For over twenty years, every car has been required to have an Onboard diagnostics 2 (OBD2) system in order to operate. For those without a modern automobile, this can be extremely confusing. Instead of the vehicle diagnostics system (VDI) being mounted to your firewall or as a security measure, most cars come with a built in OBD2 system. The OBD2 system is comprised of two separate electronic chips – a portable unit and a computer. The computer serves as a tool for data recording and interpreting diagnostics related to the vehicle’s speed, engine speed, fuel consumption and other parameters.
As with any tool or device that is designed for use by mechanics, a quality OBD2 scanner can make a significant difference in whether or not a vehicle’s diagnostic trouble shooting sessions prove successful. Since 1996, nearly all automobiles have had an OBD2 system installed as standard equipment. Fortunately, there is no reason you cannot use this tool to keep your vehicle’s check engine light from flaring up when you need it most.
So, what exactly should you look for in an obd2 scanner? A quality OBD2 tool is one that not only features the necessary hardware components, but also a decent programming language for the novice mechanic as well. The handheld portable unit should be able to read the OBD codes generated by your vehicle’s computer in order to properly interpret its results. The language on the handheld unit should be simple to understand and simple to program.
Most of today’s handheld OBD2 scanners connect to their power source through a USB port. This makes it very convenient to take along with you wherever you go as long as the car’s battery is also powered. Many vehicles come with their own diagnostic computer system that can be accessed through the vehicle’s control panel. In most cases this tool is contained within the automobile itself. It is connected through the computer line, or a connection cable, to a laptop or personal computer. There are many computer applications available that can aid you in the process of diagnosing your vehicle.
Many of today’s modern cars come standard with built-in OBD2 scanners. If your car doesn’t have one, you can purchase one and connect it to your personal computer via the USB port. With the proper program, you can download the OBD2 scan data onto your laptop or personal computer. From there, you can view the codes and follow the instructions outlined in the manual that came with your vehicle. This is a great feature and is one of the reasons many car mechanics recommend using an obd2 scanner to diagnose a problem with their vehicle.
Many people don’t realize how useful an obd2 scanner can be until they have a problem with their vehicle. Most people who fail to troubleshoot their vehicle come across trouble codes on their odometer. These codes are used to help determine why the vehicle isn’t moving as it once did. For example, if the code for a specific gear has been flashing, it is most likely a failure in that area of the transmission. Once you find the trouble code, you can use the OBD2 scanners to troubleshoot the issue.
If your car comes with factory OBD2 scanners, you may be able to take scans of your vehicle yourself. However, most people will find the internet to be a better option. There are several websites dedicated to providing consumers with information on how to take OBD2 scanners with them when they buy a new or used vehicle. While these scanners do not replace the mechanical abilities of a mechanic, they can greatly enhance the information you receive from one. This can make a huge difference when you’re dealing with a serious vehicle issue.
While most of the information found on OBD2 scanners is self explanatory, you should still feel comfortable determining what each symbol means. Remember, just because a symbol is flashing doesn’t mean your car needs repair, only that it is experiencing some kind of mechanical failure. So before you take your vehicle to the shop for a tune-up, you should rather take advantage of an obd2 scanner and determine what it is that is causing the issues.