How Does An OBD2 Scanner Work?

The technology has been ruling our lives for over a decade now. You would find computers in almost every place you go. It is hard to separate yourself from the computer and electronic; and when it comes to your car, the computer wins again.

Since 1996, the manufacturers are mandated to install an Onboard Diagnosis system generally known as the OBD2 system which helps you to handle your car in the most efficient of ways. The process is quite complicated but we can surely answer some FAQs which will surely pop-up in your mind.

How Does An OBD2 Scanner Work?

What does OBD2 mean and how does it work?

The OBD2 is an onboard diagnosis system which monitors almost each and everything happening inside your vehicle. The system gathers information from different parts and shows it on the monitor. The monitor can also send commands (on your choice) to different systems running in your car and collect information that is relevant to what you ask for.

The software operated by the OBD2 is quite sophisticatedenough to handle the things going on in your car and that too without a frequent wear and tear. These scanners are smart enough to assure a textbook ignition and even provides a perfect fuel mixture at each crankshaft revolution. In presence of this diagnose system, you just need to sit back, relax, and watch the OBD2 doing its job.

What going on in the background? How does the whole thing work?

People enjoy the benefits of having an OBD2 scanner, but that does not mean that the system is errorless. Almost all the car users do not know what is happening on the back end of their OBD2 scanner. This is the only reason why drivers usually panic when the system starts malfunctioning.

When a malfunction is about to happen, you will see an advance notification on your dashboard which will say “check engine light”. In simple words, this light is actually a malfunction indicator light which turns on when an error signal is sent to a powertrain control module, and it cannot decode the problem on its own.

The malfunction indicator light is the only thing which will turn the light on, on your dashboard. Even after the warning gets flashed on your monitor, the car will run in the normal manner. The most probable thing which will stop your car from functioning will be either an increase in fuel consumption or a significant power loss.

The powertrain control module stores a trouble code which will be checked by the technician or a mechanic to detect the problem and resolve it as soon as possible. The OBD2 scan tools were first used by the professional mechanics to diagnose a car because the price was too high for an ordinary individual to purchase it. But with the passage of time, the price value became consumer friendly and the product was soon used for private use by customers.

Now you can buy a basic trouble code reader for $20, and the most expensive is the $4000 priced modern OBD2 scanner which provides almost all the features with regular upgrades and supports the use of multiple languages.

How to use an OBD2 scanner?

The onboard scanners do not require you to master the automobile field, in order to get used to how it operates. The instructions might vary from model to model, but the basic operations will remain the same.

  1. Turn off your vehicle and find anOBD2 link connected on the left side of your steering wheel. Once the link connector is found, plugin your OBD2 scanner in it. The cable will normally contain a set of 16 plugs on its end which must be fit in order to make the OBD function.
  2. Turn on the vehicle by providing it the ignition. Wait for the OBD2 scanner to start functioning. Be patient throughout the process so that the system starts properly. There may be a power button that must be pressed in order to initialize the scanner. It is better to have an OBD2 scanner manual which is specifically made for the scanner that you are using.
  3. Once the scanner starts working, you just need to put all information which it asks for. The information will be vehicle oriented. The scanner will ask you to enter the VIN and engine model etc. You can immediately read or scan the system after the information is added. Again, it is completely based on the type of OBD2 scanner that you are using. The model that you are using might require you to push a button in order to initiate the first read. The other systems may ask the users to go through a list of different queries, in order to process the first command.
  4. Once the scanning is complete, the scanner will provide you with some trouble codes that you must write down. More often than not, your scanner will support a USB cable or a Bluetooth. So you can just simply transfer the codes to your laptop or your smartphone.
  5. The next step includes the checking of these codes. You can check the DTC codes on the manual provided by the supplier, in order to check what problem your car is facing. The manual will usually include the basic codes which are general in nature. The advance codes may be found on the internet. This is just because the advanced codes are subjective to each car model.
  6. Once you recorded the errors and interpreted them correctly, you can simply just turn the ignition off and plug the scanner out of the vehicle.

The OBD2 scanners are subjective in their use when it comes to the usage in detail. You can use the best OBD2 app for making the functionality easy for yourself.

About the author

Maria Zahid

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