How Do OBD Scanners Work?

OBD Port Reader

OBD – On-board diagnostics –  refers to vehicle’s self-diagnostic and reporting capability. On-board diagnostics systems give the vehicle technician access to the status of the vehicles sub-systems. Given that knowing a vehicle’s condition is critical for both car owners and many car-related businesses. Whether you are a mechanic, a used car salesperson, an insurance provider, or a loan officer, knowing a car’s condition will make your life much easier. OBD readouts can empower all of these business people and more.

There are 220+ OBD Parameters some are : Engine load, Engine RPM, Vehicle speed, Throttle position, Coolant temperature, Fuel trim, Fuel pressure, Fuel system status, Intake manifold pressure, Intake air temperature, MAF air flow rate,  Air status, Oxygen sensor status, Runtime since engine start, Distance with MIL on, Fuel tank level input, System vapor pressure, Absolute load value, Hybrid battery pack life, Engine oil temperature, Engine fuel rate, Torque, VIN & Various DTCs.

How Do I Access OBD Readouts?

You, the car owner can pick up an OBD scanner (OBD-II for cars made since 1996), plug it into your car, and obtain any DTC codes, more commonly known as check engine light codes. The reader should cost between $20-$40 at most major retailers. The plug for OBD scanners is normally located directly beside the driver’s side door, on the bottom of the dashboard.

Once you have located the OBD port, simply plug the scanner in and turn it on. You will be able to read a series of numbers which represent common issues, such as “Cylinder 4 Misfire.” The codes you read on the OBD scanner will pair with a list of codes in your Owner’s Manual. Simply copy the codes down, compare with the manual, and then take note of your findings.

OBD Port Reader

CarDr.com OBD Scanner BLE Bluetooth Adapter 

How Can I Use The Information From An OBD Scan?

Once you have obtained the codes from a scan, then compared them with an owner’s manual, Haynes, or other repair manual, or online resources, you will have a good idea of what the issue is. In our example, “Cylinder 4 Misfire,” there are a few common causes that you can repair easily. Among the most common causes of cylinder misfires are spark plug failures.

What Else Can OBD Scanners Do?

Some OBD scanners are able to modify car computer parameters, things like fuel-to-air ratio and fuel trim. Take care if you decide to modify your car’s computer—you may void your warranty or harm your vehicle. The settings it has from the factory are tuned by experts. Some of the most

OBD parameters

OBD Parametersadvanced OBD scanners, like the scanner carried by CarDr.com Inspectors can read over  221+ PIDs  from the vehicle.

With the proper scanner, an inspector can glean insights into the car’s history, see if any DTC codes have been cleared before the inspection, and even compare the car you are thinking about buying against millions of other cars. This includes cars of the same make and model that have received CarDr.com inspections in the past.

Why Get An In-Depth Scan?

By getting an in-depth scan, you take control of your situation and know exactly what you are getting into. CarDr.com pre-purchase used car inspections include an in-depth scan and AI-based comparison of your car against every other vehicle we have ever inspected. Beyond that, we also include a thorough inspection of the car’s physical condition. Getting an in-depth scan of this sort can save you hundreds, or even thousands in repairs down the road.

Learn more about the Science of Car Inspection 
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