Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Is It Time to Upgrade Your OBD Scanner?

Is It Time to Upgrade Your OBD Scanner main image

Being a mechanic means knowing how automobiles work inside and out. It also means you need to know how a long list of tools work, as it will increase your chances of landing automotive technician jobs and carrying out important repairs for customers. While an OBD scanner is probably something you’re already very familiar with, you need to understand when it’s time to upgrade yours as well.

Signs there is something wrong with your scanner

Before you ever diagnose a vehicle by using an OBD scanner, you need to be confident that it will work properly. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time and you’re liable to make the wrong diagnosis – a potentially dangerous mistake.

One very easy way to do this is simply using the OBD scanner every time even when the problem is clear. For example, if the customer knows their ABS is out, use the scanner anyway to confirm that’s what it reports. This ongoing method of checking your OBD scanner will ensure you can always be confident when using it.

The other way of doing this is by using two scanners. Your garage or dealership probably doesn’t just have the one. Use both and ensure they both show the same exact problem. As OBD-II is a standard, there is absolutely no reason two readers should produce different results. Otherwise, it’s worth checking the scan port. There is a lot of debris floating around work areas and sometimes they can clog the port, leaving your scanner unable to do its job properly. All you need is a soft cloth or even compressed air to get it back to working as it should.

Check the ECM

Sometimes, you’ll simply get no reading at all. This probably isn’t your scanner’s fault, though. Unless it lacks power, if all it is doing is showing nothing at all, then it’s more likely that it’s the vehicle’s ECM that doesn’t have enough juice.

The ECM on a vehicle is connected to the same fuse circuit as other electronic features like the accessory port, for example. If that fuse blows – which isn’t incredibly rare – the ECM won’t have any power to run off of. In that case, when you hook up your OBD scanner, there won’t be a reading.

This is the most common reason for trouble trying to use an OBD scanner to diagnose car troubles. Fortunately, all you have to do is address the fuse and it will no longer be an issue.

Your business is growing

Finally, you may need to upgrade your OBD scanner because you’re beginning to work with a wider range of vehicles. Those from Europe and Asia may not work with a scanner that had no problem reading domestic models. Some medium-duty vehicles also won’t work well with conventional devices.

When working properly, an OBD scanner is one of the most important tools which is why they’re a must-have for all auto technician jobs. However, from time to time, you may experience problems with yours. The above should help you figure out what is wrong and address it as necessary.

If you’re a certified mechanic and you’re interested in working with YourMechanic, submit an online application for an opportunity to become a mobile mechanic.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

P0523 OBD-II Trouble Code: Engine Oil Pressure Sensor/Switch High Voltage
P0523 trouble code means there is an issue with the engine oil pressure sensor often due to faulty wire connection or wrong engine oil.
How to Replace an Air Conditioner Receiver Drier
The AC receiver/drier is stores and dries refrigerant. This component should be replaced if too much water enters the system or if leaks are found.
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.


Related questions

Q: Opinion about the OTC tools

As a matter of fact, I have and they work quite well. They are not cheap tools but they are well made. If you are serious about fixing cars, you don't want cheap tools breaking off and injuring yourself. The...

Q: i upgraded from 28.9 in tire to 32.4 in tires. a week later transmission went out, what should i change to relieve strain on trans

The change in shift points generates added heat in terms of operation. Increasing the tire tire diameter more than a percent or two affects the transmission shift points, as the shift points were programmed based on the vehicle's original tire...

Q: I have a 2000 honda civic EX and check engine light with D4 blinking ... and pulled the codes p1705 and p1768 ...

Trouble code P1705 implicates the throttle position sensor (TPS). A transmission fault (which is indicated by a flashing "D4") can arise if the TPS is malfunctioning. Consequently, I would recommend testing the TPS first. Once code P1705 is resolved, then...