From time to time we at CarMD hear about someone who says they’d prefer to buy a cheap code reader or get a free scan from the local auto parts store instead of purchasing the CarMD® Vehicle Health System™. These options are certainly the prerogative of the individual person, but we wanted to take a moment to point out why they may save you a few bucks now, but potentially cost you much more down the road.
First, many auto parts stores do offer to “scan” your car for “free.” But let’s face it. Nothing in life is ever really free, is it? They will most likely go out to the parking lot and hook up an on-board diagnostic (OBD) code reader or scan tool to your vehicle. Depending on which brand of tool they use, they’ll either give you a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) or a DTC with generic definition that reads something like “MAF Sensor Signal Range” or “Transmission Control System Electrical.” This will give you a very basic understanding of what might be wrong with your car, but won’t tell you what parts are required to fix the problem.
That’s where the counter staff come in. You may get lucky and find a longtime store manager or practicing automotive technician to point you in the right direction to attack repairs. But more than likely you’ll have an eager high school student who’s working part time and wants to sell lots of parts. The risk here is wasting a lot of time and money guessing and throwing parts at a problem – not much better than getting lucky at a game of darts. Yep. You got that “free” scan, but how many extra tools and parts did you purchase getting to the fix? Heck, they may even offer to turn off that “check engine” light for you. But ignoring the problem won’t go away, and it may even end up causing more serious and costly damage to your car. Many auto parts stores don’t offer these free scans anymore due to liability.
So then there’s the option to purchase a cheap code reader, which you can find for as little as $30 bucks. At this price, it won’t come with valuable software. Again, you’d be getting a basic code that you may choose to look up using an included booklet or online search. You’ll likely be able to find a lot of information from code definition to community discussions about the problem. Some of the information will undoubtedly be correct, but the problem is that it’ll be cluttered with information that’s just a wild goose chase. The fact is, a Google search can’t possibly factor your VIN, year, make, model, mileage, geographic region and engine type into the diagnosis. And this information can be the difference in identifying the proper repair.
That brings us to why the CarMD Vehicle Health System is different than anything else that’s available on the market. CarMD is so much more than a “code reader.” It is the only consumer automotive diagnostic system backed by the largest database for OBD2-related problems. In addition to getting a patented, award-winning handheld diagnostic tool, CarMD customers gain access to the largest repair database dedicated to check engine-related problems. CarMD’s database has been in the making for 15 years. It is updated and validated daily by CarMD’s team of Automotive Service Excellence-certified technicians. This database is helping consumers and professional technicians alike to solve tough “check engine” problems, and even earned the 2009 Professional Tool & Equipment News award for best repair information service.
When CarMD presents you with a most likely fix for your vehicle, we’re sifting through more than a half-million real-life fixes made by skilled mechanics who work on cars just like yours every day. So instead of getting a guess from a college kid or a bunch of opinions from the local car club, you’re getting a statistical consensus from thousands of practicing automotive techs on the most viable fix for your vehicle’s problem. Plus, you get parts and labor costs in your zip code – a great bargaining tool. And if there is more than one fix possible, you see the other possibilities. Then you can decide whether to tackle a simple repair yourself or have the work done by a professional technician, which is what CarMD always recommends.
Hundreds of thousands of CarMD customers have saved time and money by diagnosing the problem correctly the first time. You can check out their stories at http://www.carmd.com/Testimonials. And better yet, get one today by visiting www.carmd.com.