Volkswagen readout devices are now offered in almost all colors and shapes. Volkswagen readout devices can now be purchased in any accessories store. But is it worth investing in OBD scanners and can they be used effectively by people with no prior technical knowledge? In this article, we will take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of Volkswagen readout devices.
In order to go into more detail about the various advantages of Volkswagen readout devices, we first need to take a closer look at the technology of modern vehicles.
What is a Volkswagen readout device?
Volkswagen readout devices are also offered as diagnostic devices or OBD scanners. They can be used to diagnose the electronic components of a motor vehicle. The Volkswagen readout device, is connected to the OBD diagnostic connector and can thus read out error messages generated in the electronic control units of a vehicle. These error messages can provide important information about the condition of a vehicle. But before we get into the electronic components in the vehicle and the error messages, we first need to clarify what an OBD is.
The Volkswagen readout device and the OBD
Volkswagen equipped its first vehicles with its own diagnostic system back in the 1960s. This should enable technicians at authorized workshops to diagnose vehicles quickly and efficiently. In the United States, work was done in the 1980s on a system to diagnose motor vehicles. However, the Environmental Protection Agency in California was not attempting to simplify the diagnosis of motor vehicles. Their initiative was aimed at combating rising air pollution in major California cities.
The OBD1 standard, which was introduced in California in 1987, was designed to ensure that the state’s stringent emissions regulations would be met by vehicles over the long term. The authority required vehicle manufacturers to integrate an internal diagnostic system that constantly checks all exhaust-related components in the vehicle. The OBD diagnostic connector was developed so that this on-board diagnosis ( OBD) can also be read out externally if necessary. It should make it possible to read the error messages of the OBD by external devices. This should ensure that all components that are important for compliance with emissions regulations can be constantly checked in a vehicle. In the event of a fault in the exhaust system, it is stipulated that a warning light must light up in the vehicle so that the driver can arrange for the necessary repairs.
As more and more electronics were installed in vehicles in the 1990s, it was necessary to improve the OBE1 standard. The OBD2 standard became mandatory in all American states in 1996. In Europe, the EOBD standard, European-On-Board-Diagnostic, was introduced in 2001. Since 2015, work has even been underway on the WWH-OBD, the World Wide Harmonized On-Board-Diagnostics, which requires all automotive manufacturers worldwide to integrate on-board diagnostics into their motor vehicles.
Why is the OBD2 standard so important?
Apart from the fact that OBD ensures that all exhaust-related components of a vehicle work properly and the environment is not polluted above average, nowadays the diagnostic connector can perform much more.
In recent decades, car manufacturers have integrated more and more electronic components into their vehicles. The first ECUs were used for engine control to optimally adjust the ignition timing and the injection system. Later, electronic safety systems such as ABS and ESP were added, which are only made possible with electronic components. Nowadays, up to 100 different control units can be used in modern motor vehicles, which contribute to the safety and comfort of the driver and passengers.
All these electronic control units are interconnected in a communication network. This is necessary so that information can be exchanged and, if necessary, countermeasures can be initiated. The OBD diagnostic connector is one of the components integrated in the communication system of a motor vehicle. This makes it possible to query all the information from the various control units through a Volkswagen readout device.
What is a control unit?
ECUs (Electronic Control Units) are electronic modules that can perform special tasks. They are not only installed in motor vehicles, but are also used to control machines and systems.
As mentioned earlier, the first electronic control units were used for assembly control. The first control units were able to control the ignition timing of engines based on their speed. The speedometer in modern vehicles is also a control unit, as it can query information such as the number of revolutions, the speed, the oil pressure and the level of fuel in the tank and show it on the display.
The most important tasks of an electronic control unit are therefore to retrieve data, process it and trigger an action if necessary. Data can be queried with sensors that can measure temperatures, speed or pressure. Actions can be performed by means of actuators that can trigger physical processes.
Nowadays, modern control units can be compared to computers. They have partly the same computing power and depending on the task, partly several processors. Also, you have memory where they can store important information even when there is no power. Error messages can be stored in this depot, which can be read out with a Volkswagen readout device.
