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Check Engine Light? Basic Diagnostic Tools to Help You Fix It Right

“A man is nothing without his tools.” That saying may not be entirely accurate but when it comes to working on a vehicle, it is almost dead on. While over the past century cars have been getting more and more complicated, humans have not let themselves be overrun by the huge task of fixing these near-autonomous vehicles. Though cars are becoming technological nightmares, the tools that have been created have become life-savers. For example, if and when that dreaded check engine light appears on your dash, or for most cars now, appears on the different screens and hub assemblies riddled throughout the cabin, we have the perfect tool to counteract it. The check engine light can instill a sense of ignorance, especially when your car looks, sounds, and overall seems like it is running fine. The diagnostic tools that we have been given, however, turn that ignorance into providence. With the ability to analyze and diagnose whatever may be ailing your vehicle, diagnostic tools are the way to stay ahead of the technological curve. How do you use these tools to help with your check engine light or any other issue that needs to be diagnosed? Let’s take a look.

  • The first diagnostic tool we will look at is probably the most common one, the OBD-ll scan tool. This tool is used to examine the car’s computer and discover the faults that were tripped to turn on the check engine light. This tool is extremely handy to have as it can tell you what your car’s issue is almost instantly. It’s use is as simple as plugging in the cord to the OBD port, normally located under the steering wheel, and hitting scan. There are different types of scan tools, as some are more expensive and others less so. The more expensive ones do offer more features while the inexpensive ones offer just the basics. Whatever type of scan tool you get, however, it will tell you the codes of why the check engine light appeared. These scan tools can help alleviate any worries or give you a sense of what needs taken care, depending on if the issue is a big or small one, and are something every DIYer should have in their holster.
  • Another useful diagnostic tool for your utility belt is a multimeter. This tools can be extremely handy in discovering any issues within a sensor’s wiring or with a sensor itself. You can use it by checking the voltage output of a sensor, and see if the check engine light or other issue has been caused by that. Having this tool can save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run.
  • While any issue appearing in your car is a pain, one of the worst car pains are engine issues. Engine issues can be caused by all sorts of troublemaking elements, but normally it is air, fuel, or spark related. Having a vacuum-pressure gauge can help figure out any air problems within the system. If you think any of your engine’s problems are air related, then you will want to have a gauge ready and waiting to be used. Keep in mind that you can check the fuel pressure with this tool as well on any car that has a carburetor.
  • Finally, one of the last diagnostic tools that is useful to have in a tough check engine light or other frustrating situation, on a modern fuel injection car, is a fuel-pressure gauge. Checking the pressure of your fuel can sometimes be the best way to figuring out a problem with your car.

The tools that we have to figure out a check engine light, and any other issues that may appear in our car, can be time and money savers. Instead of having to pull the car apart piece by piece, we have tools that can diagnose the problem down to a simple code. So take advantage of these DIY gifts and use them to make your car-fixing day, just a little bit better.