Onboard Diagnostics II (OBD2) is a diagnostic system that is included in every vehicle made after 1996. It is used to check the engine and other vehicle systems and communicate all the possible glitches that happen to them.
There was a time when a vehicle didn’t have an advanced computer system to tell the mechanic what was wrong with it.
With the introduction of new smog regulations and increased consumer demand for technology advancements, the new OBD2 system began to grow more and more sophisticated.
The OBD system was created by the California Air Resource Management Board (CARB), and it has come a long way since it was the introduction in 1996.
The OBD system is standard across all makes and models of new cars. This ensures that there is one universal connector that allows a single device to read results across a plethora of different makes and models all across the globe.
The OBD2 code reader has made it so much easier for technicians to diagnose problems in a vehicle. It enables a mechanic to pinpoint the problem instead of just guessing.
The modern code reader operates on a system that was similar to the previous one, which gives the mechanic different engine codes for each problem. An OBD-2 scanner is an essential tool for any vehicle owner to have.
Types of OBD2 Scanners
There are several different types of OBD 2code scanners currently on the market. Understanding these different variations will give you a better idea about what to look for in a code reader.
The fact that a code reader is such a useful tool is reason enough to add it to your shopping list as a car owner. Understanding the different functionality of OBD2 scanners allows you to make an informed decision when it comes to choosing the best one.
OBD2 code readers generally come in a compact form, usually in a no-frills design that incorporates an LCD screen and a few buttons to operate the device.
The traditional scanner is a small device that looks similar to the electrical voltage testing unit. You can expect it to connect directly to the vehicle via an OBD port that is generally under the dashboard.
If, for example, the vehicle has a check engine light that is on, the unit will read the trouble code and display it on the screen. In that way, the technician gets a better idea of what is going on.
These are the most common form of a code reader. Their price is usually the same as the price of a diagnostic test by a professional mechanic.
For a more in-depth scan, there is a new kind of scan tool that has hit the automotive market. These tools are generally much more technologically advanced. They offer a lightweight design and a connection between the vehicle and an app on a smartphone, for example.
These scanners can monitor engine conditions such as fuel pressure, and this gives vehicle owners a better idea of what’s going on under the hood.
While scan tools are a bit more expensive than your generic OBD2 reader, it’s often worth the additional investment for people who care about the maintenance of their vehicle.
The advantage of a gadget like GOFAR, for example, is the free app that comes with it that tells you in plain English what hundreds of the most common engine faults actually mean, as opposed to just giving you a code number and expecting you to figure out the rest – like a mechanic has to using a technical reference guide of some sort.
So basically, GOFAR tells you how to speak ‘mechanic’ which can be very handy when it comes to actually dealing with one.
What Can an OBD2 Scanner Do?
Surprisingly enough, an OBD2 scanner is quite a nifty tool. The OBD2 scanner can be used to troubleshoot automotive service codes, as well as to clear the codes.
There are several reasons why you’d want to clear a system code from a vehicle. The first of these is to make the check engine light turn off.
There are many states where a vehicle can’t be registered if there is a check engine light on the dashboard, and the OBD2 scanner can clear these codes reasonably quickly.
A good OBD2 scanner can also be used to troubleshoot things like the oil pressure, spark-plug misfires, and even pull the vehicle’s identification number from the internal computer.
These are all features that make an OBD2 scanner a must have tool for any vehicle owner who wants to keep up on their maintenance, as well as avoid costly diagnostic bills that an automotive mechanic would typically charge for using their supposedly high-tech tools.
How Do OBD2 Scanners Work?
An OBD2 scanner looks like a reasonably simple device, yeah? Well, it’s more than just a simple scanner. The OBD2 scanner will pretty much give you a detailed reading on everything that’s going wrong with your vehicle.
The connector is the SAE J1962 type, which is universal across all different makes and car models. Whether you have a Mercedes-Benz S500 or a Ford Raptor, you’ll still utilize the same connection to check vehicle service codes.
You can buy just about any OBD2 code scanner, and the unit will work on your vehicle. OBD2 scanners are not powered by anything except for the vehicle, which means that you don’t need to purchase batteries or charge the unit.
An OBD2 scanner is an essential tool that makes vehicle maintenance a more intuitive and in-depth process. Generally, an OBD2 scanner will always be able to read the vehicle’s trouble codes, but there are certain instances when this doesn’t happen.
Usually, it is because the unit might not be able to read the trouble codes due to a shorted out vehicle computer.
Choosing the Right OBD2 Scanner
The beauty of owning any vehicle that was built after 1996 is the fact that you’ll be able to utilize the OBD2 technology. A code scanner is a perfect tool to diagnose vehicle problems well ahead of when they might turn into expensive disasters.
They give you a chance to get such problems rectified without having to spend a lot of money on guessing what the problem could be.
Utilizing an OBD2 scanner is clearly a great way to protect yourself from being overcharged by a dishonest mechanic. Empowering regular car owners is one of the reasons why these tools have steadily grown in popularity as the tech became accessible via mobile devices like cellphones with a simple app.
Today’s OBD2 scanners are also much more affordable than they used to be, and you’ll be able to get an in-depth look at what is going on underneath your hood.
The most crucial aspect of vehicle maintenance is that it can detect problems ahead of time, keeping your vehicle on the road and saving you money in more ways than one.
A good OBD2 scanner is a valuable tool for any car owner who has been experiencing difficulties with vehicle maintenance. Check out GOFAR and try one of the most full-featured but affordable OBD2 based diagnostic tools on the market.