How To Use OBD2 Code Reader: Newbie Guide!

Today, cars are like computers on wheels. The advantage of this is that you are able to access all the information that was not accessible before.

For decades, all vehicles are on board diagnostics (OBD2). The OBD-2 is simply a standardized gateway into the computer of your vehicle.

This device allows you to pinpoint the errors in your vehicle. To access that information, you will require a reader.

Readers used to be quite costly in the past, but the price has gone down over time. These obd2 scans are very easy to use as well. In this article, we show you how to use your code reader.

Step by Step Process Of Using OBD2 Code Reader

Get an OBD-2 code reader

You can get OBD-2 code readers at most online and auto-parts shops. If you possess a smartphone that is Bluetooth-enabled, download an app that can interpret the data and buy an OBD scan reader that can display the codes and interpretations straight on your phone.

Onboard diagnostics continually checks the performance of your car's engine and Emissions Control System. Whenever there's an error that makes the car's emissions to be more than or equal to 150 percent of the mandated amounts by Federal EPA, the OBD-2 will turn the Check Engine Light on.

Identify the Diagnostic Link Connector (DLC) in your car

This connector is usually located beneath the left side of the dash adjacent to the steering column. It is a triangular-shaped, 16-pin connector.

If you are somehow unable to find the DLC, you can look for the location on the internet using the model of your vehicle. Alternatively, you can just refer to the vehicle's manual.

Plug your code reader into the DLC

At this position, turn the ignition on but don't start the engine. The reader will begin to communicate with the computers in your car. You will be able to view messages on the screen of the reader.

If your screen fails to light up and doesn’t display any messages, you can try to jiggle the connector to get better contact between the pins of the DLC and the reader.

If you’re still unsuccessful, ensure that the cigarette lighter is functional. This is due to the fact that the OBD-2 system utilizes the circuit of the cigarette lighter to provide voltage to the Diagnostic Link Connector. If the cigarette lighter is not working, find and check the fuse involved.

Input the vehicle information

On some readers, you will have to enter the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) together with the make and model. You might also have to input the engine type. Different scanners need different processes.

Locate the menu

After the reader has completed the booting process, find the menu. Choose ‘codes' or ‘trouble codes' to initiate the main codes menu. Depending on the reader you're using, and the year of the car you may see several systems. When you choose one method, you will view at least 2 kinds of code.

Active codes and Pending codes are the most common. Errors that are keeping the Check Engine Light on are known as active codes. You should note that even if the Check Engine Light is turned off, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the malfunction has gone away.

On the other hand, pending codes usually mean that the OBD-2 system has not succeeded in the operation of an Emission Control System more than one time. If it doesn't succeed again, the Check Engine Light will turn on, and the error changes into an active code.

Know What the Letters Mean

Every code will begin with a letter which designates which part the code is referring to. You will view a number of letters, and you may have to scroll to different menus to view them.

P - Powertrain. This is the biggest set of codes. It refers to the engine system, transmission, fueling system, ignition, emissions, and others.

B- Body. This shows the airbags, seat belts, etc.

C - Chassis. These codes show systems such as the axles, ABS, brake fluid and many more.

U - Undefined. These are the codes that cover other aspects of the vehicle.

USB-C Charging Toy Know the Meaning of the Numbers

P0xxx, P2xxx, and P3xxx are non-specific codes that apply to all vehicle models. P1xxx codes are model-specific, like Ford, Honda Toyota, and others.

The second digit shows you the subsystem the code is covering, e.g., PO7xx code covers the transmission system.

The last two numbers tell you of the specific issue that the code is referring to. For example, P0301 shows a misfire problem on cylinder 1.

The P tells you it's a powertrain code, the 0 means that it’s a generic code and the 3 indicates that the subsystem is an Ignition System code.

You can look at a code chart online for information on every code.

Diagnose Your Car

A proper diagnosis of OBD-2 needs loads of practice and training. For instance, a worn out alternator may set other codes in systems that have not malfunctioned.

Prior to attempting any repairs, know that the codes solo will not show you what areas need replacement or repairs.

If you feel hesitated about what to do, take your vehicle to a certified technician.

Reset the Check Engine Light

If you are done with the repairs, and you want to switch the Check Engine Light off, you can reset it from the main menu of most OBD readers.

Hopefully, that answered your question. For more notions of info on this topic, let us know your thought in the comments section below.

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