An automotive on-board diagnostic scanner can save time and money to solve problems with a vehicle’s engine. It is no secret to anyone that the vehicle’s computer executes a series of procedures that test the operation of the engine. Once these problems come to light, the computer throws some codes and classifies them as “pending.” If the frequency of the problem increases, the status changes to “problem code” and the engine service light comes on. You do not have to have an active engine service light to use an onboard diagnostic system. A good scanner not only recovers the codes of the problems but identifies those that are pending as well.
Now, before using an automotive scanner, you should know what type of scanner accounts, since there are two types in the market:
OBD1: It is used for the diagnosis of vehicles manufactured until 1995, as long as these vehicles have injection systems that are electronically controlled.
OBD2: Used for the diagnosis of vehicles manufactured from 1996 to the present, this type of automotive scanner provides information by reading stored codes when an error occurs in the vehicle.
If you have an automotive scanner and you do not know how to use it this is the time to learn:
- The first thing to do is find the diagnostic connector that is usually located on the driver’s side; it is located on the bottom of the board.
- The connector is universal, so we must connect a single input to the motor that must be turned off.
- The keys are placed in the ignition position; we must not start the engine.
- We put to work the automotive scanner which will identify the stored codes.
- The last step is to translate the codes with the respective manual; the manual is included when buying the scanner.
Seven tips for effective use of the automotive scanner
When we use the term “Automotive Scanner” we usually include a series of diagnostic equipment used to monitor and maintain the proper functioning of the cars. Undoubtedly, such equipment is very useful and facilitates diagnosis and repair tasks to a large extent as long as they are used effectively. To ensure you achieve the effective use of the Automotive Scanner, here are the following tips.
1. Research before purchasing an automotive scanner.
As stated above, there is a wide variety of diagnostic and monitoring equipment for cars, so it is essential to study well which of the options is the most appropriate according to your needs. The type of scanner to be used will depend on several factors such as the brand of the cars, type of faults to be diagnosed, model year of the car, among others. At present, the most used are those known as OBD II for its acronym in English (On Board Diagnostics second generation, that’s why the II). This equipment normally covers a wide range of brands, models and types of failure, which makes them very reliable.
2. Make sure you keep your automotive scanner software updated.
With the constant development of automotive technology, new and more complex automated systems emerge from the car’s computer. To keep their products current, scanner manufacturers offer software updates periodically. Make sure you keep yours updated to avoid diagnostic errors in the latest car models.
3. Avoid false positives (or negatives).
When making a diagnosis, it is essential that the information analyzed be truthful. All sensors and automation devices of a car are connected and controlled by the main computer, which in turn records all the relevant information. If a reset of the computer occurs, for disconnecting the battery for example, it is very likely that the information sought by the automotive scanner will be lost to diagnose the failure, and most likely it would indicate that there is no failure. If this happens or you have the suspicion that it may be happening, it is advisable to take a normal driving time in the car, so the computer will retrieve the information from the sensors or systems that may be failing,
4. Keep your code sheet handy.
Each team can generate a very large number of codes, which depend on the system and the type of fault that is generated. Even, there are codes that are specific to systems of some particular brands. With so many possible fault codes, it is very likely that you will not be able to memorize them all. Before assuming which is the fault, it is better to review the sheet and ensure a correct diagnosis.
The following tips are more general for the treatment of any equipment of this type, but no less important to ensure its operation.
5. Keep your equipment protected from the weather.
6. Care for cables and connections to avoid breakages that cause malfunction.
7. Avoid falls and blows that could damage the screen of the equipment or its internal components.
Six steps to diagnose with an automotive scanner
If you are looking for a simple and effective way to discover the problems that your vehicle is presenting, the scanner is one of the tools that can help you diagnose the health status of your car. Today and thanks to electronics, it is much more convenient to perform tests to determine these faults, in this article we will detail in 6 steps how to make a diagnosis with an automotive scanner in the engine of a vehicle.
1. The scanners are powered by themselves and recover the codes automatically. Some show only demo codes; quite the contrary, other scanners can interact with a computer through a USB cable. As you become familiar with an automotive scanner and the manual, you can use methods such as making lists of definitions of OBD-II codes. You’ll have to refer to them later.
2. Find the link connection diagnostic data in your vehicle. On most vehicles, this can be found under the instrument panel and between the accelerator pedal and the panel on the left. In some cars, this exit is exposed, while others do not. You should look for a receiver normally the port of 16 pins molded of black plastic
3. Connect the automotive scanner for diagnostic data connection. Some small variations will start at this step of the test due to differences in the OBD-II scanner. Continuing with the diagnostic test, I will list the general steps to complete the test.
4. Start the vehicle. Some scanners only require power, but others may need the engine to be revolutionizing. If you use a scanner that does not have an “auto-ignition” switch, turn it on. Take a second to wait for the codes to appear on the scanner.
5. Scroll through the codes and the difference between what is a problem and what is pending. Manufacturers have additional codes specific to their vehicles. If you can not find the description of the code in a manual, you may have to look for definitions on the manufacturer’s website.
6. Turn off the automotive scanner and the vehicle. Open the bonnet (engine cover) and look at the engine compartment to be able to look for areas that require further examination. If the scanner reports an unknown error, it is best to go to the mechanic.