Car Diagnostic Test Cost

Last Updated on June 30, 2022
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

A good functioning of your car is in close connection with your safety and that of your family, and periodic car diagnosis is the responsibility of any driver. A regular check can not only save you a lot of money, but it can save your life, which is priceless.

Many times, drivers do not understand the importance of a car diagnosis because they are not familiar with this particular test. Not many people know exactly what the procedure is, how it is performed and what are the main benefits behind it. In this article, we will not only talk about the costs, but we will also try to give you some information about how this car test is done and what information it can offer.

How Much Does a Car Diagnostic Test Cost?

A car diagnostic test can either be done for free or for a price that shouldn’t be more than $140. The majority of the auto part stores are able to scan your car and offer you just the code if you are only looking for this information. Though the costs can be anywhere between $60 and $160 if you want a mechanic to scan the code and confirm the repair you will have to do. As there are some vehicles and diagnoses that take much longer than others, some mechanics and dealers may charge by the hour. In general, if you pay this fee, it will be applied toward the future repair.

According to a Ford forum online thread, the average cost of a car diagnostic is anywhere between $60 and $130. Also, most of the members of this forum said that this fee will go toward the repair if you choose to use the services offered by that dealer or mechanic.

Car diagnosis details

Car diagnosis means the computerized verification of the car and this is done by using computerized systems and interfaces specific to each car brand. It is important to mention that the procedure can be done for all cars that allow digital or analog access to electrical or electronic modules. In addition, it is also possible for vans.

You might also like our articles on the cost of a compression test, an EVAP smoke test, and differential repair.

The process involves checking the parameters in which the system components work, reading the real values, and comparing them with the nominal ones. Computer scanning proves to be extremely efficient in most cases.

Computerized diagnosis allows us to interrogate all the electronic command and control systems of a vehicle with the help of a diagnostic tester. We can make a computerized diagnosis of the engine, the braking system with ABS, ESP, DSC, AC air conditioning system, safety systems, airbag systems, etc.

Of course, car diagnosis can also be performed on car models that are not electronically assisted. In this case, it will be done by non-computerized means, i.e. by optical, acoustic observation, or by mechanical, electrical, and electronic measurement.

Important things to consider

Car Diagnostic Test DetailsThe “check engine” light does not necessarily mean that your vehicle needs major repair. In this case, a quick and correct diagnosis is important.

It is recommended that the car diagnosis service be performed only in authorized car service/car workshops.

You should always have your car diagnosed by experts because they are the only ones able to correctly identify a fault based on the data obtained from a diagnosis.

Early detection of a fault reduces repair costs.

Each car buyer should make a car diagnosis before purchase.

What are the extra costs?

The cost of the car diagnosis is only the start of the repair action which might end up costing a lot more. You should also take into consideration the nest repair costs as these estimates include only the diagnosis. Depending on their policy, some mechanics and dealers may completely remove this testing fee if you choose to repair your car using their services. The mechanic will be able to offer a ballpark estimate regarding the car repairs you need to make after he made the car diagnostic test. These price estimates may be available for up to 90 days in the future, even if you were to decline their services at the time of testing. Make sure you read the fine print carefully for accurate information on this.

How can I save money?

Take into consideration going to a local auto parts store for a car diagnosis because many of these stores will perform this test for free. For example, if your car’s “check engine” light is on, Pep Boys car shop will check your car for free. They offer this service for free in hopes you will buy the tools and parts needed to repair your car from them. In some situations, you may be able to even find an employee who can help you solve the problem right there on the spot, and this way you will not have to pay for a mechanic.

You can find some car diagnostic tools online that cost around $25. These can output the codes just like your local mechanic and the auto parts stores would. So, you will get a better idea about what problem is even before getting to the mechanic.

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