionally, the output shaft has a seal that can become damaged.

Difficulty Shifting

When the transfer case is difficult to shift, there are a few possible causes. Loose parts within the transfer case or within the modules that control it can cause this problem. Additionally, the lubrication in the transfer case should meet or exceed the manufacturer’s specifications and be at the correct levels.

Launch X431 iCarScan Test Reports

Is Launch ICARSCAN a better OBD2 fault code reader? One of our customer has tested Launch iCarScan scanner (iDiag’s replacement) on several models

Tested tool:
Launch X431 iCarScan

Tested model:
Mazda 6 GH 2.0 diesel 2008

Tested results:

To be honest, Launch iScan have a lot more options on that car then vpecker, for example on engine it can only read few parameters and it can read and clear trouble codes thats it nothing else on engine not even dpf regeneration, idiag have more to offer for that car, i tested on few more cars. I think what it can do more with special functions is for Toyota,Honda,Scion. But since it is original interface and software price is ok for it.

iScan fault code reader is updated online via Win XP~Win 10 system. Very very easy to update. So they can work for all cars until 2015.

English, French, Russian, Japanese, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese

That’s it. I should say, each one has its own merits and demerits, Auto Diagnostic Tool Launch X431 iCarScan work ok until now. A successful purchase from China.

Dealing with the frozen windshield washer fluids


Windshield washer fluid is blue colored. It contains an anti-freeze to prevent it from freezing in cold weather. According to some professional car mechanics, the blue colored windshield washer fluid sitting in the bottle could have a fair amount of water mixed in.
First of all many windshield washer fluids only protect to a few degrees below freezing. Often this is the $.99 cheap stuff that you might find at your local big-box retailer. Heavy duty fluids can cost a few dollars more but if you live in a cold environment this could be money well spent. When you take your vehicle in for an oil change and the shop is responsible for topping off the fluids all too often they stretch the cheap and weak windshield washer anti freeze by adding water to it. It still looks blue but doesn’t have the protection from freezing like when it was full strength.

We all want washer fluid too squirt out when we hit the Obd2 scan tool. Sometimes this is really important so that we can see out. Another bad side effect from the fluid freezing up is damage to the windshield washer system. When water freezes it expands a lot. Most of the system that distributes the water across a windshield is made of plastic and rubber. These items can be damaged when the water freezes and expands.

Fixing frozen windshield washers
The first thing we do is to get rid of the old fluid and install fresh stuff at full strength. There are several ways of accomplishing this. You can even go nuts and install a fluid heater (available below) a must for Alaska residents. Here’s how I do it. I have a hot air blower that I can plug-in and focus on the windshield washer bottle and hoses. The hot air circulates around the frozen fluid and eventually it will be defrosted.

There are other ways to thaw out this fluid such as using a heating pad that you stuff in and around the reservoir bottle. Heat rises so the lower you can get the warmth the better you are because it will radiate upwards. Once the fluid is completely defrosted you should be able to operate the washers and get the warmer fluid up into the lines eventually this will clear the ice. You want to operate the washers for only a few seconds or a minute. Running the pump against the frozen ice for several minutes could actually damage the pump itself. Give it a few seconds to rest in between activating the system.

An even better way to handle this situation is to remove the reservoir bottle from the vehicle and take it inside the house and put it near a heater vent. You can place it in a bucket or pan so you don’t get water all over the house. The problem with this is some vehicles make it really hard to remove the reservoir.

Some cars and trucks it’s a simple matter of removing a couple of 10 mm bolts and it comes right out, so this will depend on your make and model. If you’re able to remove the bottle you can also flush it in hot water and this will only take a few minutes to completely melt all the ice.

If the bottle is easy to install and remove you can fill the bottle with piping hot water and use this to flush the ice out of the lines and nozzles. You can then remove the bottle again completely drain it and fill it with full strength windshield washer anti freeze. In the end the trick is to first melt the frozen fluid and then get rid of all of it to be replaced with the real stuff at full strength.
Testing the washer or system

Many windshield washer problems were caused by restrictions in the fluid lines or nozzles. This can be caused by ice that we have been discussing throughout this article but it can also be caused by debris and dirt that finds its way into the washer bottle. To check for restrictions you can remove the hoses from the pump and operate the system. If the pump ejects a stream of washer fluid than the fault is further forward in the delivery system.

