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i’ve seen numerous commercials about this thing called car md. it’s a device you can plug into your car and it can diagnose problems. it also has a website connected to it that tells you about your problem and what it should cost to fix it. does anyone know about this? is it something i should consider investing in? all input is greatly appreciated.

NO! You can get any codes read for free a most parts stores like Auto Zone.

thank you oldbodyman. my knowledge of mechanics fits in a thimble. i would never have thought of that.

This has been discussed on here before more than once. If you use the Search box at right (under the big red “Ask a Question” button) you will find discussions.

The CarMDs are more than code readers and also connect you to a big database of info about error code issues.

However, the commercials border on false advertising. In one of those threads you will find my own reflections after watching a bit of one of those commercials. IMHO the company should sued for the false impressions they provide in those infomercials. Its not directly in the statements made (clever lawyer tricks, I bet). Rather, it is in what is implied.

However, it isn’t useless and you will find varying opinions on whether or not it is worth the money. My own opinion is that you can do better for the same or less. Scan the web for various kinds of scantools. Scantools read error codes, but will also report/record/graph real time sensor info. The problem with any of these things is that the computer in a car is a lot dumber than many people give it credit for. All the car’s computer can do is provide data. An intelligent human who understands the systems still must interpret, check, test, etc.

My opinion is that CarMD’s advertising is misleading and fraudulent. They promote the perception that this device will provide the subscriber an instant and correct answer for one. Not necessarily so.

The worst part in my opinion is that some car owners will march into a shop to have a repair done based on what CarMD said and will instantly think they’re being ripped off if the shop doesn’t go along with the advice CarMD doled out.
If the shop installs a part per the customer’s request because CarMD said so and the problem still exists then there’s a fair chance the customer is going to be mad at the shop, not CarMD, and demand their money back because “the shop should have made sure of the diagnosis”, etc, etc.

CarMD airs half hour TV infomercials right along with time shares, weight loss pills, and miracle cleaning products so what does that tell you.
You also keep in mind that with many engine performance problems a code may not even be relevant or exist; as in vacuum leaks, fuel pressure hiccups, and so on.

In my viewing of it, it gets even worse than what ok4450 points out. The infomercials never say - but do directly imply - that it can tell you everything there is to know about the health of a car - including even things like brakes and suspension. Its more a sin of implication rather than direct lying. But it borders on direct lies. They imply that you can take it to look at used cars, plug it in and if the light goes “green” then you’re good to go. Holy cow is that terrible.

I have one actually, but only because I got it for free. It does what I want it to do, which is read codes and display them. What’s irritating is that it doesn’t JUST display them. No, you have to hook it up to your computer and log into a website and input your VIN, and you can only have 2 or 3 (I forget how many because I rarely pull it out) VINs active at a time. It’s irritating because when you’re reading basic OBD codes, having to jump through all those stupid hoops is a waste of time.

Of course, it has you do this so that it can read the codes and then display the page associated with whatever code you have - something which I find fairly useless because a web page cannot properly troubleshoot a fault code just by finding out what the code is.

Long story short, I wouldn’t buy one, but I haven’t tossed mine in the trash, either. As others have mentioned, in inexperienced hands, it’s going to lead to trouble, and false accusations directed at mechanics. In experienced hands. . .Well, experienced hands are unlikely to plunk down money for it, y’know?

i want to thank you all for your input in this matter. you have all been very helpful and i appreciate it. i don’t guess i’ll bother with car md.