What Type of OBD Is My Car?

The first thing you would do when Check Engine Light comes up is to identify the issue to retrieve the Diagnostic Trouble Code. But before that, you may question yourself being confused about what type of OBD is my car.

Knowing the OBD type is fairly simple if you know the production year of your car. If your vehicle has OBD and the manufacturing year is before 1996, it’s an OBD-I type. Vice versa, any vehicle made and released after 1996 has OBD-II enabled engine.

Other than that, there are a few more tricks and techniques to find out the OBD type of your car. Keep scrolling and unravel the easiest procedure to discover your car’s OBD.

Article Summary:

  • On-board Diagnostic (OBD) system was introduced commercially in all engine-based vehicles in 1991.
  • Currently, two types of OBD are active on the vehicles’ engines. These are OBD-1 and OBD-2 types.
  • The OBD-1 system has been discontinued since 1996 and is no longer embedded with new models of cars.
  • OBD-1 and OBD-2 have major differences in terms of working principles, software algorithms, integrated diagnostic trouble codes, etc.

When Did OBD System Started?

The first generation cars didn’t have many electronic types of equipment incorporated with the engine or any parts of the propelling system. With time, the vehicle’s engines became connected to a central electric controller to monitor engine activity.

When Did OBD System Started

To keep track of different electronic parts of the engine and locate the exact issue, the OBD system was introduced. Now you may have a question popping to your mind does my car have obd?

It was 1968 when the first OBD active car was released by the automotive giant Volkswagen. All upcoming models of cars and light trucks after 1991 had OBD-1 in their engine computer system. Its self-diagnosing algorithm made the work of the technicians easy.

The OBD-1 continued in all upcoming vehicles in the North American automotive industries till 1996. However, the first generation of OBD lacked a lot of features. In 1996, the second generation of OBD as OBD-II was launched and made mandatory for cars and light trucks in the USA. And since then, it has been continuing till the date.

What Type of OBD Is My Car?

From 1991 and upwards, all engine-embedded vehicles needed to install the OBD self-diagnostic system. Two types of standard OBD systems have been active OBD-1 and OBD-2 types. The type of OBD you have in your car depends on your car’s manufacturing region. Not all continents have a similar launch date for the OBD systems.

If you reside in other than a North American country, you need to look further to get to know the OBD type. Manufactured and imported cars can vary the OBD type as well.

  • From 1991: All US-made vehicles were obliged to install OBD-I.
  • From 1996: OBD-II became a must to be installed in all US-Made vehicles.
  • From 2001: All Gasoline (Petrol) vehicles in European Union were compelled to use EOBD.
  • From 2003: EOBD was made mandatory for all lightweight diesel trucks, SUVs, etc.
  • From 2005: All internally manufactured vehicles in Australia must have OBD-II

How to Identify Your Car’s OBD Type?

The first thing that comes to your mind while initiating the engine diagnosis is my car obd1 or obd2? You must know the OBD type of your car to what is causing trouble to your vehicle’s performance.

Step 1: Verifying Manufacturing Year

Knowing your car’s manufacturing year or model is the easiest way to determine the OBD type. If your car was manufactured after 1995, it’s an OBD-II certified vehicle. All modern vehicles are also OBD-II type.

On the contrary, if your car had a model and making year before 1995, it is likely to be an OBD-I vehicle.

Step 2: Reading Owners Manual

It is written clearly in the vehicle’s owner’s manual if it is OBD-I or OBD-II type. You can look in the Trouble Diagnosys section of the manual for easy navigating.

Step 3: Searching Online Using Vehicle Model

It is natural to lose the owner’s manual if your car is quite aged. In such circumstances, you can take the help of the digital era. Check the official websites of the vehicles. Search for your car model in the search bar and review all the specifications carefully. You will likely get the OBD information on the feature page of the vehicle.

Step 4: Looking Under The Hood

Pop the hood and look for engine labeling. It will be written on the label if that engine is OBD-1 or OBD-2 type. You can find such labels on the door side as well.

