How to Diagnose a Car with a Laptop?

Article Write: | Latest Update On: March 3, 2022

Machines can break down, cars develop frequently, and finding the exact spot may be difficult, mainly manually. Running a diagnosis is the best thing to do, but not everyone knows how to diagnose a car with a laptop.

Therefore, how to diagnose a car with a laptop? Finding fault with your vehicle can be pretty simple if you have the right tool and knowledge. You will need a computer, the fitting kit, and simple steps to carry the diagnosis out.

This article will provide you with insights on how to use a laptop to diagnose your car and equip you with the needed skills to keep your vehicle in good shape mechanically and detect faults that can damage your vehicle or make you spend more on repairs.

What is Diagnostic Testing?

Diagnostic testing for cars is simply the use of diagnostic tools in running digital analyses of the various parts of a vehicle. It means that faults can be detected whenever a diagnostic tool is used.

What is Diagnostic Testing

Diagnostic tests can show the problems with a car’s system and components such as the engine, brakes, ignition coils, throttle, exhaust system, and other vital features. It detects whatever fault the car has to carry out repairs on those faulty parts.

A vehicle does not have to be faulty before a diagnosis is carried out. Most times, it is carried out to prevent faults from developing. A car can be systematically diagnosed using a laptop, mobile phone, and other diagnostic devices.

This diagnosis is carried out with the aid of the OBD (on-board Diagnostics ), a computer system installed inside your car by the producer of your vehicle straight from the factory.

The OBD collects information from the different sensors inside the vehicle. The system can then inform the user by displaying messages on the dashboard or sometimes regulating the car system. In other words, the OBD allows a car to diagnose or report itself.

For the sake of clarity, the OBD system is divided into two. The OBD I and OBD II;

The OBD I can be found in vehicles produced in the early years ( before 1995). It was designed to run diagnosis and relay information to the user or technician whenever a cord is inserted through the ODP port in your car cord is connected to a scanner.

The OBD ii, on the other hand, transmits information either with cord, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi and is supported and found in cars produced after 1996.

The Benefits of Computer Diagnostics Testing

The benefits of running a computer diagnostic test cannot be overemphasized as it reads and discovers faults that are usually not readable. It allows you to get to the root of every problem developed in your car. Below are the benefits of using a computer diagnostic test.

The Benefits of Computer Diagnostics Testing

  • It can identify problems quickly and accurately and shortens repair time as the fault is already known.
  • Early detection of defects can cut short the total expenses on repairs which may be severe if not detected early.
  • It is a cost-effective and efficient way of seeing faults in a car as the defects are addressed right away.
  • A diagnostic test on a computer can check a car’s repair history, which can help mechanics understand your vehicle.

How to Diagnose a Car with Laptop?

There are standard scanners for diagnosing vehicles. Cars with OBD II can use a laptop in running diagnosis. In other words, you can use a computer to run a diagnosis on vehicles produced after 1996. Before running a diagnosis on that vehicle of yours, you will need the following ;

How to Diagnose a Car with Laptop

  • A Laptop
  • Purchase a laptop OBD II interface kit: This kit can be bought in stores that deal with automobiles or even online. Inside this kit is a disc containing the software to be installed on your laptop, or you can download the software online too. There is various potent software online.

How to diagnose a car using a laptop? can be taken care of following these simple steps;

  1. Step i: Unbox your OBD ii interface kit, extract the disc, or look for a scanning program online.
  2. Step ii: install the software disc and follow the instructions. Still, in a case where installation does not begin automatically, you might need to proceed to “my computer” and install the program.
  3. Step iii: connect the scan cable to your laptop and the other end to the ODB ii port in your vehicle. ( Usually located in the footwell on the driver’s side just below the steering wheel)
  4. Step iv: Open the installed software program on your laptop and click.
  5. Step v: Turn the ignition to the on but do not start the engine and click the Scan icon on your laptop screen.

While running this diagnosis, the program on your laptop downloads some codes transmitted from your vehicle. Technicians can translate these codes to understand the faults in your car, or you can search online for the trouble code, especially from the manufacturer’s address.

How to Diagnose a Car with a phone?

