I know you can’t think about a single day without using any vehicle. Nowadays, people own a car for their transportation to save some time. So when you are in charge of the driving seat, that means safety is your headache. You also notice a dashboard at the front, which this board uses to catch you if your car has faced any problem while driving the Vehicle. And the scanner used to find this type of internal problem is called OBD 2 or onboard diagnostic scanner. This scanner turns on the warning light to show you that your car faces some problem operating, and it makes it easier to use the Vehicle further safely.
What does OBD2 stand for?
As I told you before, the OBD stands for onboard diagnostics. A computer inside the vehicle trackers and regulates the car’s performance. This OBD system takes information from the sensor network inside the Vehicle. The system can then control the car system or alert the driver to the issue. A professional can then attach the OBD system to take the data and diagnose the problem. The OBD system is a great helper for every driver. The history of OBD starts in the 1980s. Currently, vehicle monitoring systems are developed in response to many factors. Like:
- Control emission: Developing OBD was used to help reduce vehicle emission is one of the main reasons. This system helps on this side by monitoring the performance of the significant engine element for any system failure. It could result in increased emissions. So this diagnostics scanner is beneficial in this area that is inappropriate for EPA on implementing the clean air act.
- Electronic Fuel injection: the manufacturers began the widespread car production with electronic fuel injection in the 1980′. A computer system is attached to monitor and determine the fuel flow in the engine and the electronic fuel injection with this computer, unlike in the 1980s.
- Electronic components: After electronic fuel injection gained popularity, a car attaches more electronic commonplace, increasing the need for a more sophisticated monitoring system that helps identify the issue more perfectly.
Since its initial development, the car monitoring system has undergone many iterations. Now OBD serves as a typical system. This dictates the connectors and fault codes used, making it easy for professionals to quickly and perfectly service a wide range of cars.
How does OBD2 work?
A central system, a network system, a network sensor, connection point, and indicators are the fundamental elements of the OBD scanner. This equipment creates a complete monitoring system with standard access and noticeability. The OBD also contains some equipment given below:
- ECU: Electronic Control Unit or ECU is the central part of the OBD system. This unit collects input data from various sensors throughout the vehicle. This ECU uses the data to control aspects of the car, like monitoring the issues or fuel injectors.
- Sensors: The sensor is another central part of this system. It is throughout the Vehicle covering every area from the engine and then chassis to the electronic system by itself. Each system component sends codes to the ECU, then specifies the source and examines the signal. Then the ECU reads and interprets this signal.
- Diagnostic Trouble Code: when the sensor sends the information to the ECU that falls outside the standard range, this ECU saves the information as a DTC or diagnostic trouble code. This DTC code is made of a list of letters and numbers indicating the problem’s source and nature. These codes are usually standard but depend on the manufacturer. When the DTC saves a code, the ECU sends a signal in the car warning indicator light. Then this DTC also pulls the linking sensor to the connector for the OBD system.
- Malfunction Indicator light: when the ECU system collects any DTC code, it sends a signal to the vehicle dashboard that turns on the appropriate indicator light. This light is known as MIL or malfunction indicator light. This might provide an early warning system when the car finds any fault in its internal design. If the light turns on and stays, the problem is not severe. But if the light is continuously flushing, the problem is urgent.
- Diagnostic Link Connector: ECU collects all data and DTC code that can be accessed with the DLC or Diagnostic Link Connector. This port gives vehicles with an OBD system access and is often found beneath the dashboard on the vehicle’s driver’s side. Sometimes it is also located in different locations for some commercial vehicles. Now the Vehicle is made with an OBD2 scanner so that any scan tool with a type2 cable can easily connect to it.
Different types of OBD scanners
The OBD scanner was upgraded significantly by the time change, but it was first introduced in the 1980s. And you also know why this scanner needs in your car. But the first version of OBD shouldn’t store any previous information about the nature of the problem. As time passes, the vehicle becomes more advanced, and the number of sensors also increases. And that’s why the scanner is also upgraded. The evolution of the OBD scanner is divided into two parts. Those are:
This scanner is the primary level one, and this system was proprietary. That’s why it differs from one manufacturer to another. This system is beneficial but very complex for mechanics to solve at times. They need to buy new tools and cables for every single Vehicle. That’s a hard job and a waste of money sometimes. The owner needed to go to the dealership technicians to diagnose the issue correctly for this system’s proprietary nature. In 1991 California Air Resources started manded OBD capability. This board doesn’t have a problem like the previous version, but it also increases the complexity for the manufacturer and owner. After that, when the second version of the OBD fulfilled those issues, all past forms of the OBDs were retroactively classified as OBD-1 systems.
OBD-2 diagnostic tool
This OBD2 scanner is an acronym for onboard diagnostic. This second and upgraded version of onboard self-diagnostic equipment. Those requirements are at first for light and medium-duty California vehicles. The onboard capability is incorporated into the hardware and soft water of a car’s onboard computer. This computer monitors virtually every component that can efficiently emit performance. A diagnostic routine to verify that this is working correctly. If any malfunction faces the system, the OBD2 scanner illuminates the warning light on the car instrument system. This light mainly alerts the driver. You can notice the “Check Engine” or “Service Engine Soon” with a symbol on the car screen. The warning also stores the essential information about any previously detected troubleshooting so that mechanics can easily find it and fix it.
