Buying an OBD scanner is a great idea, but are cheap OBD scanners good?
Generally, low-end scan tools aren’t the best choice for professional auto mechanics. But they can be helpful for DIY enthusiasts and people who want to know more about their car’s health.
The FOXWELL NT301 is a low-cost, easy to use OBD2 scanner. It offers read and clear functions and readiness readings, plus an I/M readiness key for emissions.
What is an OBD Scanner?
OBD (on-board diagnostic) scanners plug into a car’s OBD port to read and clear codes. They also provide more detailed data about the car’s engine and other systems, including those related to emissions testing.
There are many different types of Ancel OBD scanners, ranging from small, handheld devices with a cable to larger tablet models that connect via Bluetooth. Some feature a screen size that’s easy to read and include lifetime warranties.
Most are small and lightweight enough to easily store in your car’s glove compartment or toolbox. Some even include rubber bumpers to absorb the shock of a drop.
The cheapest OBD scanners simply plug into a car’s OBD2 port and display trouble codes. They can also reset the check engine light and give you information about how to fix your vehicle.
Some can also tell you if you need to schedule a state inspection and give repair cost estimates. They may also offer maintenance schedules and tracking tools, so you can monitor your car’s health and keep it on the road.
The most advanced OBD scanners can provide more information about the vehicle’s diagnostics, a larger database of codes and additional features. They can even do a dry run of smog tests and recommend parts based on your diagnostic results. They’re typically more expensive than the consumer-grade code readers, but they can be worth it for a professional mechanic.
What are the Basic Functions of an OBD Scanner?
The basic function of an OBD scanner is to hook up to the SAE J1962 OBD-II port found in most cars and read Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) that are recorded by your car’s computer when it detects a problem. These codes can be helpful for diagnosing a range of issues, from misfiring engines to sensors that have gone bad.
Generally speaking, the more expensive and better-equipped an OBD scanner is, the more information it can provide. These scanners offer a variety of functions, including live and recorded data, advanced troubleshooting options, and access to manufacturer-specific codes.
Scan tools can also access additional vehicle systems, including automatic transmissions, anti-lock braking systems, and the powertrain system. They can even activate and deactivate these systems on command for diagnostic purposes.
In a recent project, I helped a friend diagnose a problem with his hybrid battery by reading the fan that cools it using a scan tool. The tool displayed a code that told him the fan wasn’t working, which was an accurate description of the issue.
An OBD scanner can be a great way to save time and money while maintaining your car’s health. Whether you’re a driver, an owner, or a business manager, these devices can help you keep your car running in tip-top shape and avoid unnecessary repairs.
What are the Advanced Functions of an OBD Scanner?
OBD scanners are not only valuable tools for DIYers, but they also save fuel and time by avoiding trips to an auto parts store. They can even erase an error code temporarily, letting you drive until the problem is fixed.
An OBD scanner is a piece of hardware that plugs into your car’s diagnostic port (called the OBD2 port) and reads trouble codes. These five-digit Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC) provide you with an initial understanding of what’s wrong with your vehicle.
These code definitions, which show as a series of letters and numbers, are typically related to specific system components or assemblies. They often show up alongside a short description that may or may not make sense to you.
The most serious and expensive OBD scanners, called diagnostic OBD-II scanners, offer advanced component and module testing that enables deeper investigation into a check engine light or other faults. Some even offer technical advice, common repairs and Technical Service Bulletins.
These dedicated hand-held OBD2 scan tools plug into the diagnostic port and decipher the vehicle’s DTCs. They also feature bidirectional control, allowing you to send commands to your vehicle’s computer and test its functionality in advance of mechanical repair.