Shenzhen Cartrend Technology Co, Ltd
What is a Scan Tool?
A scan tool is a Car Diagnostic Tool that can exhibit a wide range of features. Scan tools typically include a code reader, the ability to view and sort live data, and some type of knowledge base. Professional scan tools include extensive knowledge bases, diagnostic procedures, and sometimes even have built-in scopes, multimeters, and other diagnostic tools.
In addition to reading and clearing codes, a scan tool may be able to:
Although the ability to read and clear codes is important, the additional functionality provided by a good scan tool can be extremely helpful in diagnosing a problem. OBD-II vehicles, in particular, can provide an enormous amount of data from a variety of different sensors, which is why many scanners have the ability to store and play back live data. That can allow you to test drive the vehicle and then view a recording of specific sensor output readings during operation.
Unless you have relevant prior experience with the specific problem that you`re dealing with, a good knowledge base can save you a tremendous amount of time. Scanners that include troubleshooting information and other tips will typically provide you with the definition of a code, the potential faults that can lead to that code being set, and the tests that you can do to track down the root cause of the problem.
While resources on the Internet don`t provide a direct 1:1 replacement for the type of troubleshooting information you get with a professional-grade scan tool, this is definitely a more affordable way to go.
A good consumer-grade scan tool (or an ELM327 scanner and the right software) will get you on the right track, and you can supplement the information that your tool provides with an online OBD-II code chart and troubleshooting information. After you`ve tracked down the likely culprit, tools like a multimeter and scope will help you determine whether or not specific components are bad.
OBD-II code readers vary in price.
They range from an affordable price ($85) to many hundreds of dollars, or more.
If you're interested in getting more information on OBD-II code readers or are interested in purchasing one,
check out complete list of Frequently Asked OBD Questions, and also the ads throughout this site.
Some brand names of OBD readers are Carsara, Cartrend, Actron, Innova, etc.