Scan Tools-What You Need to Know Part I
The adage "you get what you pay for" has never been truer than with scan tools or OBD On-Board Diagnostic scanners. Because of the computerization of automobiles, mechanics have needed a concise and efficient diagnostic tool to problem-solve; scan tools are an excellent instrument for analysis of the OBD system which is standard equipment on all new cars.
Nowadays, auto-supply shops offer hand-held OBD scanners starting around $20. Be wary though, many of these inexpensive scanners do not have the capabilities of the scanners used by professional mechanics. These over-the-counter scan tools lack the bio-directional control for pinpoint testing.
There are different types, and categories of codes which turn on the light: global/generic emission codes. Then there are also manufacturer-specific codes, body control module, transmission, instrument cluster, HVAC, and safety restraint system codes-most of which do not turn on the warning light, but are still important.
The code numbers give you an area of the problem, but you must still do pinpoint tests to determine what component in that area is faulty. As an example: an oxygen sensor code can give you "rich or lean" readings which is usually a problem other than the sensor. And the same thing with EVAP, there are many components in the system, same with EGR systems.
Learning the codes and the anomalies they can present has been learned through years of experience and training as a mechanic, at Lance's Superior Auto, we can properly diagnose your car's OBD correctly.
Look for Part II of Scan Tools-What You Need to Know, in the May INSIDER.
Lance's Superior Auto Service
30775 SW Boones Ferry Rd, Suite D, Wilsonville, OR 97070