Communicating with your cars onboard computer has just been taken out of the hands of the trained professional mechanic and made available to anyone (currently living in Atlanta and North Carolina). For years we have paid fees to our mechanic for hooking up our cars to a Code Reader to tell us what was wrong with our cars.Â Each time they plug our car in it costs us anywhere from $25 to $85 or more in fees charged by the mechanic. With the Smart Auto Management (SAM) kiosk you can pull up and check your computer yourself just like you pump your own gas (just a different receptical… please do not put scanning port in your fuel spout).
Handheld scanners have been around for years too and are quite the convenience if you know how to work one and want to pay the money for the code/software updates. For many of us the need to read our cars computer is random and not something many want to be trained to do. By pulling up to aÂ SAM kiosk and for a simple charge of $15 on your credit card you can learn on your own what that knocking noise is or why your check engine light is on. This also takes the guessing game out of going to the mechanic as now you are coming to him with your specific need and not waiting on him to tell you what he is going to do for you.
Other reasons to use a SAM kiosk could be to check your car before heading out on that long drive or when purchasing a used car. A couple years ago I requested to have a used 2003 Mustang GT Convertible hooked up to the computer before I bought it. It was not that I didn’t trust the dealership (never do). It was just that I did not want any surprises after buying the car. Their response was a bit of a scoff at my request and that it really would only tell me if there was a problem with the car (duh) and that there was no problem with the car. Then they also told me that it would cost me $85. If a SAM kiosk had been around there is a strong likelihood that my test drive of the vehicle would have involved a trip to the kiosk to get a reading on the car myself. It would be just one more way to protect yourself. Watch for the opening of a SAM kiosk near you in the coming year. Currently there are 200 in Atlanta and NC, but their plans are to go nationwide.