Step 5: Inspecting The OBD Interface

You can check the OBD scanner connecting ports to judge its type. Typically the OBD-1 connector had a lesser pin count on its ports. Usually, the OBD-1 connectors have a 12-pin connector.

The OBD-2 connector, on the other hand, comes in a 16-pin connector. And it is a globally recognized standard for the OBD-2 type system. Hence, if your car comes with a 16-pin OBD connector, you can set your verdict as the car is an OBD-2 type.

Step 6: Location of the OBD interface

Most modern vehicles have their OBD system located just under the dashboard towards the driver’s side. However, it may differ in different brands and models of the vehicle.

But most of the time, you will find the OBD-2 connectors open and in an easily accessible position. Besides, highly electrically featured advanced vehicles are designed to connect the OBD-II system remotely with the scanner using Wifi or FIXD Bluetooth.

The FIXD reviews look promising for remotely reading the DTC codes of your vehicle. OBD-1 interface was not that simple. You may need to use special tools to physically access the OBD system most of the time with OBD-1 type vehicles.

What Is the Difference Between OBD and OBD2?

The comparison chart illustrates the major differences between the OBD and OBD2 systems of the vehicles.

Active Duration1981-19951996 till to date
Processing PowerLowerHigher
ConnectivityCorderCorded/Remotely via Bluetooth or Wifi
Reading CodeManually by seeing blinking of engine check lightBy digital interface
TypeManufacturer SpecificStandard and Universal
Target For ScanningResistance difference, sensor failure, shorts and opens of actuators, ECMEverything that OBD1 can do, including smog test, battery test, engine performance, graphical data representation
Scanning ToolsOnly manufacturer-specific scannerUniversal for all brands(Smartphone Applications can also get the job done)
Error CodesNot StandardizedTotal 18193 Trouble Codes (Standardized)

The chart states that OBD-II uses the very advanced technology of diagnosis with precision and accuracy. OBD-1 has diagnosing power limited to emission system and engine performance only.

In comparison, OBD-II includes a lot more variety of issues a vehicle can potentially have. The best part about OBD-II is that it is not manufacturer specific. This means you can use s common scanning tool for OBD-II certified vehicles globally.

Will an OBD2 Scanner Work on an OBD1?

Although, the OBD1 system was highly specific to manufacturers only. Only the prescribed OBD1 scanner worked on an engine designed and developed by the same company. But some universal OBD2 scanners can be used to read and detect OBD1 codes. For that, you need to use a separate OBD1 to OBD2 connector. But it works only with vehicles of some selected brands.

For example, the INNOVA 3210 OBD-II scanner can also read OBD-1 codes from General Motors (GM), Ford, Chrysler, and Toyota-made cars and trucks.

Are All OBD Readers The Same?

All OBD readers are not the same if talking about the OBD1 readers. The trouble codes in the OBD1 era were not standardized.  A similar issue in the same engine will show different codes if the manufacturers are different.

Are All OBD Readers The Same

The manufacturers made their own OBD reading devices for different models of vehicles. Hence, different readers were required to diagnose the same issue in two different vehicles. However, this messy system gets improved after shifting from OBD-2 to OBD-1. A global Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) list came to light and was embedded within the OBD-2 readers.

An OBD-2 scanner can read codes from both Ford and Chevrolet conveniently. Thus all OBD2 readers are the same (except for some minor features) with identical software algorithms showing the DTCs.


Sitting idle without a ride is not fun. So you need to get your vehicle on the road as soon as possible. It must have struck your mind what obd is my car before knowing their differences. Now that you know to determine your car’s OBD type, it’ll be easy to diagnose and treat engine issues. You can get a dual OBD scanner for reading codes from OBD1 and OBD2 vehicles.

But ensure your car brand and model are compatible with the OBD scanners software algorithm. I hope you find this article informative and answerable to all your questions regarding OBD types.