On-board diagnostics (OBD) takes advantage of all the computer wizardry going on under the skin of a modern car to search out any problems in its various systems. Scanners then relay information about these problems to a mechanic in the form of an alphanumeric code known as a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC). The mechanic (professional or DIY) can then find out the nature of the problem by looking the code up in the manufacturer’s documents or online.
With each new release of the modern-day motor vehicle systems get a bit more complex. More sensors are added to track things like tire pressure, engine temperature, and anything else that you can think of to help drivers and mechanics track and maintain the vehicles. Additional safety equipment and media system capabilities are being worked into vehicles each year as well. As vehicles become more complex, they become more difficult to diagnose and repair. That’s why OBDII scan tools are absolutely necessary for diagnosing and fixing vehicles on your own today. Even vehicle owners that aren’t interested in making repairs can benefit from a good scan tool, because it will let them get an idea of what’s wrong with their vehicle, before bringing it in to the garage to be repaired.