7 On Your Side
Gadgets available to help diagnose engine trouble
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Automobiles are so complicated these days that when the check engine light comes on you need a computer to find out what's going on. But now you can put that computer technology to work for you before speaking with a mechanic.
When the check engine light comes on, it can mean your engine is in need of a complete overhaul or your gas cap is loose. So how do you know what's really going on? 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney recently went to O'Reilly Auto Parts in San Francisco to look into buying a code reader that can diagnose problems with a car.
There are quite a few code readers to choose from, the least expensive one costs $88.99 plus tax.
The code reader makes a "beeping" sound, which means it is working and analyzing your car.
Nearly every car made since 1996 has a similar set up so when your check engine light comes on, you don't have to solely rely on a mechanic for information.
A code reader made by Innova is the most popular reader sold at O'Reilly. Once the consumer receives a code, they can go to the company's website and key in the problem. The issue will then be identified.
If you want to download the information directly from the code reader into your computer, the website will issue a complete diagnostic report.
"It will save you a lot of money. Because nowadays if you take the car to a shop just to have that, they will charge you at least what, $65," says an O'Reilly employee. "Let's say in three months you have three codes, you find three codes with this little gadget. There, right there, you pay yourself already."
Another option is to get a couple friends to chip in to make it even cheaper. Or go online where you can find code readers for as little as $30.
auto industry, computers, 7 on your side, michael finney
- Family take legal steps to keep girl on life support
- Behind-the-scenes: Saying farewell to 'The Stick'
- 11 injured in oven explosion at Santa Rita Jail
- Big Sur fire burns 550 acres; 5 percent contained
- Woman dies after tweeting about working for 30 hours
- Man accused of trying to throw wife off San Mateo Bridge
- Fire at metal plant doesn't help hazy skies
- New tech honcho for Obama health care website
- Teen burned on bus to be honored by school team
- Winter Spare the Air Alert called through Wednesday
- abcnews: Deaf dad gets to hear daughter sing for...
- Bay Area New Year's Eve fireworks and events
- roundup: Foreclosure vote; Vallejo PD raise
- weather: Bay Area weather forecast for Wednesday