How to Clear Codes on Cars with Scanners
Car codes can be a real pain. Those flashing lights across the screen that you can't make head nor tail of. You know they're trying to tell you something, but you are not sure what. You just wish they would go away, but they don’t. And instead, it is you who has to go to the service station so your mechanic can find out what the warning means.
Odds are, when you get there, your mechanic tells you the light this time is warning you of a trivial issue. Likely one you could have fixed on your own. Yeah, I know how frustrating that can get. What if there was a way to clear the codes, one that doesn't always involve you going to the service station, at least not for petty issues?
Bet you would find it really handy. Luckily, there's just the thing for you.More details about OBD II Scanner can be found here. Enter OBD II scanners to the rescue. OBD is short for Onboard Diagnostics, an in-built system in all cars built post-1996.
What is an OBD II Scanner
The OBD II system in your car detects issues with the vehicle system and then stores error codes. These OBD II scanners are built to decode the error messages your car's onboard diagnostic system sends. You plug them into the OBD II port of your car, and it pulls the stored diagnostic codes.
Your mechanics use these codes to pinpoint the source of your vehicle malfunction, but you can, too, if you know how. Below we’ll tell you just how to use this super handy tool and save yourself unnecessary trips to the service station.
How to Clear Codes Using OBD II Scanners
First things first, you obviously have to have an OBD scanner. Now the thing to note here is that several varieties are available on the market. Having tried out different types before, I was really impressed with the ANCEL DS700, so I'll be sharing some details about it later in the post just in case you are interested in a reliable option.
Moving on, you have to plug the OBD scanner into your vehicle's OBD II port. Look for the OBD port; most of the time, it's a female 16-pin connector that looks like a trapezoid, which you can find under the driver's side of the dashboard. In a few cases, the OBD connector is under the passenger side of the dashboard or in a center console.
Now that you've found it, the next step is to make the connection. Before doing this, ensure your ignition is in the off position. Then connect the male plug of the scanner to the OBD port gently but firmly.
Cycle the ignition to the ON position without starting the engine. The OBD port will power up your scan tool. Then from there, you should just wait for the scanner to finish its booting sequence. The scanner will also provide further instructions, including whether to turn on the engine.
So you are all set up, what next?
The scanner will provide a menu that gives you a list of actions for you to choose from. Depending on the type of scanner you get, the features may vary but Read and Erase codes are two features that even the most basic OBD II reader will have. So what's the step-by-step guide to using an OBD2 scanner?The options typically include the following:
- Read Codes- The read code function scans your vehicle system to read diagnostic trouble codes.
- Erase Codes- The erase code function allows you to clear error codes, consequently deactivating the corresponding warning light on the dashboard.
- Live Data- Depending on the scanner you have, this feature may be unavailable. It helps you go through sensor readings in real-time, so you know which ones work as they should.
- Freeze frame- The Freeze Frame data is a record of sensors and components readings (parameter values) taken when the ECU detected a malfunction.
The ‘Erase Code’ is for clearing error codes. Select the option and confirm that you want to clear the stored error codes. But you should only clear codes after you have rectified the problem, as clearing code without doing so wouldn’t solve the problem. And it won’t be long before the warning returns when the vehicle detects a fault with the system during its system scan.
Since I promised to share some details about the ANCEL DS 700 scanner, I said that I really liked using it.
A Quick Review of ANCEL DS700 Scanner
First off, the system is really high quality and professional standard, meaning that it's the same as a top mechanic would use. Then also, the software is up to date, and the range of options it gives you is really broad. It offers full system diagnostics, which means you can check up on many components of your car.
I, for one, liked the diagnose option for the brake system as I had really dodgy brakes, and I didn't want to wait till an unfortunate time to find out it was malfunctioning. Other aspects you can check up on with this scanner include the fuel system, transmission system, emission system, among others. You get the idea why pro mechanics would want to use it.
Other features I liked about the scanner device were the Engine Control Unit coding and active bidirectional test, which I found really useful for checking on the execution components in the electronic control system in my vehicle. It also supports a broad range of vehicles.
The device goes hard performance-wise, which is not surprising as it was built so auto professionals could find it very useful. The software is designed intelligently, and the hardware is durable, portable, and, importantly, easy to use and set up.
The LCD display is crisp, and the touch screen is very responsive, so that's unlikely to add to your frustrations about your car. It also uses bluetooth connectivity, a feature that makes it way easier to use and carry around, unlike other wired scanners.
It was easy for me to get started with the DS700. I had to simply plug it in, turn on my engine, and connect my scanner via bluetooth. Seeing as it's so handy, I would advise getting this scanner.
Car scanners are handy tools that help detect the source of a vehicle malfunction and clear error codes to deactivate the light on the DIC. Clearly, some technical issues, like rebuilding the transmission or engine, will require the expertise of a mechanic.
But the scanner gives insight into the issue, allowing you to know whether the issue is a trivial one you can solve yourself. Summarily, a car scanner is a must-have device for every driver.