How To Use an OBD2 Scanner – Step by Step Easy Guide

An obd2 scanner might be unknown to many people, however, it is one of the best devices that could help you monitor the health of your car and plan the maintenance accordingly.

While there are people who consider the obd2 scanner worthless and easy to use, these are just wrong assumptions. For most advanced cars, even if you take the car to an expert for maintenance, they could be using an obd2 scanner to check the current health of the car. Based on the result, further maintenance is planned.

Types of OBD Scanners

There are majorly two types of OBD scanners. The first ones are the code readers, and the second one is the scan tools. Check more information about them below.

  • Code Readers – Code readers are the most affordable gadget that you can get to troubleshoot a problem. They are readily available in the market, and they can fetch you the problem code very quickly. The only problem with this type of OBD Scanner is that they won’t interpret the codes for you, and you will have to rely on the online open-source data or the online communities to find out the meaning of the code. This is deliberately done by the manufacturer so that you buy another device to read the codes.
  • Scan Tools – These are expensive code readers, and they have a lot of advantages over code readers. The code readers provide you with extra information about the codes and how to resolve them. Apart from this, the scan tools also give you access to live and recorded data. So, the scan tools offer a higher level of utility, but it comes at a price.

Apart from these two types of OBD Scanners, you will find one another categorization. This is a wired vs. wireless OBD Scanner. The wired ones need to be connected to a laptop using a cable, whereas the wireless ones can be connected to your mobile, and it will fetch you the data you are looking for.

How does OBD Scanner work?

The working of the OBD Scanner depends on the model that you purchased. The model determines the access level, and based onit; the functionalities may vary. The code reader will only tell you about the code, whereas the scan tool will read and interpret the code. Apart from this, it will show historical data and help you clear the fault codes. For using the OBD Scanner, you need to insert the OBD Scanner into the car’s OBD port. Now, give it some time, and it will initialize the setup.

Ensure that your device is connected to the OBD. If not, initialize the wireless/wired connection and let the OBD Scanner complete the analysis. Once that is done, the information will be shown on the display of your smartphone or laptop. It will show the errors, status of the sensors, power generated, and the vehicle’s fuel consumption. You can scroll through the various options on the OBD Scanner tool, and you can use it to clear the error codes, if any. You can also perform the maintenance of the car depending on the fault. Most of the time, the brand will also provide you with the manual, and you can check out the detailed manual to understand the fault codes on your vehicle.

How To Use OBD2 Scanner

With all these facts told, if you are a beginner, then, you should know that, if the obd2 scanner is not used in the right way, it could not help you analyze your car health. This is why you should not neglect any steps listed below.

There might be a small difference in the way you use different obd2 scanners based on their design. However, as mentioned, they are just small differences only.

OBD2 Scanner for the Cars

Step 1: Your car would have a data link connector right under the control panel of your car. You need to plug in your obd2 scanner into this data link connector. Remember, your vehicle engine should not be running while plugging in the obd2 scanner.

Step 2: Once you have connected the obd2 scanner, you need to turn on the engine ignition and start the engine. Then you need to wait for the scanner to boot up. Remember, based on the model of your obd2 scanner, the time for boot-up might differ.

Step 3: After the obd2 scanner boots up successfully, it would prompt the user to input some answers to the questions. You need to enter all the details as requested, this could include the car model, engine type, etc.

Step 4: After you enter all the details as requested, you need to wait for the obd2 to process the details and to analyze and scan the diagnostic system of your car. If the process does not start automatically, you should press the start button, if you can’t find the button, then check the user manual for more information.

Step 5: Once, the scanning is completed, the obd2 scanner would display some codes on the screen, if the process was not successful, an error message would be displayed. No matter what, you need to note down the codes displayed on the screen.

Step 6: Now, you need to pick up the scanner manual that came with the obd2 scanner. Remember, every obd2 scanner will have a manual and this manual would have the codes and their details.

Find out what each code displayed on the obd2 scanner means. If you cannot find any code details, then you should Google it to find out. The codes for different cars might be different and therefore, you should not expect to find all code details in the scanner manual.

Step 7: After you have noted down the codes, you need to turn off the engine first, and then disconnect the obd2 scanner carefully. Remember while connecting and disconnecting the obd2 scanner, you should not be harsh. If you handle it harshly, the connector could break or come off. The obd2 scanner plug has 12 very delicate pins, they are not replicable, if the pins break, then you will have to replace the entire device.

Please note: Not all obd2 scanners are durable, some of them are fragile. Therefore, you should not carelessly place the obd2 scanner on the engine and walk off. Some obd2 scanners might malfunction if they fall, for the price at which obd2 scanners come, carelessness could do more harm. Apart from this, always connect the obd2 scanner first and then start the engine, do not try to connect the obd2 scanner while the engine is running, it could corrupt the obd2 software.

OBD2 Scanners Using Do’s and don’ts

There are particular Do’s and Don’ts associated with any gadget or device that you purchase. In this section of the page, we will talk about the OBD Scanner’s Do’s and Don’ts. Go ahead and check them out below.

  • Connecting to port Properly – The first part of the process is to connect the OBD Scanner. You need to ensure that you are connecting the OBD Scanner to the right port and inserting it in the correct direction. Any improper action can damage the OBD port of the car.
  • Running the Car for Initializing – Now, you need to turn on the car’s engine, and you would need to wait for a little so that the OBD port gets power and OBD Scanner initializes. This takes about a minute to complete. During this time, you will see a lot of LEDs blinking.
  • Entering the information Correctly – The OBD Scanner will ask you for some information about the car. This is a crucial step as the code will be interpreted based on the manufacture and VIN information. So, you will have to enter all the details, and it is important to ensure that you enter the details correctly.
  • Saving the Required Data – After the scan is complete, many people unplug the OBD Scanner,which is a problem. You should never do that, and instead, you should first save the data. The error code information, along with all the other details, should be saved. You can note the information, or you can transfer it to a document on a laptop. You can also take a screenshot on your phone to save the data.
  • Unplugging the Scanner Correctly – Again, don’t just unplug the scanner once the scanning is done. Instead, turn off the ignition first and then unplug the scanner. Ensure that you store it properly, or else the pins may get damaged.

Below are some of the don’ts associated with the OBD Scanner

  • Don’t be Impatient – While you are using the OBD Scanner, don’t be impatient. Give it some time to read and analyze the data. Do not turn off the engine or do not press the accelerator. This can lead to inaccurate readings, and it can further cause a problem for you.
  • Don’t unplug the Scanner Midway – Some people unplug the scanner midway, and this can cause some additional error codes to appear. If you are using the OBD Scanner, then ensure that you don’t unplug it midway. You need to wait for the scanning to complete and then unplug the OBD Scanner.
  • Don’t forget to save the data – The last step of the task is to save the data. Some OBD Scanners have an in-built memory to save the data, and some require you to save the data manually. Take the steps accordingly to avoid rescanning the world.

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