How To Use Obd2 Scanner -7 An Expert Explains

Author: | Update On: January 21, 2021
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An obd2 scanner is a device used to check on the engine’s functionality by accessing the trouble codes provided by the vehicle’s diagnostic computer.  Once this computerized handheld device is connected to your vehicle, it provides all the essential information though it can only be used on vehicles manufactured not later from 1996.

If you don’t know how to use an obd2 scanner, don’t worry about it because this review will guide you on that. It is quite easy to operate an obd2 scanner; hence accessing information you require takes only a few minutes.

how to use obd2 scanner

How Does An Obd2 Scanner Work?

What an obd2 scanner does is to not only read but also to analyze error codes. What this onboard monitoring tool does not do is to fix the problem once it is diagnosed. An obd2 scanner works to enable you to frequent the mechanic’s shop anytime the check engine light comes on. This monitoring tool works by inserting a universal plug into the obd2 diagnostic connector in a vehicle accessing OEM-specific information, and collecting data about multiple components: road speed, engine RPM, air temperature, and position crankshaft and camshaft, among others. You can analyze all those specifics with this scanner tool before taking the next step of visiting the mechanic.

Note:  Above, we have discussed how an obd2 scanner works. To understand the best obd2 scanner for jeep, look at our next article for more details.

How To Use Obd2 Scanner?

This is a simple, user-friendly monitoring tool that is easy to operate. All you have to do is follow these simple steps on how to use the obd2 scanner.

Step 1: The first thing you should do is turn off your vehicle. Locate the data link connector that is triangular shaped located on the left-hand side of the car’s control panel, then plug in the scanner with the connector.

Step 2: Once you connect the obd2 scanner to the data link connector, turn on the ignition, but be careful not to start the engine.

 Step 3: If the monitor device did not activate itself, then turn it on.

Step 4: From the screen, you will start to see some communication between the scanner and the onboard computers in your vehicle. However, if your screen remains blank, try jiggling the connector for better contact reception.

Step 5: This is where you key the command to either “read” or “scan” the entire diagnostic system. This will be done depending on the obd2 scanner brand you have because they all operate differently. The difference is usually on the button layout that comes in different from model to model. Check for the code retrieval instructions on the device’s handbook.

Step 6: Now check on the trouble codes appearing on the device’s read-out screen and write them down on a piece of paper. However, if your device is USB, use a USB cable to connect it directly to a computer. For a USB equipped device, find the device-to-desktop connectivity instructions outlined in the scanner’s handbook.

Step 7: Check on the trouble codes from your device’s handbook that usually appear towards the back in an appendix. These generic codes are standardized and can be used on all obd2 compliant vehicles. Once you are done, turn off the vehicle’s electrical system as well as the engine. Now unplug the obd2 monitoring scanner from the outlet and turn it off.

How To Choose Obd2 Scanner?

When choosing to buy an obd2 scanner, you have to ensure that you get a model whose quality is questionable. This guide on selecting an obd2 scanner will come in handy, for it will explain in detail some of the considerations to look into when choosing an obd2 scanner.

Scan tools

It is imperative to invest in an obd2 scanner with automotive scan tools even though such models come in quite costlier. The best part about a scanner with tools is it provides a lot of information about specific codes. Others have complete access to live and recorded data and troubleshooting steps that enable you to tackle the problem within no time.


While obd2 scanners can indicate your car’s codes on the onboard computer, others can do much more by promptly updating your car’s condition. That is why you need to buy an obd2 scanner with extra features that will ensure top functionality. The level of functionality you intend to acquire from an obd2 scanner should be fulfilled by the model you end up choosing.


Choose an obd2 scanner that is compatible with a vast range of cars; that way, you will be sure that it will work for your vehicle too. You do not want to spend money on an obd2 scanner that only reads a single protocol. The main point is choosing the ideal obd2 scanner that matches your car’s computer operating system.


Many of the obd2 scanners vary when it comes to the display; hence, you need to ensure that the one you choose has a readable display. The point is ensuring that the display reflects data on the screen well.

Ease of use

The design of some obd2 scanners is quite sophisticated, making them difficult to use. The best part is most scanners bearing in mind the inexperienced user, making them quite easy to use. Now, that is the obd2 scanner that you should choose rather than a complicated one that will give you a hard time figuring out.


If you don’t set a budget when planning to buy an obd2 scanner, you will end up breaking the bank to get one. You must establish a budget and work within that budget so that you end up saving money.  Even though the market is flooded with expensive obd2 scanners, you can still find an affordable one within your budget without compromising on the quality. Don’t hit your wallet too hard; narrow down the price ranges to a model that perfectly fits your budget.

Note:  We have explained in detail how to use an obd2 scanner. For more information, you can take a look at our last articles that has more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do obd2 scanners work on all cars?

The obd2 scanner can work on all cars as long as they have onboard diagnostic software.

Do all obd2 Scanner erase codes?

All obd2 scanners can erase codes, even the cheapest and simplest ones.

Can an obd2 Scanner reset codes?

Final Thoughts

Obd2 scanners are monitoring devices that enable you to communicate with your car’s onboard computer in an extraordinary way allowing you to view data. This scanner will enable you to clear error codes, change your car settings, and clear warning lights.

When you have this top-notch onboard diagnostic scan tool, you are in a better position of fixing easy issues displayed. Once you understand how to use obd2 scanner, you will enjoy many benefits that come with this device. Having an obd2 scanner helps you save a lot of money because it enables you to work on small repairs that, in the long run, would have been costly to repair.

How To Use Obd2 Scanner -7 An Expert Explains 1

William Hedlund

Hi, I am William Hedlund, I am a motor tool specialist and a businessman. I have a business where I sell all the latest obd2 scanners for honda & jeep, best automotive diagnostic scanner, off-road air compressor, best battery for winching, etc. Because of my business, I have to face so many clients of these tools users. While selling these products and giving them service, I saw many clients face difficulties with installation, maintenance, not getting the exact amount of service, and buying the wrong one. All those problems they face because of their lack of knowledge about these products.

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