What does an OBD Scanner do? Well, I should first mention what On Board Diagnostics (OBD) is. Most cars that were made from 1996 to today have standardized computer systems. These systems constantly monitor emissions and electrical sensors within your vehicle while it is being driven. This information is recorded and available to be retrieved via an OBD tool, which is essentially an automotive diagnostic tool. An OBD system can diagnose a problem before the driver recognizes it. Therefore it is an important component within your vehicle, which is very useful.
When your car is not working properly, a dashboard warning light or, a (MIL) malfunction indicator light, will illuminate. This lets the driver know something is wrong but not exactly, what is wrong. This is where an OBD Scanner tool comes into use. It can be plugged into your vehicle easily and report a code. This in turn, will give you further information about what, is wrong. With all the complex electrical and mechanical systems within a car today it can be hard to troubleshoot issues without one.
There are two different types of scanners, your basic “code reader” that can read and clear codes, and a more advanced “scan tool” that can perform various different functions. The more advanced scan tool will allow you to view real time data and recorded, as well as provide advanced troubleshooting information. The most widespread application of an OBD scanner is for emissions testing but its ability expands its use into many different aspects of your car’s performance. Once you get a code it is important to define the code correctly without the proper reference you could mistake a P0303 for a P0455. The first being a misfiring cylinder, and the second code meaning you have probably not screwed in your gas cap. There are a wide range of useful things that it can report.
Whatever you may intend on using an OBD scanner for, it is a very handy tool to have in your arsenal when repairing a vehicle. Whether you are drag racing the local competition or just want to troubleshoot something, you think may be wrong with your vehicle, an OBD scanner can help. If you do not have access to a scanner, many car accessory shops will allow you to get your car’s trouble codes free or you can take it into your local dealership or auto shop for a fee.