It’s always good to have warnings and notifications when something is wrong with your car. A decent scanning system that can tell you what’s wrong and which part needs your attention or fixing. Take a look below at how this amazing OBD2 scanner work.
What Is An OBD2 Scanner?
This amazing piece of hardware is an Onboard Diagnostics scanning device. It basically triggers the “Check Engine” light that signals you when something is wrong. The Environmental Protection Agency requires all vehicles to be using an obd2 scanner to warn drivers about possible problems that could affect their emissions. The system can record other information that can make it a lot easier for you or a mechanic to find and fix problems with your vehicle. So really this amazing tool can save you such a hassle and helps in protecting millions of lives worldwide.
How Does It Function?
Basically, your car has many sensors, and the device gets triggered and sends you warnings if something is loopy. These sensors cover parts like the oxygen, engine knock, manifold pressure, engine RPM, coolant, air temperature, camshaft and crankshaft position, throttle, road speed, and many more. Each one of these them sends a signal to your car’s computer, known as the Engine Control Unit (ECU). The ECU uses that information to adjust different elements of your engine operation. If the information that the ECU gets from one of its sensors is out of the ordinary, it saves a code called a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC). This leads to the device doing what it does best by giving out its notifications.
What Happens After It Saves a DTC?
When a code is stored and sent, it sends a signal to your “Check Engine” light. If the light comes on and stays on, then you have a small problem, but you can still drive the car until you get it checked. Unfortunately, if it blinks on and off, your problem is severe and could damage your engine. When your “Check Engine” light is blinking constantly, you should stop driving your car as much as you can, and avoid driving in an aggressive way until you get the problem looked at and fixed accordingly.
Types of Scanners
There are two types of scanners that are available in the market, code readers and scan tools:
- Code Reader: OBD2 code readers are simple and inexpensive gadgets that can read and clear codes from your vehicle. It’s very cheap, but it comes with some limitations. Unfortunately, it’s unable to access some types of data, and it lacks information on certain manufacturer-specific codes. Which explains why it’s cheap.
- Scan Tools: OBD2 scan tools are more expensive than code readers, but this device has various features that are not incorporated in the readers. It’s more than capable of reading manufacturer-specific codes, and it has various advanced troubleshooting options. You are also able to get extensive access to recorded and live data from it.
What Happens During The Diagnostics Phase
How the diagnosis works exactly can be a little complicated, but you can find what code or codes your ECU had saved by using the diagnostic scan tool or code reader. The scanner connects to a port usually found underneath your dashboard on the driver side. These ports are standardized, so any OBD2 scanner should be able to read codes from any car. The scanner can then check for the saved DTC and show you the codes on the device’s screen. Most of them can also perform other functions that make things go smoother and easier. If you work on cars a lot, or if you’re a mechanic. Then this can be a pretty useful tool to check and get your hands on.
What Are The Different Codes That You Can Get?
The first digit tells you whether the code is general or manufacturer specific. Most codes are universal and apply across manufacturers, and they are standardized by the Society of Automotive Engineers. Take a look below at examples that you can see get sent to you: This 2004 Nissan 350Z codes are no different than a 1998 Chevy Silverado.
- U00: Communication Bus
- U01: Lost Communication With Sensor
- U02: Lost Communication With Sensor (strong)
- U03: Software Incompatibility
- U04: Invalid Data Received
- C00: Anti-lock braking system
- C01: Brake Hydraulics
- C02: Wheel Speed Sensors and Traction Control
- C03: Four-Wheel Drive
- C04: Steering
- C05: Steering(strong)
- C06:Suspension and Leveling
- C07: Tire Pressure
- C08: Suspension and Leveling
- P01: Fuel and Air Metering
- P02:Injector Circuit
- P03: Ignition System
- P04: Auxiliary Emissions Control
- P05: Vehicle Speed Control and Idle Control
- P06: Computer Output Circuits
- P07: Transmission
- P08: Transmission (Strong)
- B00: Body, airbags, and seatbelts
Is It Difficult To Use?
This device is relatively easy to use; you don’t have to be an expert. Even though different models offer different functions, ultimately the general process for utilizing an OBD2 device is simple. All you have to do is to follow the procedure after reading it well. Just remember to only plug it in when you’re parked safely, check the manual that comes with it for the details behind the scanning procedure. And When you’re done recording the codes after the scan and unplug your device carefully. It might be a long process, but it ensures the safety of whoever uses the car, so it’s well worth it.
Some Things To Consider
There are some rules when it comes to using a device like this. Even though it’s quite durable and nowhere near fragile, it can malfunction with you if you don’t use it properly and with caution. It’s recommended that you always read the manual that comes with your device, and be careful when you’re plugging the 16-pinned plug because it’s extremely delicate, being careless could bend the pins. Always turn your car on during usage, you can’t afford to corrupt its software.
Driving is always a problem when we don’t follow safety regulations, or we are not careful when using our vehicles. Now that you’ve learned the importance of an OBD2 scanner, be sure to always keep an eye open to the different warnings. Keep yourself informed on all aspects. It might just save your life.