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Which OBD2 Protocol Is Supported By My Vehicle?

OBD2 is a term that is used in the automotive industry to refer to the onboard diagnostics system. It’s an upgraded version of OBD1 and has more advanced features than its predecessor.

What Is OBD2?

OBDII or OBD2, a short form for On-Board Diagnostics Two, is a system that diagnoses a vehicle’s engine and displays error codes along with other information such as transmission and system performance.

Since 1996, OBD2 systems are mandatory in every car driving in the USA, however, some older models that date back to 1996 or older do not support OBD2.

An OBD2 system diagnoses the car’s engine and checks if everything’s working fine. If there is a malfunction there will be a trouble code displayed, such as a check engine light icon.

The light cannot be disabled until the problem is fixed. The feature helps inform the driver that the system required maintenance.

Does My Vehicle Contain OBD2?

Every car that is sold in the US for the past 20+ years contains an OBD2 system. However, if you want to check if your car has it or not, you can easily do it yourself.

All you need to do is look for the white sticker that says OBD2 compliant under the hood.

An even better option is to look for an OBD2 port under the dashboard where an OBD2 scanner connects.

Where Is The Connector Located?

The OBD2 port is usually in the same place as the Hum System. As it helps the network communicate with your car directly.

You can find the connector in one of these places depending upon the car model:

  • Under the glove department.
  • Under the dashboard, right beneath the steering column.
  • A couple of feet away from the car’s centerline.

You can also find the location of your car’s connector by going here and feeding the details.

What are the OBD2 Protocols?

Generally, an OBD2 system has 5 protocols. Different models utilize different protocols. Your car might have a type A protocol or a type B. Both of these have a physical difference in their ports (connectors).

Type A connectors possess 16 teeth placed in two opposite rows. Each row has 8 connectors that sandwich a single “tongue”.

Type B connectors posses 16 teeth as well, however, they sandwich the tongue in two parts.

Types Of OBD2 Protocols

There are 5 types of OBD2 protocols:

  1. SAE J1850 VPW: This OBD2 protocol is used by Ford.SAE J1850 VPW
  2. SAE J1850 PWM: Common Motors utilize this protocol.SAE J1850 PWM
  3. ISO 9141-2: You will find this protocol on Asian, Chrysler, and European cars.ISO 9141-2
  4. ISO 14230 KWP2000: This protocol is found in Asian vehicles.
  5. ISO 15765-4/SAE J2480 (CAN): You’ll find this protocol in many new cars as it was invented for cars that were not subjected to OBD2 standards by law. Since it couldn’t satisfy the OBD2 requirements for U.S vehicles that came before 2003. You will find this protocol in many vehicles made after 2008.ISO 15765-4/SAE J2480 (CAN)

Which OBD2 Protocol is Supported By My Vehicle?

OBD2 protocol

Looking at the DLC pinout, you can determine which OBD2 protocol your vehicle model supports. This is important because not every protocol connects with the scan tool in the same way. This is due to different OBD2 protocols in different models of cars.

Look at the internal teeth on the serial bus and determine which pins are in use and which are empty.

There are 8 pins at the top row and 8 pins at the bottom row. Here’s the use of every pin:

Pins On The Top

  • Pin 1: Used for OEM COMM.
  • Pin 2: J1850 Bus+ is located on this pin.
  • Pin 3: OEM Reserved.
  • Pin 4: Framework/car chassis ground.
  • Pin 5: The sensor signal ground is held by this pin.
  • Pin 6: OEM COMM. All modern cars might have this pin along with pin number 4, 5, 6, 15 and 16.
  • Pin 7: This is the K-line.
  • Pin 8: OEM Reserved.

Pins At The Bottom

  • Pin 9: OEM COMM
  • Pin 10: J1850 Bus- (negative)
  • Pin 11, 12, 13, 14: OEM Reserved
  • Pin 15: ISO 9141-2 L-line.
  • Pin 16: Pin responsible for powering the scan adapter.

