Stockton Auto Repair

What is an OBD (On-Board Diagnostics) Scanner?

On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) scanners are used to discover potential problems with your car. It connects to the car's internal computer system.

OBD scanners are plugged directly into the OBD port in your car which scans the stored data to identify everything from loose wires to oxygen level issues. OBD scanners use error codes to display the automotive issue.

The scanner reads the data which is recorded using Electronic Control Units (ECU) which are tiny computers also known as subsystems, each controlling a different vehicle part.

When you start your car, the OBD system starts scanning the engine components to check performance. If there is a major error the "check engine" light will switch on. While it is not time to panic, it is a good idea to have your vehicle checked if this happens.

The OBD system tracks and detects errors, for any component that impacts the engine. Some important components would be:

  • Engine Misfires
  • Emissions Control Systems
  • Computer Systems
  • Fuel Systems
  • Vehicle/Speed Idling Controls
  • Seat Belts/Airbags

Every vehicle error is diagnosed and is given a code which is stored in the OBD system. When the scanner is plugged in it reads the codes and finds out what is wrong with your car!

The OBD scanner reads these diagnostic trouble codes stored in the system. Each code is unique so it takes some code reading to get the answers. The codes typically start with a letter which indicates the buggy system and is followed by five digits to give the specific issue. There are codes for the body, power train, chassis, and network:

  • Network (wiring bus) codes begin with a U.
  • Body codes (air conditioning/airbag/more) begin with a B.
  • Power train (engine and transmission) codes begin with a P.
  • Codes that begin P1 are factory specific so they will indicate different issues depending on the car.
  • Chassis (includes ABS) codes begin with a C.

Not only do OBD scanners keep tabs on your vehicle's health, they can also help save time, money and frustration! If you need computer diagnostics performed, give our auto repair shop a call today!

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