The advancement of technology makes all complex tasks easy in almost every industry, and the automotive field is no exception. Nowadays, laptops are used significantly as an automotive scan tool to diagnose any vehicle. Besides diagnosis, you can modify, tune, and repair cars following the scan device information.
In addition, a laptop will help you manage numerous issues, and that also can be stored if you have enough storage and a longer battery backup. Sometimes these things can be difficult when you try to perform these tasks with a regular computer.
This is because these tasks require high-performing hardware to run high-end software. Besides, for someone using a laptop as an automotive scan tool can be challenging. For that in this context, we will provide a complete guideline about it. So, stay tuned by reading this context.
Is Using a Laptop as an Automotive Scan Tool Is Costly?
Most people probably think that using a laptop as an automotive scan tool is just for the garage or mechanic shops. But that doesn’t have to be true. This is because the diagnostics software used for automotive scan tools comes at a low price as well as the adapter is also affordable to buy. You will also find some diagnostics software costly compared to a traditional OBD II scanner.
But it doesn’t mean that you can’t use your laptop as an automotive scan tool. Even if you are a casual repairer, you can use a laptop for automotive diagnostics of your vehicle. This way, you can easily diagnose any car to find out errors, car tuning, or even modify the car through your laptop.
Advantages of Using a Laptop as an Automotive Scan Tool
Using a laptop is the easiest way to diagnose your vehicle by connecting to the OBD II device. Below we have outlined some significant advantages of using your laptop as an automotive scan tool.
- Plugging your laptop into the OBD II connector, you can easily check why your vehicle’s engine light comes. This way, you can acquire an idea of your overall car issues.
- Diagnosing your vehicle will be easy with any laptop. This will help you get rid of taking your car to the automobile mechanic every time.
- You can estimate the possible repairing cost by checking your vehicle issues before taking it to the mechanic or garage.
- With a laptop, you can diagnose all kinds of cars integrated with an OBD II device.
- Along with car diagnosis, you can do car tuning or modification using a laptop.
Do You Need a Special Laptop for Automotive Work?
Generally, a laptop is used for automotive work to perform different mechanical or automotive works. The most common tasks are diagnosing a car to find out errors, car tuning, or even modifying the car. Apart from that, you will need a laptop to perform many other tasks. You will require a powerful laptop for some tasks, such as performing car tuning on any vehicle.
This is because you will need to run the demanded and high-rated application for car tuning. That’s why you require the best specification laptop for your mechanical or automotive works. For example, you should go for the 8th generation Intel Core i5 processor; the RAM should be at least 4 GB to do your automotive work smoothly.
Along with that, your chosen laptop should be integrated with at least 256 GB SSD and also a longer battery backup. If your laptop doesn’t meet these requirements, you will not run the automotive software. You will find some laptops on the marketplace specially designed to perform automotive tasks. With these laptops, you can smoothly run high-end software that you will need to diagnose your car.
How to Use a Laptop as an Automotive Scan Tool
Using a laptop as an automotive scan device is not as difficult as you think. Below, we have pointed out a step-by-step guideline on how to use a laptop to diagnose a car.
- First, you must purchase a USB to OBD II cable that features a vehicle’s OBD II port to a laptop. You will find these cables at any automotive parts store.
- A diagnostics software will require displaying error codes, clearing error codes, and many other features on your laptop. Sometimes the software installation disk comes with the USB to OBD II converter cable.
- Once you have the cable and software disk, insert the installation disk on your laptop and install the software following the prompts. If the installation doesn’t start automatically, install the software manually.
- After successfully installing the software, you have to attach the components to your laptop. For that, carry your laptop to your car and turn on the ignition key, but do not start the engine.
- Now insert the USB port on your laptop and the other part of the cable into the OBD II port. The OBD II device is usually found in the driver’s side footwell, beneath the sterling well.
- Now run the installed diagnostics software on your laptop, and the software will automatically load all features besides error codes, from monitoring fuel mileage to checking emissions.
Which Configuration’s Laptop You Will Need to Use as an Automotive Scan Tool
Using a regular laptop as an automotive scan tool will be difficult as you have to use high-end software. This software requires a good configuration laptop that is able enough to run the software. Below we have demonstrated some things that should be integrated with your laptop if you want to use it for automotive work.
The processor is known as the brain of any laptop responsible for performing any task smoothly. As you have to use your laptop for automotive diagnostic tools, your laptop should be equipped with a powerful processor. You can go with a quad-core processor from Intel or AMD for a processor. This type of processor will give you the right amount of speed for performing your necessary tools. Avoid buying laptops integrated with dual-core or Hexa Core processors as they cannot handle the automotive workload.
SSD integrated laptops are the best choice if you want to get rid of the risk of hard disk failure and data loss. This is because the SSD doesn’t have any internal moving parts, so they are lighter, durable, and faster than regular HDDs. Although SSDs are more pricey than regular HDDs, they operate with low power consumption.
Most automotive diagnostics software doesn’t require more than 4 GB of RAM. But choosing a laptop that is equipped with 8 GB RAM is a good choice. This is because sufficient memory will help you to handle multiple programs at the same time. This way, you can smoothly switch programs to another. On the other hand, your laptop may lag and become relatively slow if you have lower RAM.
The display resolution greatly affects the output, which is crucial for inferior presentations. You will find 13 inch or 14-inch laptops on the market suitable for working on the go. Besides, you also have to check the screen brightness, especially if it can use direct sunlight outdoors. So choose a laptop with a vibrant screen with a full high-quality display.
As you have to use a laptop for diagnosing a car, you will need a longer battery life laptop. Choosing a laptop with at least 6-7 hours battery life will be best for technicians. Otherwise, you will not be able to use your laptop as an automotive scan tool when continuous power outlets occur.
While purchasing a laptop, especially for performing automotive tasks, you have to ensure that it has all features like a regular laptop. Common features are serial ports, USB ports, wireless connectivity, keyboard, and a webcam. Although the latest laptops are equipped with these features, you can choose based on your own needs.
Using a laptop is the easiest way to perform automotive tasks, including car diagnosis, car tuning, or modification. This will help you find any vehicle’s engine problems. As a result, you can estimate the repair cost before taking it to a garage or mechanical shop. However, most people don’t know how to use a laptop as an automotive scan tool.
That’s why in this context, we have presented a complete step-by-step guideline about using a laptop for performing automotive tasks. Typically, you will need a USB to ODB II port cable to connect the laptop to your vehicle’s OBD II device. Finally, you can receive all information about your car using diagnostic software.