Obd1 vs Obd2 Car Scanners – Similarities & Differences

OBD1 VS OBD2 Car Scanners

OBDs – Onboard Diagnostic systems were designed for self-diagnostics and reporting in vehicles. They give the vehicle owner real-time updates on the status of the vehicle’s various sub systems. As you would expect , the amount of diagnostic information provided by this tool has increased and become more accurate since it was introduced in the 1980s.

The earliest versions simply indicated that there was a problem with the vehicle without providing any further information on the nature of the problem or where it has occurred. The more recent versions provide real-time data concerning the nature and location of a problem in the vehicle using the combination of a standardized digital communications port and a series of diagnostic trouble codes which not only identifies , but also remedies any detected problem wrong with the vehicle (if possible).



OBD1 VS OBD2 Car Scanners


Basically, OBD I scanners are like simple code readers that provide basic access to data streams from which you can also access freeze-frame data and similar information. They also do not actually display the codes, but blink a light you have to count – like Morse code, but this process varies from one OEM to the next.

Some of the OBD I scanners can actually clear the codes themselves, while others require a particular procedure to get rid of them. This procedure usually entails disconnecting the battery, removing and ECM fuse, or turning the engine on and off for a couple of intervals.


Image : An OBD2 Scanner

For the OBD 2 scanner , functionality depends on whether the tool is a basic code reader or a more advanced scan tool. Like the name implies, basic code readers can only clear codes as a slightly and more personalized version of the OBD I, while with an advanced scan tool , you can view both live and recorded data concerning a particular engine problem. Advanced scan tools provide a more extensive knowledge base with access to tests and bi-directional controls, as well as other complex functionalities.

However, the common thing between both basic OBD II types (Code reader & scan tool) is their ability to read and clear the codes. They can also check for pending codes that is yet to be reflected. Compared to OBD I scanners, they are easy to use. They function by inserting a universal cable into the OBD II diagnostic connector in the vehicle, like a plug-in software. They also use the same connector defined by SAE JI962.


Similarities Between the OBD I and OBD II Car Scanners

Technically, OBD II is an upgraded version of OBD I scanner. In that context, we can categorize them to be both scanners. However, the similarity that exists between them is between the entire OBD I enterprise and the basic code reader version of the OBD II scanner.

They both provide basic access to data streams from which you could also access freeze-frame data and similar information. Also, the OEM software that translates the information gathered varies from one manufacturer to the other as in the OBD II software.

Differences Between the OBD I and OBD II Car Scanners


Obd1 vs Obd2


Apart from being a more recent and personalized version of the OBD I car scanner ,  OBD II varies from the OBD I car scanner technology is a number of categories. These include;


  • Installation :

OBD I is pre-installed under the dashboard of the vehicle as an auxiliary part of the vehicle, while the OBD II is installed within the driver’s compartment where both installation and accessing it is no challenge.

  • Reliability :

OBD1 Scanner doesn’t provide as much information as the OBD II which has more functions. OBD II provides information crucial to the inner workings of the vehicle in the simplest format that can be understood by users with basic vehicle knowledge.

More importantly, the information displayed are clearer, unlike OBD I that only indicates that there’s a problem without providing the details of the problem or its location.

  • Speed :

Simply put, OBD II is faster than OBD I on different counts. Firstly, OBD II extracts information about the state of the vehicle and displays it on the dashboard for the user to see. In comparison, OBD I is a code reader, so it just provides codes which will still have to be deciphered and then detected. This takes more time and expertise to execute.

  • Software Specifications :

Being the most relevant software of the 21st century in the field of automechanics, OBD II operates on a more generalized platform that is adaptable to most vehicles. Unlike the OBD I which was designed specific to different vehicles and models, the OBD II is easier to find and install.

  • User Satisfaction :

Given the aforementioned reasons, it is very unlikely any user would prefer  OBD I to OBD II. Therefore, we can draw a conclusion that users derive more satisfaction from using the OBD II car scanner than the OBD I.  In terms of adaptability, cost effectiveness and ease of use, OBD II has won many times over and continues to remain the favorite car scanner.

Looking to get yourself an OBD diagnostic tool? Read our buyers guide to know what you should be on the look our for.

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