Almost every car manufactured from 1996 onward has an onboard diagnostic system (OBD system). This system is composed of an on-board computer that detects problems in the engine, emission, and transmission systems.
This machine then communicates the defects in the dash for example through the check engine light with the use of an on board diagnosis tool. Car manufacturers also place a connector under the dash where an OBD scanner can be connected to show what code could be causing the light to come on. If you would like to be in a position to know the particular problem with your car even before getting to a mechanic, buying an OBD scan tool is a wise decision.
OBD scanners vary significantly in design and price. Their prices range from $250 to 2500$. Some are simple handheld devices while others are complex PCs or laptops using sophisticated software for analysis. The manufacturers of these devices are also many and varied. The presence of so many choices in the market can make it difficult for you to shop for one. The following are simple things you should keep in mind when looking for an OBD scan tool to buy.
Although OBD-II scanner is a standardized diagnostic system, there are different types of hardware communications used by various OBD II compliant cars. It is, therefore, imperative for you to ensure that the particular device you are about to buy is compatible with your vehicle’s OBD system.
Motor vehicle industry is a dynamic one. Car manufacturers release new models almost every year. Every new model comes with enhanced features which at times affect even the diagnostic system. Thus, you should not ignore the upgradability of the car repair manual you intend to buy. You, should, therefore, buy an OBD scanner that can be upgraded to support changes in the future models.
Laws and Government Regulations
Federal and state governments have many different laws and regulations affecting OBD systems’ standards. For instance, The Environmental Protection Agency of the United States has a regulation on OBD standards requiring that certain emission-related readings be included in OBD systems. Thus, Low-end diagnostic tools without such features are inapplicable in the US. You should, therefore, remember to consider whether the OBD scanner you are about to buy meets the standards outlined by government regulations and the law.
From the preceding discussion, it is apparent that OBD-II scanner is a great tool when it comes to identifying and analyzing mechanical problems in motor vehicles. If you are planning to buy one, the above-discussed tips will go a long way in helping you to get value for your money.