4 Awesome Diagnostic Tools for Car Troubleshooting

Posted 9/24/18

It used to be that to troubleshoot any car problems you had one of two options: Take it to local Cincinnati auto repair shop, or break out the car repair Ouija board and take your best guess. Thanks to technology, there are plenty of diagnostic apps and DIY repair apps you can use right from your smartphone. It may not be quite the same as having a Cincinnati auto repair shop in your pocket, but at least you can see if the repair problem is serious enough to require a car mechanic or if you can just fix it yourself.

iFixIt: A Free Car Mechanic In Your Pocket

If you love to repair your car yourself, the iFixIt website is a must-have. It’s pretty much a repair guide for every car fix under the sun, from changing your own oil to diagnostic help. Not sure how to change that headlight bulb and need it done in a hurry? Need some help with putting on some new windshield wipers? Want to install a Colored LED Front Kidney Grille on your BMW M? This is a great car troubleshooting resource for all kinds of things, great and small, with detailed solutions and numerous photographs. As the car buying guide Wheels.ca explains: “The various guides provide images and the tools required for you to be your own personal Mr. Lube.”

Torque: A Budget OBD2 Android App To Keep You Informed

One of the best tools in every at home car mechanic’s arsenal is some sort of OBD2 device. Pretty much every car made since 1996 has a port where the device can be plugged in. It will tell you why that check engine (or any other unwanted light) is on, and help you get an idea of what the problem is. An actual bluetooth OBD2 devices can be purchased for about $20 or less, but they need to be connected to an app so you know what your errors actually are. This is where Torque comes in. It is an app (Android only) that can help you identify what is going on underneath your car’s hood. In addition to reading those fault codes (and clearing them), it can also track your car’s performance data and sensor data. And the app itself is only about $5.

BlueDriver: CNET’s 2022 Phone OBD2 Scanner Pick

If you are willing to spend a little more money because you love to do your own at home auto repair, it might be worth it to check out the $120 BlueDriver device. In addition to working on both Android and Apple phones, instead of only giving you the alphanumeric codes themselves, this app actually gives you information about the codes and a description of the problem as opposed to just—a code. It will do anything a cheaper scanner can do, and also tell you what was happening when the code was thrown, do a smog test, and give you live data from your engine while it is running. Though it’s surely no replacement for a real life Cincinnati auto repair mechanic, it is definitely a step up from the cheaper apps out there.

RepairPal: Make Sure You Aren’t Getting Gouged for Car Repair

This free app is a great way to see if you’re getting the right price for your car repair. You enter the car repair and your zip code, and the app will spit out the average price available through the auto garages in your area. It’s a great way to get an idea of what car repair will cost depending on your area and what you need to have done. We tried it, and we’re pretty pleased to announce that our garage had some of the more affordable rates for a Cincinnati auto repair shop.

Smart Tech Apps for Car Troubleshooting

Want to troubleshoot your car like an expert mechanic? Your smartphone features more computer power than what NASA used to land Armstrong on the moon. It can tell you everything you need to know about your car. Some better apps include Torque Pro, HobDrive, OBD Car Doctor Pro, and Carista OBD2. Most require another device that connects the phone to your engine’s computer port. In total, the entire connection can be bought for less than $100. So the next time your check engine light comes on, know what’s wrong with the engine immediately, down to the last detail.