How OBD Scan Tools Work on Cars – Revealed!

If you have ever hear of the on-board diagnostics, you may be among those who are wondering how the tools work. With several car models coming into the market each day, there is bound to arise several underlying issues. One of such is the issue of emission.

In the past, working on your car manually was the norm. This involved procuring the services of qualified mechanics that in most cases required to be paid substantial amounts of money. The work in this scenario however was quite hectic and tiresome.

he current world order does not advocate for such with the technological advancements being witnessed each day. The OBD scan tool was therefore a result of innovation targeting the effective correction of your car engine fault.

On board diagnostic tools were formed to reduce cases of emissions. In the United States, the use of the on-board diagnostic scans can be traced back to the late 60s when the problem of environmental pollution arising from fuels was put into focus.

Most diagnostic tools in this era are designed to sort out issues to do with;

  • Fuel system checks.
  • Ignition and performance checks.
  • Temperature regulation and checks.

OBD scan tools are therefore designed with the requisite operational fittings to be able to monitor all these and more. One of the most prominent parts in most modern OBD scan tool is the engine computer system.

The OBD scan tools are made to work through well formed software which is in most cases found in the scan tool memory. Through the software which has several sensors, the several known OBD scan protocols are easily detected. One scan tool can host several protocols or just a few.

The on board diagnostic scan tools are how ever seen as being a must plug devices which need to be connected to the engine for an effective scan process.

Parts of an OBD scan tool

The tool comprises several known parts which include;

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  • A battery- most scan tools are powered from an external source. That is the main reason why it is important because the OBD scan tool can work independently.
  • Display- save for the external computer display systems, most scan tools have a display for ease of data relay.
  • Pin connection points- the standard for all OBD scan tools is 6 bins which allow for effective connection to the engine, power and even the computer.
  • Well designed body- the devil is usually in the detail. However, the ergonomically formed OBD scan case in most circumstances make them look trendy and worth having around.

The OBD scan tool parts are well coordinated to give the user some of the intended results. However, the basis of its operation is worth looking at.

How it works

Since the discovery and the eventual adoption of the use of the on-board diagnostic tools, the key point of reference when looking at its functioning is the malfunction indicator light. In most cases, this is referred to as the check engine light module.

It is the use of light to send warning signals to the driver or the concerned and its intensity that usually dictates what action the technician is bound to take. When the light flickers continuously, the problem is usually deemed serious and needs urgent attention. Light which go on and off may not be a sign of serious engine problem and repairs may delay.

The process of the OBD scan tool reading the unique engine code is what will give rise to the light. Coding system in most vehicles is;

  • Manufacturer specific codes meant for certain brand of cars only.
  • The generic codes were initially used to read the engine fault.
  • Controller area network (CAN).

The combinations of the several codes and the challenges experienced from the codes led to proposals to have the universal OBD scan tools. This dream was achieved with the creation of the second generation stand alone scan tools. These scan tools have revolutionized the area of car scan with their wireless connection and internet update ability features.

This is why, scanning your car in the present world has become so simple and may not require serious input from the technicians, what is nice- costs have gone down.

Rick Man Joorian

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