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In the past, the only way that a mechanic could diagnose a car problem was by listening to the engine. Flash forward to 2020 and we don’t need to have superb listening skills just to figure out what’s wrong with our cars. Thanks to technology, there are a ton of gadgets that can now identify car problems way more effectively than mechanics can. One such tool is an airbag scanner.
When the airbag light comes on, it’s signaling that something is amiss. An illuminated airbag indicator could point to a number of problems, the most common of which is that your airbag can’t deploy. The best airbag scan tool can help to pinpoint the exact problem that’s causing this airbag light to turn on.
What’s the Best Airbag Scan Tool?
It’s one thing to neglect the “check engine light” for one or more days; but it’s entirely different if you ignore the airbag warning indicator. With the best airbag scan tool, you can quickly identify what’s wrong with your car’s safety mechanisms.
Below find the best Airbag Scan Tools:
The Launch Creader is a great car diagnostic tool, especially when it comes to troubleshooting problems with the ABS and SRS system.
SRS, which stands for supplemental restraint system, consists of impact sensors, a control module and airbags. The purpose of the impact sensors is to detect when a collision is about to happen, at which point they transmit a signal to the airbags to deploy. The control module, on the other hand, helps to detect problems with the airbags or sensors. If they detect an issue, the Malfunction indicator light automatically turns on.
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Usually, it’s not easy to get an all-in-one OBD2 scanner with a restrictive budget, but the Innova 3100j is the perfect exception.
This scanner has advanced features that you’re likely to find in pricier models. Among the highlights of this diagnostic tool is that it offers SRS scanning. It’s designed to read and erase the SRS light trouble codes on the majority of OBD2 vehicles.
The Innova 3100j is also pretty useful for battery and alternator tests. These help you to evaluate how your vehicle’s charging system is functioning. With this diagnostic device, you’ll be able to check the status of the fuel trim and engine coolant temperature.
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If you’re looking for an airbag scan tool capable of analyzing all of your car’s systems, the Foxwell NT624 is your best option. Although a little pricey, this OBD2 scanner offers comprehensive vehicle diagnostics; from the engine to the ABS, steering wheel, body control modules, navigation, the HVAC system and more.
Another admirable feature of the Foxwell OBD2 scanner is its display. The 4.3-inch display is large, clear and bright, enabling you to read live data metrics without squinting. Furthermore, the interface is easy to use and comes with big, colorful icons.
The crowning glory of the ANCEL OBD2 scanner is that it works with both gasoline and diesel automobiles. Capable of supporting multiple languages, this diagnostic tool comes with ABS and SRS scanning capabilities. With regards to the ABS system, the OBD2 scanner helps in reading and clearing ABS-related errors, preventing severe friction between the tires and ground surface as well as preventing the wheels from locking up.
As for the SRS system, this auto scan tool aids in reading and clearing SRS error codes; hence, preventing the occurrence of impact-caused injuries.
Are you looking for a diagnostic tool that has a fast reading capacity, look no further than the Autel MD802. This OBD2 gadget is capable of reading multiple codes in one go. This is supplemented by the Autel’s capability to clear both generic and manufacturer specific codes really fast. Overall, it can read and clear error codes in four main systems: the engine, ABS, airbag and transmission.
Also, the MD802 comes equipped with OBD II mode 6 as well as data graphing. Thanks to the TFT color display and an operating temperature of 0 to 60 degrees Celsius, you’ll be able to operate in any condition.
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Do you have engine or airbag problems with your BMW? Or would you like to connect to the BMW’s advanced diagnostic system? This BMW-specific diagnostic scan tool is just what you need. V7.7 is compatible with all BMWs made between 2000 and 2014.
And although it doesn’t have all the features that OBD 2 scanners offer, it’s still sufficient for BMW car owners. The MAOZUA Airbag scanner can read and clear trouble codes. Plus it shows live data stream and graphs on its 2.8-inch color LCD display.
Depending on the features that the OBD2 scanner comes with, some models can be quite expensive. For car owners with tight budgets, the NEXPEAK car diagnostic scanner is a pocket-friendly option. It’s designed for reading and clearing engine codes as well as displaying code definitions.
