guide to obd ii scanning

How To Use an OBD Scanner Like a Pro – Best Beginner’s Guide

Have you ever wondered how that little magical device that finds a place on your car’s infrastructure and which also forms a significant part of your car’s accessories, works? Well, that mighty device which you call the car’s computer or the smart screen in which you are able to see anything and everything is actually a complicated combination of the various codes that we might never be able to understand.

Of course, when you get an asset in the form of a car for yourself, you always want to make sure that it provides you with the best of services so that you don’t regret making an investment. It would not be wrong for me to say that you are keen to check all possible features yourself through your own eyes and make sure they derive the benefits they are actually meant for including the GEN-Z smart things that tag along with every possible unit these days.

It is but obvious that you will make sure that everything is working absolutely fine and according to your taste and style including the mini-computer with not so mini-brains but a large one at that. And also, to a point, it might excite you to know how the system works, isn’t it?

Trust me you have come down to the right place! This article shall give you detailed insight as to how things actually work and also independently enhance your knowledge about some interesting facts.

This shall also tell you the mannerism with which you can use the highly developed OBD2 BLUETOOTH SCANNER for your car.

So, without inviting any further delay, let us dive into the details for which you are here and patiently waiting.


Before getting on to the real sense and understanding of the topic, here are some of the technical jargon that you must know before getting your hands on understanding the structure-

  • Diagnostic link connector (DLC)
  • OBD codes
  • Engine light
  • Trouble Code diagnosis
  • Vehicle identification number
  • Trouble codes
  • Powertrain
  • Body
  • Chassis
  • Undefined
  • Code reader
  • Scan tool

Now let us look into the process of use of the OBD2 Scanner

Understanding The Summary of Steps We Are Going To Use In This Tutorial

  • Includes locating the link to the diagnostic link connector
  • Shall include you connecting the OBD2 code to the diagnostic link connector (DLC)
  • Would want you to enter the credentials and other information so asked on the screen
  • It will give you an option to look at and access the OBD codes through the scanner menu
  • Would be on you to identify and understand the codes
  • Shall enable you to have a run with trouble code diagnosis
  • Would give you the right to reset the check engine light
  • Now, this was a guide that included basic steps.
  • Let us now look into the details of it

Part 1: How to Locate The Link To The Diagnostic Link Connector

As I mentioned earlier includes connecting the 16-pin connector which is located on the left side of the dashboard. In case you are not able to locate the same, you can always look for the user manual to get better clarity.

If the vehicle is manufactured after the year 1996, it sure would have a Diagnostic link connector or the OBD2 port.

Part 2: Understanding OBD2 Code with Diagnostic Link Connector

Now, after you connect with the diagnostic link connector, you have to make sure that your car is turned off. After you do that, you can use a connector cable if you already own a Bluetooth scanner. You just need to directly insert the scanner into the OBD2 port.

If that’s not the case then, you can always plug into the end of the OBD2 scan tool that would connect it with the Diagnostic link connector through a cable connector.

In case of any confusion or difficulty, you can always refer to the scanner to check with the instructions just to be sure of the fact that whether you have to turn the car off, keep it idle or anything else. Make sure you lay your eyes on the manual once.

Part 3: Enter The Credentials

There would be a screen displayed that will ask you to fill in a certain amount of information required to generate the scanner code. It would ask you about your vehicle identification number, every vehicle has one unique identification number that you need to fill in there, and apart from that, it might ask about the engine or the model type of your vehicle.

All you need to do is, refer to the sticker that is usually stuck on the lower corner of the windshield (on the driver’s side) where you would be able to locate your vehicle identification number.

Part 4: Understanding Scanner Menu and OBD2 Codes.

Now you are ready to access the scanner menu which would provide you with OBD codes. It would provide you with the choice to pick between different car systems.

Make a choice in which the scanner can locate both the active and the pending codes.

Now, let me brief you on the difference between the active and the pending code.

Active code is the one that would trigger the check engine light whereas the pending code would be capable of indicating the failure related to the emission control system.

Part 5: Identifying OBD2 Codes

obd 2 codes

Now, here is a challenge for you. You need to identify the OBD codes. Actually, not only identify but also understand the OBD codes.

I know, it could be quite challenging but here is an easy way through which you can easily identify, understand and interpret the OBD codes.

