An automotive endoscope allows you to get into hard-to-reach, or see, spots of your car without taking the car apart. Essentially, it's a super tiny camera with a long flexible hose that you can wind into hard-to-reach areas for inspection. With modern advances in technology, endoscopes can connect to a smartphone or tablet to easily display what the camera sees. Others are stand-alone devices and include their own display connected to the camera probe.
These endoscopes come with long flexible cords that are easy to maneuver through tight spaces. As technology has progressed, the cords have improved, as have the cameras becoming smaller and thinner to fit in even tighter spots. The prices have decreased significantly over time as well, making these affordable even for do-it-yourself car mechanics.
Endoscopes also offer a built-in LED light to illuminate the darkest recesses of your car engine. The camera probes come in a variety of lengths, including 1, 3, and 5 meters, and several different thickness options. Endoscope probes can be found in a variety of configurations including single-lens, dual-lens, auto-focus, rigid or flexible depending on your needs. The cameras can capture both photos and video. Stand-alone models include their own memory card otherwise the images can be stored on your mobile device or computer.
Endoscope cameras are rechargeable with a wall charger. Furthermore, they typically include accessories like a mirror, hook, and a magnet. These allow you to not only see, but to grab onto small items like a loose ring or a dropped bolt. Many of the screens also offer a high resolution for fantastic views inside the work area. Lastly, if you are on a budget, the cheapest options save money by using your mobile device or computer for a display screen.
A borescope is a more general term used to describe a visual inspection device with an optical lens and light at one end of a flexible or rigid tube and a digital display or some other viewing method at the other end for the inspector to view. An endoscope is the medical term for the same device, so that usually describes a tool used by surgeons in an operating room, however they are sometimes used interchangeably. If you were to call something an automotive endoscope or an automotive borescope then the terms are more or less interchangeable so there isn’t much of a difference.
Automotive endoscope cameras are used to fix cars without taking the car apart. The camera can maneuver into hard-to-reach places so you can use the camera to look at the seating of the valves inside the combustion chambers through the spark plug hole without removing the head. A camera with LED lights can illuminate a pitch-black area like the inside of an exhaust manifold. The applications are endless, with a variety of options. Many people can solve difficult problems with the flexible lighting options an endoscope offers.
The tools are useful for checking pistons, spark plugs, inner walls of exhaust pipes, cylinder heads, and much more. Additionally, these are flexible tools that can be used for more than just automobiles. Around the house, garage, or shop, these devices can go where other cameras cannot, such as into garbage disposals, pipes, and other hard-to-reach areas.
Yes, many endoscopes include waterproof probes. However, the screen part may not be waterproof, so you will still need to use caution when using liquids such as oils or water around the display portion of an endoscope. The part of the scope with the cable and the camera with the light will be waterproof, allowing them to go into most areas of any car, however do not put the camera probe into gasoline or other solvents.
Many of the endoscopes available include a rain-resistant monitor. While they can handle a little water spilled on the screen, they cannot handle underwater use. The probes, however, are waterproof and can handle going in liquid. Do not use a camera in extreme temperatures as this can damage the camera.
Owning your own vehicle inspection camera can save you time and money. While most auto mechanic shops now have endoscopic cameras, they cost a fortune in labor costs. A borescope or endoscope both come in at reasonable costs and allow you to fix your car yourself, saving money on labor fees.
Smart equipment like an endoscopic camera offers a variety of uses not just for cars but for smaller areas of the home too. Find out the problem and fix it yourself or at least use the camera to ensure a professional cannot give you false information. You can become a professional yourself with very little financial investment with the correct inspection camera.
To use an endoscope camera, first turn on the screen display. Make sure the camera is working and the LED light. Wind the cable into the area of the car you need to see into and view the internal area. Move the camera as needed to get a full view of the area with the camera. Now you can take photos or video and make a diagnosis and see if the hard-to-reach area is the issue.
Once you are done with this area, take the cable out carefully and move to a new area or turn the device off. Always take the time to remove oils, debris, or other substances that may have gotten on the camera or cord to ensure the longevity of the product. Some scopes include hooks you can use to retrieve dropped items. Clean the hooks completely as well.
Take pictures, videos, or both of the work area to help you better gauge how to solve the problem. If you encounter resistance, it's best to stop immediately to prevent damage to the vehicle and the camera. Pull the camera probe out slowly. Never remove the probe forcefully as this can damage the camera and equipment.
As with all products, before purchasing an endoscope, look for the exact perimeters you need to avoid the need to repurchase a different product. Consider your budget carefully and avoid an endoscope that does not work with the operating system of your choice. If the device has connectivity issues, it's best to avoid them as it will not be reliable. Also, avoid very short cord lengths too as that limits your access options. Finally, if the endoscope does not have accessories, it's best to find an option that does.
Upon buying an endoscope, check for issues before the first use. Make sure the light functions and the camera image is clear. If you find cracks, dings, or other issues, return the product.