You can reconnect the lines to the pump and disconnect the rubber hoses at the next juncture. When you get to a location where the fluid does not come out the problem is before where the hose was disconnected. I have seen mechanics use compressed air to diagnose the system and it really doesn’t work well because shop air can be at 90 PSI whereas the wash system is designed to run on low pressures such as 3 to 10 PSI. Not only can you damage the hoses with compressed air but they will usually blow off at the plastic connections and this won’t help find the clog.

The only thing we haven’t covered yet is the windshield washer pump itself. If you disconnect the rubber lines from the pump and you operate the switch and you hear it run yet not fluid comes out the pump could be bad. It might also be clogged. You can remove the pump from the fluid reservoir or wherever it’s located to perform a closer inspection. If you hear it run and no fluid comes out at least you know that the electrical part of the system is functioning properly as in you have a good power and ground. The Car ECU Programmer pumps themselves are not expensive and you may elect to replace it and retest.
I hope you found this article helpful and that you take a minute to share it with your friends or family that might also have a problem with frozen windshield washers. There is nothing worse than driving down the highway after a snowstorm and having that gray mixture of muddy water, snow, salt, and whatever else your County throws on the roadways kicked up onto your windshield and not being able to wash it clean so you can see. I’m working on another article about other problems in this system. You can head back to the Auto ECU Programmer homepage to see if it’s up yet.

How does an OBD 2 connector work

The introduction of the use of the on board diagnostic scans OBD II Scanner had only one primary purpose of regulating the amount of emissions coming into the atmosphere. The problem was so serious because of the prevalence of some fault ridden cars on the road
How does an OBD 2 connector work

the OBD 2 scan tool provision of possible vehicle fault solutions

However, with time, the purpose of the on board diagnostics has drastically changed and the second generation scan tools known as the OBD 2 has been a classic case. The OBD 2 is not so much different from its counterpart which preceded it as the OBD 1.

Like in most cases of the on board diagnostics, the tools are made into two categories which are the scan tools and the readers. The OBD 2 scanner and reader are no different as they serve the primary purpose of getting to the root cause of the vehicle fault.

What has come out in the recent past with the universal application rule on the diagnostic tool manufacture, which made the OBD connector tools to be universal in nature, is the increase of coverage in terms of areas it reads

The scope of work of the Professional Diagnostic Tool has also increased. In fact, the tools are now enabled to work in areas including the provision of possible vehicle fault solutions.
Where is the connector found?

The OBD connector is an area within your car engine system which allows for the connection and reading of the eventual data by the OBD scan tool user. In the old car versions, it was placed somewhere on the car dashboard. However, in the modern car, the OBD 2 connector is found below the drivers’ seat.
the OBD 2 connector

the OBD 2 connector is found below the drivers’ seat

Of note is that the OBD connector of modern times is not the removable type and may be made to be part and parcel of the car operation system some are made into small computer chips with large capacities and installed on the car engine computer motherboard.

These installed devices may be called data logging devices and are important in keeping the air safe as well as keeping the user safe from the law and harm. The technological advancement in itself has made the development of OBD 2 connectors the in-thing which requires very little space and is quite convenient to the user.

This is in itself making the OBD 2 connector of the modern time hands free device with no need for the user to connect to the engine at all the times. It is additionally worth noting that this is the brain behind the majority of Bluetooth and wireless OBD 2 devices which are gracing the market today.
The fault code system

The on board diagnostics is a complex phenomena which is shrouded in the use of codes. These codes are divided as the manufacturer specific and the generic codes. The manufacturer specific codes as you will notice are found in specific car brands which would call for use of diverse OBD 2 device if you happen to have many cars.

