The cars we drive today are far more advanced than ever before, and the technological advancements just keep coming. Now there are numerous scanners and sensors built into every vehicle, which monitor things such as fuel, ignition, emissions and transmission systems. If any issues are detected during operation, these scanners can immediately alert the driver so action can be taken to rectify the problem.
On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) scanners have been used in vehicles since the 1980s and, along with everything else that goes into a vehicle, they have grown more sophisticated ever since. In 1996, the EPA mandated that all vehicles be built according to OBD II standards.
OBD II scanners feature a universal connection interface located below the vehicle’s steering column. With the proper cabling, computers can be hooked up to that port, and the diagnostic messages are then read and analyzed to determine what is wrong with the vehicle and what steps need to be taken to repair it and return it to regular service. There are OBD II scanners available for public purchase, but more sophisticated scanners are generally found at mechanic shops.
The accuracy of OBD II scanners
One of the most frequent questions we receive about OBD II scanners is whether or not the results from the scans can be trusted as being truly accurate. The answer to this really depends on what you mean by “accurate.” The scanner isn’t going to tell you exactly what the problem is with your vehicle, but it will tell you what systems are experiencing difficulties. It is then up to the vehicle owner or mechanic to analyze those systems and pinpoint where the problem is occurring.
The use of an OBD II scanner is actually quite straightforward. While you may not be able to resolve the issue yourself if you don’t have the proper training and experience with vehicle maintenance, you may at least be able to get the diagnostic code that will give you a sense of the potential problems.
Simply plug the connector into the port located under the driver’s side of the dashboard, and turn the key to power up the scan tool or code reader. You may be required to enter your Vehicle Identification Number into the scanner. After that, press the “scan” button and follow any directions that appear on the screen. Usually the scan will only take a few seconds, after which there will be some prompts that show up on the screen indicating whether the vehicle is reporting any error codes. If so, record that data. Once you’ve used that data to repair the vehicle, you can use the scan tool to clear the codes, which will turn off your check engine light.
Again, as a vehicle owner, having these diagnostic codes will only be of so much use to you if you are not trained in vehicle maintenance. Whenever your check engine light comes on, you’re probably better off going straight to a mechanic rather than going out to purchase an OBD II scanner to use yourself, because you can trust that the mechanic will perform the scan anyway, and then actually be able to resolve the issue.
Contact Auto Air & Heating, Inc. today for more information about OBD scanner accuracy and their operation.
Categorised in: OBD Scanners
This post was written by Writer