Essential Diagnostic Tools for Mechanics

Posted on 19 May 2016 by Tony Santos

Mechanic Diagnostic Tools

Gone are the days when automotive mechanics needed only a handful of tools to make effective repairs and servicing to their clients’ vehicles. Today’s cars are vastly more electronically complicated, and OBD (On-board diagnostics) can only get us so far in ascertaining problems in our cars.

On top of essential pieces of kit for the garage or workshop, like various gauges and sets of spanners, jacks, cranes, hoists and stands, there are essential diagnostic equipment that you’ll need for routine car repair.

Fault Code Readers & Scanners

You’ll one of these to produce and interpret a fault code from the car’s internal OBD and display it on the digital screen. These codes correspond to a particular problem that needs identifying in order to fix. These tools also display live sensor data, and some even display analytics in a graph on the display screen.

You’ll need to shop around for the right scanner for your motoring needs in order to get optimised readings for particular ages of makes and models. They’re usually reasonably priced and a highly worthwhile investment.

Digital Inspection Camera

A digital inspection camera is a highly useful device that can be used to find issues with your car that you won’t be able to get at easily, without the time consuming process of hoisting a car or other vehicle up on a jack or crane.

The camera allows you to get a good look any issues when looking underneath the car, or in nooks and crannies under the bonnet. Using one of these could help reveal a problem that may not otherwise have been discovered for a long time.


A digital multimeter is a really important tool for car diagnostics as it is an effective trouble-shooter that investigates electrical and electronic problems within a car. They handle the following readings as well as various other readings:

  • Voltage: AC/DC
  • Resistance: OHMs
  • Current: Amps
  • Frequency: Hertz (Hz)

Vacuum Pressure Gauge

If you’re faced with a car with a poorly running engine, the chances are that it’s down to non-optimal air pressure, fuel or spark issues. The air pressure issue can be resolved with a vacuum pressure gauge to ascertain whereabouts of a potential leak, crack or irregularity within the network of the vehicle.

You can get your hands on mechanical, digital and industrial pressure gauges that help with automotive repairs for getting the optimal pressure needed for functionality.


Digital Storage, or Dual Trace oscilloscopes are a great tool to have handy to aid with diagnostics. Where a diagnostics machine may fall short, an oscilloscope can detect irregularities and issues.

Using an oscilloscope captures and stores critical readings in real time, allowing a mechanic to analyse immediate irregularities that may not present themselves if they’re intermittent, and sometimes won’t be detected by other diagnostics methods, especially if electrics are faulty in a car causing the OBD to fail. Places like MCS Test Equipment have a variety of oscilloscopes appropriate for this purpose.

Using diagnostics tools that interpret information and data from a vehicle is essential for modern cars, and can save time between problem identification and repair.

Categorized | Car Tips

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