Car diagnostic equipment allows vehicle owners to detect mechanical problems and then decide whether they or a professional mechanic should perform the maintenance job. As a thermometer accurately detects the presence of a fever, car diagnostic equipment detects which component of a vehicle is ailing. Vehicle owners can save both time and money by learning how to maintain a vehicle using car diagnostic equipment.
OBD-II is the standard car diagnostic software that car diagnostic scanning equipment reads. The system includes ports and sensors located throughout the vehicle, such as behind the dashboard and under the driver's seat. OBD-II maintains records of vehicle performance, from engine temperature to the status of the transmission. Car diagnostic tools download a number of codes from the OBD-II primary port and then vehicle owners interpret the codes by referring to a guidebook. The codes take the guesswork out of trying to figure out why the "Check Engine" light came on, when there does not appear to be anything wrong with the vehicle.
Install Diagnostic Computer Software
Many vehicles produced incorporate OBD-II car diagnostic software. To take advantage of this software, vehicle owners must connect the diagnostic equipment to a computer to discern vehicle maintenance issues. To take a diagnostic analysis of a vehicle via a computer, vehicle owners need to operate a laptop, iPhone, or iPod touch. Owners can an iPhone or iPod Touch as they work with diagnostic devices such as the REV iPhone Car diagnostic tool. However, laptops provide clearer readings due to their larger screens. The computer device displays the readings from the diagnostic equipment.
Connect the Scanner to the Vehicle
Review the vehicle owner's manual to find out where the manufacturer placed the port for attaching the diagnostic equipment. Most car manufacturers located the connection port on the dashboard just below the steering wheel on either side. Some manufacturers place the primary port under the driver's seat. Car owners can find the port by moving their hand over the dash or under the driver's seat in search of a small indentation.
Obtain a Reading and Translate the Codes
Car and truck owners can use the connected diagnostic equipment to obtain a reading of the vehicle's diagnostic system. The reader allows vehicle owners to determine accurately the cause of a maintenance problem. The diagnostic equipment screen displays a series of codes, which vehicle owners translate by referring to a code translation book or sheet. Once the root of the maintenance problem appears certain, vehicle owners then decide whether they can perform the corrective measures or must take the vehicle into a professional for repairs.