How to Guide

How Long Should a Car Diagnostic Take – 2024 Guide

The first step towards keeping your car performance consistent is taking it for regular checkups and getting a diagnostic test done. Whether you go to an auto shop or online to look for the best way to check the issue with your vehicle, you will be recommended a car diagnostic test.

While a car diagnostic test takes less time than manually checking all the components, you will still need to wait for a while for the complete results. Let us see how long a car diagnostic test should take and why it takes that long.

What is a Car Diagnostic Test, and How Does it Work?


A car diagnostic test is a computerized test performed in connection with your car’s internal computer to check the major components and whether or not they are performing appropriately. Almost all the vehicles being manufactured today come with an internal computer that helps the driver operate the major components and records their activity and operation.

The record of the operation allows the mechanic to determine the cause of the problem that has come up with the car. The car diagnostic tools use a scanner to detect the area which is causing the malfunction with the car’s performance. A car diagnostic test works to narrow down the area of the malfunction and then requires the expertise of the mechanic to help you resolve the issue.

How Long Does a Car Diagnostic Test Take?

The time taken to run a standard diagnostic test varies because it is dependent on a lot of factors. Ideally, a car diagnostic test takes only a few minutes. This helps save a lot of time and effort required to pinpoint the issue with the vehicle. The diagnostic test begins with checking the engine light reading. The preliminary code reading takes only a few minutes; however, more detailed checks will require a longer time to complete.

For a standard car diagnostic test with more detailed scanning, you can expect a waiting period of at least one to three hours. It depends on the mechanic’s expertise and the software of the diagnostic tool. Typically, you will require a preliminary test first, followed by a more detailed check to pinpoint the problem.

Most scanners allow you to look at the results in real-time so that you can multitask with the repair work as the test keeps running. Other times, you will have to wait for the full testing to be done to begin the repair work because more than one component may be malfunctioning at the same time. Whatever the case may be, we recommend that you be patient with the diagnostic test time period to get the most accurate results.

Why Does a Car Diagnostic Test Take So Long?


After you have done the basic test, which lasts a few minutes, it will depend on the professional if they want to do an in-depth scanning as well. If your car is functioning correctly, then a longer test will not be required. On the other hand, if any kind of malfunctioning is detected, the professional will require a closer look at the components to fix the problem at its root.

Unlike the common perception, a car diagnostic test does not pinpoint the exact location of the malfunction and only tells the general area. For instance, if the problem is with the engine, the technician will know where to begin the repair work. The exact cause of the problem will only be determined by the mechanic when they take a closer look at the component.

Therefore, even if the diagnostic test takes a few minutes or half an hour, you will have to wait for the mechanic to look closely and tell you the details of the problem. The time taken for a diagnostic test is therefore increased because it also includes the time taken for the manual check of your vehicle.

Why Should You Get a Car Diagnostic Test Done?

A diagnostic test is recommended at regular intervals as a preventive measure. The best part about using diagnostic tools is that you do not need the help of a professional and can do it yourself at home. If you include a diagnostic test in your maintenance schedule, it will help you see if all the components of the vehicle are functioning as they should.

If you want to invest in a car diagnostic tool of your own, you can contact You will save both time and money if you decide to own a car diagnostic test. Other times, getting the test done is only necessary when you feel that something is wrong with your car or if the check engine light turns on.

Benefits of Getting a Car Diagnostic Test


A car diagnostic test uses Autocom Vehicle Communication Interface or VCI. Autocom CDP+ works to make the diagnostic program more user friendly, which makes reading the results more straightforward and more efficient. Whether a mechanic or a car owner, the autocom software ensures that anyone reading can interpret the results without any complications to help fix the issue faster.

As mentioned before, you should treat the car diagnostic test as a preventative measure. Running the test does not take long, which is why you can see if your car requires repair or servicing of some kind to prevent breakdowns in the future. If you can perform minor repairs yourself, you will also save money that will otherwise amount to a hefty bill at an auto shop.

The Takeaway

Getting a car diagnostic test each time it encounters a problem will help it function optimally. Even if it takes longer than an hour to complete the diagnostic test, it is worth the time because any issue detected will be fixed right away. This guide was written to help you understand the details behind a car diagnostic test and its benefits. So, make sure you get the test done for the health of your car.

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