for car owners, because they allow you
to quickly and easily diagnose your vehicle
so that you know what’s going on
at all times. They’re for the most part
user-friendly, and when it comes to
the top rated OBD2 scanners, they’re also
easy to set-up and give you accurate results.
OBD2 Scanner Buying Guide
What is an OBD2 Scanner?
There are now a large number of scan tools on the market that work with vehicles from 1996 and newer, and these OBD2 scanners have a ton of features. Their price can range considerably, so if you’re looking to buy one you need to do a bit of homework so that you can find the scanner that suits your needs.
Will it work on your vehicle?
This is the most important question that you need to ask yourself, because buying a scanner that isn’t compatible with your vehicle is simply a waste of money. The tool that you purchase must support the vehicle that you’re going to be working on. Although OBD2 is the standard, there are actually five different types of hardware communications used by OBD2 vehicles. That’s why it’s so important to know before you purchase. Do your homework and ask your auto shop what is going to be the right purchase for your car. When you get something that is compatible, you’re going to enjoy how easy it is to run diagnostics on your smartphone. But some programs are only compatible with either iOS or Android devices.
Not all scanners are the same, and in fact, some are incredibly different from one another. Per the OBD2 standard, the US Environmental Protection Agency mandated that the basic set of emissions that are related to readings should be supported on all OBD2 vehicles. These legislation parameters are defined by the SAE specification that they created. You’ll find that low-end tools only support these emissions related readings, and they give you access to only a dozen or so truly helpful parameters; and this is clearly not enough. Although this is going to give you some basic information about your vehicle, this is small in terms of the amount of information that OBD2 scanners are capable of. You want to purchase a scanner that is going to give you as much information as possible, and that could mean investing your money in a scanner that is a bit more expensive to get the results that you crave.
Is it Upgradeable?
Every year, manufacturers of vehicles release new models and they revise existing models, and that’s why for a scanner to fully support new vehicles, it needs to be updated all the time. When you have a professional quality scanner it’s going to be updated on a frequent basis. But keep in mind that a scanner that does this is going to be expensive. Lower end tools are not updateable, and this means that they’re basically useless in the long haul. You definitely want to find a tool that updates itself, as this will ensure that it is useful for years to come.
Built in Help
If you’re going to be working on your own vehicle, then you definitely want to make sure that you have the Factory Service Manual. However, the scanner itself might be able to provide you with helpful information as well. When there is a DTC set, you want to check whether the scanner displays the DTC number or whether it gives you the full information. When the tool displays the full definition it’s going to save you a lot of time and frustration. You also want to check to see if the tool offers you any information on typical readings to explain what the reading is. With a simple sentence or two of explanation you’re going to save a lot of trips to the shop manual. See how much information your scanner is going to give you on the display, as the more high quality scanners are going to tell you more.
Data Logging or Storage
There’s nothing safe about watching the scanner while doing a road test. That’s why you want a tool that stores data to allow for safe viewing while you’re back at the garage. You need to make sure that the scanner that you buy has this capability.
It’s of the utmost importance that your scanner is made from durable materials. If it’s going to stand the test of time, then it needs to be made for quality and performance. When it comes to the longevity of your scanner, it’s smart to spend a little extra money on something that is going to last. A good way to figure this out is to read what other customers have to say about the scanner, and how long it has lasted them. To ensure that it’s going to be useful through the years, you want to find something that is constantly upgrading itself, because this ensures that it’s going to work with newer makes and models of vehicles. You also want to check for readability. A screen that is difficult to decipher or read is not going to serve you in the long run, and that’s why it’s important to find something that is user-friendly and features a clear screen that you can quickly and easily read.
If you’re not a car buff, then you want to find a scanner that is going to do most of the work for you, so that you get clear results that you can understand. That means finding a tool that is intuitive, and speaks in the language that the average driver can get a hold of. Also, a lightweight, efficient design is going to ensure that the scanner is easy to install and use. You want a tool that doesn’t have a lengthy and complicated set-up process, as this can be quite frustrating and it makes you just want to give up on the device. With technology getting better each and every year, the latest scanners represent the very best in terms of ease of use and fast setup times. The higher end models are going to cost you more, but they can diagnose so much more than other scanners can, and that’s why they’re worth the added expense.
Where to Buy
You can easily find an OBD2 scanner online or at any automotive store. If you’re unsure about the purchase, then it’s best to go into a store and talk to a professional. But if you have a handle on what it is that you’re looking for, you can find some great deals on the internet, and this will make your purchase easier. Going online is also great because it allows you to read customer reviews so that you know what scanners are favored by most customers. You want to keep your eye out for reviews that state that the scanner is easy to use and read, and those that say that setup is quite easy. Not all scanners are alike, and that’s why it’s important to see what people really think, so that you’re not just relying upon the claims of the manufacturers.
When it comes to setup, you should be able to do it yourself, but if you’re having trouble then you can call the manufacturer or visit your local auto professional to give you a hand. No matter what scanner you buy, you’re going to love how easy it is to diagnose your vehicle, so that you can get it fixed and up and running in no time.
Owning a OBD2 scanner is a wonderful way to diagnose your vehicle without having to consult a mechanic, and it gives you real time results that add to your peace of mind on the road. There’s nothing more frustrating than not knowing what is going on with your car, and your OBD2 literally puts you in the driver’s seat in terms of getting to the bottom of what’s going on. There are tons of OBD2 scanners on the market, and that’s why it can be daunting when it comes time to make a purchase. Our buyer’s guide is intended to help you to decipher what you need to look out for when you go to buy a scanner, because knowledge is power. When you make an informed purchase you’re much more likely to find a product that is truly going to work for you. You need to understand the kinds of scanners that are out there, as this will help you to find something that is compatible with your vehicle. You can purchase the top rated OBD2 scanners with confidence, but if you want to continue your search, you can find plenty of devices online that are going to suit your needs.