What is an Onboard Diagnostic II (OBD-II) Scanner?

February 24th, 2017

An Onboard Diagnostic II (OBD-II) scanner is .....


Today’s post is by Troy Lowe; Vice President of Development at SafeSourcing.

An Onboard Diagnostic II (OBD-II) scanner is a device that is used to read information from the computer within vehicles that were built after 1996. There are two types of OBD-II devices.  The first are basic code readers which can read and clear codes.  The second are scan tools which can provide more information about specific codes and provide access to recorded and live data.  The scan tool is the more expensive of the two and offers a variety of features not found in the basic reader. The devices are fairly simple to use and connect to a standard connector usually located under the dash.  Some of the devices are Bluetooth or Wi-Fi enabled and can connect to your smart phone using apps that are available for download.  There a many apps available that offer different features, you just need to make sure it is compatible with your OBD-II device you own.  To use the scanner, simply plug the device into the vehicles connector, connect to the device using your smartphone and then open the OBD-II application.  The most common use for the device is reading current trouble code(s).  These are codes that can be given off by the check engine light, check transmission light, ABS light, airbag light or other modules.  These codes can be accessed and cleared by using the downloaded application.  Depending on the application you may also be given additional information about the trouble codes such as possible causes and possible fixes for the recorded code.  Below are some other diagnostic features that are available with a scan tool and compatible application.

  • Engine Temperature
  • Fuel Rate
  • O2 Sensors
  • MAF Airflow Rate
  • Batter Voltage
  • Vehicle Speed
  • RPM

If you would like some help finding the right scanner, we can gather all the necessary information for you and help you decide which one will meet your needs. If you would like more information on how SafeSourcing can help you, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service representative.  We have an entire team ready to assist you today.


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