What is a Car Diagnostic Scanner

What is a Car Diagnostic Scanner

All You Need to Know, Whether you’ve seen one used on your own car while visiting the mechanic or have seen talk about on board automobile diagnostics on the internet, you’re probably curious about how car diagnostic scanners work. They come in many shapes and sizes, and some have more functions than others, but they all fall under the same family of tools.

To find out what it is exactly that these tools do, here’s all you need to know. Then, you’ll know whether or not you should own one for yourself.

Overview of Car Diagnostic Scanners

A car diagnostic scanner is a handheld electronic tool. As implied by the name, these devices plug into your car and act as a diagnostics machine to analyze various systems of your car and to check for any existing problems.

All modern vehicles are built with the ability to be connected to car diagnostic scanners. Your car would need to be about 30 years old to potentially be too old to be used with one. However, any car model built after 1996 will likely have an on board computer system that is compatible with a car diagnostic scanner.

Car diagnostic scanners go by several names and have several variants. The most common name is an OBD scanner, which stands for On Board Diagnostics.

OBD scanners come in two versions: OBDI and OBDII. OBDI has been obsolete for many years now, as all modern cars now use OBDII for their computer systems. What is OBDII Scanner? OBDII systems are much more detailed, are capable of scanning more areas and components of the car and provides more in-depth diagnostic information.

How to Operate a Car Diagnostic Scanner

The first thing you need to do to properly use a car diagnostic scanner is take the cable and plug it into the accompanying port on your car. This port is known as the DLC, or Diagnostic Link Cable. It is typically located inside your car near the dashboard.

Once plugged in, your car diagnostic scanner will perform a simple analysis scan that will examine all the various parts of your car for any issues.

This scan should typically be performed if your car is signaling the Check Engine Light or any other similar signal. This is a sign that something is wrong internally and requires attention soon.

The car diagnostic scanner works by accessing your car’s computer’s data memory of various internal units. The screen on the diagnostic tool essentially acts as a basic interface to read the final analysis or scan. This memory data is important for the analysis and detection of problems or component failures, as it acts as a kind of history of the gradually deteriorating condition of your car’s internal parts.

When the scan is complete, you will be given a set of letters and numbers that are most commonly referred to as error codes. These error codes correspond to certain sections of your car’s systems as well as the exact problems going on with them. 

Error codes can correspond to various parts of the car, including the brakes, the engine, the transmission, the battery, the airbags, the seatbelts, internal temperatures, fuel consumption and much more.

When you receive your error codes, look them up in your car diagnostic scanner’s manual, in-built trouble code library, or the internet to find out what exactly they mean. These OBDII error codes have been in circulation for decades, so there’s plenty of information freely available on each and every one of them.

Why you should Use a Car Diagnostic Scanner

The most important reason to use a car diagnostic scanner is to stay on top of potential car problems before they become too serious.

Car diagnostic scanners allow you to examine your car’s health at any time very quickly. This includes minor problems that are of no immediate concern (pending codes) and major issues that should be a top priority (stored codes). These are the kinds of problems that could risk damaging your car and costing you hundreds or even thousands of dollars if not taken care of.

This makes car diagnostic scanners an invaluable tool for fans of automobile DIY repairs. They tell you exactly what’s wrong, giving you the ability to get to work immediately.

But they are still useful tools even for those not into DIY skills. Because these scanners can let you know the difference between minor and severe problems, they allow you to strategically decide when to visit the mechanic. This can end up saving you time and money. No one wants to get a quote or keep their car in the garage for a few days over a minor issue of no real concern.

More importantly, many great car diagnostic scanners are very affordable. The most basic OBD II scanners or engine readers only cost $50, which is a lot less money than most trips to the local car mechanic. Where to Buy OBD II Scanner?

Most people don’t need an expensive all systems diagnostic tool. All you need is a simple car scanner that prioritizes the reading of error codes.

For this purpose, Ancel offers great products that will fulfill all of your engine code and error code reading needs.

A tool like the Ancel AD410 is a best seller that is the perfect way to figure out why the Check Engine light signal is on. It supports multiple languages and models, has excellent car manufacturer compatibility, has live O2 sensor data, and requires no batteries to operate. It’s a simple but effective tool that will make your days of car maintenance easier than they’ve ever been.    


OBD 2 diagnostic scanners are extremely handy for car owners who prefer to fix simple issues themselves and save money doing so. Choosing the Right OBD II Scanner for Your Needs. A good OBD2 scanner like the AD410 will even allow you to view realtime data and take screenshots, making it easy to record the information coming from your vehicle.

Every car owner should own an OBDII code reader or scan tool of some kind if they plan to save money on car repairs. It’s as simple as that!  

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