Picture this – you are driving home from work one day and hear a new, disturbing noise coming from your engine. You arrive at home, pop the hood, look around, but find nothing. Now what? Do you simply ignore it and hope it goes away? Do you take your car in to a mechanic and hope they do not charge you through the roof? Or do you pull out your conveniently placed wrench and give your engine the trusty “love tap”? Out of all your options, your best bet would be to take your vehicle in to a specialist. However, if you are an avid DIYer, and would rather troubleshoot the problem yourself, you could always hook up a diagnostic tool for more intel into what the problem could be.
Now, while there is no one way to identify the best car diagnostic tool for a problem, as you need the tool to identify what the problem is. There are several different tools available on the market that can help you troubleshoot the issue before it becomes an expensive, major concern. So, what are the best car diagnostic tools that a DIYer should never be without?
1. A car diagnostic scanner
At the very top of the technology ladder, and possibly one of the best car diagnostic tools you could own, is the scanner tool. This tool plugs into your OBD-II port, and essentially provides you with a wide variety of information, all of which is generated from your car’s computer.
2. A code reader
This car diagnostic tool is slightly lower on the technology ladder. While it also plugs into the OBD-II port, it does not perform a full-service diagnostic. Instead, it provides you with a numeric error code, which is what you will use to determine the vehicular issue. You can either check the code against your car manual, or against an online database.
3. A multi-tester
While this may not necessarily be the best car diagnostic tool, it can still provide you with information on resistance and voltage, as well as identify faulty circuits, sensor issues, or battery charge. A multi-tester measures various factors in your car’s electric system.
4. A radiator pressure testing kit
This is an absolute must-have. These car diagnostic tools can detect internal engine leaks that have been caused by blown head gaskets or cracked blocks and heads. Depending on your preference, this tool is considered one of the best car diagnostic tools on the market, as it allows you to test the above in a simple and straight-forward way.
5. A telescoping mirror and proper lighting
Finally, while these two tools may not necessarily be one of the best car diagnostic tools, or even car diagnostic tools at all, they are still vital. A telescoping mirror will assist you when you need to see hard-to-find or harder-to-reach areas of your car. In terms of the lighting, this is crucial, as it is difficult to fix what you cannot see.
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