How to Use an OBD2 Code Reader

How to Use an OBD2 Code Reader

If you have a car and you use it on regular basis, you would surely be familiar with all the utilities that it has to offer. No matter what is the nature of the users’ requirement, they can always take their car whenever they need to take it out.

If you want to see your car in a working condition, you have to make sure that you keep it in the right form. There are a number of vehicles found in the market; all of them are required to go for maintenance after some time, depending on the condition of the vehicle.

At the same time you might need to deal with the unusual issues of your car in some special cases.

In both the cases, you are supposed to take the action immediately and try to restore the shape of your car as it was originally. This is important if you want your car to keep serving you in various ways.

There is this special tool named OBD2 code reader; it has proved to be really auspicious in order to keep your car in the condition that is near perfection.

OBD2 code reader is a simple product and is designed for checking the ECU credentials that are deployed in your vehicle.

In simple words you can say that when you connect this device to your car, it accesses the computer of the car and gives you a report that contains the important information about the present condition of your car.

In this way the car owners get a clear idea about what needs to be repaired and which part of the car is not functioning properly.

So there is nothing wrong in saying that a OBD2 code reader is an outstanding product that assists you to deal with the unwanted issues of your car in the best possible way.

Because of the fact that OBD2 code reader is an auspicious device, there are lots of people who buy this product. It offers many different functionalities and the car owners always remain satisfied by this device.

If you are planning to buy this device, you should first know about how to use it properly.

An overview of “How to Use an OBD2 Code Reader” is given below; you should go through it if you want to use the device properly.

The proper way to use the OBD2 code readers:

You must become completely familiar with the usage of this device if you want to get the maximum benefit from it. It will help you in ensuring its safe and productive use.

You can find various types of the OBD code readers in the market. All of them offer specific consoles according to their type; however the basic principle of the operations of all the types of these code readers is quite similar to each other.

The different steps involved in order to use the OBD code readers in the best possible way are given below:


Getting the right application:

You are given an option too sync the OBD code readers with your mobile apps and they offer lots of useful functionalities.

On the internet there are several apps available for both iOS and Android. It is the foremost thing to find a good app if you want to have a perfect experience regarding the OBD code reader.

Locating the data link connector in the right way:

The DLC port is a port with sixteen pins and it provides an access to your vehicle’s ECU. All the different types of cars are supposed to have this data link connector port.

However, it has different locations in different models of cars. In most of the cases this port is located under the vehicle’s dashboard.

The manual of the car can also be consulted in case you don’t find the DLC port.

Plugging in the OBD code reader:

After locating the direct link connector port in the car the next step is to play the code reader. The code reader must be connected in the right orientation and plugged in properly.

If you do not take care while doing this, there are chances that you would damage the pins of the reader and they will become disoriented.

It will lead to an unwanted problem that you would never want to face. After plugging in the device properly, try to switch it on.

If the OBD code reader that you are using has its own battery then it will light up then and there. In the other case the user will have to turn on the engine of the car.

Even then if the reader does not turn on then there might be some issue with your code reader, i.e. it would possibly be broken or would have some other issue.

Running a scan:

When you turn the device on and bring it in a running condition, you can start scanning your car. If any of the malfunctioning sensors is on, you will get an error code when you run the first scan. Some of the practical details will also be reported related to the ongoing issue.

It will also give you some suggestions to fix the problem.

Precautions while using the OBD code reader:

As discussed earlier, it is very important to take the right precautions if you want to use this device safely. One of the most critical factors that you must not neglect is the proper plugging of the device in the port.

If you neglect this factor then you will possibly have to face some serious problems. Both your car as well as the code reader will be affected.

Working principles of the OBD Code Reader:

If you do not have enough knowledge about the product that you are planning to buy, it always proves to be something trouble creating for you.

In this way both your money and time get wasted. Most of the car owners do not have any idea about the working of the OBD code reader.

This is the reason that majority of them fail to identify and choose the right product.

It leads to the thing that the car owners have to pay more money and they unwantedly and unintentionally buy the device that has an inferior quality.

If you want to know about the things in detail you can also check the theme of the features and functionalities below that are carried by the code reader.

The OBD code reader is an electronic device that has a simple working principle. It is designed for reading some of the error codes that come up from the ECU of your car.

You plug it in the direct link connecter port of your car or any other vehicle. In this way an access is given to the car’s ECU.

The code reader pings the computer of the car and asks for the information that is required for further operation.

On making a request, a responding signal is generated by the computer and then transmitted back to the code reader.

In this way the OBD car reader gives notifications to the car owner if there is something wrong with any part of the car.


The usual types of OBD2 code readers

OBD2 code readers are available in more than one different type. They are developed to cater the requirements of different kinds of users who own different types of vehicles.

For instance, some of the models are designed to offer the most basic features of retrieving the information on existing error codes of a vehicle.

