OBD1 vs. OBD2: What’s the Difference?


There has been considerable progress made in the area of electronic diagnostic software for many years. Today’s vehicles truly are presented with a wide array of choices when it comes to choosing the right system. OBD systems provide the vehicle repair mechanic access to the condition of all of the car’s sub-systems from the dashboard.

As such, it is vital that you understand the difference between the OBD1 vs. OBD2 diagnostics systems. So that you can determine which one is the most suitable for your particular vehicle and your needs. The on-board diagnostic is a car or vehicle-made auto diagnostic system. It refers to the self-diagnosis and reporting capabilities of the automobile.

Table of Content:

The following section can help you to find the precise answer without wasting any moment.

Comparison Chart:

You want to decide what OBD you’re going to use for your car. Let’s find the comparison between them.

Details of Product OBD1 OBD2
Year 1991-1996  1996-Present
Interface Manufacturer Specific  Universal
 Connection Wired  Bluetooth/Wifi
Reliability Low High
 Quality Low High
 Popularity Low High
 Standard California Federal
Where To Buy

OBD1 vs. OBD2: What’s the Difference?

The subject of diagnosing and troubleshooting has been around as long as cars themselves have. However, today’s technology and software have made it possible for us to do much more than simply fix or diagnose your automobile. We can access information on the various components and systems within your vehicle.

OBD1 vs. OBD2: What's the Difference?

In order to help you make the most informed decision regarding your next automotive purchase. Here are the top differences between OBD1 and OBD2. Many newer vehicles come with OBD2 built-in. By reading the FIXD Review you will know the effective work of the OBD2 port. Many older vehicles that have OBD1 require a special adapter to use OBD2.

1. Interface Type

Both scanners have different interface properties. And OBD1 is considered as a California standard system where OBD2 is a Federal universal system.


The scanner isn’t universal for all cars. If you want to diagnose multiple cars, you need different OBD1 scanners. Precisely, the interface connection largely depends on the manufacturer’s type.



This scanner is universal for all US cars. There’s no need to go with multiple scanners rather having an OBD2 scanner. The interface is compatible with different cars and vehicles.


2. Connection

The connectivity is also a good feature that should be handy while scanning your vehicles.

OBD1: If you want to use this scanner, you need to have a corded connection to start diagnosing the car.

OBD2: On the other hand, you can connect the scanner to your vehicles through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection. There’s no need for any wired link connection to get connected.

3. Quality

You might’ve got an idea which scanner is going to win the crown. Though both the scanners can diagnose basic problems, OBD2 comes with some advanced options.


This version of the OBD scanner can easily detect CEL messages but can’t provide any error information or code details. But it is also good for some dedicated vehicles where you don’t need any code information.



The scanner provides better accuracy than the OBD1 scanner. It can ensure the problem details with proper code information during diagnosis. Moreover, it also ensures the fuel monitor, catalyst accuracy, heating circuits, and also about weather changes.


4. Reliability

As soon as the OBD1 came out, people started experiencing all sorts of troubles with their cars, despite the fact that they were using OBD1 cars. With the complexities of the OBD1 interface, there came about a need to come up with new technology, which can work well without affecting the reliability of the OBD1. And here OBD2 was able to win the hearts of users.

OBD1: Not so reliable.

OBD2: Reliable in every aspect of diagnosis.

5. Pros

Both of the scanners offer some prominent advantages that we’ve listed below.


  • Uses idle setting valves of various types.
  • Multiple sensors for different uses.
  • It features EGR.
  • Easy to use.
  • Increases the lifespan of your vehicle.


  • It has a universal interface
  • Built-in idle b-pass valve.
  • Proper diagnostic capabilities.
  • It ensures ECU programming.
  • Detects the root cause of issues.

6. Cons

Both of the scanners provide good features but they’ve some cons too.


  • It comes with less memory
  • Limited functionality


  • Can drain the battery
  • It doesn’t have EGR

Summary: Which Is Better?

Hopefully, this overview has provided some useful insights into the process of testing an auto emissions system. Of course, there are many factors involved in determining which is better between OBD1 and OBD2. Different manufacturers use different testing methods and may utilize different diagnostic scan technologies.

FIXD Reviews [2021]: Must Read Before Buy This Gadge

Your vehicle’s make and model may also affect which is best, but that’s another article. When deciding which is best between OBD1 vs. OBD2, the most important factor to consider is the purpose of the test. And from the above, we can easily say that OBD2 has more advantages over OBD1 and OBD2 is the best diagnostic tool for vehicles.

Henry J Taylor

Hi, I am Henry J Taylor, the owner of “Nerd Know Better Site” that will inform you about all the latest & smart tools for kitchen, home, health, automobiles, gadgets, everything that you may need in your everyday life. Basically, I am a businessman, researcher & writer. I have a business where I sell different types of smart tools that you’ll need in your everyday life.

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