Obd2 car scanner are more than oil, steel and rubber, with complex computer chips controlling many critical functions like the ignition, brakes, air conditioning and life-saving safety features. Deciphering what’s causing those cryptic “check engine” (CEL) lights is essential for understanding, maintaining and repairing your vehicle. That’s why every serious car hobbyist or do-it-yourselfer should keep a quality obd2 car scanner handy in the garage.
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A car’s computer is programmed to detect problems and flag them as trouble codes using a system dubbed On Board Diagnostics II (OBD-II). The scanner simply plugs into the car’s diagnostic block, usually an easy-to-identify trapezoid-shaped female connector marked OBD2 in your owner’s manual, which reads those fault code signals and displays them on the screen. Then, with the touch of a button, you can clear those codes and turn off your CEL.
The best OBD2 scanners do more than simply retrieve trouble codes and reset the CEL, though. The top models also provide live data for key systems, offer advanced diagnostics and more. The best ones are designed to be user-friendly and easily accessible for non-experts, with straightforward instructions and intuitive interfaces.
Most scanners will work on any OBD2-compatible vehicle manufactured since 1996, but some may not be compatible with every make or model. Always check the manufacturer’s application-checker page to see what each scanner will work with. If you’re shopping for a Bluetooth OBD2 scanner, remember that a scanner’s quality is defined by its companion app—the more useful and stable the better.