This problem was what the new generation scan tool regulation came to solve in one single swoop with the introduction f the Auto code reader. In this respect, the ability of the scan tool to display the codes is one step aimed at getting to the problem. Depending on the fault, the codes run into millions.
Importance of the OBD 2 connectors

The legal provision and the overall use of the onboard diagnostics (OBD 2) in itself have shown how the devices are important. Some of the areas which have been seen to matter in its working are;

The measurements, regulation and protection of fuel misuse through the fuel economy interface.
The connectors are an important aspect in car safety and use
It is an environmental protection tool as can be seen with the environmental protection agency (EPA) regulations.
Its use enables the car users to be legally abiding citizens as it is regulated and a must have on cars made from 1996 onwards in the United States.

How the connector works

When the OBD 2 tool is connected to the car data connection port, which is the point of connecting it below the seat, it may be powered directly from the engine or be switched on from its own source.

The connection is usually established by dialing the dialing pads and the user either downloads the tool software if it had not been used with the car engine computer. However, the Bluetooth connectors would work by establishing this connection remotely
How the connector works

the OBD 2 connector is simply the tool itself including its accessories

Apart from the other areas, the connector has 16 pin USB connections with each meant to have a connection t different car engine areas. The power connection is one of these. The uniqueness of the pins is that they are color coded for differentiation purposes

The connector with its diverse features is enabled with a system of establishing the car engine trouble codes. The presence of the trouble codes alone initiate the switch on of what we call the car engine illumination light (MIL) or just the check engine light.

These are the codes which we had looked at. The trouble codes are diverse in number and the user may be required to interpret the meaning of each of the codes. Some of the connectors like the wireless Bluetooth ones have the capacity of giving the interpretation of each code making their use quite interesting.

The operation of the OBD 2 connector is a complex affair in itself. It is in some cases enabled to provide the solutions and then give the car user the desired feedback whether the car is now in good condition with the switching off of the check engine light.

In a nutshell, the OBD 2 connector is simply the tool itself including its accessories. In most instances, the presence of the car computer, a USB cable for ease of connection and a power source are some of the primary requirements in any OBD 2 connector use.

Some of the OBD 2 connectors are found to have the convenience of using the batteries while others rely on the car power system. It is against that backdrop that you will encounter as a user the diverse areas where some devices are called standalone devices.

The areas in which the OBD 2 connector covers are wide and may not be covered at once. It is an integral part of the car engine with most of the tools bought over the counter depending on the taste of whoever is going to use it.

What remains clear is that the operations of the Launch X431 is a unique one which is bound to change as the innovations continue to role. Newer connectors are likely to be enabled to get more readings from the car system and enable the car use have more enjoyable safe rides. Have yours to see how it works!

Knowing the OBD faults

The use of cars is a continuous process and the OBD fault codes are scattered across all the faculties of the car. These car fault codes are usually programmed systems within the car engine to aid with the car identity. When these codes show up, an area of the car is not in order.

Knowing the OBD faults

The car OBD system comprises the manufacturer specific code system which is pegged on the information gotten from the manufacturer and are usually specific to the given car brand. This was the biggest dilemma faced by the old generation scans.


The generic codes are usually standard codes and spread across the car brands these codes are helpful in determining certain car faults which may run across almost all the car brands. Most of these codes are fed into the OBD computer memory as the data trouble codes (DTCs)

With the standardization and the subsequent use of the OBD2 Scanner, the process of knowing the fault codes has been rather uniform. The codes are made to display on the OBD screen with the turning on of the malfunction illuminating light/ or the malfunction indicator light (MIL) acting as the primary basis for action.

For its standard nature, the second generation diagnostic devices are enabled to work across several car brands. It then makes them to be able to give just uniform results in all the car brands. That was the primary aim of the society of automotive engineers (SAE).

The DTC codes

The OBD fault code system or the DTC is quite diverse and may not be exhausted in one given text. Each of the manufacturer specific and generic codes which are fed into the OBD 2 system has got its own specific meaning.
The manufacturer DTCs

Some of the manufacturer specific codes usually seen on the car OBD screen display include;


