If I ask you about On-board diagnostics it might be hard for you unless you are an automobile engineer or a hobbyist or a tech nerd. As of 2017, there were more than 1.3 Billion cars in this world and an average car owner would change a car every 4-6 years. Cars are a very important part of our daily life and they have become more essential than they were 30-40 years ago.
Like any other mechanical or electronic device, they are prone to breakdowns and failures. Diagnosing them in the early years wasn’t a big problem because cars were simpler and they have fewer electronic components, and people could find the problems manually.
With the passage of time, expanding consumer needs and stricter environmental regulations forced carmakers to add many electronic systems in the car. Not only did engines become more complex, but other systems such as ABS, airbags, power steering were also launched.
OBD stands for On-Board Diagnostics. OBD I was first introduced in 1968 by VW to diagnose the fuel-injected type 3 models. By the 1980 GM has stepped up their game and introduced the new OBD. You could now scan ECM and all the related fault codes.
After OBDI, In 1996 OBDII was made mandatory for all cars in the United States by the EPA and later in 2001 European Union too followed suit.
DTC stands for diagnostics trouble codes and this is how you get the information about a certain problem in the vehicle. OBD-II Diagnostics Trouble Codes are of 4 digit numbers with a letter in the front.
There are four types of DTCs.
So a DTC would look something like P0090 which is an indicator for a fuel pressure regulator.
SAE has mandated that all OEMs follow the same nomenclature for all DTCs concerning emissions. This means that DTCs from P0001 to P0999 have the same meaning in all cars.
Apart from this, any OEM can store DTCs in their own format. As long as they include the SAE mandated list, other DTCs can be stored where and how they want.
Usually, it is located under the steering wheel. You can also find the actual location of the OBD port in the owner’s manual.
Like we mentioned earlier OBD become mandatory all over the world. Generally, it is regarded that all the cars after 2001 have an OBDII port. You have to use the OBDII Scanner for this.
Basically, the OBD scanner reads and diagnoses the trouble codes from the on-board computer of a vehicle. They may be of different shapes and sizes, but all serve the same purpose- to connect the car to a user interface through which a mechanic can read fault codes.
OBD scanners make it easy for a mechanic or a user to accurately diagnose the car and provide the best possible solution.
There are two types of OBD II scanners – Type A and Type B.
Earlier, we used to have scanners that worked with laptops and computers. Now we have portable handheld scanners that work similarly and are easier to carry around. You also have Bluetooth and Wifi enabled scanners that can work with your smartphone and you can read codes on the go.
There are some scanners that you can use to customize your car and set it according to your preference. Carista is one such company.
Some scanners are more inclined towards security so they come with in-built GPS and you can use them to keep track of your vehicle. Scanning features are there but they are just secondary.
So you see there are different types of scanner available in the market, it depends on your preference and how do you want to use it.
From the data reading capabilities, there isn’t much difference. The underlying technology is the same for iOS and Android scanners, the difference is only on the platform you choose to operate them with.
Android has more OBD apps than the iOS app store. You also get a lot of free apps on Android. These phones are also cheaper so they are more accessible to the general public.
Apart from the mobile OS, both types of On-board diagnostics adapters are equal in the sense that they can read the same data from cars given you have an app to use them with.
Like we mentioned earlier, it depends on your preference. If you want to do cool tricks with your car (e.g. – roll down the window when you press unlock button 3 times), you can get the Carista OBD for performing such operations.
If you like to work on your own vehicle and are technically sound you should prefer apps that are more focused on diagnostics, maintenance, and repair. GaragePro is a good example of that.
The best thing to do is to understand your needs and choose the one OBD scanner which suits you and your car.
We are going to highlight the points which make GaragePro the obvious choice over other OBD scanner available in the market.
GaragePro takes pride in providing industry-leading support to our customers. Our hardware and app both have average 4.5 stars ratings on all major platforms. You can expect the best support for any kind of issue.
There is a large number of cars and vehicles supported on the GaragePro app. So it doesn’t matter if you have an older car or you just getting a new one.
Another great advantage you have with the GaragePro OBD scanner is a wide range of pricing options. You can get the subscription that suits your needs the best. We have four plans for every type of customer.
For car owners who have 1 or 2 cars, the personal plan lets you scan and erase fault codes from any modules (Engine, ABS, airbag, etc.) and also provides features like Live data, Smog Check, Fault Code library. Ideal for the DIYer who likes taking good care of his or her car. The personal plan is the cheapest of all and is renewed every year.
The premium plan removes the two-car limit. You get all the features of the Personal plan, but for as many cars as you want. You can work on your car, your neighbor’s car, or if you run a garage, you can use it for your customers’ cars too. This plan can also be renewed every year.
Lifetime plan is basically a premium plan but instead of paying a yearly subscription, you pay a one-time subscription fee. The features are exactly like the premium plan, only that there’s no recurring fee.
As the name suggests, it is intended for business customers (Mechanics, Garage Owners) whose line of work needs access to functions such as injector coding, DPF reset, Throttle reset, etc. Since it’s a business plan, there’s no limit on any kind of usage, and you have dedicated customer reps to guide you any time you need. This works out to be much cheaper than most other scanners since instead of a large sum upfront, you pay a subscription fee that’s much much lower than what you would otherwise pay.
So here you have it guys. Everything you need to know about on-board diagnostics, OBD scanner and how it came into existence. Did we miss something? Do let us know in the comment section below.