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What are car diagnostic tools?


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Car diagnostic tools and OBD2 scanners work by scanning a car’s components and systems, like a stethoscope for vehicle electronics, to help look for any issues that might be present with parts like the engine, ignition system, transmission, oil tank, accelerator, and more.

However, since these tests need special devices and expertise to be read accurately, they are usually carried out by mechanics at garages or MOT testing stations.

A vehicle diagnostic tool is a diagnostic scanner that can be plugged into an OBD (OBD I) or OBD2  (OBD II) socket to read and clear codes, as well as view data readouts from various sensors. This can be used to help diagnose problems with a vehicle.

This data can reveal:

  • Trouble codes: These cryptic codes point to potential problems, like a faulty sensor or failing component.
  • Live sensor data: See real-time readings from various sensors, helping pinpoint the issue’s source.
  • System health reports: Get an overall picture of the car’s health, identifying areas needing attention.

What are the benefits of using diagnostic tools?

For some jobs, especially on cars with complex electronics (which is the vast majority on the road these days) a diagnostic scanner is fairly essential now, as well as meaning you can get the job done yourself without having to refer the customer to the main dealer, having one means

  • Faster and more accurate diagnoses: Say goodbye to guesswork and hello to targeted repairs.
  • Increased customer satisfaction: Solve problems quickly, keeping your customers happy and coming back.
  • Improved repair efficiency: Focus on the root cause, saving time and money on unnecessary repairs.

What are the different types of car diagnostic tools?

Car diagnostic tools usually refer to the ODB or ODB2 tools used for diagnosing engine management, and electrical or mechanical faults with a car, but there are several other tools which fall into this category.

These are the top 5 types of car diagnostic scanners available today:

  • ODB1 car scanners: used to scan Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC) on old vehicles, petrol cars earlier than 2001, diesel vehicles manufactured earlier than 2004 in the UK, and any vehicle manufactured before 1996 in the USA
  • ODB2 car scanners: used to scan Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC) on all modern cars and vehicles
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS): used to monitor and alert to tyre pressure reduction or increase by 25% or more from manufacturers’ recommended inflation levels
  • Circuit Testers and Multimeters: used to test electrical circuits and can be used to measure voltage, electric current, electrical resistance and electrical continuity to help determine where certain electrical problems may exist
  • Car Battery Testers: a voltmeter used to test the charge in a car battery, often this functionality is combined with the ability to charge or trickle charge the battery and prevent overcharging by constantly monitoring the voltage and condition of the battery

Choosing the right diagnostic tool for you

The best tool depends on your needs and budget. Consider:

  • Garage size and workload: For larger garages and MOT Bays, an advanced scanner might be worthwhile.
  • Features needed: Identify must-have features based on the vehicle makes and models you specialise in.
  • Ease of use: Choose a user-friendly tool that fits your team’s skill level.

If you are unsure what you need, or just need some advice, give our sales team a call on 0113 469 0572, we can address any questions you have and recommend the best diagnostic tools to meet your needs.

Help with your Car Diagnostic Tool

If you are considering purchasing a car diagnostic tool for your garage, view our selection online or speak to our sales team at Concept Garage Equipment first.  We can advise on the best equipment to purchase to get you started with vehicle diagnostics or to upgrade to a better model as your business grows.  Don’t forget even for mobile mechanics, having a professional car diagnostic tool is an essential device to help speed up your work and increase your revenue by ensuring you can provide this as a service to your customers.

We can offer you advice over the phone at 0113 469 0572we sell Car Diagnostic ToolsBattery Testers and TPMS Programming tools both online and over the phone, and as with everything we sell, all product prices include delivery as well as free advice on the best use of the equipment, or indeed any other garage equipment up to a full MOT Bay installation.

Call us today on 0113 469 0572 or use the website contact form today, we are here to help.


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