What Pros with Careers in the Auto Industry Need to Know About Vehicle Diagnostic Tools

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Before you can begin performing repairs on vehicles that come into your automotive shop, you first have to define the problem. While some car problems are easy to identify, like a flat tire or the need for an oil change, others can be a bit harder to diagnose.

There are many useful diagnostic tools available. Some are simple, while some are more complex and work with a vehicle’s onboard computer system. In order to diagnose car issues as quickly, efficiently, and accurately as possible, mechanics use different tools to help pinpoint the problem.

Before you begin your mechanic training, get a head start on your learning by reading this blog about vehicle diagnostic tools.

Simple Diagnostic Tools Used by Pros with Careers in the Auto Industry

While there are plenty of high tech tools that can help you diagnose car problems, some of the best diagnostic tools have been around for years. As professionals with careers in the auto industry know, you never know if you’ll have to go back to the basics. So, it’s helpful to be aware of some of the simple diagnostic tools available.

One tool that you may use during your career is a 12v test light. A test light can help you detect electrical power, and find breaks or shorts in wires. It can check that a vehicle’s head and tail lights, turn signals, sockets, fuses, and more are all in working order.

Another handy and simple diagnostic tool that you may use is a mechanic’s stethoscope. Most automotive issues cause car parts to make a particular, identifiable noise. A stethoscope helps to amplify the noise so you can pinpoint it and figure out where it’s coming from. In addition to test lights and stethoscopes, other noteworthy simple diagnostic tools include timing lights, vacuum gauges, and fuel pressure gauges.

You May Use Code Readers During Your Auto Mechanic Training Program

As you may learn during your auto mechanic training program, every modern vehicle has a uniform socket that a code reader or other scan tools can be plugged into to pull code from a vehicle’s computer system. When something is malfunctioning in a vehicle, the vehicle’s computer keeps a record of the type of error. These codes are extremely helpful for mechanics when attempting to diagnose automotive problems.

A code reader is a small device that plugs into the car’s OBD-I or OBD-II socket. Other than displaying the error codes on a small screen, a code reader’s abilities are fairly limited. They can typically only display a code and clear codes after you’re done diagnosing the problem. Most code readers won’t tell you what the code means, so you will have to use other resources to determine the meaning behind some of the messages that you may see. You can refer to the internet, manufacturer handbooks, or your fellow colleagues’ knowledge if the problem is common. As you gain experience throughout your career, you will likely begin to recognize the most common error codes.

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When using code readers, you may have to go online to find the meaning of a particular code

You May Use Scan Tools During Your Auto Mechanic Training Program

Like code readers, scan tools plug into a socket in the vehicle and download the vehicle’s error codes. However, scan tools are more complex and have more capabilities. In addition to what code readers can do, scan tools will make your job even easier when diagnosing car problems. That’s because scan tools will display the meaning of an error code. Most scan tools can also graph data, display pending codes, provide the definitions of codes, offer troubleshooting tips, and store and playback live data.

Scan tools are important in auto mechanic shops because they allow you to diagnose vehicle problems quickly and accurately, which leads to improved customer service and happy clients.

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