How to Use an OBD2 Scanner: 10 Best Steps

How to Use an OBD2 Scanner


Modern vehicles are equipped with advanced onboard computer systems that monitor various aspects of their performance. To tap into this wealth of information and diagnose potential issues, an OBD2 (On-Board Diagnostics 2) scanner becomes an invaluable tool. This guide will walk you through the simple steps of using an OBD2 scanner to better understand your car’s health. Check out: IT Support Services

How to Use an OBD2 Scanner?

steps to follow

Let’s focus on this steps to know about how to use an OBD2 Scanner

Step 1: Gather Your Tools:

Before you start, ensure you have the following:

  • An OBD2 scanner (readily online or at auto parts stores).
  • A compatible vehicle with an OBD2 port (usually located beneath the dashboard near the driver’s seat).
  • A pen and paper to jot down any trouble codes or information.

Step 2: Locate the OBD2 Port:

Find the OBD2 port in your vehicle. It’s typically located under the dashboard, near the steering column. It might be necessary to crouch down or use a flashlight to spot it.

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Step 3: Turn Off the Ignition:

For safety and accuracy, ensure your vehicle’s ignition is turned off. This also prevents any accidental electrical mishaps during the scanning process.

Step 4: Plug in the Scanner:

Insert the OBD2 scanner’s connector into the OBD2 port. The connector usually has a distinctive shape that matches the port, making it easy to fit correctly. Make sure it’s securely plugged in.

Step 5: Power On the Scanner:

Turn on the scanner using its power button. The device will begin initializing and might prompt you to enter certain information, like the vehicle’s make and model, VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), and engine type. Follow the on-screen instructions to enter this data accurately.

Step 6: Read the Codes:

Once the scanner is connected and initialized, it will communicate with your vehicle’s onboard computer system to retrieve trouble codes (also known as Diagnostic Trouble codes, or DTCs). These codes provide insights into potential issues affecting your vehicle. Check out:- Scanner Support

Step 7: Interpret the Codes:

The scanner will display the retrieved trouble codes on its screen. Each code corresponds to a specific problem area in your vehicle. To understand the codes, refer to the scanner’s manual or search online for code definitions relevant to your vehicle’s make and model.

Step 8: Record the Codes:

Jot down the trouble codes along with their descriptions. This information will be useful for further research and if you decide to seek professional assistance.

Step 9: Clear the Codes (Optional):

Some scanners allow you to clear the trouble codes after reading them. However, be cautious when doing this, as clearing the codes will reset the Check Engine Light. Only clear the codes if you’re certain the issue has been addressed.

Step 10: Disconnect the Scanner:

After you’ve recorded the necessary information and/or cleared the codes, turn off the scanner and unplug it from the OBD2 port.


Using an OBD2 scanner is a straightforward process that empowers vehicle owners to better understand their car’s condition. By following these steps, you can easily retrieve and interpret trouble codes, potentially saving time and money on diagnostics and repairs. Remember that while an OBD2 scanner is a powerful tool, certain issues might require professional attention. If in doubt, don’t hesitate to consult a qualified mechanic or technician for assistance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does car have to be started to use OBD2 scanner?

Connect the scan tool to the connector beneath your dash, turn on the ignition, and follow the directions on the screen. Is the automobile required to be running in order to utilize the OBD2 scanner? No, in most cases, you can check trouble codes while the ignition is turned on.

Can you plug in OBD scanner while car is running?

If your scanner supports it, using it while the engine is running will give you a’real time’ readout while the car is operating. The OBD2 port is always powered by B+ (Pin 16) and GND (Pins 4 + 5; see diagram). Most, but not all, systems require the Key to be in the On/Run position.

Can I leave OBD2 plugged in all the time?

It is perfectly safe to drive with an OBD2 scanning tool plugged in. In fact, it’s critical to keep your automobile running when diagnosing an engine code in order to avoid destroying the scanning software.

How do I know if OBD is working?

The Check Engine Light should illuminate briefly and then turn off. It should then shut down. The quick flash on indicates that the device is operational and ready to monitor your car during operation.

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