Diagnosing your car can be made possible with an OBD ii device and a smartphone and the application on your phone too. For clarity, an OBD II device is simply a device you can plug into your OBD ii port that helps you scan your vehicle for malfunctions.

How to Diagnose a Car with a phone

This OBD ii device does not have the means of fixing faults, but it will report whatever case it finds in a readable and simple format that the vehicle owner can understand.

You can take the following steps when diagnosing your car with a smartphone and OBD II device.

  • Step i: Plug the OBD II device or adapter and download the diagnostic app on your phone for the OBD II adapter you are using. Most OBD II adapters always have apps that you need to install.
  • Step ii: Turn on the Bluetooth on your mobile phone to connect to the adapter.
  • Step iii: Turn the ignition on but do not crank the engine.
  • Step iv: After turning on the ignition, the OBD ii adapter will show in the Bluetooth list of your phone. Select the adapter
  • Step v: input PIN when prompted; the pin is usually in the instruction paper that came with your ODB ii adapter. After doing so, the adapter connects to your smartphone. Most pin codes are either 0000 or 1234.
  • Step vi: Open the installed app on your phone, and the app will scan.

How to Diagnose a Car Using FIXD?

What is FIXD? FIXD is a diagnostic device used in detecting faults in vehicles. In other words, it is an OBD ii adapter that can help your car run a perfect and complete diagnosis. FIXD helps find common problems and shows warnings about technical faults, and it also provides a detailed analysis.

How to Diagnose a Car Using FIXD

FIXD can translate over 7000 error codes and alerts for the issues concerning the car. It helps to provide this information in simple messages. It can monitor your vehicle continuously, saving and cutting costs on repairs as cases are always reported, and you can make fixes.

FIXD can be used to diagnose a car by doing the following ;

  • Step I: Download the FIXD app from the app store.
  • Step ii: Go to Bluetooth settings on your phone, turn the Bluetooth on, and it will pair automatically with FIXD.
  • Step iii: Click the FIXD app and register an account.
  • Step iv: select the preferences for repairs and enable reminders for maintenance
  • Step v: Select the “I have a FIXD sensor” button
  • Step vi: input the code located on the back of the FIXD device into the FIXD app on your phone.
  • Step vii: Fix the FIXD adapter into your OBD ii port.
  • Step viii: Ensure that the FIXD adapter flashes a blue light after putting it in. it indicates that it is properly connected.
  • Step ix: Lastly, turn the ignition on and leave the FIXD device running for a minimum of 5 seconds before making a connection.

The FIXD adapter works with the free FIXD app downloaded from your app store. This app will help you understand your car’s issues by relaying the necessary information.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ’s)

Is there a car diagnostic app?

There is a car diagnostic app to be used alongside the ODB ii scanner

What software do mechanics use to diagnose cars?

Mechanics make use of OBD software to diagnose cars

Do OBD ii scanners work on all cars?

No, OBD ii scanners do not work on all vehicles. They work on car models produced after the year 1996 till date

How long does an ODB ii scanner take to scan?

FIXD, for instance, works in a relatively shorter period than most scanners

What diagnostic OBD ii scanner is the best?

FIXD is one of the best scanners available on the market, with positive reviews

Can an ODB ii scanner fix minor faults in cars?

The work of an ODB scanner is to detect malfunctions in your car and not to fix them. Professionals can carry out repairs

Why is it important to do a car diagnostic test?

Making a diagnosis on your car saves it from severe damage and helps you to avoid huge repair costs in the future

How much does a car diagnostic scanner cost?

There is variation in prices ranging from cheap to expensive, but a FIXD scanner will cost $59 for a one-time purchase.


Carrying out timely diagnosis is the perfect way to safeguard your car and save extra money on repairs not detected early. Running diagnostics for yourself can be easy and convenient, and the benefits attached to running diagnostics are significant. Timely and regular diagnosis is key to the life span of any vehicle. With the guides in this article, questions concerning how to diagnose a car with a laptop? have been addressed.


Hello! This is Robert Link, the owner, and author of this site. By profession, I’m a businessman. I’ve been doing business for almost 10 years and my business is related to technological products and goods. Besides my business, I’ve another identity as a blog writer. Writing is actually my passion. I love to help people who want to learn about technology products and gadgets. This is why I actually create this site“techiesstuff”.

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