OBD (On-Board-Diagnostic) error codes are critical when it comes to a vehicle reporting diagnostic information. Each time the system identifies an issue with the vehicle, it will trigger and in some cases provide data via freeze frame in real-time to a series of diagnostic trouble codes (DTC error codes). Then, using either a diagnostic scan tool or an OBD code reader, you can quickly identify one or more error codes that will tell you what the issue is.

Here at Triad Diagnostic Solutions, we provide a range of Autel diagnostic scan tools that give your team an easy way to plug into the OBD II ports and read OBD error codes. Still, you must understand why clearing these codes is vital.

What Are OBD Error Codes?

OBD error codes are codes that a vehicle’s OBD system uses to alert you to an issue with the vehicle. Each code corresponds to a specific vehicle problem, whether in the engine, a flat tire, or a fluid issue. Each vehicle stores an error code in its memory when it detects a system or component that isn’t functioning properly. Once you’re able to read the code, you can repair the malfunction in the vehicle.

In 1996, OBD-II, a new specification, became a mandatory requirement for every vehicle sold within the United States. This specification identifies the type of diagnostic connector and its pinout, the messaging format, and the electrical signaling protocols available. OBD-II diagnostic scanners (like the MSULTRA) became the standard tools used to diagnose vehicle malfunctions with this requirement.

tech looking under car near gas tank

Why Is It Important to Clear OBD Error Codes?

It’s absolutely essential that automotive techs not clear an OBD error code from a vehicle’s system without making the necessary repairs. An OBD error code should only be cleared once the vehicle has been repaired and fully restored to proper working order. That being said, there are unique occasions where clearing the error code is actually part of the repair process.

One example of a situation in which a tech might clear the error code during the repair process involves a minor issue, such as a vehicle’s gas cap not being properly tightened and triggering the check engine light. Sometimes, however, simply tightening the gas cap doesn’t fix the issue causing the OBD error code immediately. In fact, the OBD system may have to complete multiple cycles before the code is successfully cleared. In this particular situation, it is vital that a tech clears the OBD error code manually so that the system can continue scanning for other malfunctions.

How to Clear OBD Error Codes Using Your Autel MaxiSYS Tool

So how can you go about clearing OBD error codes using your Autel MaxiSYS diagnostic scan tools if you find yourself in a situation like the one described above? Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how to manually clear the error codes.

Step 1

Start by hooking up your Autel scanner to the vehicle’s diagnostic port using the correct cable adaptor. Usually, the diagnostic port is located on the driver’s side of the vehicle, beneath the dash, and near the steering wheel.

Step 2

Turn on your Autel tablet or OBD Code Reader and the vehicle.
Step 3
Follow the prompts protocol for running diagnostics cans on the make and model you’re repairing.

Step 4

Once the Autel software has identified the corresponding error codes, follow the on-screen guides to either repair the issue or clear the codes.

Knowing the Difference Between a Scan Tool and OBD Code Reader

It is also helpful to know the difference between a scan tool and an OBD code reader when working with OBD codes. Both scan tools and OBD code readers work with the vehicle’s OBD port to collect codes related to the specific malfunctions. That being said, a reader is considered a more simplified version of a diagnostics scan tool. A scanner, however, is designed to read generic, pending, and even manufacturer-specific codes. Here at Agile, we offer a range of diagnostic scan tools equipped to help you read and repair OBD error codes within your fleet or customer vehicles.

Scan for Error Codes With Autel Diagnostic Tools

Now that you know what clearing OBD error codes does and why doing so is important, it’s time to find a diagnostic scan tool you can rely on to quickly repair vehicles and keep them running for higher customer satisfaction. Triad Diagnostic Solutions is the most trusted provider of Autel diagnostic tools. One of our most popular diagnostic scan tools, the MSULTRA, offers a variety of diagnostic features that guide technicians through every step of the scan and repair process, providing straightforward yet detailed repair information and illustrations.

Feel free to check out the rest of our inventory to find the most appropriate scan tool for your needs! For your convenience, we also offer financing options for both businesses and individuals. We also offer technical support and training! So, contact us today with any of your questions or diagnostic scan needs! (317) 939-3690.

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