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Other Automotive Diagnostic Service Tools

When you see your check engine light come on, use a device that can diagnose the issue. These code reader and scanning tests usually plug into the OBD-II port, which is located under your dashboard. Once you've plugged in the OBD-II scanner, simply enter your vehicle data for information regarding the state of your engine, transmission, and emissions; you can also program keys or clear key memories.

What on-board diagnostic tools and protocols are available?
  • OBD: The OBD interface was originally designed solely for California in order to give manufacturers a push towards efficient emission systems.
  • OBD-II: Required for all autos sold after 1996, the OBD-II scanner uses a standardized connector to scan the systems. Readouts also have universal standards for the OB-II protocol.
  • EOBD: Since 2001, European petrol cars have used this standard for their diagnostic tools, which is their OBD-II equivalent. Commercial and diesel vehicles sold after 2004 were required to have diagnostic protocols as well.
What other vehicles can an OBD-II scanner test?
  • ATV: When it's time to go 4-wheeling, keep your ATV in top shape by testing and correcting the issues beforehand.
  • Motorcycle: While the OBD-II scanner protocol is not a requirement for motorcycles, many models have their own equivalent protocol of CAN BUS.
  • Heavy-duty: Commercial diesel trucks require OBD-II protocols.
Can you use the OBD-II scanners to correct mileage errors?

While automotive dealers are not allowed to sell autos with changed mileage in order to fraudulently reflect low mileage, you are able to correct errors in mileage using a diagnostic tool. Your vehicle may display an asterisk or some other notification by the mileage to reflect the change. You'll just want to make sure you're not using the code reader to perform this action to sell the car fraudulently or extend a warranty.

How do the scanners record the diagnostic results?

The OBD-II scan tools will display the error code on the scanner's display face, which is then used to find the proper diagnosis. The scan uses software that is capable of being saved on an external storage device if necessary. Some models will also have Bluetooth compatibility to transfer readouts to an iPhone or Android device. When code errors are fixed, these diagnostic devices have the ability to reset codes in your car and stop error lights. Scanners have a built-in memory to keep track of recurring trouble code issues in a vehicle.

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