Now that you know how many pins are there and what are individual pins for, you can look at the protocol in your car and determine the pinout of the OBD2 scanner that will fit.

Bonus: Best Professional OBD2 Scanners Review and Comparison 2019

How To Check The OBD2 Protocol On My Car?

For example, for a protocol to be J1850 PWM, pin 2 and pin 10 must be there in the connector (the connector must have metallic contacts inside pins 2, 4, 5, 10, and 16.)

J1850 VPW must have pin 2 (the connector must have material contacts inside pins 2, 4, 5, and 16, but not 10.)

ISO9141 and 14230 (KWP2000) must have pin 7 while pin 15 is optional (the connector must have metallic contacts inside pins 4, 5, 7, 15, plus 16.)

ISO 15765 (CAN) should have both the pins, 6 and 14 (the connector must have material contacts inside pins 4, 5, 6, 14 and 16.)

The alignment and availability of pins in the connector will determine your car’s specific protocol.

The Bottom line

If your car is younger than 1996 then it will most likely have an OBD2 system. Still not sure? Then you may take your car to a professional.

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37 thoughts on “Which OBD2 Protocol Is Supported By My Vehicle?”

  1. Howzit, my name is Btuno
    I’m troubleshooting a 2002 toyota 4runner 3400l , trying to do a zero point calibration to reset dash lights (VSC TRAC and ABS) , but seems like a simple task, turns out to be confusing. I researched and found that I have a OBDII protocol tyye A comnector (ISO 9141 OR 14230 – 2/KWP 2000 with pin identification metalic contacts #4 , 5 , 7 , 15 , and 16. So my question is this, knowing that #4 is ground, #16 is 12v, I know that by searching through many links ,I short #4 with WHAT PIN ????? to do zero point calibration?
    Thanks for your post
    Please respond

  2. Please I want to buy a handy OBD for my Toyota corolla 2001 which type can I buy that will be compatible and efficient

  3. Raphael Copeland

    Hi there

    I have an Isuzu truck with an OBD 11 type b DLC. Is it possible to attach a FIXD reader with an OBD 11 type A connection using some sort of interface or are the two OBD 11 types incompatible.

  4. gilbert d vilarido

    good day sir just want to know if autel mk 808 will work on toyota fortuner , innova , and hillux desiel engine thnxs

    1. Hello sir i have vw polo gti 9n3(2008) can you suggest what type of obd can i use for my car?
      I just bought Autool X50 Plus but it cant read in my car which it (J1850 vpw) fail to read

  5. I have a 1994.5 Ford 7.3 DIT powerstroke diesel. It has a OBD1 connector under the hood AND a OBD2 connector under the dashboard. The OBD2 has metal connections in pin socket locations 2, 4, 5, 10, 13, & 16, j1850 PWM. I know only one can be active, depending if the PCM has the updated software flash. I suspect it has but not 100% sure. When doing a KOEO test with an Innova 3100e CanOBD2 reader (which is supposed to work with all protocols) it reads “unable to establish a link with the vehicle”. All six OBD2 connections have good continuity through to the PCM connector, ground, & batt+ . Tried using the innova 3145 Ford OBD1 tester on the OBD1 connections under the hood but the the tester wouldn’t respond at all, which is normal with the PCM software update. My questions are is there a special j1850 variation protocol for this early and unique application, and what is pin #13 used for? Thank you Tim. Excellent and clear information you have given us here.

    1. hello,
      on mercedes 2008 vito, obd connector has 4 5 6 14 and 16 pins. so, it is iso15765. can you tell me about checking voltage on pin 6 and 14, because no scanner connects to the ECU. pins 16 4 and 5 are ok. thanks a lot!