Like ANCEL FX4000, this diagnostic tool is compatible with gas and diesel cars, SUVs, light truck and passenger vehicles. Plus, it displays graphic data in diagrams, allowing car owners to better evaluate the Inspection/Maintenance readiness parameters.
What Is a Diagnostic Tool?
This is simply a tool that helps to assess the condition of your car and to reset the control modules. There are many varieties of car diagnostic tools. They range from basic code readers to advanced bi-directional computers, which are used for programming.
With an auto code reader, it only helps in reading the different codes related to specific car problems. But a scan tool is more effective since it provides a comprehensive analysis of your car’s condition. This includes its description and recommendations for analyzing codes.
There are even some scan tools that provide real-time data such as the emission level of your automobile. Such diagnostic tools also calibrate control modules in specific parameters. However, this calls for using complex auto diagnostic software; hence, limiting how these scan tools can be used.
But if you don’t need the extra information, you can always opt for a simple code reader. All you’ll be required to do is to download an application on your smart phone so that you can read the codes. It also means that you don’t have to keep making trips to your mechanic to get an update regarding your car’s condition.
Alternatively, you can check how different parts of your vehicle are working and hence save money. The advantage of investing in diagnostic tools- even if it’s a basic model- is that the only time you go to a mechanic is when you’ve identified a particular problem that needs fixing. And if you have some experience in performing car repairs, you won’t even have to make that trip.
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How to Use an OBD2 Scanner?
An OBD 2 scanner can be defined as the entryway to your automobile’s onboard computer. To diagnose a problem, start by connecting the scanner to a computer. Next, you’ll have to connect the scanner to the port found under the dashboard. In a majority of car models, you will find this port close to your knees. Based on the scanner you’re using, you will need either an external or internal source of power. The good thing is that most scanners can operate on the power generated by the car when it’s running.
Switch on the ignition so that you can update the computer. If the engine light is on, you will need to scan so as to pinpoint the specific problem. If the OBD II scanner is too pricey, a simple code reader is another option. The code reader displays codes, which you’ll have to look up in the menu.
The advantage that an OBD 2 scanner has over a code reader is that it identifies the problem and its root cause. What’s more, it provides viable options to investigate so that you can identify the specific car problem.
Besides, this scanner doesn’t consume too much power from your car. Plus, it can save you tons of money since you’ll able to identify car problems in their budding stage.
What Is an OBD 2?
The Onboard Diagnostic Scanner, which is abbreviated as OBD, is a tool connected to car’s onboard computer so as to diagnose codes and report.
OBD 1 scanners vary widely; from one manufacturer to the next. However, OBD 2 scanners have almost identical designations for the codes, connectors and protocols for transmitting information.
The downside to basic code readers is that they don’t provide additional information about codes, which are usually manufacturer-specific. Also, code readers don’t give you access to real-time data.
Conversely, scanners provide access to recorded and real-time data. They also give you manufacturer-specific codes. What’s more, these tools are designed to read soft codes. These are codes which have not yet been identified using the engine light.
OBD 2 scanners utilize one unique connector known as the SAE J1962. The basic models can be connected to diagnostic connectors for OBD II in your car.
The best car diagnostic tools come with specific modules or keys. The purpose of these keys is to supplement the connector, allowing it to interact with controls that are OEM specific. However, OBD 2 scanners are only compatible with cars from 1996 and onwards. So before you rush to purchase an OBD II scanner, ensure you have all the right information regarding your car.
Types of Diagnostic Scan Tools
As stated earlier, there are different types of OBD 2 scanners, ranging from laptops fitted with tons of cables to simple tablet-shaped models that look like iPads. If you have a tight budget but want to purchase an OBD II scanner, we recommend choosing a small-sized one. Such OBD II scanners are cheaper since they don’t require room for storing processors and hard drives.
But for mechanics, the best OBD 2 scanners are the mid-range to premium diagnostic scanners. These tools are able to pinpoint the exact car problems that cause the service light and engine light to turn on.
