Why do more car owners advocate having an OBD2 scanner ready in vehicles? In this article, we’ll do a quick look at car diagnostic tools and try to convince you why you need an OBD2 scanner today!
Why buy an OBD2 scanner?
On-Board Diagnostic 2 (OBD2) scanners are tools to diagnose and troubleshoot issues with a vehicle’s engine and other systems. To be more specific, OBD2 scanners:
Diagnose engine problems
When the “Check Engine” light comes on, use an OBD2 scanner to read the codes stored in the engine control module (ECM) or powertrain control module (PCM) to determine the source of the problem.
OBD2 scanners can also monitor a vehicle’s emissions system. This is important because many states require you register vehicles to pass an emissions test.
Reset fault codes
After you fix a problem, an OBD2 scanner can clear the fault codes stored in the ECM or PCM. This will turn off the “Check Engine” light and allow the vehicle to pass an emissions test.
Improve fuel efficiency
OBD2 scanners can also monitor a vehicle’s fuel efficiency by tracking data such as the air/fuel ratio, engine speed, and throttle position. This information can be used to diagnose issues that may be reducing the vehicle’s fuel efficiency.
OBD2 scanners are essential tools for both mechanics and car owners. They provide information about a vehicle’s health and can help prevent repairs down the road – saving you valuable time and dollars along the way.
How to use an OBD2 scanner?
Using an OBD2 scanner is generally a simple process. Here are the general steps to use an OBD2 scanner:
- Locate the OBD2 port
The OBD2 port is usually located under the vehicle’s driver’s dashboard. It may also be found under the centre console or in the engine compartment. Refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual if you need help locating it.
- Connect the scanner
Plug the OBD2 scanner’s cable into the OBD2 port on your vehicle. The scanner may power on automatically, or you may need to turn it on manually.
- Follow the prompts
The scanner will usually prompt you to enter your vehicle’s information, such as make, model, and year. Follow the prompts on the screen to enter this information.
- Scan for codes
Once you have entered your vehicle’s information, the scanner will start scanning for diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs). DTCs are codes stored in the vehicle’s computer that indicate a problem with a particular system.
- Read the codes
Once the scanner has finished scanning for codes, it will display any DTCs that were found. Write down the codes or take a picture of the screen for reference.
- Clear the codes (optional)
If you have fixed the problem that caused the DTC, you can clear the codes using the scanner. This will turn off the “Check Engine” light on your dashboard. Clearing the codes will also clear any stored data in the vehicle’s computer, so ensure you have recorded any necessary information before doing so.
- Interpret the codes
Once you have the DTCs, you can use the scanner’s manual or a website to interpret the codes and determine the system causing the problem. This will help you diagnose and fix the issue.
It’s important to note that OBD2 scanners may have slightly different steps and features, so read the instructions with your specific scanner.
What is the difference between OBD and OBD2?
OBD and OBD2 are two different standards for vehicle diagnostics:
- OBD (On-Board Diagnostics) is the original standard for vehicle diagnostics and was introduced in the early 1980s. It uses a proprietary connector and protocol that varies between manufacturers. Different manufacturers use different connectors and communication protocols, making diagnosing issues across multiple vehicles difficult.
- OBD2 (On-Board Diagnostics 2) is a standardised diagnostic system introduced in the mid-1990s. It uses a standardised diagnostic connector and protocol, making diagnosing issues across different vehicles easier. OBD2 has been mandatory on all cars sold in the United States and Canada since 1996 and in Europe since 2001.
Some critical differences between OBD and OBD2
- Connector: OBD uses a proprietary connector, while OBD2 uses a standardised diagnostic connector.
- Communication protocol: OBD uses a proprietary communication protocol that varies between manufacturers, while OBD2 uses a standardised communication protocol that is the same for all vehicles.
- Diagnostics capabilities: OBD has limited diagnostic capabilities and only provides access to several engine parameters. OBD2, however, allows access to a much more comprehensive range of engine parameters and other vehicle systems, such as the transmission, brakes, and airbag systems.
Do you need a full system or a basic OBD2 scanner?
The main difference between a full-system OBD2 scanner and a basic OBD2 scanner is their level of diagnostic capabilities. To be more specific:
- Diagnostic capabilities
A full-system OBD2 scanner is designed to diagnose and provide detailed information about various vehicle systems, including engine, transmission, ABS, SRS, etc. It can read and clear codes, display live data and perform advanced diagnostics.
A basic OBD2 scanner, on the other hand, is designed primarily to diagnose the engine system and may only provide access to basic diagnostic codes and live data.
- User interface
A full-system OBD2 scanner typically has a larger and more advanced user interface with more options and settings, while a basic OBD2 scanner has a more straightforward interface with fewer options.
Full-system OBD2 scanners are typically more expensive than basic OBD2 scanners due to their advanced capabilities and features.
- User level
Professional mechanics and automotive technicians usually use full-system OBD2 scanners, while basic OBD2 scanners are designed for car enthusiasts and DIY users.
The choice between a full-system OBD2 scanner and a basic OBD2 scanner will depend on your specific needs and budget. If you only need to diagnose basic engine issues and are on a budget, a basic OBD2 scanner may be sufficient. If you need to diagnose and repair multiple vehicle systems or work as a professional mechanic, a full-system OBD2 scanner may be a better investment.
Where can you get an OBD2 scanner?
OBD2 AUSTRALIA recognises the need for an Aussie company to design and provide quality accessories that will give you the information you need from (and about) your vehicle. These include OBD2 scan tools – from the basic scanners to full-system scan tools.
If you need an OBD2 scanner today, OBD2 Australia will provide it and back it up with high-level customer support. Whether clearing those annoying trouble codes or performing a comprehensive check on your vehicle system, that diagnostic scan tool is always one click away!