It is never a good thing when the “Check Engine” light is glowing at you from the dashboard – is it going to be a $50 fix, or a $500 setback? And is the repair shop really being honest about the problem and the price? If you’ve ever had these thoughts, you’ll be glad to know that CarMD can come to the rescue.
The CarMD device plugs right in to your car’s OBD-II connector (On Board Diagnostic System – equipped on all cars and light trucks since 1996) and determines the problem codes you’re facing.
The CarMD could not be easier to use. First, locate the OBD-II plug (in my cars, one was under the driver’s side dash and in the other, it was in the center-console storage bin). Reading the codes only takes up to 60 seconds, after which the device will show a red light if there is a problem, a yellow one if there is a pending issue, or will display green if everything is A-OK (I was lucky this time – all green). Next, you connect the CarMD to a computer via the supplied USB cord for a more thorough diagnosis. The unit automatically links to the CarMD website, so simply log in and up come the test results. Not only do you get well-schooled on your problem codes and the estimate cost of repair, but safety recalls and technical service bulletins are displayed as well. Another great feature is that it will let you know whether your vehicle will pass an emission test.
Once the problem codes are deciphered, you will be armed with great information for your potential visit to the mechanic. Better still, you may realize that the job can be done by yourself. The CarMD would also be invaluable when checking out a second-hand vehicle, or when preparing for a road trip. It makes a great addition to any toolbox or just stash it in the glove box for piece of mind.