Intermediary level OBD2 code readers on the other hand offer more than that. When connected to a vehicle, they retrieve error signal information from the ECU of the car.

Upon getting the signal containing the requisite information, they inform the user about the ongoing error code along with some practical information regarding the problem being faced.

Some common kinds of OBD2 code readers available in the market are discussed below for your convenience and understanding.

  1. Basic OBD2 code readers

    The basic models of OBD2 code readers available in the market offer the most basic functionalities that such a device could offer.

    When you connect such a code reader to your car, all it does is retrieve some relevant information from the ECU of the car and generates the appropriate error code on its screen.

    After getting the error code, you would have to look it up on the internet in order to find out what it means.

    So if you think about it, such kind of OBD2 code reader models do not come in so handy. Therefore, you should prefer buying the semi professional models for better results.

  1. Semi professional OBD2 code readers

    Semi professional OBD2 code readers come in very handy especially when you like to keep your car in constant check in order to carry out the regular maintenances on your own.

    The semi professional OBD2 code readers when connected to a car generate a signal in order to get information from the ECU of a car.

    Upon retrieving that information, the device generates the relevant error code along with some other information on what that error code actually means.

    Some of the devices are pretty high end.

    They also provide some details on how you could be able to resolve the issue. Semi professional OBD2 code readers may be thought of as the best choice for car owners because they offer the best results and do not cost a lot of money.

  1. Professional OBD2 code readers

    The professional OBD2 code readers may be thought of as the most advanced form of car code readers. They are designed to carry out an in detail examination of any car they get connected to.

    Such devices come in very handy especially for heavy transport vehicles like buses and trucks as they do not support the low end devices like basic and semi professional OBD2 code readers.

    Professional OBD2 code readers may appear to be the best but they are not the most suited ones for car owners.

    This is due to a number of reasons. They are pretty expensive while their offered information is very detailed and a little overwhelming.

    That’s the reason why they are only used by high end car manufacturing factories and some major workshops.


Things to consider before you buy an OBD2 code reader

As you might have anticipated from the details discussed in the paragraphs written above, OBD2 code readers code in very handy if you are a car owner who is interested in keeping track of the overall condition of their car.

Just like any other electronic product available in the market, there are several different brands, kinds and qualities available in the market when it comes to OBD2 code readers.

In order to make the best purchasing decision, the right course of action is to do a little research of your own in order to get an idea about which device is better in comparison to the other.

Some of the things that you might find very useful before buying an OBD2 code reader for your car are discussed in the paragraphs below.

Conduct a research

Internet has created a lot of ease in our lives. Unlike the past, everything we want access to is on our finger tips now a days. So before you buy an OBD2 code reader, it is highly recommended to check out the online market for different OBD2 code reading products.

You can compare the prices, qualities, reviews and other credentials of the available devices in order to get an overview of what different devices have to offer to their owners.

Software compatibility

In order to function the right way, OBD2 code readers work in collaboration with software applications that run on a computer or some handheld device like a smartphone.

Before buying any OBD2 code reader that you are planning on buying, it is strongly recommended to check out the various software compatibility options offered by that product.

Never buy the products that do not offer the right kind of compatibility.


Different OBD2 code readers offer different kinds of hardware compatibilities just like the software end of those devices.

For instance, a few of the devices may need connection to an actual computer while others may even be connected to a smartphone through Bluetooth or WIFI.

Therefore, before you buy your OBD2 code reader, check it out for the compatibility it offers and make sure that it is the right choice according to your needs.

Support by the company

Having invested a sum of money and not being able to get the most out of your investment is always a very frustrating experience. So if you are planning on buying an OBD2 code reader for your car, you need to do it right.

Check out the profile of the company in order to get an idea about the after sales support it usually offers.

Buy a product that is manufactured by a company that carries a good profile when it comes to after sales support so that you might be able to get the proper follow up in case something goes wrong with your device.

Available software Updates

The OBD2 code readers run on some certain kinds of operating systems. They are programmed especially for these devices and contain information on all the possible error codes normally experienced by a car.

With the passage of time, new error codes get discovered and the device’s software needs to be updated so that it might install the relevant updated information on the new error codes.

Therefore, it is strongly recommended to buy a product that is still receiving software updates from its parent company.


Just like any other item you buy, taking a look at the price tag is highly mandatory. So before you buy your new OBD2 code reader, the best course of action is to check out the prices of a few different models in order to get an idea about the overall market.

That way, you would be able to make an informed decision on which device should you go for and which one is overcharging its buyers.


Checking out the reviews posted on the internet by existing users of different devices means getting a good idea about the actual performance of the device that you plan on buying.

So before buying a new OBD2 code reader, you need to check out the reviews posted on the internet for the device you are interested in.

Always go for a device that has a number of positive reviews on its profile.

How to Use an OBD2 Code Reader
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