Can OBD Scanner Damage Car

obd2 car diagnostic scanner

ODB2 scanners are among the best things that have ever happened to the auto world. They have revolutionized how we service our vehicles. They help find problems within your car and ensure that only the damaged part of your car gets repaired, which saves time and money.

However, there have been concerns, especially from DIYers who use scanners on their vehicles, about whether they can damage cars. We understand that it would be unfortunate for a tool going for tens to hundreds of dollars to damage a vehicle that costs a hundred times more. So, can an OBD scanner damage your car? We’re about to find out.

Can it Damage Your Car?

A lot of things can damage your car. Driving while intoxicated is definitely a sure way of damaging your car and putting other people’s lives at risk. Some of the bad decisions you make concerning your vehicle can damage it, but the ODB scanner will never damage your car.

On the contrary, the ODB scanner will help you identify the problem your car has internally. If you turn the ignition and the car doesn’t roar back to life, then that’s an electrical problem. If the car cranks and doesn’t start, you should be worried about air compression, air, sparks, or fueling your vehicle. The ODB will tell which of these could be the problem.

How Accurate are ODB2 Scanners?

When it comes to doing their jobs, ODB2 scanners are accurate. They precisely tell what system or component in a car has an issue. They also indicate what component needs replacement. However, scanners come in different ranges. The top-end ones come with more comprehensive functions.

Can You Drive With the Scanner Plugged In?

It’s completely safe to leave your tool plugged in a while driving to work or on a trip. We recommend that you do so because it’s best to have your car running when the scanner is diagnosing the engine to avoid damaging the scanning software.

Some OBD scanners use your car’s battery, and that might leave you worried. It will not drain your battery unless plugged in for several days without driving your car. If you aren’t driving for a few days, unplug the tool.

Some insurance companies sometimes request drivers to have their scanners plugged in every time they are driving. They ask that for their data collection purposes and to have first-hand information about your driving.

On matters of power, some scanners draw out little power, and others are self-powered. Some scanners have an auto-sleeping mode. Most Ancel scanners have this feature, making them the best and most convenient scan tools.

Can an OBD2 Scanner Damage Your Car’s ECU?

As long as the OBD2 scanner is in its best condition, it cannot damage your vehicle's ECU. A damaged one would in seconds. If your scanner has shorted-out wiring or has a technical issue, you better not plug it in.

Also, simple scan tools for DIYers cannot cause issues with your ECU, even if you drive for months with the scanner plugged in. We cannot say the same for the professional scanner. It might cause your ECU to malfunction if you drive for too long with it plugged in. If you decide to drive with your scanner plugged in, you should secure it by zip-tying it under your steering wheel.

The Advantages of Having Your OBD2 Scanner Plugged in All the Time:

  • Timely warnings: Your battery can die without any notice, and you’ll only realize it the next time you turn on the ignition. Your tires can also lose pressure, and you won’t know unless it’s almost or entirely flat. The OBD2 scanner will send real-time warning notifications of these and other issues.
  • Helps your insurance provider with essential data: Your insurance company might want to keep track of your driving, and it will make it easier for you to make claims, and you also get some great discounts.

How to Use and Not Use the OBD2 Scanner

It’s doubtful that it might damage your car, but using your scanner incorrectly might bring out some issues. Here’s how to use one and what to avoid.

Way to Use it

Step 1: Plug the OBD2 scanner into the OBD2 data link connector. Your car must be turned off when doing this.
Step 2: Run the car to initialize the scanner. Press the power button on the scanner, and the display will light up.
Step 3: Once your scanner is ready, you’ll be required to add data to enable the scanner to work on your system. You’ll need to feed it with information like the model of your car, engine type, Vin, etc. Some advanced scanners will find this information on their own.
Step 4: The scanner will show you the trouble codes after scanning. Save the codes to determine the issues your car might be having. Write them in a notebook or transfer the codes to your PC or phone.
Step 5: Turn off the ignition. Unplug the scanner with great care and store it in the box. You can also secure it under the dash with a zip tie.

What You Should Never Do

  • Panicking: You should stay calm. If you become restless, you might perform the steps wrongly and end up with the wrong codes.
  • Plugging the scanner when the vehicle is on: You might not get the actual report, and therefore you won’t be able to resolve the problem.
  • Resetting your scanner without saving the codes: If you unplug the OBD2 scanner without saving all the trouble codes, you’ll mistakenly delete them and restart the process.
  • Forgetting to unplug the scanner: You can leave your scanner plugged in your car, but if it fulfills its purpose, you should unplug it, especially if it’s a professional one.

Wrapping Up

The OBD2 Scanner will never damage your car unless the scanner has some wiring issues. Ancel scanners are built tough to withstand damage from a fall. The manufacturer is aware of the environment the scanners are used in and ensures that they can withstand and serve you for longer. Get an Ancel scanner for yourself at a very affordable price and enjoy the benefits of knowing what’s ailing your car.

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