What would be the best kind of friend? One that doesn’t say mean things to you but will tell you if something is wrong. One that shares information and communicates. How about if that friend was cute and petite as well? Well, we would probably hate her if she truly was our friend, but the CarMD is all of the above and we love it! The CarMD tool is designed to check the health of all 1996 and newer cars, light trucks, SUVs, and minivans sold in the United States.
It will tell you the likely reason your check engine light is on and will even let you know if you are likely to pass the smog test! The folks at CarMD headquarters were nice enough to give us one of their tools to try on our vehicles. And of course we were eager to give it a spin!
So how does it work? Well you basically plug it into your car and then plug it into your computer and it tells you if there are any issues. We tested it on our Dodge Magnum, Saturn L1, and Acura RSX. After finding our OBD II port (that’s where it plugs into your car – don’t worry there are instructions), we loaded the accompanying software onto our computer, and plugged in the unit using the provided USB cable.
Voila! The CarMD program appeared on our screen and told us how our car was doing! How great! We saw that all three cars had a green light (meaning there are no engine trouble codes to read) and would likely pass the next smog test. Whew! And we learned all of that without even stepping foot in a service bay.
Now, what if you get a trouble code? Well, the CarMD has a listing of all the trouble codes and what they mean as well as a price guide for the replacement original equipment (O.E.) part and standard labor for that repair. It will produce an easy-to-read diagnostic report for you. It will not give you accurate pricing if you decide to get parts other than the O.E. parts and remember that labor costs will vary. But the great thing is you won’t be blind-sided when you head in for what you thought was normal maintenance. CarMD doesn’t 100% diagnose the problem and you should still always take your car to an ASE-certified technician if the problem is too great for you to fix, but you will have a stronger grasp on the potential issues with your vehicle. And that in itself is empowering.
You get more than just the tester.
Once you become a CarMD customer, you’ll have access to the tools and
information you need to maintain and monitor your vehicle’s health. You receive:
• A handheld tester that links to your vehicle’s computer automatically via a port under your dashboard
• Access to www.CarMD.com, an online database that connects you to information previously only accessible to your mechanic
• Quick Reference User’s Guide, demo video, CD software, and USB cable to link the CarMD tester to a Windows®-based PC
• Access to the CarMD staff of ASE Certified Technicians who are specially trained to answer your questions and give you a complete diagnosis when you just can’t get to a computer.
The CarMD is definitely a woman’s best friend, but without the drama. And guess what? Ask Patty is giving away 25 CarMD tools! We are kicking off our first-ever creative writing contest at Ask Patty. Read all about it on our submissions page and get ready to win! Remember, there are 25 winners!