The DTC p0176-p0199 -sensors which are dealing mainly with issues to do with the car circuit performances and the temperature within the car engine.
The manufacturer DTCsThe DTC p0 100–p0199– dealing with areas to do with the car airflow, the pressure functions, the temperature functions and the circuits.
The DTC p0200- p0299 -which concern themselves with areas to do with the car fuel consumption, regulation and the area of speed these are important in helping regulate the fuel economy of your car
The DTC p0300-p0399- concerned with all the areas of the ignition switch, the misfiring functions and the possible solutions
The DTC p0400-p0499- which is mainly concerned with the car emission controls. It is a major area of the car OBD 2 system where the emission control plays the major role. This fault code checks on the exhaust gas circulation, flow and anything in short or excess.
The DTC p0 500-p0 599– is usually concerned with the speed controls and is easily seen on the display when the speed goes above the expected. This fault comes in the form of air control, idling checks, starters and the immobilization keys. it also regulates how the car picks speed
The DTC p0700-p0899 -which is usually faulting codes concerned with the vehicle transmission system. Most of the areas covered dwell on the vehicle range sensors and the electrical relay systems within the car engine.
The DTC p0600-p0699 -which are concerned with checking whether the car engine computer system is in its correct state. When the memory or just the data saving module is not functioning, you are bound to notice this with the code appearing.

The generic fault codes

However, of note is the fact that the appearance of the diverse generic diagnostic codes has aided the process of car diagnostic scan use in a great deal. For instance, among the several millions of the generic codes some of them which we can lay our hands on include the following;

The P2000 Series– which are concerned with the car power train areas. These are usually advanced codes and they have diverse manifold readings. In particular, the control of the fuel use can be seen with specific diesel filter efficiency codes.
The P3000 series– are in particular concerned with the diagnosis of the power train malfunctions within the car and helps with the control of the areas of intake with the control valves of the exhaust being within its radar.

The diversification of the obd2 code reader is in itself a significant show of how wide the OBD fault codes are.  Without just a proper model of the OBD tool, which may in some cases be the Bluetooth ones, scanning may still go to naught.

With these codes, the correction process of the car system becomes quite easy. However, it may not be easy to the mechanic when the OBD language is also not set to be within the universal language of the area of repair.

The on board diagnostics is an installed system which works on its XTOOL when connected. But in all, having the data displayed on the screen is worth the effort, if you have to apply any.

The 5 Top Reasons You Need an OBD Scanner On Board

Many things that can go wrong with your car, even if it’s brand new. Sometimes an engine component will malfunction, and you’ll need to understand what’s happened to get it fixed. That’s where an OBD scan tool comes in.

The Best obd2 scanner is a tool that mechanics, auto parts stores, and vehicle manufacturers use to test the mechanics and computer functions in a vehicle. The tool is plugged into your car or truck, then it scans the system for errors.

After that, the scanner provides detailed information so you know how to repair the problem. Sometimes, it’s as simple as ignoring the error message because it was triggered by mistake; other times, it indicates a serious issue with your engine.

Whatever the result of the scan, your OBD tool will give you valuable peace of mind as you drive. With winter in full swing and uncertain road conditions, the last thing you want is to be stranded in the cold.

In many situations, you’ll be very happy you invested in a handy scanner. Here are five of the biggest.

1. Check Engine Light Turns On

If you paid attention during driver’s education, you’ll recall there’s a variety of lights and indicators on the dashboard, but the scariest is the check engine light. When that indicator blinks on, you were told to pull over as soon as possible and get the problem diagnosed.

Typically, you need to head to the nearest mechanic shop or auto parts store to check the error code and plan for repair. There are a couple of problems with this approach, however.

The first is that you may be in a remote location without a store nearby. It could also be a weekend or the middle of the night, when none of these facilities are open.
You run a risk of damaging your vehicle if you continue to drive it with the check engine light on. In some cases, it could be a non-immediate problem such as a loose gas cap, but in others, it could be your spark plugs, which can lead to more serious damage the longer you drive.

When you have an OBD scanner, you can diagnose the problem wherever you are, whether a freeway shoulder in the middle of nowhere or your driveway. You can read the error code and learn whether it’s safe to drive the car to a mechanic, or you should call a tow to prevent further damage.

The check engine light is not something to trifle with, and your OBD scanner will give you quick and accurate answers.

2. Cold Weather Concerns


When the temperatures drop below freezing, several things can happen to your vehicle. The battery can die, gas caps can loosen, and your tire pressure can go haywire.

