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How Long Does A Car Diagnostic Test Take? Here’s The Answer

How Long Does A Car Diagnostic Test Take? Here’s The Answer

Just like you visit your physician annually to keep your health under check, the same goes with your car too.

That is, your car also needs/deserves regular diagnostic tests by professional dealers or mechanics to undo issues in the car’s major components like engine, transmission, exhaust system, brakes, etc.

In addition to these, such tests are also helpful in detecting issues in the minor elements like the fuel injector, airflow, coolant, ignition coils, throttle, etc.

It is essential to avoid any hefty repair bill later on following a complete breakdown which could leave you stranded on the roadside anytime.

Hence, it’s unnecessary to head for your car’s diagnostic test only when the check engine lights turn on; you can reap several benefits of performing regular diagnostic tests of your car. To know more about this topic, continue reading.

How long does a car diagnostic test take?

There is no fixed period within which a car’s diagnostic test can conclude as the exact or even the rough time will depend upon a set of factors that would vary from car to car.

For example, a standard car’s diagnostic test can take approximately an hour to an hour and a half. Note that this time solely depends on the car’s condition and the present issues.

As the issues will become more complicated, a more detailed test would be the only option possible. In such cases, the test should take more time, say, 2-3 hours or even more than this.

Plus, the diagnostic test officer’s experience and speed will likewise govern the rate at which the test will take place, and consequently, the time it will take.

In a nutshell, the following are the factors that govern your car’s diagnostic test time limit.

  • The car’s make, build, and model.
  • The expertise of the officer undertaking the diagnostic test of your car.
  • The number of underlying issues in your car and their severity.

How much does it cost to do a car diagnostic test?

Here again, how much does it cost to do a car diagnostic test depends on many factors. For example, the place where the diagnostic test will occur and the country where the place falls are two significant factors that decide the cost.

A rough price range you can assume is generally $20-$400.

However, in some places, the lowest price can also start from $80-$100. Hence, the basis of competition between two or more mechanics or dealers can cause the costs to fluctuate.

Keeping in mind the usual fluctuations in your car diagnostic test price, you should always consult more than one mechanic or dealer before finalizing one.

It will help you get the work done at the lowest price without getting anything less than top quality. You can also check here that some dealers might even show interest in offering a free diagnostic test of your car.

But, you should be careful while dealing with anything that costs “nothing.” It is because first, some dealers will offer you a free car checkup.

Following that, they will try their luck hard in convincing you that your car is in serious trouble and need a profound test.

So, yes, a proper and thorough car diagnostic test is never free at a first impression. It’s merely an opportunity for the dealer or strategy to attract more car owners to their workspace.

But this doesn’t mean it’s terrible or a sort of fraud! If you get to have a free check done before a paid diagnostic test, it is suitable for your car and wallet.

Hence, look out for the reputed dealers or mechanics near you and learn if they offer a free preliminary car test. If yes, it’s your final place to get things done.

How often should you do a diagnostic test?

Your car runs smoothly like butter, and you don’t feel like visiting any mechanic for now. And it ought to happen.

However, thinking the other way in this situation and investing in regular car diagnostic tests can eradicate even the minutest chances of a breakdown later on.

Besides, below are some common instances that indicate when it’s time to visit a mechanic.

Check if the engine light is on

When your car’s check engine lights turn on, it’s the best indication of something going wrong in your engine or your car’s machinery.

Hence, immediately head to the nearby mechanic shop, where he will use a code-reading tool to discern what part of the engine is not working.

Something strange happens in your car

It’s easy for you to realize if something appears strange in your car.

Be it the engine’s sound, speed of the transmission, more efforts to put the gears on, and other things of similar kinds. If you can notice anything of such kind or anything else, it’s time for your car’s diagnostic test.

If and when you’re buying a used or a second-hand car

If you’re buying a used car, it’s another excellent opportunity to get the car’s test done to confirm whether the car is worth buying or not. It will also determine how much additional expenses you’ll incur in the future on that car.

It’s the regular checkup time

If you’ve taken your car for its diagnostic test for a year now, you should immediately take some time out for the same.


A car’s diagnostic test is very much the same as a routine checkup of humans.

Such a test utilizes specialized tools and other technologies to identify various issues persisting with your vehicle’s major components like engine, transmission, exhaust system, brakes, etc.

Such a test is also helpful in inspecting issues in the minor elements of your car like the fuel injector, airflow, coolant, ignition coils, throttle, etc.

Be it either case, it’s always a wise decision to invest in your car’s annual diagnostic tests through a reputed dealer or mechanic.