LIVE DATA READERS
We’ve covered OPCOM and the official dealer-level diagnostic tools, but there are those of you who probably think investing in a Tech 1 or Tech 2 is overkill if all you want to do is keep a close eye on live engine operating data (although in-cabin OBD or OBDII ports would allow you to do exactly that while on the move with either unit plugged in!).
Back in the day, you’d clutter your dashboard with a trillion gauges providing you with live readouts of everything from boost pressure to oil temperature. We know many of you still choose to sacrifice air vents for gauges, but there are more elegant solutions available for OBDII cars. Scangauge II, for instance, is a low-cost data and fault code reader with the ability to show four live readouts on screen at the same time. Monitor speed, manifold pressure, throttle position, rpm, fuel pressure, intake temperature, ignition timing, engine load, boost pressure, active bhp, battery voltage and a wide range of trip computer and mpg settings. You can even change the backlight colour to match the illumination in your Vauxhall’s cabin, plus take advantage of being able to read and clear stored fault codes.
Those determined to save their money will be pleased to know the fault codes of some older Vauxhalls can be read by performing a ‘paper clip test’, where pins in the host vehicle’s diagnostic port are bridged, resulting in a series of engine management light flashes which can be counted and decoded to reveal stored fault codes. The same can be achieved with some later Vauxhalls, albeit by depressing the brake pedal and activating the ignition. The limitations of this action include not being able to clear codes, not being able to record live data and not being able to tell if the codes are active, but at least you’ll have a head start when trying to figure out what’s wrong with your car.