If you want to use OBD2 scanners on your car, you’ll need to know about OBD2 ports.
These basically enable you to connect OBD2 scanning tools to your car so that they can read information from the vehicle’s onboard computer.
What, exactly, is an OBD? This stands for On-Board Diagnostics. It’s your car’s on-board diagnostic computer that monitors the engine via sensors.
An OBD scanner, on the other hand, basically gets information from your car and displays it on its screen to you in the form of data so you can see what’s wrong in your car and what you need to do to fix it.
With that in mind, let’s explore everything you need to know about OBD2 ports.
Where Is Your Car’s OBD2 Port Located?
The most important thing you need to know about your car’s OBD2 port is where you can find it in your car. Otherwise, you won’t be able to connect your OBD2 scanner to your car.
Your OBD port will usually be located within easy reach of the driver as it’s underneath the steering wheel. It is sometimes placed underneath a latch or protective cover.
If you can’t seem to locate it, you should consult with your car’s user manual as this will inform you of where the OBD port is located in your specific car make and model.
Alternatively, you can make use of CarMD’s OBD port-finding service. Simply punch in the year, model, and make of your car and it will let you know where you can find your car’s OBD port.
The good news is that OBD2 ports are universal so while they might be in slightly different locations, they work in the same way.
Is Your Car OBD1 Or OBD2?
If you’re not sure if your car is OBD1– or OBD2-compliant, just look at the year in which it was made.
If it was manufactured and sold in the United States after 1st January 1996, you have an OBD2-compliant car. On the other hand, if your car was made and sold before that time, then you will likely have an OBD1 car.
You can learn more about if your car is OBD1 or OBD2 by checking out our article, “What Type Of OBD Is My Car?”
This will give you tips on how to find out what version of OBD has been installed in your car.
Are OBD1 And OBD2 Ports Different?
You might be wondering if OBD ports will be different depending on which version of OBD your car has.
To answer this question, we need to look at the differences that exist between these two diagnostic systems.
- They connect differently. Since OBD2 is more modern than OBD1, it offers more in the way of connectivity. You can connect car scanner tools to your OBD2 port in a variety of wireless ways, such as by using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. By comparison, OBD1 is older so it requires wiring in order to work.
- With OBD1, the connection port is not universally located in a specific area of the car so it can vary from one manufacturer to the next. By comparison, on OBD2-compliant vehicles, you’ll usually find the port in the same place on a variety of different vehicle models.
How Did OBD1 And OBD2 Come About?
In order to better understand OBD1 and OBD2, it helps to know how and why they originated, and what they are capable of doing.
OBD1 was seen as an attempt to create a universal car diagnostic system. It was required on all vehicles sold in California, so it didn’t become completely universal right away.
It was established in 1991 and was mainly designed to provide a way for the emissions of vehicles to be recorded so as to reduce air pollution, but it had problems, which is what caused OBD2 to be developed.
While OBD1 was used for diagnosing car system problems, it was tailored to car manufacturers instead of car owners.
It was a useful tool at the time, but it only provided one with basic car scans. It was certainly not comprehensive.
OBD2 is a much more universal system of OBD and can be used across all makes and models of cars that were manufactured in, or after, 1996.
Technology has taken OBD2 to new heights, making its port easier to find and its scanners easier to connect.
OBD2 offers car manufacturers, mechanics, and owners a more comprehensive way of monitoring and diagnosing their cars.
It can provide a lot more information from the car’s computer, and deliver it in a variety of ways, such as via apps, email, or printed copies of the reports.
This has totally changed the way in which OBD can be used on cars because of how versatile and user-friendly it has become.
What Else Can You Do With Your Car’s OBD2 Port?
Maybe this is the first time you’re reading about OBD2 ports, but don’t assume that they can only be used to run diagnostic tests on your vehicle.
There are many other things you can do with this nifty port.
For example, you can connect a heads-up display and project the image from your screen onto the car – imagine how awesome that would be when using an app such as Google Maps?
Heads-up displays usually project images onto the windscreen of your car, and these are becoming more common in modern cars. Thanks to your OBD2 port, you can make use of this function.
You can also connect a GPS tracker to your car’s OBD2 port. This is useful if you want to gain information about your driving, such as if you’re speeding.
The thing to bear in mind about OBD2 ports, however, is that you can’t use more than one device in them simultaneously.
Despite that, it’s great to know that you have options for using this relatively unknown port.
What Foreign Vehicles Are OBD2-Compliant?
Earlier, we mentioned that cars which were made after 1996 will have OBD2 on board, but that’s only the case for cars in the United States.
For other countries and regions, the year in which OBD2 became standard for modern vehicles varies quite a bit so you should be mindful of this if you’re using a different car.
In the European Union, for example, gasoline cars became fully OBD2-compliant in 2002, while diesel cars became compliant from 2007.
The rate at which other countries have adopted OBD2 systems in their vehicles varies even more.
For example, in Singapore OB2 became standard in 2014, in the United Arab Emirates, it became the case only in 2018, while in Canada it happened in 1998. It’s interesting to see how different parts of the world have adopted OBD2 at different times.
Are All OBD Ports With 16-Point Connectors Automatically OBD2-Compliant?
While most modern cars around the world are now considered to be OBD2-compliant, you might find that your car has a 16-pin OBD connector but it’s not capable of running OBD2 scanning devices.
How can that be?!
Well, many Asian and European car manufacturers went ahead and installed these connectors in their cars before they were installing the OBD2 systems on board.
In addition to that, many non-EOBD (European OBD) vehicles have connectors that don’t fully conform to the SAE International’s J1979 specifications because they have extra parts on the sides of the ports, therefore they have a different design than that of the standard port.
Based on the above, when purchasing OBD2 scanners for your car, make sure you check that the manufacturer explicitly states your car’s make, model, and country of origin is compatible with it.
Can you use an OBD2 scanner for an OBD1 vehicle?
Sometimes this is possible to do, but you will require an OBD1 to OBD2 connector.
When purchasing a scanner, make sure it’s an OBD2 scanner that can accommodate both types of vehicles.
Is EOBD the same as OBD2?
Yes, these systems are the same. EOBD stands for European On-Board Diagnostics and it’s basically the European version of OBD2. You can find out more by reading,”EOBD System Check: The Lowdown.”
Your car will have some kind of OBD on it, but which one?
In this article, we’ve looked at how to find out what kind of OBD will probably be in your vehicle, as well as what you need to know about the OBD2 port.
Now you can connect a car-scanning tool to your car’s computer and receive lots of information about the state of your car, such as if it requires repairs for any of its components.