An OBD fault code reader is a versatile tool that you can use for diagnostic purpose when performing a car maintenance routine. There are many things that you should know about this handy tool.
What does it do?
An OBD fault code reader retrieves the code or codes that your car’s onboard diagnostic system generates when a problem is detected. If there is only one problem, only one code will be retrieved. If the problem is caused by the malfunctioning of multiple components or systems, the code reader will retrieve more than one codes.
How to use it?
To use an OBD fault code reader, you need to plug it into the data link connector that is located near the base of your steering wheel. Usually, you need to plug it in when the engine is off. When you turn on the ignition, the code reader will start performing its job.
How does it look?
This depends on the type of OBD fault code reader that you use. There are actually three general types of fault code reader that you can have. The first is the basic code reader with some very basic diagnostic features. The second is a DIY scan tool that has a dongle that is constantly attached to the car’s DLC. This dongle connects to your smartphone through a USB cable, Bluetooth, or Wi-Fi. The third is a professional scanner, which is a state-of-the-art tool that is used by real professional and car enthusiasts. It can often connect not only to the DLC, but also to other connectors, and it can help you in many other maintenance tasks besides basic diagnostics.
What needs to be considered when buying an OBD fault code reader?
Although an OBD fault code reader is definitely a universal tool that can mostly be used on all vehicles, regardless of their manufacturers, buying a new code reader is often challenging because there are several essential things that need to be taken into consideration.
- Your experience with car maintenance
When buying a new code reader, you need to explore first your experience and enthusiasm with car maintenance. If you are not fond of doing DIY can repair and maintenance, buying a basic code reader is often enough. With this device, you can recognize the problem with your car before taking it to a car repair shop. Recognizing the problem is often necessary because you don’t want to make the problem get worse while you are driving your car to the repair shop. If you are an experienced mechanic or a car enthusiast, you definitely want to have an advanced scanner in your inventory.
- Customer Support
After you buy a code reader, you want to make sure that you get all the necessary supports to ensure the device’s everlasting reliability. Database updates should always be available, the device should be supported by the software and apps that you are using, and it should be protected by proper warranty.
- Your budget
A basic OBD fault code reader is obviously cheaper than the more advanced scan tools. Together with your experience with car maintenance, your budget should also determine which scan tool that you want to buy.
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