What Is OBD1?
Very often we get questions based on OBD1 & OBD2. What is my car and will this tool work my car.
OBD stands for On-board diagnostics. The two main types of diagnostic systems in vehicles is OBD1 and OBD2. OBD1 was used in vehicles up to as late as 2006 and anything newer will be OBD2.
As for your car and what protocol it is varies from every make and model (we do have a list of cars to confirm yours click the link below
If your car is newer than 2006 your vehicle will be OBD2
Some vehicles manufactured earlier than 2006 are still OBD2 For example: You own a 2003 Toyota Corolla, this is OBD1. If you owned a 2004 Toyota Corolla this will be OBD2.
Meanwhile, when considering their manufacturing dates, OBD1s were introduced long before the OBD2 models. OBD2 is a better system, in the sense that it provides standardised trouble codes and more information is availble from the on board diagnostics system.
If your vehicle is OBD1 you will require a more comprehensive tool to communicate with your vehicle. Cheap OBD2 readers will not work. If a scan tool is compatible with OBD1 protocols then it will always read OBD2 also.
If the scan tool is for OBD2 only it will not work with an OBD1 car even with an adapter. Common confusion around adapters and compatibility. Just because you have brought an adapter, this does not mean your car is now OBD2 or OBD2 capable, you still need an OBD1 capable scan tool.
Also some vehicles with a standard OBD2 shaped 16 pin plug are not OBD2 compliant, they still run an OBD1 protocol and a OBD2 reader will not work with your vehicle.
Please ensure you confirm what OBD protocol your vehicle is and ensure the scan tool is suitable to this protocol.
Some vehicles that run OBD1 will require an adapter cable. The easiest way to find out if you need an adapter is to check your cars OBD port. With OBD1 most of the ports are located under the dash on the drivers side. Some OBD1 ports are located in the engine bay.
An example of a14pin adapter cable below required for older Nissans
The Nissan 14-pin DLC is often found behind the fuse panel cover
Toyota OBD1 22pin port in the engine bay
The required adapter for this type of port is the Toyota 22pin OBD1 adapter
Below is what a standard OBD2 port looks like. Any scan tool will plug directly into this port with no adapter required however if your car is older than 2006 please check our guide to ensure your vehicle is actually OBD2 compliant.