An automotive scan tool is an electronic device the technician uses to decode serial data, communicate with modules, diagnose problems, and sometimes reprogram vehicle control modules.
Remember that a scan tool is only as good as the user’s understanding of the data. When used with the proper reference materials, a scan tool can significantly help a knowledgeable, experienced technician performing computer-related diagnostics. Often the device is more than a help; it's a necessity. But it cannot solve problems by itself. Understanding the data and accurately interpreting the information displayed is the key. The technician, not the tool, is the diagnostician.
Four Types of Scan Tools are available:
A scan tool can be Wired or Wireless (Bluetooth), handheld or PC based. To achieve a higher level of diagnostics, an essential Code Reader or Bluetooth for IOS and Smartphones will not do the job.
Two options are available when using an aftermarket scan tool, technician and there are advantages to both:
Global (EOBD) OBD II:
Enhanced (OEM) OBD II:
Many times, with pre-Can OBD II, technicians would choose the enhanced side of the scan tool. This was because it offered more PIDs.