Hi, I’m Neal; lots of folks are complaining nowadays that cars are no more than computers on wheels. The benefit though is that you can tap in on all the data that was never available before.
Since 1996, all cars are somewhat OBD 2 that stands for onboard diagnostics. It is a standardized gateway into your car’s computer that enables a single diagnostic scan tool to provide access to the real-time data that these systems are capable of providing across all makes and models of vehicles.
Onboard Diagnostics II scanner tool is a standardized system that onboard computers in cars and trucks use for self-diagnostics and reporting. This system grew out of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) regulations, and it was implemented with specifications that were developed by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).
Unlike earlier scan tools, OEM-specific OBD-I systems, the OBD-II systems use the same communication protocols, code designations, and connectors from one manufacturer to another. This amazing device will allow you to pinpoint where the malfunction or error code is coming from.
How to use an OBD2 Scanner
In order to get the information, you are going to need a reader like this that scans all the data that is on your computer. It used to be really expensive but they have come down in price and pretty easy to use, we will show you.
Step 1: Plug into the port
The first step into getting into the computer is to plug it into the port under the dash, most of the times you will find it into right where your knees are. This one is hidden pretty deep, so plug it in. following this one up. You press the button like this. This one is externally powered not all of them are. Most of them run on the vehicle power so you have to switch it on.
Step 2: Turn on the vehicle
This one I can configure to get the manufacturer’s codes as well, which are a little different from the standard OBD codes. At this point, in order to update our computer, we will put the vehicle on, so I will do that. The check engine light on this car is on so we are going to scan the car to find what the problem is.
Step 3: Press scan
Press scan here follow the directions on the screen and now it’s talking. It is a pretty easy process; you only wait for the computer to do its work. Now it’s talking to us, it’s telling us what’s wrong.
The scan is really successful and we are going to figure out everything right now. All these scanners are different, this one is a little bit complicated than any normal, but it has got a variety of selections here on its main menu. We are going to get the trouble codes.
So go down and get to select frame number 3 and get the trouble codes. It tells us that we have exhausted gas re-circulation flow insufficient.
The system is to learn what that means is that oxygen sensors and the engine are reading too lean. It is the same with the other side of the engine. So that tells us we have got a little bit of an issue with the way the way the fuel system is detecting or the way that it is working.
So generally, all these codes have the same meanings across all brands, but if you have to get a good read of what is going on with your car, it’s probably best these days to take these codes along with your make and model and actually do internet research. It will put you in the right direction. Really that is the best thing that these pulling codes can do for you.
Whenever you pull the codes like the oxygen sensor is failing. Don’t just throw an oxygen sensor out. It might be apart upstream, it might be parts totally unrelated to that; it takes a little bit of detective work to test it.
These used to be widely expensive but they have come down in price a lot. You can actually go and rent them out at your parts store. But they are so simple and easy to use that everybody should probably get a little bit familiar with them to use for your car scan.
Customized scan tool cable for your phone
Customized scan tools like this one used to be the only way to do this job. Now they make Apps for it. This is really cool; it’s a cable that plugs into your car's computer into your phone. So just like with the scanner, you plug it into your OBD 2 port then plug this into your phone, now you can launch the App.
Once you get your phone hooked up, you can clear the lights, and you can check what is wrong with your car. Let’s say that you have something silly like the gasket is loose. Just through a code. You can find it here, go fix it, clear the code in here and then turn on the engine light, and then you will be back on the road with this simple fix.
The thing you can’t do, those who live in emission regulated states is just clear the codes and go through the test as if it is just a cheap pie. We all know that it will get faster. So the cool thing with the Smartphone system is that it can’t mess up the car.
It can’t mess up the car with an opening a Bluetooth, it will just read the codes. You can do all kinds of powerful stuff, you can log data, and you can watch standing performances as this is going or have a Bluetooth download. So you can always have this thing one step of the car.