To brief you about the initial interpretation, any trouble code begins with a letter tagged along with a set of 4 digits. The letters can be as follows-

  • P (powertrain)- it shall indicate and warn you about the engine, ignition, and fuel system.
  • B (body)- it is known for indicating the wrongs with power steering, airbags, and seatbelts.
  • C (chassis)- it would instruct you about the brake fluid, anti-lock braking system, and also issues with axles.
  • U (undefined)- it highlights the issues that do not fall in any category as mentioned above.

Talking about the interpretation related to digits,

  • The FIRST digit shall tell you about the diagnostic trouble code which is 1 for manufacture specific and 0 for generic.
  • The SECOND digit would indicate a specific car part.
  • THE LAST TWO digits shall brief you about the exact problem.

Once the OBD codes are displayed on the screen, you need to turn off your vehicle and unplug the Bluetooth scanner. If you have a good enough supportive scanner, it might help you to transfer the data to your laptop.


In case, there is some other discrepancy related to the displaying of live data, then you can always contact your mechanic for help.

Part 6: Analysing The Problem

So once you are accustomed to finding the right trouble code and thereby identifying, understanding, and interpreting it right, you can always find the issue with your vehicle. Once you are clear with the issue, you can decide whether you would seek professional help or you would follow a do-it-yourself process.

To be honest, it is always advised that you approach the right mechanic for better benefits. The do-it-yourself process might cost you an expensive mistake.

Part 7: Final Part

This is the final step. Now, that your problem has been fixed, the check engine light shall turn off indicating the same. However, if the problem is solved and it still is on, you can always erase a code by accessing the main menu in the OBD scanner and erasing the code or simply deleting it.

After erasing the code, the engine light shall turn off but in case even after erasing it still is on that means the issue is still pending to be resolved and you need to work on it again.

This is always helpful as it can clearly tell you about the status of the issue and whether it has been solved or not. The illumination of the engine light shall be brief about the same and after that, you can decide as to whether you want to erase the code by using the main menu or if it is still existing then get it resolved. It would turn off once the issue has been resolved properly.

So, I guess by now you might be just able to call yourself a budding expert in using the OBD2 scanner as you already know the steps as to how you can use it and generate codes that help you in identifying the issue so that you can get them resolved as soon as possible.

Also, you would now be able to crack the codes and interpret them once the screen displays the analytic data through which you can take a note of the code, interpret it and get your problems fixed.

For a better understanding, I can answer some of the most frequently asked questions in the same regard.

1. Difference between OBD1 and OBD2 scanner.

The basic difference between the two is that while the former would require you to have a connector to display the results, the latter is smarter and can be connected through Bluetooth or wi-fi.

2. Different OBD2 scanner types-

  • CODE READER- it lets you identify every code and find a default easily and also clear them
  • SCAN TOOL- it is comparatively more advanced than the previous one which is the code reader. It can read even those codes which the code reader can’t. it can also provide you access to the recordings so that you can playback live.

Buying an OBD2 Scanner


Well, if you are still confused with your thoughts over buying an OBD scanner, and if yes then which one. I have a solution for that. It’s simple. Buy a scanner that is first of all is user friendly. By user-friendly, I tend to imply that it should not come with complications that confuse you.

Another thing that you should keep in mind is that whatever you buy, it should be the latest version. By the latest version, I tend to imply that it should possess the latest version of the technology for advanced results and better performance.

Now, if you are looking for a handheld scanner make sure it is easy for you to hold and access.

The whole crux of giving advice lies in the point that whatever you may decide shall be suitable to you. You might have some other criteria for buying and you should consider all of them before making a decision.

The device is user-friendly and updated with the latest version of technology are the two primary needs.


By now I am hoping that you must be clear about the OBD2 scanner, its use, and what things you should keep in mind before buying one for your vehicle.

It is very important for you to know that the codes so displayed are trouble codes that highlight different issues related to your vehicle.

At the same time, it is important for you to identify, understand and interpret the codes displayed on the screen when you run the scanner.

Different codes indicate different issues and once you reach out to the issues. You can always get them fixed and repaired.

I guess that was all you needed to know about the OBD scanner. The steps have been mentioned, the guide has been put out there, and the frequently asked questions have been answered. All you need to do is, refer to the guide, follow the steps and you are good to go. You can locate the trouble and get them fixed.

In case, there is something with which you are struggling, you can always refer to the manual or contact your mechanic and it will be done.

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