Ancel has been one of the leading budget-friendly and easy-to-use scanners that will meet your expectations and save you the gas and time driving to your mechanic. Besides, a single code reading session from your mechanic can be as expensive as buying a new Ancel mid-range scanner.
Besides, you don’t need a college degree to operate a scanner. You’d only need a pair of eyes, hands, and flexible fingers. First times are usually the hardest for everyone, but it will look easier next time after your first successful session. First, what’s an OBD2 scanner?
What is an OBD2 Scanner?
The OBD2 scanner is a handheld device that connects to every car’s onboard computer, also known as the ECU. The scanner can perform a variety of functions, namely:
- Read diagnostic trouble codes, also known as DTCs.
- Run emissions tests.
- View live data about your car’s engine performance.
- View the vehicle's free-frame data.
- Expand the engine and fuel system parameters to improve engine performance.
- Check critical systems like the ABS and the SRS.
- Change your computer settings for complex functions like door locks.
All professional scanners can perform the above. Mid-range ones can perform most of them, while budget scanners can complete the first function and a couple more. If you get a code reader, it’s a low-budget scanner that will read engine error codes, perform emission tests, and show live engine data, which are the basics.
How to Use the Ancel OBD2 Scanner
Ancel OBD2 scanners come with different features, and the more expensive the tool, the more functions it has. There are also handheld scanners that use a cord to connect to your ECU. There are also wireless-enabled ones that use Bluetooth. The BT-enabled module connects to your phone; some come with tablets. Here’s how to use an Ancel scanner.
Step 1: Locate the OBD2 port
Every car manufactured after 1996 has an onboard diagnostic port, the OBD2. The OBD2, also known as the diagnostic link connector shortened to DLC. In most vehicles, the port is situated under the dash on the driver's side, just to the left of the steering column. Some are far deeper, and you must bend farther to locate them.
The trapezoid-shaped port has 16 female pins. In some cars, it’s on the other side of the dash or the passenger’s side. A few cars have it in the center console. If you can’t find it, check your owner’s manual.
Step 2: Connect Your Ancel OBD2 Scanner
Once you locate your OBD2 port, the next step would be plugging in the diagnostic tool. Your car must be switched off before this procedure. The OBD2 scanners from Ancel come in different designs. Some are wired handheld devices with detachable or non-detachable cables, while others are Bluetooth modules you can connect to your phone.
For the handheld scanner, you must plug the end of the cable into the OBD2 port. For the Bluetooth alternative, the module is usually plugged into the port before it can be connected to your device or its respective tablet. Your phone should have the Ancel app installed. iOS and Android versions are available Apps Store and Play Store.
Step 3: Turn the Vehicle On and Feed the Info
Some Ancel scanners are self-powered, so you won’t need to turn the ignition on to idle mode for them to read the codes. Some will require you to. The engine must be off when the scanner is doing its job.
Some scanners will request you to add information like the vehicle’s VIN for them to recognize your car. It might also ask for your model and engine make. Feed the right info into the tool. The VIN is situated on the windscreen on the driver’s side. More advanced Ancel scanner will find this information by themselves.
Step 4. Read the Fault Codes
Once the scanner gets the information about your car, it will start scanning and displaying all the error codes saved on the ECU. Some Ancel code readers will show you a MENU which you can scroll down to the system you’d like to diagnose. Some will show you all the error codes, and you scroll down as you read them.
There are two types of DTC codes that you’ll get here, namely:
- Active codes: DTCs that trigger the check engine light should be addressed immediately.
- Pending codes: DTCs related to emissions control don’t trigger the check engine light but can turn to active codes if the issues culminate and become greater.
The leading cause of the check engine light turning on is the active and pending codes that turned to active codes. These will require your attention immediately.
Step 5: Understand What the Codes Mean
The diagnostic tool will display the fault codes in the form of a letter and four digits. One good example is “P0427.” With fault codes retrieved from your computer, it’s time to understand what they mean.
- B(body): This shows fault codes related to the body, for example, airbags, seatbelts, and power steering.
- P(powertrain): The P fault codes categorize issues with the fuel systems, such as emission, engine, transmission, and ignition.
- C(chassis): This directs to chassis-related issues like the anti-lock braking system, brake fluids, and axle issues.
- U(undefined): The issue doesn’t belong in either B, P, or C categories.
The first number after the letter is “0” for generic or “1,” meaning the issue is manufacturer-related. The next number states the faulty component, while the last two refer to the problem. Some Ancel scanners will explain the codes, while others will have to Google and find the meaning.
Step 6: Erase the Fault Codes
After you have figured out what the codes mean and repaired and replaced the faulty components, the CEL will turn off. You can also turn off the CEL after saving the error codes.
Most Ancel scanners can erase the codes and turn off the check engine light even before you resolve the issues.
Ancel OBD2 scanner come in different levels, from budget to mid-range, and the professional scanners that mechanics use. The budget scanners have limited functions and capabilities, while the mid-range ones have most of the functions found in the pro-level scanners. Whichever you want, as long as it meets your needs, you can get it from Ancel. There are tens of options for you to choose from.
What is an OBD2 scanner?
An OBD2 scanner is a handheld device that connects to a car's onboard computer (ECU) to perform functions like reading diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs), running emissions tests, and viewing live data.
How do you use an Ancel OBD2 scanner?
Locate the car's OBD2 port, connect the scanner, turn on the vehicle (or follow scanner instructions), feed necessary vehicle information, and read the fault codes displayed on the scanner.
What do the fault codes displayed on the scanner mean?
The fault codes consist of a letter and four digits. The letter indicates the category of the issue (e.g., P for powertrain, B for body). The numbers provide details about the faulty component and the specific problem.