A car diagnostics scanner is a tool that helps you save money by diagnosing problems yourself. It allows you to read engine error codes, show live engine data, perform emissions tests, and more. With a good OBD2 Scanner and sufficient knowledge of mechanics, you can save up to 70 percent or more on vehicle checks and repair costs. There are some specific circumstances that will still require professional input, but a quality OBDScanner is a great way to cut down on the cost of auto repairs.
A scan tool is a small device that plugs into the car’s OBD2 port to communicate with the vehicle computer and read error codes. It can either be a standalone device or an app that works with your smartphone. The apps work by connecting the OBD2 scanner to your phone and displaying data on your screen. A wireless scanner will connect to your vehicle using a Bluetooth connection, while a wired one will have a USB cable that you can use to connect it to the OBD2 port.
Once you connect your scanner to the OBD2 port, it will power on and begin interpreting the code data from the vehicle’s onboard computer. The backlit display should list generic, manufacturer-specific, and pending codes. It should also display a summary of the code, which will help you determine its main cause.
Most modern vehicles use a computer system to control many of their systems. This includes the transmission, engine, and other components. The car’s computer monitors all of this information and sends commands to the various parts. It is responsible for regulating variables like air and fuel mixture, ignition timing, and road speed. When it detects an issue, the system will notify the driver by turning on the check engine light.
The scanner’s job is to find out what the problem is and then provide you with information that can help you fix it yourself or at least decide whether it’s worth attempting to repair it yourself or hiring a professional. A quality OBD2 Scanner will be able to retrieve information about your vehicle’s year, make, model, and VIN, so you can easily identify the problem and get started on a repair.
When connecting the OBD-II cable to the data link connector, be careful. The 16-pin plug is delicate, and you could bend the pins if you try to force it in. Once you have recorded the codes, turn off the engine and carefully unplug the scanner. Be sure to read the manual that came with your scanner for specific instructions on how to use it. A professional-grade scanner will likely have a graphing function that lets you see several parameters while the engine is running. This can be very helpful when diagnosing issues that don’t have a clear cause or are intermittent. Graphing also makes it easier to compare data over time and see patterns that might not be apparent otherwise.