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What is a ScanGauge?

By Matt Brady
Updated May 16, 2024
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The ScanGauge is a car accessory that provides thorough diagnostic readings by syncing up to a vehicle's computer. Once plugged into a vehicle's On-Board Diagnostic System (OBD-II)—available only in cars made after 1996—the ScanGauge taps into the car's computer and quickly begins relaying information about vehicle performance. The device displays real-time information, such as how many miles to the gallon you're actually getting, and also stores trip data for review after travel. Lastly, the ScanGauge helps with car troubleshooting, providing a thorough scan of any system errors or engine malfunctions. The device's easy-to-operate design—and the loads of interesting and helpful information it conveys—has made it a favorite among drivers wishing to better understand and optimize their car functions.

The ScanGauge displays real-time digital gauges, conveying pertinent performance information such as fuel economy and battery voltage as well as vehicle and engine speed. In all, ScanGauges have 12 digital gauges, allowing drivers to inspect a vehicle's current manifold pressure, coolant temperature, throttle position, ignition timing, intake air temperature, engine load, fuel rate and open-closed loop information. Such features afford the driver a unique look into a vehicle's performance. One could, for example, use the digital gauges to experiment with gas mileage, figuring out what conditions and driving styles would most optimize fuel performance.

ScanGauges also record trip data. Multiple trips can be recorded to help assess trip data that reveals as much about the driver as the car. Stored data reveals a trip's average and maximum speed, the time and distance it took to use an entire tank of fuel, and the total distance and time of a particular trip. Such information can reveal multiple things to a driver about a car. It helps a driver to understand the day-to-day strain a vehicle is operating under and what maintenance that might demand. A parent could also install a ScanGauge on a daughter's car to find out if she inherited her father's lead foot. It also helps to understand how fast a driver is going through tanks of gas.

The ScanGauge can also scan a car computer's information to reveal a final tier of information: Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC). DTCs can tell much about how, when and why a car malfunctioned. This kind of information can help drivers understand a problem with their car before taking it into a shop. The ScanGauge can also clear DTCs from the car computer's memory—a nice feature, in that it can get a pesky check-engine light to turn off without a trip to the auto mechanic.

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Discussion Comments

By anon110566 — On Sep 12, 2010

I have learned a lot about my car! This article is good!

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