There are a few ways you can get a free diagnostic test done on your car or truck.
All vehicles from 1996 and newer have an OBDII port under the dashboard that with a scan tool can read engine codes.
Many vehicles also have built-in diagnostics for basic troubleshooting.
Here are the best options to get a free or low-cost diagnostic scan of your car or truck.
How to Get a Free Diagnostic Test for Your Car
- Auto Part Store
- Vehicles Built-in Diagnostics
- Use a Smartphone OBD II Dongle
Most auto parts stores will use a scan tool to read the codes from a vehicles engine for free.
Be sure to call around first but it is common for auto part stores to do free test as a way to bring in customers.
Auto Zone has been particular ready to do a scan at least in my area. Each store is likely different since they will be different employees.
Simply be sure to call the stores closest to your location before going.
Most all cars and trucks will have a built-in diagnostic procedure.
For example most Dodge vehicles will display the error codes when the key is cycled on and off three times and left in the on position.
The code will display on the dashboard which can than be looked up.
Finding he code with the built in diagnostics is often confusing but with a little practice can done.
Read here to see how to use a Dodge car or truck built-in diagnostics.
This way is not free but very cheap and a good budget way to scan for engine codes.
They pair with a smartphone, tablet , or laptop and display the codes as well as other features such as clearing codes.
Having your own scan tool is almost a must if you plan on doing any repairs yourself.
A low-cost Bluetooth OBD2 is the cheapest scan tool option available.
Standalone scan tool are also available but cost much more compared to Bluetooth units.
Example Bluetooth OBD2 Dongle on Amazon
Panlong Bluetooth OBD2 OBDII Car Diagnostic Scanner Check Engine Light for Android – Compatible with Torque Pro
Finding the problem with your vehicle doesn’t require an expensive scan tool with a few options to get it done free or close to it.
If you have a few dollars to spend an OBD II Bluetooth dongle is a good option.
A vehicles built-in diagnostic is also good once you get used to how it works, every manufacture has a different built-in diagnostic function.
As long as the car is still running taking it to an auto part store and letting the employees scan it is also free.
Do you have any ideas for getting the codes on a car scanned for free? Let us know in the comments below.