You’re driving along the interstate or in bumper-to-bumper traffic. All of a sudden, your car emits an alarming noise and a little orange or yellow silhouette of a submarine pops up in the gauge cluster. Maybe the glowing icon appears and goes away and you never give it a second thought. Perhaps it comes on and then stays illuminated, even after you stop and restart your car. Or maybe it starts flashing. Spoiler alert: If the light is flashing you will want to pull over and stop the engine as soon as it is safely possible, your beloved transportation is warning you that enough is enough.
The majority of home mechanics may already have a trusty obd2 scan tool sitting on a shelf or in a vehicle glove box, but for the rest of us it is important to know exactly which kind of scan tool to purchase. Just as important is whether or not we need to purchase one at all. While this article is in no way meant to be an exhaustive discussion of today’s readily available OBD-II readers, my hope is to give you some basic information that will help you decide if you should invest in a scanner, as well as what type of scanner will best fit your needs.
Of course very few people keep the same car forever, and even if you do it is wise to buy a tool that can be used on more than one vehicle and easily upgraded in the future. If you find that your current ride only needs an inexpensive basic scan tool, you might want to buy a relatively cheap unit and retire the scanner with the vehicle when you sell it or trade it in. On the other hand, if you are making a sizeable purchase to cover all of your vehicle’s systems, the ability to upgrade will enhance the scan tool’s value well into the future.
While I have found the Internet (particularly Google searches) with the presented code or codes alongside the vehicle’s year, make, and model to be invaluable in diagnosing repairs, many of the better scan tools will provide the trouble code and a description of the code right on the scan tool’s screen. Some will even use vehicle-specific information to report which parts need to be replaced, adjusted or corrected to remedy the problem. While I think you can live without the extra information if you are handy searching online, having it all in one place is efficient and worth considering when making a purchase of Auto Scanner Tools.
Recently, a new wireless Bluetooth obd ii scanner that works with a smartphone or tablet has been introduced to the market. It changes the OBD-II rules, making complex code scanning and real-time vehicle information readily available even for those on a shoe string budget. The small Bluetooth-enabled harness plugs into OBD-II port and syncs up to your smartphone or tablet in a matter of seconds, allowing for easy vehicle scanning, an assessment of systems that are currently running and much more. The system also stores codes on your device’s internal memory and keeps extensive logs for future reference.