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Why Is My OBD Port Not Working?

Why Is My OBD Port Not Working? (Troubleshooting Guide)

If you’re having trouble with your OBD port, you’re not alone. This article is intended to walk you through some of the most common reasons why your OBD port might not be working.

The term ‘OBD’ stands for On-Board Diagnostic. It’s the standardized system that permits any external electronic to interact with a vehicle’s computer system. OBD has gained significance when cars have become progressively computerized, and software has established itself as the chief fix of most, if not all, problems. To simplify, OBD provides near-universal codes, permitting users around the world to comprehend the issue in their car.

Diagnostics are the primary purpose of OBD. When a car’s sensors decide that something is not right, they activate a message that is “trouble code,” which may come in the form of a “check engine” light or another warning sign on your dashboard. OBD scanners can gauge these trouble codes to check exactly where the problem lies, and eliminate them from the computer’s memory once they are fixed.

OBD-II is an improvement over OBD-I in capability and standardization. The OBD-II standard specifies the type of diagnostic connector and its pinout, the electrical signaling protocols available, and the messaging format. It also provides a candidate list of vehicle parameters to keep a check on, together with how to encode the data for every one of them.

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5 Most Common Reasons Why OBD2 Ports In Cars Stop Working 

  1. Damaged or Corroded Pins: The pins in the OBD2 port can get damaged or corroded due to wear and tear or exposure to moisture, dirt, or other contaminants. If the pins are bent, broken, or corroded, they may not make proper contact with the diagnostic tool, and the OBD2 port may stop working.
  2. Faulty Wiring: The wiring that connects the OBD2 port to the vehicle’s onboard computer may get damaged or disconnected due to vibration, heat, or other environmental factors. If the wiring is faulty, the OBD2 port may not receive power or communicate with the diagnostic tool.
  3. Blown Fuse: The OBD2 port may be connected to a fuse that can blow due to a power surge or short circuit. If the fuse is blown, the OBD2 port may not receive power and may stop working.
  4. Software or Firmware Issues: The onboard computer that controls the OBD2 port may have software or firmware issues that prevent it from communicating with the diagnostic tool. In this case, the OBD2 port may appear to be functional, but the diagnostic tool may not be able to communicate with it.
  5. Physical Damage: The OBD2 port may get physically damaged due to impact or other accidents. If the OBD2 port is physically damaged, it may not be able to make proper contact with the diagnostic tool and may stop working altogether.

How Do I Test OBD2 Connectors To See If They Are Working?

Start by removing the steering column panel. Then take the socket or the diagnostic socket hole out of its holder. You will come across a 16 pin diagnostic. Keep in mind that when testing any pins on any connector end, you should never front probe. This is because you can damage the pins with your probe, or spread them to the point where they will no longer be of optimum quality. 

Now back to the probe, the first thing to be checked is pin 16 which is the socket power supply. Connect the voltmeter and convert it to DC volts. Probe pin 16 and check if the voltmeter registers a good reading. Next check pin 5 which is the earth lines, for that switch the meter to resistance. 

You also need to disconnect the vehicle battery while doing so. 

Set the meter to measure resistance. Touch the probes together and switch the meter to resistance to see if you get a reading 

Can More than One Device Work From The OBD-II Port?

You must have gathered by now that OBD-II ports do your car good. The problem, however, is that each car boasts only one port. So how does one use multiple OBD-II devices?

The answer? Go one step at a time.

The original intention behind this system was to benefit mechanics who wanted easier ways to connect with vehicle components during service appointments; however, over time more people started using these tools because of how inexpensive they were.

Related Article:

Why Is My OBD Port Not Working? – Frequently Asked Questions

The OBD-II port can’t be split or have a hub like USB, it’s simply not designed like that. Consequently, it doesn’t work well with other devices to access information such as engine codes and data readings from vehicles’ computers.

If a user wants to connect that heads-up display, they’ll have to disconnect their GPS tracker, or they’ll have to disconnect other devices attached. In short, a user can only use one OBD-II device at one time.

While there may be some cables that claim to be OBD splitters, they may not be reliable. Consequently, it is best if these cables are not sought out, and if the user uses one device at a time. 

The connector is designed to be sturdy and work for as long as the car does. Personally, I believe that it is not safe to connect and disconnect something 30 times in one day, but occasionally changing devices isn’t going to hurt the port. As a matter of fact, the biggest risk of damage lies not with the car, it lies with you. I know of more than one person who has knocked their head on the steering wheel more than once connecting or disconnecting something to the OBD-II port.

The OBD-II connector does not hold enough power for it to hurt an individual. Being afraid of the OBD-II port is akin to being afraid of the utility socket, it doesn’t make any sense!

No. The OBD-II standard does allow for data to be sent back to the vehicle. The tools of your mechanic could allow it to run a lot of particular tests or even program features of the vehicle like whether or not the lights stay on after the vehicle is locked. However, this usually needs special, costly software from every manufacturer.

If you’re experiencing any issues with your OBD port not working, we can help. There are a few things to do before giving up and assuming it’s broken. It could be that the vehicle needs service or there is an issue with the battery in your phone; both of these should be able to be tested by trying them out first. We want to make sure our readers know how they can test their connectors themselves if something goes wrong.

Fernando Gonzalez
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