What is an Engine Code Reader?

Engine Code Readers are also known as code scanners, ODB code scanners, automotive code scanners and Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) scanners.  They are used to access automotive Onboard Diagnostic (OBD) information provided by the vehicle computers.

These diagnostic tools can provide interesting and useful information for any vehicle, but they become really important when the Check Engine light comes on.



When this happens, you need to know what the problem is and fix it. Ignoring a Check Engine light risks include:

  • serious engine damage
  • poor fuel economy
  • performance problems affecting your safety
  • failing a vehicle inspection

Which Engine Code Reader Should I Buy?

What do you do when the check engine light comes on?  You could take your car to a mechanic and have it looked at, but do-it-yourself types can save a lot of money by using an engine code reader to diagnose the problem and find the solution.  Once that is done you can use the tool to reset the code and make the check engine light go out.

Basic units will read simple codes, but more advanced ones add functions.  Additional capabilities include:

  • diagnose ABS codes for brake system troubleshooting
  • provide real time information on running engines for tuning and additional diagnostics
  • set ECU parameters to ensure your vehicle can pass emissions tests
  • greater compatibility with more vehicles

Some models allow upgrading their programming to add features and provide compatibility with new vehicles being introduced.

With the increasing computerization of vehicles, these code readers will become more necessary as time goes by. Use this website to help you find the right engine code reader for your needs and budget.