The Volkswagen readout device and error messages
Even when the California Environmental Protection Agency introduced the OBD1 standard, it defined the error messages that the Volkswagen readout device could use. In the DTC (Data Trouble Code) the most important errors were briefly listed, which can be stored in the memory of the control units. However, the developers have also provided that vehicle manufacturers can use their own fault codes to simplify vehicle diagnostics. Each error code consists of five characters and is composed as follows:
The first character of the Data Trouble Code represents the exact location in the vehicle where the error occurred:
- P – Powertrain – Drive train
- C – Chassis – Chassis
- B – Body – Body
- U – User Network – Communication Networks
This is followed by a code that specifies whether the error is a general error (0) or a manufacturer-specific error (1 ).
The third digit is used in the DTC to specify subfamilies for the first digit in the code. For this purpose, letters or numbers can be applied. Here are some examples:
- 0, 1, 2 – air or fuel metering control
- 3 – Ignition system
- 4 – additional emission control
- 5 – Motor run control
- 6 – Onboard computer
- 7, 8, 9, – Gearbox control
- A, B, C – Hybrid drive
The DTC has also been defined in Europe in the SAE J2012 and ISO 15031-6 standards and now contains more than 11,000 defined codes.
The engine malfunction light
As previously mentioned, the OBD2 also provides for a warning function for the driver. This is the engine malfunction lamp, or ML for “Malfunction Indicator Lamp”. It is specified in ISO 2575 and displayed as an engine block in the cockpit of a vehicle.
Depending on which error is present, it can be indicated by the following sequence of lights:
- Permanent glow – a fault in the exhaust system detected and confirmed. However, the vehicle can still be used.
- Flashing warning light – an error has been detected which may cause serious consequential damage. Most car manufacturers then initiate an emergency running program in the vehicles, limiting the speed and power of the vehicle. It is recommended to quickly turn off the vehicle and have the fault fixed first before using the vehicle again.
- Warning light flashes, but then goes off again – an error was detected, but it could not be confirmed in the next measuring cycle.
- Warning light off – there are no malfunctions relevant to exhaust gas. However, despite this, there may be problems that have a minor impact on the operation of the vehicle.
The Volkswagen readout device and the OBD mode
A Volkswagen readout device can use different modes when reading out the OBD. Depending on the OBD version, not all modes are supported. The younger the vehicles, the higher the probability that all modes will be supported.
We would like to introduce you to the mode and the individual functions here:
In this mode, the Volkswagen readout device can read out the values of some sensors. These include:
- Engine speed
- Motor temperature
- Air temperature
- Coolant temperature
- Oxygen sensor
- Air and fuel regulator
The sensors in the motor vehicle are marked with a number. These PID (Parameter Identifier), which are read out with the Volkswagen readout device, are always specified with the data. For example, the motor speed is marked with PID number 12. Currently, 135 PIDs are listed in the corresponding standard, some of which are not supported by all vehicles.
In this mode, the frozen data of an error message can be accessed. Each time a fault is detected, the corresponding control unit also records all other sensor data. This provides an accurate snapshot at the time the error or problem was discovered. This can be very helpful if the circumstances of the error are to be investigated further.
In this mode, all error codes can be read out. The fault codes are for the most part standardized, but can also be extended by the vehicle manufacturer with their own fault codes. Basically, the error codes can be divided into 4 groups:
– P0xxx: Error message for drive system
– C0xxx: Error message for chassis components
– B0xxx: Error message for body area
– U0xxx: Error message in the communication networks
In this mode, the stored fault codes can be cleared and thus also the engine fault light can be switched off. When error codes are cleared from problems that have not yet been corrected, an error code is immediately generated again as soon as the vehicle is switched on.
In this mode, the results of the on-board diagnostics are read out with the Volkswagen ECU. This applies only to vehicles with gasoline engines and vehicles that do not have CAN bus. Vehicles with a CAN bus use mode 6 to read all the information from the OBD.
Reading all the information of the OBD for vehicles with CAN bus.
In this mode, the debounce memory can be read out, in which errors that have not yet been confirmed are stored. This can be used to quickly check after a repair whether the corresponding error occurs again.
This mode is used to output results of OBD made on other system. This mode is rarely used in vehicles of European manufacture.
In this mode, vehicle information can be retrieved. The Volkswagen readout device can read out information here that is specific to the vehicle, such as:
- VIN – the vehicle identification number
- different calibration values, manufacturer dependent
In this mode, permanent error messages can be read out by the Volkswagen readout device. Permanent error codes cannot be deleted in mode 3 or 7. They are only deleted if the corresponding error has not occurred in a certain number of error checks.
