Do you have a magic machine?? We get this too much. Lets see if we can answer this so everyone understands. Starting in the early 80’s cars were required to have On Board Diagnostics. Commonly referred to as OBD. As with the Iphone and all other electronics it has been updated…OBD – OBD1 – OBD2 etc… What this means is the car has the ability to monitor systems and tell if one is not working properly. When that happens it sets a trouble code and in some cases will turn on a warning light. Here is where we get into myth vs. reality. To retrieve a code you need a code reader or a scan tool. The Magic Box!!! Not really it is just another tool. First what is a code reader? It is a tool used to retrieve and clear trouble codes in the generic and emission systems. We use the Bluepoint Micro scan. It is great for quick checks or clearing codes. Great for double checking after a repair to make sure all is good. It does not have any live data, by-directional testing, or vehicle specific data. Scanners have more information, bi-directional testing,multiple modes, and vehicle specific data. Remember I said in some cases there is a light. This is where a good scanner shines. You can check monitors, look at wave forms, and much more. They also cost. Any where from $3000-$16000 plus upgrades. How often do you update your smart phone??? Cars to the same so a scan tool has to keep up!
So lets recap… Cars have OBD systems that require tools to access data. Code reader or scanner are needed. Both tools are great for what they are intended for, but neither can tell you what is wrong with your car. As with any other tool out there it is the hand that holds the tool that matters. There is no magic box and no substitute for a skilled technician!!