What Do Mechanics Use a CanOBD2 Code Reader For?


Quick Answer

Mechanics use the CanOBD2 scanner to diagnose issues with a vehicle’s engine. The scanner is designed to connect with a vehicle’s onboard diagnostic system and return codes that tell the mechanic what is wrong with the vehicle’s engine.

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Full Answer

While most vehicles indicate to the driver that something is wrong via a light such as “Check Engine” or “Service Engine Soon,” a vehicle enabled with an onboard diagnostic system can also report issues via diagnostic trouble codes. Scanning devices read these codes and use the data to determine the exact state of a vehicle’s mechanical and electronic systems. This allows a mechanic to perform an accurate electronic diagnosis on a potential customer’s vehicle without having to do too much manual troubleshooting.

Diagnostic trouble codes are alphanumeric codes that report issues and where they exist. The codes begin with a letter, indicating the area or system affected, and four digits that indicate the potential problem or problems. For instance, a CanOBD2 scan may return a code reading P0126. This tells the user that the problem is in the engine or transmission and that it is likely temperature-related. In this example, having significantly narrowed down the potential problem makes the troubleshooting process less time-consuming.

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