The OBD2 diagnostic connector
To use a Volkswagen readout device, it must be connected to the OBD diagnostic connector. OBD guidelines state that the OBD diagnostic connector must be located in the passenger compartment. In Volkswagen vehicles, it is usually located between the steering wheel and the driver’s door in the lower half of the dashboard. Volkswagen uses the color pink to make it easier to identify the OBD connector.
Why can a Volkswagen readout device save time and money?
There can be several situations where a Volkswagen readout device can be very useful. We would like to introduce you to some, in which the Volkswagen readout device, can save time and money.
Control of the specialized workshop
Imagine the engine warning light in your vehicle comes on. Since you depend on your vehicle every day and don’t want to cause major damage, you take your car to a repair shop right away. Most of the time, you’ll get a quote the next day that includes the labor and parts needed. In fact, however, there is no way to check whether the indicated error actually corresponds to the repair services. Purely theoretically, the workshop could estimate all kinds of additional repairs that are not actually necessary to eliminate the problem.
The only way to be able to verify the estimate and the actual repair is with a Volkswagen readout device. This will allow you to identify exactly what caused the error message. This gives you the opportunity to check the workshop, not because of the work performed, but also whether the error was actually eliminated. After you have taken your vehicle back from the workshop, you can check it with the Volkswagen readout device to see if all errors have actually been corrected. The Volkswagen readout device, therefore, offers you the possibility to check the workshop and, if necessary, to complain about the work.
In case you want to repair your vehicle yourself
Due to the many electronic components in modern vehicles, it is now almost impossible to detect sources of error visually. If you want to repair your vehicle yourself, you will have to rely on a Volkswagen readout device to detect the problems and thus fix them quickly.
With a Volkswagen diagnostic device, you have the possibility to read the error codes and thus quickly discover the error. Even complicated problems can be easily identified, as the Volkswagen readout device can also be used to display the current data from the sensors. We can advise you to use a high-quality Volkswagen readout device, such as Carly OBD Scanner, which even offers its users the possibility to use repair manuals. In addition, Carly’s Smart Mechanic allows the use of diagrams and drawings that are normally only available to technicians in authorized repair shops.
When buying a used car
Buying a used vehicle can be very complicated in some circumstances. Within a short time, a vehicle must be assessed and possible sources of error identified. Even though a Volkswagen readout device cannot replace the test drive, it can be a very important tool when buying a used car. It offers the possibility to read out all error messages recorded by the control units in the vehicle. This allows the buyer to not only get a very good idea of the true condition of a vehicle within a few minutes, but also to find out which repairs have been carried out in recent years.
The Carly OBD Scanner can even be used to check whether the vehicle’s mileage has been tampered with. This has become a common practice to improve the value of a used car. It is now assumed that over 60% of used vehicles in the Federal Republic of Germany no longer meet their
Have original mileage. To avoid buying an inferior vehicle at a relatively high price, Carly OBD Scanner offers the possibility to check the mileage.
The mileage is stored not only in the control unit for the cockpit, but also in some other control modules. Carly OBD scanner can read and compare all these data. If one of the mileage readings does not match the others, this may indicate a manipulated speedometer reading.
The Carly OBD scanner reads all the data from the vehicle and can even use it to make a prediction about future problems that might arise in the vehicle. This makes it easier to calculate the cost of buying a used car, as future repair costs can be factored in.
So, it is advisable to use a Volkswagen readout device when buying a used car. This is the only way to ensure that the mileage has not been manipulated and what error messages are currently present in the vehicle.
What are the advantages of Carly OBD Scanner
If you’re looking for a practical and affordable Volkswagen readout device, there are a few factors that play a big role. If you also want to use the device to buy used cars, it should not be too big and too bulky, and should offer the possibility of performing a diagnosis in a very short time.
The Carly OBD scanner offers the advantage that for the readout of a vehicle only a small adapter must be plugged into the OBD diagnostic connector must be plugged. This can be easily carried in a pocket or safely stored in the glove compartment of a vehicle without fear of damaging it.
The Carly OBD Scanner uses the smartphone as a readout device and benefits from the high computing power of modern cell phones. As soon as the Bluetooth connection with the adapter has been established, it is all vehicle data read out and evaluated with the smartphone. A traffic light color display directly informs the user whether or not a vehicle is experiencing problems. If desired, further information about the current problems can then be displayed.
By using the smartphone or tablet as the readout device, the Carly OBD scanner is offered at a very low cost and provide features that are not possible on other devices. Moreover, it is possible to extend Carly’s free software with various subscription models and always use the most favorable model in each case.