How to Use your Laptop as OBD Scanner

Using your laptop to scan OBDII engine codes in a car can be a simple task and perhaps one of the best options. One of the reasons you could use a laptop as an OBDII scanner is the ability to look for answers online quickly.

Provided the laptop is online, you can look for an error code and read through many online forums that will give an overview of what others did to solve their issues.

How Does It Work?

First, you need to purchase a USB to serial port cable kit.

In most cases, this kit will also come with the software you need to scan your vehicle. This program has many features, but sometimes it’s just basic, so you may need an upgrade to use the more advanced features.

You can purchase these kits at most automotive part stores, though they are also available online.

Once you get the kit, insert the program installation disc and follow the prompts to complete the installation. If the installation doesn’t start automatically, access “Computer” and double-clicks the disc to begin the installation.

Once the software is installed, it’s ready to scan your vehicle.

How to Scan Your Car

You need to open the program and plug the USB end of the adapter into your laptop before you scan your vehicle. After that, plug the other end into the port, where you would plug a standard OBDII scanner.

Once it’s plugged in, turn the ignition key, so the battery is running, but don’t start the car.

Click the “Scan” button in your program to run the scan. Examine the engine codes and diagnostic information provided by the program. This will give standard details, but more things will show up if you have more advanced software.

Advantages of Using a Laptop as An OBDII Scanner

One of the advantages of using a personal laptop is that many programs come with the code explanation built in.

You can click on the provided code and find out what it means if you don’t know. If the laptop doesn’t have the meaning built into the program, you can check it online from anywhere in the world, provided you have an internet connection.

It’s much easier to update the software on the laptop rather than connecting a standard OBD II scanner to the internet to update it, also the databases for a laptop-based scanner can hold a lot of information, meaning you won’t have much compatibility issues.

If you want to print the information, it’s easier since you will only need to connect your laptop to a printer. A laptop screen is also larger and brighter, so it’s easy to read everything on it.

A laptop makes a great OBDII scanner. The program comes at an affordable price, so that shouldn’t prevent you from buying it. Even if you are not a heavy user, the perks still make it worth your money.

The big laptop screen and easy user interface make scanning your vehicle more straightforward and enjoyable. Although it has some drawbacks, these benefits are why you should Use a Laptop as an OBDII Scanner.