How To Use Automotive Scan Tools
Auto Parts,  Cars

How To Use Automotive Scan Tools To Diagnose Your Car Perfectly?

Gone are the days when you had to run to a car mechanic for any trouble in your car. Advancements in car technology have made it possible to detect it through diagnostic computers.

The automotive scan tool is an electronic device that is connected to the onboard computer and can test the systems of your car, diagnose the areas of faults, and re-program the control modules.

What is an Automotive Car Tool?

When programmed perfectly, your car engine makes adjustments to the required fuel mix, ignition coil, and fuel injectors. If you are a home repair enthusiast, you will be happy to use an automotive scan tool. You need to understand the error codes when the Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) lights up to give you access to the scanner.

Types of Automotive Scan Tools

car diagnostic tools

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Starting with Handheld code reading, the latest Automotive Scan Tools can now be bi-directional functioning and can be programmed as desired. The following are the three main types.

  • Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) Readers
  • Data Link Connector or DLC with bi-directional computers
  • Board Diagnostic or OBD feeds the performance of your car directly into the car

You can link the software programs or the handled diagnostic tools to your desktop or laptop by interpreting the error codes; you can analyze the performance levels of your car. When the warning light is on, it conveys to you the exact problem and can give advice in fixing certain problems.

Most Common Models

  • BAFX PIC 18F2480 which is ODB II enabled by Bluetooth and can check 3,000 trouble codes. It can be Wi-Fi linked to a computer.
  • Actron CP 9125 is meant for novices and is a pocket scan code reader.
  • Autel Multi-Scan MS 300 has ODB II and can retrieve DTC codes. It is suitable for most cars made in the US, Europe or Asia. It is cheaper and more versatile.
  • Scan Guard II can scan OBD II codes. It can program 37 parameters, like cost per mile and the temperature of the engine.
  • Actron CP 9580 can identify trouble codes, including ABS codes, and provide solutions for the same.

Just as you are supposed to know different automotive parts and their respective functionalities, you must know the step-by-step process of using your scan tool; such as below.

Step 1: Use On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) II

It is an improved version of OBD I that started in 1994. There are different codes for different faults of your car. You need to learn them. While using OBD II, if the Check Engine light comes, it indicates a failure that may affect the emission and many other problems. Unless all the problems are set right, the light stays, and the code is stored in the computer memory for a definite number of on/off cycles. You can erase it immediately by using the scan tool.

The OBD II scan tester helps you to find answers to simpler problems. It also indicates the possibly of more complicated areas. Then, you can set them right perfectly.

Step 2: Interpreting the Code

By using and OBD II, you can know certain data related to the operation of your engine, such as the timing of ignition, rotation per minute (RPM), calibration of fuel injection. There are a number of sensors that perform these functions. They are mass airflow sensors, throttle position, oxygen; barometric sensors.

Switch position signals and calculator load value. The capture mode of the OBD II enables you to take a brief view of the readings made by other sensors, at the exact occurrence of problems while driving.

Step 3: Sensor Scan

With the scan tool, you can find out any other problem, not responsible for the warning light of the car engine. The latest generic code is PO713. It is commercially known as Sensor Circuit for Transmission of Fluid Temperature.

If the transmission fluid becomes too hot, there may be an immediate failure of the transmission. Just sitting in the driver’s seat, you can troubleshoot many problems by pushing a button, located on the tester. You can check any excess generation of temperature on the computer.

Step 4: The Manner of Data Transmission by OBD II

automobile scan tool

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The Powertrain computers are designed to circulate information from sensors and switches to other computers which control transmission, air-conditioning, safety systems, and suspension. These computers also control systems that are responsible for the emission of the engine; it helps the technicians for evaluating troubles.

Step 5: Linking a laptop to Automotive Scan Tool

Instead of a Handled Scanner, you can use your laptop or PC with the help of a kit. The following is the process of Linking OB II kit to a Laptop:

  • You can buy the laptop OBD II interface kit either over the counter or online.
  • Insert the disc for software installation and complete the installation process. If not, you have access to the “my computer’ and double-click on the disc.
  • Connect to your laptop by using a USB without serial ports. Then, connect the OBD II diagnostic port cable.
  • After starting the software program, double-click the desktop icon if the program does not work automatically. Be content with the control interface.
  • Get your laptop into your car and turn the ignition, ‘on,’ without cranking the engine. Now, connect your laptop to your car’s diagnostic port below the steering wheel.
  • If required, click the “scan button” that you find on the control interface. Have a look at the engine codes and information related to the diagnosis given by the program.

How to Choose the Best Jumper Cables?

A Jumper cable is required for jumping start or boosting a discharged battery start the battery and ‘jump’ you care. For this, you have to connect your discharged battery to another charged battery of a car. The external battery recharges your discharged battery and provides power, enough to crank the engine. If your car starts, the usual charging system recharges your car battery and will restore the charge of the battery.

Length of Cable and Clamp

Jumper cables; also known as booster are a pair of insulated wires, fitted with alligator clips at each end. These clips are insulated to avoid, accidental shorting. The clips are made of copper or steel and are colored black and red with (=) and (-) signs to indicate polarity.

To choose the best jumper cables, you should take the following into consideration

  • Gauge and Width: The lower the gauge, the more power will pass. You may find six gauges suitable for your purpose.
  • Clamps and Lengths: As the name suggests, the clamps should be as sturdy as that of alligator teeth and should have a strong I should have rubber-coated handle to avoid shock. The length should be 12 feet or longer.
  • Starting the jump: Connect the positive and negative terminals of the discharged battery to those of the charged one, respectively. Start the boosted car and allow it to run for a few minutes. Then start your car.
  • Finishing UP: Once the dead battery starts, remove the connections and the cables in reverse. The black cable is removed from the dead battery, and then the boosted car.

With the automotive scan tool, you have the comfort, smoothness of drive and the least chances of being stuck off. You know what all are happening in your car. And if you take the trouble of carrying a jumper car with you, you can ease out of any battery trouble.