The Key Differences Between OBD Scanners


You may have come across OBD scanners when you’ve taken your car to a mechanic, or when you try to sell your car to a used car lot. Many professionals in the automobile industry use OBD scanners as an important tool to diagnose issues that require repair in a vehicle. If you’re thinking of getting one for yourself, you should know that there are two types. Here is an overview of the types of OBD scanners and the differences between them.


OBD1 : The Original OBD scanner

The first devices used to diagnose dashboard lights were OBD 1  scanners. Of course, back then, they were simply called On-Board Display Scanners. Nonetheless, these were the first prototype that was used for all cars until 1996. Even now, cars manufactured after 1996 will not be compatible with an OBD 1 scanner. The device connected via a port, through a wired connection. Additionally, there are several different models, each specific to a manufacturer or model. This means that the same OBD1 scanner cannot be used to diagnose a wide variety of cars, so when purchasing one you should always make sure that it is compatible with the make and model of your vehicle. 


OBD2: Modern Upgrade

As technology evolved, so did OBD scanners. Nowadays, you can find the modern OBD 2 scanners that include many bells and whistles such as touch screen, built-in decoding of OBD results and much more. A common feature of all OB2 scanners is that they are compatible with almost any vehicle that is manufactured after 1996. This makes the device much more versatile because mechanics and other professionals of the automobile industry can use one device to check all their vehicles. They connect wirelessly for the most part, and some high-end models offer extra diagnostics that go beyond dashboard lights. Some even allow the user to turn off dashboard indicators without the need to repair the malfunction at all – this is a trick used by many used car salesmen.


Who Needs An OBD Scanner

At this point, you’re probably wondering who would benefit from purchasing this type of device. Because OBD scanners are used to diagnose malfunctions in the car, they are widely used by mechanics to pinpoint where repairs need to be done. The device helps them save time and energy because instead of making an educated guess they can simply get to repairing the specific damages. 

Also, as previously mentioned, used car lots use these devices to scan incoming vehicles and disable indicators. People who buy these devices for personal use are generally those who prefer to buy and sell used cars. As vehicles age, the likelihood of malfunctions occurring increases — this is because the estimated lifespan of the various parts is diminishing. To avoid wasting time at the mechanic’s, many vehicle owners purchase an OBD scanner to have a rough idea of what problems their car has. They can then decide for themselves whether the repairs are worth it, or whether selling the car and replacing it would be more feasible.


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