Car Diagnostics Cost/Fees (Everything You Need to Know)

Car Diagnostic Costs

When you buy a car, it is advisable to run regular diagnostics tests to know when a component starts to fail, so you can fix it on time before the issue escalates. Car diagnostics texts can be run using tools like OBDII scanners or any automobile scanning gadget. Reports from the diagnostics tests will tell if your car is running fine or not.

But diagnostics test results are shown as codes; if you can’t interpret the codes, you can’t tell if your car’s components and systems are experiencing a fault that needs urgent attention.

Hence, some car owners would pay for a technician to run these tests and interpret the codes. So, what is car diagnostics cost/fees?

Diagnosing a car costs anywhere from $10 to $300, depending on many factors, and we will discuss more about that in today’s article.

Car Diagnostics Test

Most car owners would only go running a diagnostics test on their car when they see that one or many of the dashboard lights are illuminated.

Well, if you wait up to that point, you may be spending a bit more than you budgeted to clear the illuminated error lights/icons. It’d be better if you run these tests regularly, even when no error icon is showing on the dash.

A car diagnostic test is a critical assessment of the current state of your vehicle’s components and systems to ensure they are all in good condition and working effectively as designed. If there’s an underlying engine problem or failing component, it would be shown in the test results (printed as a DTC).

This test is run using a car diagnostic test tool (the most common one is the OBD II scanner); the tool gets connected to your car’s onboard computer to scan the entire systems and units of the vehicle. Before any professional mechanic would work on your car, he’d first run a diagnostics test and read the codes that appear – that’d tell him what’s actually wrong with the car.

It’s not enough to inspect a car manually to find faults; some faults can only be detected when you use an automobile scanning device. Interestingly, this scan is not expensive to run; some workshops would do it for free if they were the ones to fix any detected issue.

Car Diagnostics Cost/Fees

The fees vary from workshop to workshop; you can do it yourself and save costs. Actually, a diagnostics test is a prerequisite step to troubleshooting a vehicle to know what needs to be fixed or replaced, so most mechanics would run the tests for free and then charge you for fixing the issues detected from the test.

But if you’d have to pay for an auto diagnostic test, expect to pay around $10 to $200, depending on the mechanic or dealership that is running the test. However, you can buy an automobile scanning tool from Amazon or other stores that sell auto gadgets so that you can run these tests yourself.

Also, most mechanics would add the price of the test to their quotes when you approach them to fix or service your car’s engine. There is just no “one-price-for-all” when it comes to car diagnostics tests; it could be free, or it could be paid. It’d be pretty much better if you could learn how to run a car diagnostics test, so you won’t have to pay for it at any time.

How to Run a Car Diagnostics Test

It starts with getting a diagnostics tool from an auto parts store. Once you have the tool, you need to identify the port where an auto-scanning tool is located on your car. Usually, it is somewhere below the steering wheel – check your car’s owner’s manual for the exact location. When identifying the location, follow the steps below to run a diagnostic test.

  • Turn off the car completely and connect the OBD-II scanner tool to the respect port on your car.
  • Once the scanner tool has been appropriately affixed, turn on the car and turn on the tool, too.
  • Some scanners may launch a scan automatically, while others will require you to press the “Scan” button or option first.
  • Wait for the scanning processes to run completely, then access the codes displayed on the scanner’s screen. Depending on your scanner, you can store or export the codes to a diagnostics service. You may also be able to clear the error codes (called DTCs) from the scanner.

If you cannot interpret the codes printed by the scanner, get a mechanic to look into them and tell you what they imply. You could actually look up the code on the internet and understand which component or system that’s printing it. OBD-II error codes typically appear as P31001, P2005, and so on.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes car diagnostics tests expensive?

If you’re told to pay some hundred dollars for a diagnostics test, that’s probably because you requested other services, so the mechanic added up the entire cost. Notwithstanding, if you go to a dealership for the test, you should expect to pay a little bit higher than you’d pay anywhere else to get the test done.

How frequently should diagnostics tests be done?

There is no particular frequency when diagnostics tests should be done; some car owners only go for such when they see illuminated icons on their dash. However, you may want to run this test quite regularly to phish out underlying issues on time.

How long does a car diagnostic last?

Running a full test should last up to an hour; some individual scanning of specific components may not take up to thirty minutes. So, basically, it takes 30 minutes to one hour to run standard diagnostic tests on a car.