What is the use of this OBD tool?
There are many reasons for using this scanner in your car. Like:
- Test the emission: The OBD2 scanner tests vehicle emission in parts of the U.S. OBD2 scanner is the central part of this, which system closely monitors the emission, and the inspector can quickly use a scan tool to check the emission-related problem codes to assure the vehicle can drive on the road.
- Driving condition of the driver: The OBD system updates its second version, and it also has a way to monitor the skill of any driver of the Vehicle. Like some auto insurance companies offer some reduced premium packages for drivers. After using the system that used vehicle information to prove that they drive safely. The companies also install similar data loggers in their fleet or delivery cars to examine their driver’s behavior. This also helps reduce their liability in any unanticipated event.
- Instrumentation of supplementary: If the Vehicle driver is a professional and an enthusiast, they often use the OBD system to learn about metrics. Which sometimes aren’t displayed on the car screen. These metrics may show custom installation in the car driver’s phone broadcast.
- Commercial purpose: In commercial vehicles, companies always use what is referred to as the generic OBD2 to gather information about their product and fleet. This fleet came with tracking, fuel efficiency monitoring, the driver’s behavior, remote diagnostic, etc.
What is the relation between the OBD and commercial Vehicle?
This OBD scanner is mainly found in the retail vehicle industry. This scanner is handy to maintain for this purpose. There are also some additional benefits this OBD2 provides the commercial Vehicle. Like:
- Express diagnostic process: The OBD scanner provides DTC with a details system through SAE J1939 so that commercial vehicle problems can easily be examined in a couple of minutes. Just connect the scan tool to the connector port, then technicians can easily find the problem and solve it before it creates a huge mess.
- Accurate data: The OBD scanner provides more precise information about the problem than any human technician. It increases the accuracy and reduces the chances that some critical system fault or missed.
- Variation in metrics: the OBD system is famous for collecting a maximum range of matrices that are directly related to vehicle maintenance. This also tracks the driver’s behavior, and they are following the legal rules and company protocols. This system can also share matrices over the secure line, and it allows the central control to monitor the driver and the Vehicle in the remote area.
- Reduce expense: as I said before, the OBD provides any system fault before a human can. This diagnosis is more accurate and has expanded monitoring capabilities. That improves vehicle compliance, and also, this system helps the vehicle companies to reduce the cost on this site. And they can also monitor the driver’s behavior, so they can quickly examine any accidental reason.
So the benefit of this OBD2 scanner is quite impressive for a commercial vehicle. This can benefit when installing the OBD with its full potential.
The OBD scanner is a must-have item for every car right now. This scanner is mainly popular among commercial car companies. This system provides safety to all the car drivers, and the DTC shows if the internal system faces any fault when driving the car. The DTC sends a code in the MIL, and then the warning light turns on. If you find the light is on for a constant time, then the problem is not very serious. But if you notice the warning light continuously turning on and off, some big issue happens in the internal system. It would help if you solved them immediately. That’s why this system is beneficial for every vehicle.
How can I know that my car has an OBD2 scanner in it?
In 1996 and after that, every newer model car had gasoline and alternate fuel, requiring an OBD2 system. Then in 1997, new model year diesel-fueled passenger cars and trucks were also needed to attach to the OBD2 requirements. And after that, almost every car came with this scanner. If you want to know whether your vehicle has this scanner, you can look for the “OBD2” in the emission control information level underneath the vehicle hood.
Is installing OBD2 mandatory?
Research shows that approximately 50% of the total emission from the late model vehicle are given ore emission, which means they are the product of the emission-related malfunctions. The OBD2 scanner ensures that the car remains as straightforward as possible in its entire life. That’s why this OBD2 is an integral part of every car.
How to see whether the problem is severe or not?
If you are not a mechanic, you can easily assume whether the problem is severe or not. If you notice the warning light is on for a constant time and it’s not turning off, the problem is not painful. But if you see the warning light continuously turn on and off, then the fault is severe and needs to be fixed quickly.
What do I need to do when I see the warning light?
After you see the warning light, you need to learn the meaning of this light. Before you know it, the lighting process also shows you how the situation is. And then, if you can fix the issue, you can do it by yourself. Otherwise, you need to consult with a mechanic and solve the problem.
Hi, I am Henry, the owner of this website. If you are a DIY car enthusiast like me and are looking for an all-purpose OBD2 scanner, you’ve come to the right place. With 5+ years of experience in the automobile industry, I have in-depth knowledge about most of the OBD2 scanners regarding their software versions, firmware, features, updates, and compatibility. I love reviewing these gadgets after using and testing them personally. As a result, I always try to provide my honest opinion on the overall product quality.