When people hear about OBD II scan tools, they immediately assume that it’s a miracle cure for car problems. A lot of people have written about them as the greatest thing in fixing vehicles.
The truth of the matter is that they are not all they are cut out to be. If you purchased one, or many, you’ll find that you may still need to learn a few things about the tool, the software, and fixing cars as well.
What most people don’t know is that there is no “one” solution that covers every vehicle overall. If you haven’t looked into this before, or perhaps are interested in purchasing a scanner, consider a few things about them that many don’t realize. What most don’t know about OBD II options, could very well help you make an educated decision moving forward.
Scan Tools Do Not Give You Answers Outright
The first thing that you need to know about is simple, you will not get an answer outright. The answer is not clear, like if you were to ask a mechanic.
When you get a scan tool attached to your car, you’re going to find that there are codes in place. You may see codes like P1099. That doesn’t always have a definition. The definition of these codes is available online, and through manuals. Scanning tools do not give you a glossary or anything like that.
There are some expensive solutions that will give you a lot more, but the basic options are only going to give you diagnostic codes that are specific to the make, model, and software that you’re going to be utilizing overall. They do not tell you the answers, don’t expect them to, with very few exceptions overall.
Scanning Tools Do Not Cost A Great Deal (Beginner Models)
If you have been seeing OBD II scan tools that are very expensive, you may not immediately want to buy one. The reality of this, however, is that you can purchase options that are very basic.
If you want to purchase something that is entry level, you can spend as little as $20 or even $10 for a used solution.
Used options work as well as new ones, and in some instances, you can even find clones. There are clones available of interface solutions that are cheaper than getting officially licensed options. Of course, you could very well purchase a clone or an inexpensive option to get familiar with how these work, or you could purchase something a bit more expensive if you’d like.
Whatever the case may be, the beginner models do not cost nearly as much as you’ll spend on more advanced solutions.
Not All Scanning Tools Get Updated
Another thing that you’re going to notice about many of the OBD II scanners is that they don’t get updated often. Many people don’t realize that people don’t get updates. Scanning tools that are lower end, and even clones do not get new software updates.
Software doesn’t always get updated, which means that the information could very well be older.
Older solutions can still give you a little bit of information about your vehicle, but it will not be as good as the software updates that some solutions get. If you’re going to spend money on a scanner, make sure that you get a solution that allows you to update the codes, and software overall.
This will help you gain the upper hand, figure out what is going on with your car, and how to apply a fix.
Some Tools Work With New Technology
Technology moves alongside car tools and manufacturing as well. You’ll find that many of the best scanners are going to be easy to work with, because you can stream things over the air. For instance, you could purchase an option that works with Bluetooth, and wireless connectivity.
These two things are interesting, in that you’ll be able to move around your vehicle, and get information on the fly. In the past, when the first scanners and readers were being sold, you had to attach wires to a computer cart, laptop, or another device, and stay close to the wires.
If you didn’t do that, you would not get the information relayed to where you need them. Today, however, there are many tools that work with the latest streaming technologies, including Bluetooth and more. If you don’t want to work with wires, you don’t have to.
Smartphones and Tablets Use Apps
One of the greatest things about OBD II solutions is that you can get them downloaded through applications. If you have a tablet or a smartphone, you can get the information on your car, that you need fast. You could very well start working with the right fix for your vehicle by simply having a smartphone or tablet.
If you have this tech, then you can easily utilize modern technology to work with. This allows you to also test your car, your friend’s cars, and much more. The great thing about these apps is that you’ll be able to upgrade on the fly, as well. Whenever the software is updated, you can automatically update things overall.
Manufacturer Specific Options
Not only can you use OBD II scanners, you can get some from the manufacturer. Many car brands have diagnostic codes that are specific to their vehicles.
If you want to spend a little more money, you can get one from the professionals that make the car you drive. It may cost you a little more, but it will help you figure out what is going on with your car, without having to second guess anything.
Manufacturer specific codes are great, because they’ll help you figure out what exactly is wrong with your overall interface.
Your car can end up costing you a great deal of money if you don’t look into on board diagnostic scanners. It’s simply a good solution to pursue, to help your car run great, for a long time.