like almost everything today your car has a computer and if its 1996 or newer it has an OBD2 which is on board diagnostics second-generation, than codes can be read easily.
A good OBD2 code scanner can also look through the electrical and emissions.
The main thing most look at is how the engine is running which can be done by scanning the computer codes.
When you get a check engine light it can makes you feel like, what does that that mean? Why cant it simply tell you more?
A great way to access these codes is with the Actron CP9125 PocketScan. It is really easy to use and can plug into any OBD2 port on a car or truck 1996 or newer.
After being plugged in to the OBD2 port the Pocket-scan will automatically give the codes when they are found. Which can than be looked up from the book or online.
From the example above P0102 code it shows MAF Sensor which is mass airflow.
For this problems we pulled the mass airflow sensor and swapped in a new one fixing the problem.
As you can see using a scan tool makes things easier than troubleshooting from nothing and give you an idea what is wrong and where to start.
Something that is quite commonly done also is simply Google the code and your vehicle model and year and read through the forums to get a idea what others have done to solve the problem.
There will be times when a problem is too complex to fix for the average DIY backyard mechanic, but for the easy fixes such as O2 sensor the Pocket-Scan can be a nice money saver.
The Actron CP9125 PocketScan Code Reader really is a nice inexpensive easy way to to read your codes and give you some knowledge whether to repair it yourself, or take it to the shop.
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Actron CP9125 PocketScan Code Reader