These conditions can cause all sorts of warning indicators to light up your dashboard, including the check engine light. Obviously, that’s cause for concern.

You can make sure your vehicle is in tip-top condition for driving with an OBD scan tool. Any time a warning light flickers on, you’ll have the tool stored in your glove compartment for easy diagnostics.

It will check for key indicators like warning lights, fuel system pressure, engine temperature, exhaust emission levels, throttle response, idle speed, and other key metrics that can show problems in colder temperatures.

Then you’ll know what to have repaired and whether the vehicle’s safe to drive.

3. Your Car or Truck Dies in the Middle of Nowhere

Usually, if your vehicle dies during a long drive, you won’t know the exact reason. By popping the hood, you’ll only see problems that are on the surface. Usually, you need diagnostics to see something deeper.

An automotive diagnostic equipment can help. Although it might not render specifics about the cause of a malfunction, it can clue you into such things as fuel system pressure and battery levels. It will give you information that can be useful for determining your next step … and in some cases, you may be able to fix it on the spot.

4. You’re Strapped for Cash

The average American spends around 1.5 percent of annual income on auto repairs. That averages to about $600 per car in the U.S., but the number is just an average.

Many people end up spending thousands for vehicle repairs in a year because their vehicle is older and needs more care. The sad thing? Many of the most expensive vehicle repairs can be fixed at home if the owner has the right tools and a decent YouTube tutorial.

mercedes benz star diagnostic tool is one of those essential tools, and you can get a decent one for as little as $20. If owning such a tool saves you $600 on car repairs because you were able to diagnose the problem and fix it yourself, you’ll be more than grateful you made the initial investment for a scanner.
5. Manufacturer Recalls

It’s always a little unnerving when you receive a letter or phone call from your vehicle manufacturer that reports a mass recall of your vehicle’s make and model. Usually, the recalls involve a small and harmless malfunction, but occasional outliers could inflict serious harm on you and the car’s occupants.

Your OBD scanner test for the problem. You can determine whether you should be concerned about your vehicle right away or it can wait a while for the repair. Some factory recalls can take months to address, and you don’t want to drive a car or truck that could “blow up” at any moment.

An OBD scan tool is not only a practical investment, but it buys you peace of mind. For less than $100, you’ll have a car repair tool in your arsenal that will save you money and clue you in on potentially serious issues.
Contact the Scan Tool Center for More Information Today!

At the Scan Tool Center, we’re big supporters of purchasing a scan tool to keep in your vehicle. We recognize some of the problems that may occur if you don’t have the proper diagnostic and repair tools.

That’s why we’ve created a collection of reviews and quality information on scan tools and what they offer. For more background on the top BMW ICOM, contact us today!

Autel MS908P Authorization Check Failed Error Code 3 (Solved)

This is the solution of “Authorization Check Failed” with error code 3 on Autel Maxisys Pro Diagnostic system.
error message:
Authorization Check Failed!
Error Code 3 as below


If you changed language, you can get this error

How to solve MS908P Authorization problem:

connect to the internet

log in PC Suit upgrade tool on networked computers

Obtain authorization automatically

If this serial number to determine the corresponding Autel ID, you can contact technical support queries.

Any further question,please kindly contact our customer service


Choosing the Right OBD-II Scanner


If you own a car that was built after 1996 and you do any kind of work on it, either to save money or just because you enjoy getting your hands dirty, then an Obd ii scanner can be a valuable addition to your toolbox.

However, that doesn’t mean that every backyard mechanic should head out and drop $20,000 on a high end scan tool from Snap-on or Mac.

Do-it-yourself mechanics have a lot of less expensive options to explore, so you’ll want to check them out before you make a purchase. For instance, a lot of parts stores will actually check your codes for free, and you can find a lot of diagnostic information for free on the Internet. In a lot of cases, that might be all you need Car Diagnostic Tools.

If you want a little more flexibility, there are a number of cheap scan tool options you can check out. Dedicated code readers that also provide access to PIDs are one option to look at, and you can often find a decent one for under $100. Another option, particularly if you have a decent Android smartphone, is an ELM 327 Bluetooth scanner, which is a cheaper path to essentially the same functionality.