I recently purchased an OBDII scanner that allows me to read and log data using my tablet.

How do I get the most out of this device?

I am already familiar with simply reading the trouble codes to learn about problems. I know that having a trouble code plus additional data points can help me quickly triage a problem.

For example a vague emissions code could be something as simple as a vacuum leak or as rough as a bad catalytic converter. Can an advanced device that logs values help triage broad trouble codes through records of other data and details?

What data points should I just log by default to capture the most problems? Should I be capturing everything?

  • 1
    I'm sorry to say but you shouldn't expect much from a standard OBD scanner. If you want to go really deep and have info and measurements of all devices in the car (ABS, power steering, electrical systems, etc) you need an equivalent to the manufacturer's device, either a third-party device like VCDS (for Volkswagen) or a counterfeit of the manufacturer's device if you can find a good one with a recent version of the software.
    – user5106
    Commented Jan 28, 2015 at 11:59
  • @andre, excellent comment. It would be good to post as answer, possibly expanding to lost some of these others devices. "obdc2" is often shorthand for "thing I plug in to my car so it can talk to me" than specific to one protocol. Commented Feb 1, 2015 at 7:39
  • @mattwilkie - What is the general term for "thing I plug in to my car..." ? I can edit my question to use the correct terminology.
    – Freiheit
    Commented Feb 2, 2015 at 14:33

1 Answer 1


I spoke with a few friends who do their own car repairs or who are professional mechanics.

Their recommendation with any OBDII device is to capture any data that the device can capture and log it as long as the device or connected computer/tablet/phone can log it. It is better to have a data point and not need it than to need a data point and not have it.

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