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Vehicle Diagnostic Tool

Vehicle diagnostic tools evaluate performance, measure fluid levels and diagnose issues. Some tools interface with a computer to provide in-depth detail, monitor changes over time and translate codes. Secondhand vehicle diagnostic tools may provide a cheaper means of diagnosing, repairing and maintaining a vehicle.

Types of Diagnostic Tools

The primary type of vehicle diagnostic tool is a code reader. Code readers are handheld and are used to monitor a vehicle's functions. Such devices work with the onboard diagnostics, or OBD. This allows users to adjust or reset most of the major systems on the vehicle.

Most modern vehicles have OBD software that typically outputs codes and require a code reader. The OBD has ports and sensors throughout the vehicle that monitor information and allow user access. Older vehicles do not have OBD, making the other tools vastly more important.

There is a large variety of specialised vehicle diagnostic tools. A tyre pressure gauge monitors the air pressure in a tyre. Circuit testers read the current used by the various vehicle systems. Compression testers evaluate engine cylinder compression for optimal spark plug functioning. Battery testers monitor battery levels and can indicate whether the battery is properly charged.

Features of Diagnostic Tools

When searching for a used vehicle diagnostic tool, it is important to consider the various features. Many tools are specific and can only provide information from one sensor or component. In addition, older vehicles will require different tools than newer models. Consulting with an expert is helpful in deciding what tools work with the intended vehicle.

It is essential that the tools are compatible with a vehicle, especially code readers. Code readers function with specific makes and models, producing information that can be wrong on unsupported vehicles. Look for this information on the packaging or on the company website. Battery and circuit testers generally function with most vehicles, but the range of optimal values can vary by vehicle. This information is in the vehicle documentation.

Used vehicle diagnostic tools are a valuable addition to a vehicle owner's toolkit. With them, vehicle owners can solve some problems on their own. The information gleaned from the tools, coupled with the proper documentation and skills, end up saving time and money.