OTC Automotive Diagnostic Tools
For mechanics, its not always easy to know whats wrong inside your cars computerized brain. OTC is a developer of electronic diagnostics that help at-home and professional mechanics cut to the heart of many equipment problems. Almost all cars built after 1996 have a computerized system with software that reports problems, and OTC tools are helpful in reading these codes.What types of OTC tools are available?
OTC tools used to diagnose systems and equipment issues are typically hand-held devices. This equipment plugs straight into your vehicle to send and receive codes and issue a diagnosis. Another type of OTC tool to diagnose equipment issues is a mobile software or application. In some cases, a Bluetooth device or a USB port can transfer information to and from the automobile software. Other options include the following, among others:
- PC-based: This type uses a connection to your computer to transfer information.
- Scanning tools: These scanners read codes and transfer information between devices.
The most obvious consideration is whether youre using the tool to also fix issues, or if youre simply wanting to know what to ask a mechanic. For example, if your car or truck has high fuel usage, it could be one of a number of problems. If you want to fix the job yourself or if you are a professional mechanic, youll want a sophisticated tool that can be updated frequently. OTC tools come in a wide range of options for your needs. That said, if your car breaks down frequently, consider a higher-end OTC model. If you simply want a general idea of the problem, a simple handheld or mobile tool could work.
Another very important factor in deciding on OTC automotive tools is whether or not it can be updated. If you cannot update the software, your diagnostic device may not give you an accurate read-out when it comes time to fix your vehicle. Companies like OTC provide frequent updates to their software, as well as for their more advanced tools and equipment. These updates keep information about your vehicle current. These advanced tools are often used by professional mechanics; if longevity is your goal, software updates from OTC are vital.
Another consideration is the price. Lets say, for instance, that youre in the market for a compression tester kit. These kits can vary wildly in cost, from as little as $10 to more than $200. It depends on several factors like the number of gauges and adapters that are included, the type of engine that needs to be tested (gas or diesel), and the overall quality of the kit. As the consumer, you need to decide which qualities are essential and budget accordingly.