When deciding which car diagnostic tool to purchase, one main thing you should consider is the type of port in your automobile. Most modern cars come with OBD II ports, which means you can use the device described above. Unfortunately, cars made before the year 1998 have an older style of OBD port- the OBD 1, that is, the first generation of onboard diagnostics.
OBD 1 scanners are not universal. Ideally, they are tailored to address the needs of specific car models so they feature very different codes. In contrast, OBD 2 ports look pretty much the same in every car.
OBD 2 car scanners can be synced to a vast range of devices and provide standardized error codes, making it easy to identify the specific car problem. Significant improvements were made when manufacturing the second generation onboard diagnostics, enabling them to provide much more information than their first-generation predecessors.
There are mechanics who like having both OBD 1 and OBD 2 scan tools. They could get a classic car client one day and a modern car owner the next.
Things to consider when purchasing an OBD2 Car Scanner – Buyer’s Guide
If you’ve never had the opportunity of using an OBD 2 scanner, you probably have no idea of what to look for when you go shopping for one. To ensure you get the right OBD2 scanner for your car’s needs, keep the following points in mind:
Variety of readings
Different diagnostic tools are designed to scan different metrics. Some car scanners provide an analysis of all the systems in your car. Others, however, provide very limited information especially with regards to when the problem occurred or the level of coolant. The best OBD 2 scanner is one capable of assessing problems in major car systems such as the engine, airbag, transmission and ABS.
OBD 2 scan tools are available in a wide range of shapes and designs. Before purchasing, ensure that it’s portable so that you can lift and carry this diagnostic tool with ease.
The most effective OBD 2 scan tools are ones that come with storage capabilities. This way, you can refer or check certain metrics long after they’ve been recorded.
Some OBD 2 scanners come with extras such as automatic decoding features, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity among others. Although these features are not a must-have, they do make your OBD 2 scanner more useful.
How to Get More from an Obd2 Scanner
Nearly all OBD II scanners are capable of reading and interpreting both generic and manufacturer-specific error codes. However, if you’ll be spending a considerable portion of your earning to purchase a diagnostic tool, then you should buy one capable of doing a lot more. If you want to the most out of your OBD 2 scanner, ensure it has the following:
Freeze frame data
With this feature, you’ll be able to determine the specific problem that triggered the engine light to turn on. This is crucial since connecting the scanner to your car prompts several error codes to pop up. As such, it would be easier if you knew the exact problem that caused the engine light to turn on.
Unfortunately, OBD II scanners provide reports based on priorities. For instance, if the light was turned on because of a problem with your light sensor, but your car’s emissions are high, the scan tool will give priority to the emission problem. Eventually, you’ll have to fix both problems if you want the engine light to stop displaying that red-colored warning indicator.
Oil inspection and oil service lights
Different lights relate to different sensors and they indicate different problems. Although there are a few diagnostic tools that are capable of resetting these lights, a vast majority of them don’t have this capability. Still, this is a handy feature to have in your OBD II scanner, especially of you operate a used car showroom.
Inspection service interval and inspection mileage
If you have no idea of what these features are, you should not attempt to use them. But for experienced car mechanics, these two are welcome features. They’re also useful in situations where individuals are selling used cars.
Although this might not seem like a necessary feature, it’s an excellent addition to your car diagnostic tool. An SD card eliminates the task of writing down codes displayed by your scanner. But more importantly, the SD card keeps records of information, meaning that you can always refer to metrics recorded in the past. Also, a memory card keeps tabs on the error codes generated by different cars over time. This comes in handy for person who own multiple cars or people tasked with taking care of car parks. Having the capability to keep tabs on each car’s problems makes it easy to come up with preventive measures.
An airbag reset tool is an excellent addition not just to amateur and professional mechanics but also to salesmen, who deal with used cars. Damaged cars require airbag replacements, but even after the replacement, you’ll have to clear the code, which is where an airbag reset tool proves useful.
The Bottom Line
Today’s automobiles contain very sophisticated electronic systems that need onboard diagnostics to pinpoint problems. By acquiring one of these airbag scan tools, you’ll be able to identify the specific problem before taking your car to a mechanic. And if it’s a simple problem that you can fix, you can repair it yourself and save money.