OBD-II and your car's health
Because of their investment in the equipment required, most repair shops charge a fee, some-times substantial, to attach the scanning equipment and diagnose problems using the OBD-II system signals. Home mechanics and small shop technicians have been restricted from working with these signals by the cost and technical complexity of the equipment. With the introduction of more economical and user friendly scanning devices, it is now practical for almost anyone to access OBD-II signals and use them for their own testing and repairs.
Scanners vary greatly in their complexity. The best connect easily and use software to quickly and automatically call up the OBD-II information. They should have recording ability so that data can be collected during a test drive without distracting the technician driving the car. A system connecting to a laptop or desk top computer provides expanded memory for data and the ability to export data to a spreadsheet or graphing utility.