Automotive Diagnostic Scanners: What Is It And Why Your Car Should Have One?

If your car was built within the last two decades, then most probably it has a modern computer system on board. Whenever this computer detects a problem in your car, may it be a minor or a major one, the check engine light on your car would turn on, and the computer will produce an error code.

In such a case, having an automotive diagnostic scanner will surely come in handy. But what is an obd2 scanner and why should you have one? Continue reading this article and also visit this obd2 scanner guide website for more information about automotive diagnostic scanners.

What is an automotive diagnostic scanner?

An automotive diagnostic scanner or more commonly known as obd2 (on-board diagnostics 2) is a system standardized in cars and trucks, which is mainly utilized for self-diagnostics. The software on the obd2 scanner monitors and regulates your vehicles main functions. These scanners can also correct any irregularities in your vehicle ignition and fuel mixture.

Obd2 scanners can provide its users with vital information about road speed, throttle response, air and coolant temperatures, crankshaft and camshaft position, and engine RPM. Generally, it gathers the data from the vehicle’s onboard computer systems for mechanics and car owners to know what they do can to improve a car’s performance, or locate an issue within the car.

Here are two types of obd2 scanners:

  1. Code readers – These are inexpensive and straightforward tools that can read and clear codes from your car. But, because of its budget-friendly price, this tool will have its limitations. Particularly, the lack of information on some manufacturer codes, and its inability to access certain data types.
  2. Scan tools – Compared to code readers, these tools are more expensive, but will offer more features than the readers. It will provide you with live and recorded data, read specific manufacturer codes, and troubleshooting options.

These scanners provide basic functionalities, but more advanced models can also have features such as:

  • Analyze pending codes
  • Set up PIDs
  • Customize parameters list
  • Access more information.

Obd2 scanners are also commonly used to diagnose problems in a vehicle. For example, when the check engine indicator light turns on, this means that a sensor in your car sent an error message which the PCM (Powertrain Control Module) is unable to decode.

This gives you a warning that there must be an irregularity within your car. Whether it’s a code for a bad catalytic converter or a fuel pump issue, obd2 scanners will read it for you.

Why should you have one?

There are many things that could go wrong with a car, even if it’s new. With countless possibilities of components malfunctioning, you’d definitely need a way to understand what’s happening to get it fixed; and a handy obd2 scanner is just the tool for that.

Although you can always go to the nearest car mechanic shop, that can be very expensive. Investing in a reliable obd2 scanner can give you the necessary information you need and the peace of mind of driving a car without a problem.

Here are some other reasons to invest in an obd2 scanner:

  • Cold weather issues

If you’re driving in freezing temperatures, chances are that you’ll have problems such as loose gas caps, discharged battery, and tire pressure problems. Conditions like these can cause your check engine indicator to light up and should be a cause for concern.

Having your own obd2 scanner can help you winterize your car, and allow you to check for indicators like engine temperature, idle speed, fuel system pressure. You can then use this information to assess if you can continue driving or call the towing services.

  • Save money

The average cost for car repairs in America alone is around 1.5% of their annual income, which averages at $600 per year. If you own an older car, this means that you’d be spending way more than the average, because your vehicle will have more maintenance needs.

However, doing these expensive repairs by yourself is actually possible, with the help of an obd2 scanner and YouTube tutorials. Investing in a decent and reliable obd2 will only cost you around $50-$120 for a product that can last for years.

Closing thoughts

Bringing your car to the auto mechanic shops for diagnosis and repairs should cost you more than doing the repairs and checkups yourself. Your car’s issues may not be severe enough that only a car mechanic can fix it. In that case, having a bit of troubleshooting knowledge and the right tools, such as an obd2 scanner can go a long way in terms of helping you save time and money.

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