No matter what kind of automotive technician job you have, you need the right tools to do it well. One of these is the scanner necessary for diagnosing the problem affecting a vehicle. If you’re in the market for one, you may want to think about considering a bidirectional scanner.

What is a bidirectional scanner?

First of all, for those who don’t know, OBD scanners are used in just about all auto technician jobs. Modern automobiles have onboard computers responsible for assisting with many different functions.

A major advantage of this onboard computer is that, when a customer brings their vehicle in, all a mechanic needs to do is plug their scanner into the computer and they can download a history of various problems. A lot of times, they actually discover issues the owner wasn’t aware of – yet.

There are a number of different types of scanners on the market, but a bidirectional version is one of the newest. The name refers to the fact that the scanner doesn’t just take information from the scanner but can input it as well. Namely, the scanner can give commands to the automobile that it will follow.

Why is this important? As a mechanic, you may need to make the vehicle do certain things before you’ll fully understand the nature of the problem. Instead of getting help from someone else or having to run around to the driver’s seat every time you wish to do this, you can simply command the vehicle through your scanner.

Are they worth paying more for?

Ultimately, that’s really all a bidirectional scanner does differently. It will depend on the nature of your work if this is worth paying extra for. If you work in an auto body repair shop or dealership where there are lots of mechanics around, you can always get their help with having a vehicle do different functions.

On the other hand, if you work alone, having a bidirectional scanner would probably be a huge convenience. Even if you do have plenty of coworkers, do you really want to bother them every time you need to pop the trunk, turn on the headlights, etc?

Furthermore, as bidirectional scanners are on the cutting edge of technology, they generally have a number of other great features included with them too. This can include easy-to-view, colorful displays, charts and much more. Some models can even be connected to a laptop for an easy way to download and store diagnostics.

Also, it’s worth pointing out that these scanners really aren’t that much more expensive than older models. The technology is becoming so commonplace that a lot of companies are now making the majority of their models with bidirectional functionality.

No matter what kinds of auto mechanic jobs we’re talking about, they all require you use an OBD scanner to take easy and accurate readings of what’s wrong with a customer’s vehicle. That being said, if you have the budget for it, bidirectional scanners can be a huge help and will make it even easier to correctly repair a customer’s vehicle.

If you’re a certified mechanic and you’re interested in working with YourMechanic, submit an online application for an opportunity to become a mobile mechanic.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Should I Buy a Bidirectional Scanner? and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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