When you buy a car or truck, you usually expect it not to have any major problems for a long time but this does not always happen.  Today, car manufactures have developed a sophisticated computer system that will help to keep your vehicle running effortlessly.  With these types of systems, they will also cause the check engine light to go on when something is wrong.  The car scanner, also referred to as a car diagnostic tool, is the test that will tell you what is making this light come on, which you can use to help locate the problem and fix it yourself or take it to the mechanic to be fixed.

Many of the cars manufactured after the mid-90’s have a computer system that will keep the car in check.  This system constantly receives information from various systems in your engine and adjusts the system so the car can operate smoothly.  The computer system also controls your car’s check engine light so if there is a problem the computer system cannot fix it will trigger the light to come on so the mechanic can find out what is wrong and fix it.  The computer system also gives out a code.  This code can be used for identifying the nature and area of the problem.

To ensure the process of running the car scanner is made easy, some of the cars have an On Board Diagnostic (OBD) version II computer interface.  The interface will let the mechanic use one tool to find problems on almost all models and makes of vehicles.  In order to do the test, the scanner will be put into the connector, which is generally found around the steering wheel or under the side of the dash by the driver.  After information about the engine type, model of the vehicle, and the vehicle identification number is put into the car scanner, it will be able to capture and identify the diagnostic code.  This code is what will help you or your mechanic to know where to find the problem and fix it.

An example of a car scanner code is PO131. The first sector is a letter, which refers to the general area of the problem.  In this code, the P refers to power train, which refers to the mechanical parts that produces the energy for the vehicle.  A generalized O or the number 1 usually follows the letter.  The numbers that follow range from 1to 8 symbolizing different areas of the vehicle.  In this diagnostic code the number a 1, this refers to a fuel or air problem.  The final two numbers usually vary by vehicle manufacturers so the mechanic will usually have to contact the manufacturer to find the correct location of the problem.