  6. Hello Mr. Tim

    I have a Toyota Corolla 2005 – Engine 1.8
    I have tried ELM327 OBD2 but it’s dose not contact the ECU
    also I have tried Mini VCI cable 1.4.1 firmware also it’s dose not contact with the vehicle ECU.
    Can you please advise me which bluetooth device I should buy that will fit my car?
    thank you

  7. Hello Mr. Tim,

    Now I am facing the issue with Toyota Fortuner (the model year I am not so sure as this is one of my client’s car). After few weeks of obd2 type GPS tracker(one of the China product) installation, my client complaint to me on the issue chronology as follows:

    1) it happens that the car loses the performance in sudden while driving(from 3000rpm to 500rpm) and after the car’s engine turn off and turn on again, it took quite some time for the car to start.

    2) after plug out the tracker at the service centre, the car working normally.

    3) my client re-installed the tracker back to the car. After few days, same issue occurred again.

    I hope that you may advise what kind of issue that I am encountering now.

  8. Trying to locate the correct OBD ports to do a factory rest on the VSC trac – check engine light on an 2005 toyota 4runner? Need to identify which top port is the Ts and which bottom port is the CG?

  9. Are 14pin DLC on nissan altima is compatible with 16pin scan tool, i have use a 14pin to 16pin adaptor cable, and i have tried to scan 2 difrent nissan with 14pin DLC And still does not comunicate. My scantool is ANCEL JP700 JOBD/OBD2

  10. Hi tim
    Can you suggest me an affordable obd2 scanner for my isuzu 6hk1 and 4hk1 truck engine
    Hoping for your kind response thanks

      1. Hi sir,
        Pajero Mitsubishi 3,8L V6-2014
        With budget 500.00 USD
        What devise do u recommend,
        I need it to read ,erase, check engine ,SRS light,

  11. I found out that my car is using im ISO9141 and 14230 (KWP2000) Mine is a hyundai H1 bus. I have a problem with the abs light that is akways on. And the hand brake light going on and off. What scanner do you recommend. Cheers!

  12. Toyota Prado 120 (2004) model. The Pins present in the plug are: 4, 7, 9, 12, 13 & 16
    This configuration does not match any of the above configurations. What protocol am I running? I have an ELM327 adapter and Torque Pro on an Android head unit. The Android Head Unit can talk to the Adapter but the Adapter can’t talk to the ECU. Any help will be appreciated

  13. Hi Tim,
    I am from Bangladesh, I have collected one bludriver OBD II scnner from Canada for my Toyota Allion 1.5 l 2007 (old shape), but it didnt support, can’t connect; I have communicate with online support team, they replied that, this service not available for my region !

    What does it mean ?

  14. Hello Dear Mr Tim
    I got obd2 wifi scanner.
    I connected to two cars (toyota vitz,Nissan tiida) and won’t works, other cars ive tried it works just fine.
    I am not sure if the cars protocol take type A or B scanners.
    Could you please tell me if there is a way to identify this?

    Thank you 🙂

    1. Hi, as I mentioned:
      Type A connectors possess 16 teeth placed in two opposite rows. Each row has 8 connectors that sandwich a single “tongue”.

      Type B connectors posses 16 teeth as well, however, they sandwich the tongue in two parts.

      In appearance, it looks quite like Type A but there’s one notable difference – the sandwiching of Tongue is split into two.
      Hope it helps,

  15. I drive a Honda CRV 1990 model and i cant find my CDL connector. My car start immediately in the mornings but when i go to shops my car do not want to start and you smell petrol. I must wait a hour before it starts again. I am in South Africa and drive a right hand side vehicle.

  16. Hello sir, i have a Skoda Felicia 2000 year model, they told me that has an old type OBD port and does not an OBD II
    i have tried via an ELM 327 to connect my car with Bluetooth connection with my android tablet-cell phone (Torque application) and in both cases failed!
    Am i doing something wrong or my car is not compatible with those OBD II devices (console LCD devices) that we see in ebay-aliexpress etc.
    My technicians scanner works fine on my car by i am not interesting for fault codes etc, i want a ”console computer”.
    Can you help me?

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