What Is a Scan Tool?

What Is a Scan Tool?

A Scan tool is a type of automotive diagnostic equipment that may display a variety of features. A code reader, the ability to display and sort live data, and some form of knowledge base are all common features of scan tools. Professional scan tools include comprehensive knowledge bases, diagnostic processes, and occasionally scopes, multimeters, and other diagnostic equipment integrated in.

What Can a Scan Tool Do?

Scan tools are useful to connect to an automobile’s onboard diagnostic system and speed up the diagnostic procedure. They are comparable to automobile code scanners in that regard. They can read and clear codes, display data readouts from various sensors, and be hooked into an OBD-I or OBD-II socket. Scanners, however, provide more than just that fundamental capability.

Scan Tool

A scan tool may be able to do the following in addition to reading and clearing codes:

  1. archiving and replaying live data
  2. Chart data
  3. Check fault codes for both generic and specialized manufacturers.
  4. Manifest pending codes
  5. Describe any issue codes.
  6. Give troubleshooting guidelines or advice

Even while being able to read and clear codes is crucial, a decent scan tool’s extra features can aid in problem diagnosis. Many scanners can save and play back live data because OBD-II cars, in particular, may produce a tremendous quantity of data from a number of sensors. This enables you to test drive the car while seeing a video of particular sensor output measurements while it was in motion.

Use of a Scan Tools

Depending on whether your car has OBD-I or OBD-II, certain steps must be followed when utilizing a scan tool. OBD-I-equipped automobiles may also require special processes or procedures, and some may not even be compatible with scan instruments.

The fundamental procedures for utilizing a scan tool are as follows:

  1. Choose the appropriate connector and affix it to the tool if the scanning device provides a variety of connector possibilities.
  2. Connect the scanner’s connection to the vehicle’s OBD-I or OBD-II port.
  3. Turn the ignition to the accessory position after inserting the key.
  4. Consult the user’s handbook and switch on the scan tool if it doesn’t start automatically.
  5. Enter the vehicle identifying number (VIN) if required into the scanning tool.
  6. On the scan tool, look for a scan option.
  7. A physical button can be there, or you might have to navigate through on-screen menu alternatives.
  8. As soon as the when you finish scanning, record any error codes.
  9. For further information on the issue codes, see the built-in knowledge base of the scan tool or do an online search.
  10. Utilize the scan tool to erase the trouble codes once you have identified and corrected the issue. After that, you must keep driving the car until the scan tool verifies that all of the readiness monitors are operational.

The Value of Knowledge Bases for Scan Tools

The other crucial function of a scan tool is to connect to a vehicle’s onboard diagnostic system. And also provide you access to some kind of knowledge base. Although the precise knowledge base content differs from one manufacturer to the next, the value of thorough troubleshooting information can hardly be overstated.

If you don’t already have relevant expertise with the particular issue you’re facing, a solid knowledge base can help you save time. The explanation of a code, probable errors that can cause it to be transmitted. And tests you can run to find the root of the issue are often available in scanners that also provide troubleshooting guidance and other advice.

Features of Premium Scan Tools

The best scan tools effectively act as a one-stop shop. That with built-in scopes and other meters, extensive knowledge bases, troubleshooting advice, and capabilities for reading codes and data. Although some of these tools are pricey, like the professional-grade Snap-On MODIS. They offer all the equipment required to locate, test, and diagnose faulty components.

Exceptional Scan Alternatives

Despite the fact that professional-grade scan tools might be quite expensive, you can get most of the same capabilities without spending a fortune. You might wish to keep the following items in your toolbox:

a reliable consumer-grade scanner, such as the ELM327 scanner

a multimeter and a scope, if possible

using the internet

The sort of diagnostic information you get from a professional-grade scan tool. It is unable to replace directly by online resources. Although doing so is more cost-effective.

In addition to an online OBD-II code chart and troubleshooting information, a good consumer-grade scan tool (or an ELM327 scanner and the appropriate software) will give you the start in the correct direction. Once you’ve located the likely offender, devices like a multimeter and scope will enable you to ascertain whether or not particular components are faulty.

Frequently asked Questions

1. Without a scan tool, how can an ABS light be reset?

A fused jumper wire compatible with the Data Link Connector is required (DLC). Locate the DLC in your vehicle, correctly connect the jumper wire, light the car without turning it on, and then use the brake eight times. If you are successful, the ABS light will go. Use care at all times when utilizing jumper wires on a vehicle.

2. What more diagnostic instruments are there for do-it-yourself auto repairs?

A 12v test light, mechanic’s stethoscope, timing light, vacuum gauge, vacuum pump, and fuel pressure gauge are additional necessary instruments for DIY vehicle repair in addition to scan tools and code readers. By using those type of above mentioned diagnostic equipment, the auto repairs can be done as do it yourself repairs.

3. From Code Readers vs. Scan Tools, what is best?

Start with a code reader if you’re unsure whether to get a scan tool or not. You can acquire the necessary knowledge in this way without significantly depleting your financial resources. A simple code reader can handle the straightforward task of clearing codes and resetting a check engine light if you’re a do-it-yourself or shade-tree mechanic.

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