It wasn’t so long ago when cars were relatively simple machines. Even in the 1980s, so long as you had some rudimentary mechanical knowledge you could perform basic repairs and maintenance on your own driveway or in your garage.
Today that’s no longer the case. Cars in 2021 are incredibly intricate and complicated, with 1000s of parts and electronic systems keeping them rolling. They are, in simple terms, mobile computers, their functions governed and controlled by software.
Despite the leaps in quality, safety and comfort modern cars are not DIY-friendly. Simply popping the bonnet and peering into the engine bay with a torch won’t tell you what’s going wrong with the car at all. You need to access the car’s computer to stand a chance of learning what that annoying knocking sound is, or why the engine warning light has come on.
That’s where Otofix comes in. Otofix, owned by global automotive technology giant Autel, produces a range of cutting-edge diagnostics tools that can simply be plugged into a car’s computer via something known as the OBD port.
Using an Otofix device you can learn what’s wrong with your car in minutes, if not seconds. That then enables you to either order the required parts to repair the car yourself or, more likely, inform a workshop before taking it in so they don’t charge you for the time they spend diagnosing a problem, and so they can order the parts in.
Here we give an overview of Otofix’s most popular and most useful products.
One of the most crucial parts of any car is the battery. If the battery is in poor health or failing, then the rest of the car is useless. This entry-level device from Otofix looks at first glance like a standard voltage tester, but it offers a far more detailed report on the state of a battery than most tools on the market.
The BT1 can diagnose both the cold start capability of a battery as well as the reserve capacity. To read the data you need to download an app via IOS or Android or use it in conjunction with the DT1 device we explain below, and it works on all common forms of car battery – AGM, gel and liquid.
Like the BT1 Lite, the BT1 is a battery tester but it comes with a much broader range of functions than the entry-level device. Aimed more towards mechanics and repair professionals, the BT1 features a 5.5-inch tablet to display diagnostics information.
It also comes with a printer so physical reports can be added to a car’s files or shown to a customer, as well as an email function to send reports directly from the workshop. The BT1 can also be plugged into a car’s OBD port to restore the functions of the car which were shut down by removing the battery, as well as delete any error messages which have been addressed by replacing the battery.
The ultimate diagnostics tool, the D1 plugs into a car’s OBD port and displays faults and errors via a 7-inch tablet powered by Google Android and a long-life rechargeable battery. Not only can it tell you what’s wrong with the car, it’s bi-directional, meaning it gives the operator control over the modules.
The OBD device is separate from the tablet, communicating wirelessly via Bluetooth, so it’s incredibly easy to use. The D1 can read most cars on sale and can be updated as new models come out, which makes it the perfect tool for professional mechanics. There are cheaper diagnostics tools on the market, but few are as comprehensive as the D1.
Just as cars themselves are complex and computer-controlled, so too are car keys. Modern key fobs are programmed with computer code that can recognise individual cars to open and start them. While that makes our day to day driving lives easier, it also means it is hugely problematic if we lose our car keys or they stop working.
The IM1 is aimed at the automotive locksmith professional, enabling users to re-programme a faulty key fob to open and start a particular car. It supports the programming of more than 2,000 car models and provides reports on faults via a tablet. It also stores reports on the cloud so they can be accessed from anywhere and shared with others.
This content is sponsored by Autel