22 Apr 2010
Due to the economy, job cut backs, etc... I am forced to do most of my own car repairs. In the past, it was a matter of convenience to drop it off and have someone else work on it. That is no longer the case. I now have access to a wide variety of tools and can easily handle most issues short of lifting the engine or transmission out.
Awhile back, I started to have some car trouble. The check engine light came on. I had no clue where to begin. I was talking to my FIL and he told me about CarMd. He saw it an article. It is a diagnostic module that plugs into the car's computer port. It will give you the error code(s). Take the unit and plug it in to your computer. Access your account via the CarMD website and it will tell you a ton of information. It will give you related fixes to that error code. It will give you an estimation of how much a repair shop may charge to fix it. It also will tell you what part is potentially causing the issue and roughly how much that part cost should you decide to fix it yourself.
There are a few setbacks. Only works on cars 1996 or newer. You can only use the device on 3 cars and you can only use it several times per month per car. With myself and the in-laws owning 3 of the same model car, we went halfers for it. It was only $90 dollars total. Placed the order and had it in my hands within a few days. It took just a few minutes to setup the account and register the cars. The account keep track of the car via the VIN.
I plugged it in to the car. Accessed the online information and found out that Cylinder 5 is misfiring. Two fixes include replacing a fuel injector and or replacing an ignition coil. Not really knowing how to do either, my father-inlaw told me to visit the Autozone.com website. If you register with them, you get access to a ton of photo rich guides on how to do many things. Not wanting to tear into the engine, I poured in some fuel injector cleaner and heading out to buy a new ignition coil. A few hours later after the engine cooled down, I replaced the bad coil. Started up the car and the check engine light went off. Plug into the CarMD unit and confirmed that all was well.
It a great tool out there for someone that is mechanically inclined, but just may not know where to begin. Carmd.com is the website. Fixing the problem myself, CarMD has paid for itself.
All materials at this site not otherwise credited are Copyright © 1996 - 2010 Trip Williams. All rights reserved. May be reproduced for personal use only. Use of any material contained herein is subject to stated terms or written permission.