For most people, a trip to the mechanic is like going to the dentist – not exactly something to look forward to. You might think it’s a pain… but does it have to be?

No, it doesn’t! I’m going to tell you how mechanics diagnose your car and it’s not as complicated as you think! I’m also going to show you how to do it yourself that will save you a lot of money. Next time your check engine light comes on, don’t stress, because you’re about to learn how to fix the problem.


What is a car diagnostic test?

If your check engine light goes on or you hear a weird sound, you usually take it to a mechanic. The mechanic does a car diagnostic test to figure out the issue.

This test is just a computerized analysis of your car’s inner components that troubleshoots any underlying problems. Most of the vehicles on the road today are computerized, so the mechanic simply plugs a scanner with diagnostic software into your car to find the problem(s).

The scanner can check your engine, transmission, throttle, ignition coils, exhaust, fans, brakes, and other important components. Mechanics use this information to diagnose your car. Let’s go over the essential car components that should always be checked.

Car diagnosis: Components to check


When making a car diagnosis, the mechanic is usually interested in specific components of your vehicle. He or she usually wants to check the engine first. Apart from the engine, here are some other crucial parts of your car that should be routinely checked:

  1. The transmission system
  2. The brake system
  3. The exhaust system
  4. Fuel injector
  5. Ignition coils
  6. Throttle
  7. Airflow and coolant

A car diagnostic test narrows down what’s causing the issue. It rules out what is working fine so that what needs attention can be fixed. This saves time and resources. 

The diagnosis procedure


Where does a mechanic start with the diagnosis procedure? It’s really not that complicated. The outlined steps are: 

  1. Turn on the engine and allow it to run for a few minutes
  2. Plug in the diagnostic scanner. Your car’s computer produces a code alongside the check engine light that indicates the source of a potential issue.
  3. Allow the scanner to run and rule out errors. This should take a few minutes. 
  4. The screen should display trouble codes for problematic areas that need fixing at the end of the scanning. If there is no problem with any of your car’s components, there will be no error displayed. 

Regular diagnostic tests keep your car healthy and running well. You don’t want to wait until a huge malfunction happens to go to the mechanic. Not only is this bad for your car’s health but it could cost you thousands of dollars.  

How much does a diagnosis cost?


The cost of a diagnostic test will vary based on your car’s make and model. A basic test could be around $40 but if there are bigger issues, it could run you in the hundreds just to test. 

Always get a signed agreement with a cost estimate before letting the mechanic work on it. This will spare you the all too well-known surprise sky-high bill from the mechanic. 

Diagnose your car’s health right on your smartphone


So, there you are, that’s how a car diagnosis is performed. Not too complicated, right? Regular diagnostic tests keep your car healthy and stop problems in their tracks – but the cost of having a mechanic do them can be quite high. 

What if you could do diagnostic tests yourself without being at the mechanic’s mercy? FIXD is a handheld OBD2 digital sensor that instantly decodes your check engine light – which could save you $1,000s at the repair shop!

Simply plug it in under your steering wheel, start your car, and tap to scan. FIXD instantly diagnoses your car’s actual problems using the same technology used by a mechanic.

The best part? It tells you everything you need to know in simple, understandable terms so that you can walk into the repair shop and confidently tell the mechanic what needs to be done and how much you expect to pay. With FIXD, you don’t need to be a genius to accurately diagnose your car. All you need to do is to tap and wait!


So, do you feel more confident about taking care of your car? Let me know in the comments what you’re going to do the next time your check engine light comes on! And don’t forget to share this article with friends and family who don’t want to get fleeced by mechanics anymore!

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