OBD1 vs OBD2: What is the Difference?

With technology continuously improving, it is not surprising to find electronic diagnostic software which could help us identify the problem of our vehicles. In this article, we shall feature two of the most popular vehicle diagnostic OBD systems.

OBD systems have the ability to provide vehicle repair mechanic access to your car’s sub systems from your dashboard. In order to understand how the system works, you will need to learn what are the differences between the OBD1 and OBD2 diagnostic systems. This way you will be able to determine which one between the two diagnostic systems would suit your vehicle’s needs.

OBD1 vs OBD2 Comparison Chart

Details of ProductOBD1 OBD2
InterfaceManufacturer SpecificUniversal
Year 1991- 19961996 to present

OBD1 vs. OBD2: What is the Difference?

OBD1 vs OBD2: What is the Difference?
OBD1 vs OBD2: What is the Difference?

Not long after cars have been developed, created and manufactured, diagnosing and troubleshooting followed suit. As upgrades and innovations happen, the good news is that diagnosing systems have been developed as well. With software coming to place, diagnosing and solving the problems of your car have became easier. Gathering and accessing information is faster and more reliable as well.

Nowadays, we have two different software and for you to be able to choose wisely between the two. You will need to research and investigate which one would best suit your vehicle and your needs. Do not worry as in this article, you will find useful information which you could use as a guide in selecting the best software for your.

Interface Type

One of the main difference between OBD1 and OBD2 is its interface properties. OBD1 has a California standard system while OBD2 uses a Federal universal system.


OBD1, as mentioned earlier is not universal which means, there are only specific cars that you could use this scanner on. Hence, if you would need to diagnose multiple different cars, you would need to get multiple different OBD1 scanners. Moreover, its interface depends on the manufacturer’s type.


OBD2 could be used on all types of US manufactured cars which means you would not need to have multiple scanners for you to scan multiple different cars. You would only need to have one OBD2 scanner. Moreover, its interface is compatible and could be used on different cars and vehicles.


Another factor which you should check is the connection. By having a good connectivity, it would be easier to scan your vehicles.

OBD1 – You will need to have a corded connection for you to be able to diagnose your car.

OBD2 – You could connect your scanner through Bluetooth or WiFi connection.


As for quality, both scanners have the ability to diagnose basic problems. However, OBD2 has advanced options aside from its basic options.


The OBD1 scanner has the ability to detect CEL messages. However, unfortunately, it cannot provide error information nor code details. Though this is the case, this scanner is good to be used on some dedicated vehicles which do not need any code information.


This scanner, as mentioned earlier, could provide better accuracy compared to OBD1 scanner. Moreover, you could access code information during diagnosis. It also has the ability to monitor fuel, have a catalyst accuracy, heating circuits and weather changes.


When you start having troubles with your cars, you could experience a lot of complexities especially if you are using OBD1 due to its interface. Hence, a new technology has been created to ensure reliability.

OBD1: not so reliable

OBD2: reliable in every aspect of diagnosis



  • Uses idle setting valves of different types
  • Features EGR
  • Multiple sensors for different uses
  • Easy to use
  • Has the ability to increase the lifespan of your vehicle


  • Comes with a universal interface
  • Built-in idle b-pass valve
  • Proper diagnostic capabilities
  • ECU programming
  • Detects root cause of issues.



  • Has lesser memory
  • Limited functionality


  • It does not have EGR
  • Could drain the battery

Which is Better?

Through this article, we hope you were able to get useful information which could provide you a guide on which software would better suit your needs. Hence, the answer as to which is better – OBD1 vs. OBD2 would depend on your needs.

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