Using the OBD Scanner

16 PIn Connector

It is tough to get a clear PIcture from under the dash
It is tough to get a clear PIcture from under the dash

OBD Connected

It can only be connected one way.
It can only be connected one way.

Check Engine Light is on !

 

A trouble code reader or more commonly known as an OBD scanner (On Board Diagnostic) is a great tool to have in your tools box. It allows you to find out why the check engine light is glowing.  When the check engine light does come on, your first thought is how much is this going to cost me to get fix.  You go to the dealership and they tell you what the diagnostic fee.  Once you have picked yourself up off the floor, the service tech tells you not to worry. As long as you have the car repaired at the dealership they won’t charge the diagnostic fee.  Then he tells you what they charge per hour for labor. Bang that is the sound of you hitting the floor again. An obd scanner can tell you what is causing the check engine light to come on and in most cases you can fix it yourself 

Hooked up Ready to Read

The self test is quick. By the time I picked up the camara to take the Picture the test was done. Notice the Key is in the off position
The self test is quick. By the time I picked up the camara to take the Picture the test was done. Notice the Key is in the off position

What Exactly Does an OBD Scanner Do?

 The modern car engine is monitored by sensors connected to a computer. When one of those sensors does not give the computer the correct feedback the check engine light comes on and ruins your whole day. When the check engine light comes on it means the car’s emission system is not functioning properly. It could mean the O2 sensor is not functioning properly or your fuel mixture is incorrect. The engine idle speed is wrong; the spark plugs are not firing correctly; or, any one of the numerous engine codes stored in your car’s computer.

 

One of the most common reasons for the check engine light to come on is that the gas cap is not on tight enough.  A friend of mine would have paid a ridiculous amount of money to find that out if her car had not been under warranty. As it was, the dealership charged the manufacturer for the repair cost. Now wonder Detroit needed a bailout. My obdii diagnostic tester has saved me a couple of hundred dollars over the last few years. There are two types of code readers; obd i and obdii

Press the Read Key

Turn the Key to the ON position and press the read key.
Turn the Key to the ON position and press the read key.

What Type of OBD Scanner Do You Need and How do You Use It?

Depending on the year your car was manufactured you will have either the On Board Diagnostic generation 1 or the On Board Diagnostic generation 2 system. Cars built after 1987 and before 1996 will have an obd i system. Cars built after 1995 will have the obd ii system in their car. To use the OBD diagnostic tester it is as simple as plug and play.

 

All American made cars have a universal 16 pin connector under the dash board to connect your diagnostic tool. After you connect the tester it will perform a self-test once that is completed the LED will display 0. You’re ready to test.

 

Turn the key to the ON position (Do not start the engine) press the read button then release it. The tester will begin reading the engine trouble codes. Use your arrow key to scroll through the codes.  Once you have all the engine codes written down, you can then erase the trouble codes from the system.

 

For example Code: P0440 Evaporation Emission Control Malfunction.  This tells me I have a problem with Evaporation Canister in the front of the engine compartment.  I simply look up ECM in the manual and find the section I need. Most likely it is a faulty hose connection causing the problem that is a cheap fix.   If it is a purge value it will be a little more money.  If the canister is defective than it will be a little more expensive but not as expensive as a dealership would charge. God knows what that would cost. 

Engine Code 0440

With in a few seconds I no whats wrong with the engine.
With in a few seconds I no whats wrong with the engine.

Wait For a Sale to Buy Your OBD

The OBD system is easy and simple to use. It will pay for itself after a few repair jobs. The cheapest scanner I found was for $80.00. The 0440 engine code you see in the picture most likely is a bad purge vale which will cost about $33.00. I wonder what the dealership would have charged me?

I am not endorsing any particular brand of scanner. Shop around and do your research, wait for a sale to get the best OBD scanner you can afford. In the long run it is worth the cost if you want to save money.

More by this Author


Comments 2 comments

earnestshub profile image

earnestshub 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia

Excellent hub! I was going to write on how to use a scanner, but this fills the bill just fine.


William Green 5 years ago from USA Author

Thanks for the support.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working