Back to Blog Academy

How Do I Connect An OBD2 Scanner To My Vehicle?

By Joseph Kim
Published on May 3rd, 2024

As an Amazon associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.

Connecting an OBD2 scanner to your vehicle is simple. All you have to do is find where your vehicle’s OBD (DLC) port is and connect your scanner. It’s that simple. Or at least it should be if you're looking for normal OBD2 diagnostics.

If you’re looking to learn more about the different OBD-II pins and what they mean, click here.


How To Find Your OBD Port

Every vehicle may have a different OBD port location, which is why Innova makes it easy for you. Simply visit our OBD Port Locator.

From there, enter your vehicle make, year, and model. Once you submit your information, we’ll tell you the exact location of your car’s OBD port.

At this point of time, we only offer this service for OBD2 vehicles (1996 & newer).

Most Common OBD2 Port Locations

If you bought your vehicle recently, the chances of your OBD port being located on the left-most side beneath the dashboard is high (illustrated as #2 in image above).

The location is pretty hidden, so much so that most people don’t even realize it’s there. So if you’re looking for your OBD port, you’ll most likely have to bend down and stick yourself underneath the area.

image (1).jpg__PID:fca89d7d-8651-4dc6-b3ef-a2c20cb1ac7c

For the most accurate results, we encourage you to utilize our OBD Port Locator service. No annoying email sign-ups are required to view the results.

How Many OBD Ports Does A Car Have?

If you own an OBD2 vehicle manufactured after 1996, your vehicle should only have 1 OBD port. However, some older OBD2 vehicles may have 2 OBD ports.

Why Does My Car Have 2 OBD Ports?

To understand this issue, it’s important to learn a bit about history. Before 1996, vehicle manufacturers had the freedom to implement their own proprietary OBD port. In other words, every vehicle make had different OBD ports.

But after 1996, the government passed a law that mandated all vehicles to have a standardized OBD2 port due to increasing environmental concerns and inefficient vehicle diagnostic procedures.

So if your vehicle was manufactured after 1996, it’s pretty much guaranteed to have a standardized 16-pin OBD port. But some manufacturers choose to continue to leave their old proprietary OBD port for a few more years.

That’s why you’ll see some 1997 or 1998 vehicles with 2 OBD ports. For example, a 1997 BMW 328i has a standardized 16-pin OBD port, but it also has a circular 20-pin OBD port under the hood.

What If I Have An OBD1 Vehicle? How Do I Connect My Scanner?

If you own an OBD1 vehicle, you’ll first need to find a scanner that is able to connect to your vehicle’s proprietary OBD port (aka, an OBD-1 compatible scanner). You’ll also need an adapter that can connect your OBD2 scanner to your OBD1 port.

If you’re looking to buy Innova scanners, the Innova 5610, 5512, and 5510 currently supports OBD1 vehicles. Please note that for the Innova 5610 & 5510, a separate OBD1 cable is required. These OBD1 cables are also being sold as individual cables if needed.

Find the perfect scanner in 1 minute

Why Was The OBD Port Standardized?

image (2).jpg__PID:4329702a-c5c3-4d54-9ad1-81e3170db9c0

The standardization of the OBD port was primarily driven by the need for more efficient emissions control, as well as standardized vehicle diagnostics. Several key factors contributed to this shift:

Environmental Concerns

Prior to the mid-1990s, environmental concerns were escalating due to increasing vehicle emissions. Governments worldwide began implementing stricter regulations to control pollution levels. Standardizing the OBD port allowed for better monitoring and control of vehicle emissions, enabling manufacturers to comply with these regulations more effectively.

Diagnostic Uniformity

Before OBD2, car manufacturers used proprietary diagnostic systems, making it challenging for mechanics and technicians to access and interpret diagnostic information across different vehicle brands. Standardizing the OBD port brought uniformity in diagnostic protocols, enabling technicians to use a universal scan tool to access and understand diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) in various vehicles.

Improved Vehicle Service and Maintenance

OBD2's standardization made it easier to identify and rectify vehicle issues. This led to more efficient and accurate repairs, reducing the time and effort needed for diagnostics. Car owners benefited from quicker and more precise servicing, resulting in reduced repair costs and improved vehicle reliability.

Technological Advancements

The late 20th century saw significant technological advancements in computing and automotive systems. The OBD2 system utilized these advancements, integrating sensors and processors to monitor various vehicle functions in real-time, providing valuable data for diagnostics and maintenance.

Globalization and Standardization Efforts

As the automotive industry became more globalized, there was a growing need for standardized systems to ensure compatibility and ease of use across different regions. OBD2's standardization aligned with these efforts, facilitating international trade and reducing barriers for vehicle manufacturers.

Regulatory Mandates

Governments and regulatory bodies played a crucial role in mandating OBD2 standardization. In the United States, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) implemented regulations that required standardized emission control systems, eventually leading to the nationwide adoption of OBD2 in 1996 under the Clean Air Act.

Overall, the standardization of the OBD port after 1996 was an important step towards huge improvement in the automotive industry. It not only improved emissions control but also revolutionized vehicle diagnostics and maintenance, benefitting both manufacturers and consumers by promoting efficiency, standardization, and environmental responsibility.


Connecting your OBD2 scanner to your vehicle’s OBD port is a simple and straightforward process. However, the location depends on when your vehicle was manufactured.

Hope you found this article helpful! If you have any questions you’d like answered, please do not hesitate to share your thoughts with us below.

Back to Blog Academy

Have Questions?

Hop in the discussion board on our community site!
It's a place where we help each other answer questions. Like Reddit but for automotive lovers.

Visit Community