Instead of taking your car to the auto repair shop every time something goes wrong, invest in a few simple diagnostic tools that you can use at home. With these tools, you can determine if the issue is a simple fix, something you can put off until later, or a serious problem that needs a mechanic's attention right away. Choose some of the top car diagnostic products and keep them on hand for those occasions when your car develops a problem.
First, find a reliable code reader. Once you connect this small device to the car's computer, the code reader identifies problems and displays the appropriate code related to the issue. With a manual or an app that interprets those codes, you can identify the area or system where the problem originates and possibly find out exactly what is wrong. Some of these convenient handheld devices even allow you to reset a module or system or to adjust some setting within the car's computer. A code reader also lets you access the on-board diagnostics software, also called the European On-Board Diagnostics (EOBD). With a little practice, you can learn which ports to use to access the information you need.
Tyre Pressure Gauge
One common reason for car breakdowns is flat tyres. When drivers test their tyres regularly, they often become aware of problems or leaks before these result in a breakdown. A tyre pressure gauge alerts a car owner when the pressure in the tyres is too low. Frequent, repeated low readings from the tyre pressure gauge indicate a slow leak in the tyre, possibly due to an embedded nail or some other piece of debris. For your own piece of mind, obtain a tyre pressure gauge as one of your go-to car diagnostic tools.
Multimeter or Circuit Tester
Within the car are a myriad of electronic components and circuits, any of which may malfunction due to regular wear and tear or some other outside influence. To check the circuits within your vehicle, use a circuit tester or multimeter. The multimeter has a variety of measurement functions, such as electrical resistance, voltage, and more. The circuit tester measures only the current and voltage spanning a particular value range.
Battery Tester and Compression Tester
Few experiences are more irritating than coming out to your car and finding that it refuses to start. Often, a dead battery is the culprit. One way to anticipate battery issues is to purchase a battery tester, which show you how much power the car battery has left. With another device, called a compression tester, you can check the pressure of the engine cylinders.