What Is a Car Diagnostic Scanner and How Can I Get My Hands on One?

If you're not familiar with what a car diagnostic scanner is or what it does, discover how this auto scan tool makes a great option for your diagnostic needs.

Ever had your car break down or start making weird noises? No one likes to have car trouble.

It's frustrating for a lot of reasons, but one of the biggest reasons is that we can't figure out what is wrong to fix the problem.

A car diagnostic scanner can actually be a great way to solve this issue. It helps you figure out what is going on and can even give you tips to troubleshoot the problem.

Check out whether or not this tool may be a good thing for you to use next time you need diagnostic help for your vehicle.

1. What is a Car Diagnostic Scanner?

A scanner is a type of diagnostic tool that can be used in a car to get extra data.

These tools have a code reader, can interpret live data, and provide a knowledge base for the user. Professional scan tools also have additional diagnostic procedures and even scopes, as well as other features.

A car diagnostic scanner is useful when there is something wrong with a vehicle and it is difficult to determine what the problem may be.

2. What Does a Scan Tool Do?

These tools will interface with a vehicle's diagnostic system and this makes the process go faster. They read the code of the car and see what the car is trying to say to the owner.

The device is plugged into an OBD-I or OBD-II socket. After this, it can be used to read or clear codes and view data from the different sensors in the car.

These are the most basic functions it can do, but may of them can also:

Graph data

Provide troubleshooting tips

Give instructions for correction procedures

Store live data

Play live data back to you

Read generic trouble codes

Explain trouble code definitions

Not all models have the same capabilities, but the point is that there is a lot of use you can get out of this tool!

Being able to read and clear codes is very important, but being able to have a scan tool that helps you diagnose problems within the car makes things so much easier.

Vehicles with an OBD-II option can give a terrific amount of data from different sensors in the car. This is partially why some scanners have the ability to store and play back so much live data.

Having access to this live data can let you test a vehicle and view specific sensor output readings when you are testing it.

3. Can This Be Used on Your Vehicle?

The way that this scanner tool is used will depend on whether your car has the OBD-I or OBD-II option.

Some of the vehicles that have OBD-I will have different steps that must be taken to make it work. There are even some cars don't have any way to work with scanner tools at all.

Using a Scanner Device

The most simple steps that are needed to use this type of tool are as follows.

1. First, you must identify which of the connector options is the correct connector and attach it to the scanner.

2. Plug the connector for the scanner into the OBD-I or OBD-II port within the car. OBD-II ports are generally located near the driver's side of the dashboard underneath or within the center console. An OBD-I port is likely to be found under the driver's side of the dashboard also, but can be in the engine compartment.

3. Put the key into the ignition and turn it to the accessory position. If the scan tool isn't turning on right away, check the user manual to see if there is something else you need to do with that specific vehicle to make it turn on.

4. If it is asked for, you can enter the vehicle identification number into the scanner.

5. On the scan tool itself, you should look for the scan option. It might be a physical button or it might be on a screen menu of options, depending on the model you have.

6. You'll have to wait for a little bit at this device to work, so just check it to see when it is complete. If it indicates there are trouble codes, they may pop up as it is working rather than all at the end.

7. Use the scanner tool's knowledge base or search online for more information about the trouble codes that are presented.

8. You can potentially view the stored data and the pending codes for some diagnostic information that can help you.

9. When you have found and diagnosed the problem, you can fix it. After it's done, use the scanner tool to clear the trouble codes from the device.

10. Drive the vehicle until the scan tool can report all of the readiness monitors are running correctly.

Where to Buy a Diagnostic Scanner?

You can buy a car diagnostic scanner at many places that sell other auto parts. They are not difficult to find, but be sure to find one that is appropriate for your vehicle.

Choosing one that utilizes smart technology may be a good option for people that need extra accuracy. There are many options out there for you to choose between.

A great example of one option you have for vehicle scanners is the asTech Vehicle Scanner.

It's a great way to save customers time and money when they bring their car into a car repair shop. You can read more here about this particular scanner and the benefits it offers.

4. Start Using a Diagnostic Tool Today

Have you ever wished there was a way to easily figure out what your car is trying to tell you is wrong? If this sounds like you, then a car diagnostic scanner can be the perfect buy.

You can find some more tips for diagnosing and fixing car trouble by checking out our website.

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