Plug-In Devices Don’t ‘Diagnose’ Car Problems

March 29, 2019

All About Automotive_What Should I Expect From The Repair Facility That I Choose

There are new plug-in devices for the Data Link Connector of your vehicle that you can purchase, pay a subscription fee, and download as an app onto your phone. This combo is designed to help educate consumers about their vehicles, save them money by “diagnosing your vehicle,” and provides them with updated maintenance, technician service bulletins, and recall information. Some even have a mechanic hotline to call.

A couple of these devices that are really starting to advertise is Fixd and Hum by Verizon. OnStar and Sync have been doing something similar with the Vehicle Health Reports that they produce for their customers.

The general concept is great for consumers and can help with reminders about maintenance, recalls, and updates. The questionable part is if a warning light comes on your dash, there is a “diagnostic” report that you can print. It gives the diagnostic trouble code(s) that the computer sees and it gives an explanation of the codes and a narrative of the many possible fixes. This device does not perform detailed pinpoint testing, nor does it analyze the freeze-frame data from your vehicle from when the event occurred.

To perform proper testing, analyze the event, and interpret the results of the testing, however, it takes a highly qualified and trained technician with professional diagnostic equipment and the software or connection for vehicle information comparisons. This is the service you receive when you pay a diagnostic fee at a professional repair facility. It’s the only way to diagnose a vehicle with accuracy.

Happy Motoring!


All About Automotive, 139 NW 2nd Street, Gresham, OR 97030


Steve and Karen Johnston are owners of All About Automotive, providing auto repair and auto maintenance in Historic Downtown Gresham. If you have questions or comments, call them at 503-465-2926 or email them at