A diagnostic scanner is the general term for any device that allows the car owner to plug into the car’s computer and determine the presence of problems in accordance with the standards for auto fault codes set by the government regulators. The most commonly used versions of this are also known as on-board diagnostic or OBD scanners. Diagnostic scanners give the car a voice which allows it to tell the auto mechanic the state of health of its various subsystems. A diagnostic scanner cuts down on all the time that mechanics have to spend on the vehicle to look for the trouble area. This will make tune ups and repairs for the vehicle faster, cheaper and more efficient. It can also help guide those individuals who have a hands on and do-it-yourself approach to maintaining their vehicles. Whether doing it yourself or having a professional do it for you, automobile maintenance is definitely made easier with a car diagnostic tool.
Of course, not all cars are capable of using diagnostic scanners. Most cars made before 1980 have little or no ability to interface with diagnostic scanners. The good news is that all modern American cars, starting from those pioneering General Motors vehicles in 1980, have some form of diagnostic scanners. These range from the simple “Check Engine” lights to the more specific indicators. Moreover, many non-American car makers have followed suit and diagnostic scanners are now commonplace tools for any car owner.
Today’s cars are equipped with on-board diagnostic scanners II, which improves on the first OBD scanner’s capabilities and adopted a standardized system of fault codes to make diagnosing car problems more efficient and universal, no matter what the make and model of the car is involved. One of the more prominent improvements of this new diagnostic tool is the inclusion of a power source straight from the vehicle’s battery so that hand-held diagnostic scanners that interface with the best OBD2 scanner do not need to be connected to individual power sources. This makes the use of hand-held diagnostic scanners more practical.
There are many types of diagnostic scanners available today. The simplest of these are the hand-held fault code readers that only display the general fault codes. An example of these scanners is the Launch X431 Car Diagnostic Scanner. It only reads and clears fault code readings in the car so that one can tell mechanics where the problem lies. A more complex hand-held scanner is also available, such as the Actron scanners. These scanners pinpoint fault codes and can access more advanced diagnostics. These also offer real time recording of the car’s health status for more accurate analyses of problems. More advanced scanners such as computer-based diagnostic scanners can delve even deeper. Although these are less handy, computer-based scanners can offer advantages of having infinitely large storage, simultaneous programs running and better resolution. Other types of diagnostic scanners are the data-loggers which collect data while the vehicle is functioning normally for a baseline comparison when problems appear. More peripheral scanners include supplementary instrumentation that allows drivers to monitor such things as battery current and manifold vacuum data.
The more advanced hand-held diagnostic scanners have a wider and more specific diagnostic range. Where simpler scanners are only able to identify the fault code and removing the code when the problem has been addressed, more advanced scanners like the OTC Genisys and the Autoboss V30 are capable of additional tasks. These scanners check out problems throughout the car, including the driving functions, the body, the chassis and the air conditioning. More specific areas such as the transmission and motor electronics are then pinpointed. They can pinpoint which specific parts of the faulty areas are most likely to cause the problem and suggest solutions. Some are even capable of issuing reminders regarding commonly overlooked problems in that area.
Using diagnostic scanners will help car owners understand what is wrong with their cars. It will also help them point out problems to auto mechanics so that these can be addressed quickly and efficiently. Diagnostic scanners are a great way to pre-check cars. Users might find that the problem is within their abilities to solve or confirm that professionals should be called in. This will translate into increased savings for car owners, in terms of eliminating unnecessary mechanic’s fees and long-term savings from keeping the car in good condition. It will also allow owners to take a more active and informed role in their cars’ repairs.