Does the Engine Need to Be Running to Use an OBD2 Scanner?

Monday, November 20, 2023 - 4:28pm
A technician in an auto repair garage is diagnosing code failures using OBD2 scanner technology on a tablet.
ANCEL This post was written with the expertise of ANCEL, a company that sells OBD2 scanners in Marietta, Georgia.

An OBD2 scanner is a great tool that allows you to take a look at what is wrong with your vehicle and determine the best course of action. In the past, you had to either know a lot about vehicles or take it into a mechanic to get this checked out. Today, you can get a scanner on your own and determine what codes pop up and what needs to be fixed. One question you may have when it comes to using your OBD2 scanner  is whether you need to leave the engine running in order for the scanner to work?

You do not need to have the engine running or the car ready to go before you get the diagnosis from the engine when using an OBD2 scanner. You do need to turn on the ignition though. Just a slight turn of the key will be plenty for the OBD2 scanner to work and give you the results you would like. You should wait until the OBD2 scanner is hooked into the port before you turn the ignition on to avoid getting shocked or any other issues.

Using the OBD2 scanner properly will allow you to get the most accurate results when it comes to the diagnostics on your scanner. Let’s take a closer look at how to make this work so that you can figure out what is wrong with your vehicle and can get it to work well for your needs.

Should the Engine Be On to Get Accurate Results with an OBD2 Scanner?

An OBD2 scanner is going to be a good tool to use when you know something is wrong with your vehicle, but you are not certain what it is. Rather than spending hours on the vehicle and hoping that you figure out what is wrong or sending it into a mechanic and wasting a ton of money, you can use an OBD2 scanner to help you get the best results.

While you do need to give some power to the device, you do not need to turn on the engine completely to see some of the codes. You just need to turn on the ignition, just a bit, so that you can provide some power over to your scanner. Once the ignition is on, you can then push the power button (on most scanners), to get a reading.

Using the OBD2 Scanner Properly

Since you don’t need to have anything but the ignition on to get the OBD2 scanner to work, you may be curious what steps you need to take to make sure you get the codes and can fix your vehicle. Some of the steps include:

  • With the power off on the vehicle,  you connect the OBD2 scanner. There should be a port for this and the scanner should fit in perfectly for you, Keep the owners manual on hand in case something doesn’t work well.
  • There are two types of scanners. If it is a self-powered one, you can just turn on the ignition and it will start to work. If it is not, you can push the start button.
  • Wait a minute or so to allow for a connection to happen. After that time, you should see the instructions pop up on the display. You may need to add in some additional information to the scanner, such as the type of car, so it can finish the diagnostics.
  • When it is ready, you should get some codes that will tell you what is going on with the vehicle at the time. Sometimes it is just one code and other times you may need to get more than one thing fixed on the vehicle.

With the codes in hand, you can go through and figure out what is wrong with the car and make the necessary adjustments and fix it. Some will be simple and you can fix the issue on your own.

Sometimes they are more complex and you should consider hiring a professional to get the work done and keep your vehicle fixed. Depending on the complexity of the codes, you may need to look them up online to figure out what is going on with your car.

Using Your OBD2 Scanner to Take the Best Care of Your Vehicle.

Your OBD2 scanner is going to make it easier for you to take good care of your vehicle. When you plug it in and learn more about some of the codes listed on it, you will find it easier to take care of any potential issues and keep your car from getting ruined at the same time. Learning how to use the OBD2 scanner will make a difference and allows you a chance to keep your vehicle running smoothly.

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