A car reader is a handy tool to have on hand, especially when you’re attempting to troubleshoot mechanical problems. These little gadgets plug into your car’s diagnostic port and return code information that can help you pinpoint the problem causing your check engine light to illuminate. Using a car fault code reader can save you a lot of money on trips to the shop and can help you avoid costly repairs in the future.
These devices, also known as scanners or OBD2 scanners, are designed to work with modern cars that have the on-board diagnostic (OBD) system. Almost all newer vehicles have OBD systems to monitor performance through various sensors. The system will record a fault and if a certain level of trouble is reached, the malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) will turn on. This indicates that a fault is present and you should consult your owner’s manual to identify the source of the problem.
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OBD2 scanners have a simple design and are easy to use, which makes them an excellent choice for a DIYer or someone who just wants to stay informed of potential issues. Most of these devices will have a screen that displays the problem code and some may even provide additional information like description and live vehicle data. Some will even allow you to perform emissions tests or clear codes if necessary.
Most of these car fault code readers can be found at auto parts stores and some larger online retailers. They’re fairly inexpensive and are a good idea to have on hand, even if you plan to take your car in for service at a shop.