HomeCar RepairOBD1 VS OBD2: Know The Exact Differences

OBD1 VS OBD2: Know The Exact Differences




When it comes to diagnosing a vehicle, there are usually two terms that come into view, which are OBD1 and OBD2. Using OBD car diagnostic systems have their own differences, which we will discuss further in this article. OBD refers to on-board diagnostics. It enables the car to report or diagnose itself on the problems it might be facing. This, in turn, allows the mechanic to tackle some of the problems that your car might be undergoing.

Comparison Between OBD1 VS OBD2 Scanner

If your check engine light illuminating continuously, you need to diagnose your vehicle before visiting a professional mechanic. Hence, you need a reliable OBD scanner that can show accurate data and highlight the exact problems. In that case, you have two options to choose between OBD1 and OBD2. But it is necessary to know the differences between them so that you can tell which one meets your requirements. That’s why we’ve highlighted some of the differences between these two scan tools to help you select the ideal one for your vehicle.

Manufacturing date

You need an Obd scanner, but how you can tell if your car is OBD1 or OBD2. When looking at the year these scanners were built, the OBD 1 was introduced way before the OBD 2. The OBD 2 was started in 1996, while the OBD 1 was started way before that. The OBD II is a greater system in the sense that it offers standardized codes for vehicle owners who undergo engine issues.

Engine inspection

In a wide range of applications, the use of OBD 2 is synonymous with the term check engine light. This aspect alone has the power to go directly into the places of the fault and sometimes even assist with its eventual correction. Thus, it has the power to put the user away from the eventual dangers posed. On the other hand, the OBD 1 scan tool lacked the power to pinpoint, as it just read the codes.


The OBD 1, which was first discovered before the OBD 2, was formerly set up below the car’s dashboard. While currently, the OBD2 scanning tool is normally installed in the driver’s compartment, where reaching it isn’t a hard task at all.

Engine performance

Knowing how your engine performs is very important. Also, being in a position to identify problems that might be facing easily is an added advantage. Even though the OBD 1 scanner was able to offer particular technology-based features to do with the vehicle engine, the OBD 2 has been observed to be more effective in maintaining the car engine. This is true, especially when it comes to acquiring data that is linked to engine efficiency and effectiveness.

Related article: Follow these easy steps to reset Check Engine Light


Since the OBD 1 was not capable of meeting the diverse need for the information, it leads to the creation of the OBD 2 scanner. The creation of the OBD 2 scanner was a result of the need for the user to access user data for the healthy use of the car. The OBD 2 scan tool offers data and many more.


Scanners can be anticipated to offer the most relevant and fast data that a mechanic can utilize in correcting the OBD trouble codes. The system places it above the old generation model, which had very limited capacity to provide quick information. Furthermore, the information covered by the OBD 2 is not comparable to that of the OBD 1 scanner.

Software specifications

The OBD 2 scanner has some of the most useful software best suited for the 21st century. The features that are found on their software make them be easy to install and use. In addition, the software in the OBD 2 category is, in most cases an open-source. The OBD 1 was a bit difficult to get in terms of software and even the tool itself.


Even though it is known that most OBD 2 scanning tools are software-based formations and OBD2 functions on a certain range of protocols, their capability to offer fast information rest on the embedded chip, to adapt to recent times, the chip is reprogrammed or updated but is neither replaceable nor removable. It is in such a place that all the important information is kept. The alternative of replacing the chip in the OBD 1 scan tool made them weak to offer data or as information storage.

Related article: What is the difference between a scan tool and a code reader?

User satisfaction

Utilizing the OBD 1 was somehow challenging as they were manufacture-based tools that could be accessed from specific vehicle manufacturers. So, the engineering society proposed the creation of universal OBD 2 scan tools that different car manufacturers could use.

OBD 1 Or OBD 2? Final Thought

You have to be cautious while choosing a scan tool because trouble codes and symbols are different depending on various vehicle models. It is evident that between the OBD 1 and OBD 2 scanning tools, the OBD II is the more sophisticated and effective tool on the market. It can be used on various cars, and OBD2 has the latest Bluetooth and Wi-Fi scanning technology. OBD1 has limited functions, but OBD2 shows tons of data, including engine health, SRS, Transmission, Airflow, ABS, Emission test, etc. So my recommendation is, you should go with an OBD2 device if your vehicle is OBD2 supported.

I hope, after reading this article about OBD1 VS OBD2 scanners, you should have an easy time choosing the right OBD tool that suits your vehicle.


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