What Is an Automotive Oscilloscope Used for?

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An oscilloscope is a frequently used device for production and repair work. It is widely used in the automotive industry due to all of its services.

But still, many people don’t know what is an automotive oscilloscope used for. And our today’s topic is about that.

You’ll find there are many types of automotive oscilloscopes available. There are quite a few differences between each type, but they are almost identical in their foundations.

So while there may be slight variations in how they run, they are used for pretty much the same functions.

And here, we’ll learn what they are used for.

Uses of an Automotive Oscilloscope

If you are unsure what an automotive oscilloscope is used for and want to know more about what an automotive oscilloscope is used for, well, you have come to the right place. Read on to find out.

Displays Fluctuation in Voltage:

An oscilloscope is basically a voltmeter. In fact, an oscilloscope is the most advanced form of a voltmeter.

And so, an oscilloscope shows how voltage changes or oscillates over time on a screen or a scope.

Identifies Whereabouts of Voltage Error:

A circuit is a closed path or a loop through which current passes with the help of the electrical force of voltage.

Sometimes, voltage error occurs and needs to be located for correction. An oscilloscope helps identify the source of the problem.

Checks the Circuits:

An oscilloscope is able to check the charging circuit and whether or not it is smooth, which helps to indicate the working capability of the alternator regulator.

Also, the oscilloscope helps check for any abnormalities in the trigger circuit and the power circuit.

Diagnoses Stalling Vehicle:

An oscilloscope is the only device fast enough to diagnose a stalling vehicle.
Just connect to the components of the vehicle and perform a wiggle test, which may face interruption due to wire connection issues, heat damage, and the sorts.

An oscilloscope manages to respond to these glitches and catches to repair later.

Decrypts Bus Messages:

An oscilloscope can trigger and decipher serial bus messages, like the CAN bus application, which can be used to implement various automotive functions.

Maps Analogue Data:

An oscilloscope can be used in the control unit of an engine and in any integrated system in a vehicle, thus mapping analog data from sensors.

Observes Electric Output Signal:

An oscilloscope is made up of three main systems and a number of keys, each of which exists to serve a different purpose.

The horizontal system consists of time base, zoom, and position. Time base controls the speed at which waveform is displayed, zoom allows magnification of waveform, and position allows left and right movement of a waveform.

And the vertical system consists of position, range, invert, and polar control. Position allows up and down movement of a waveform, range sets the scale of a waveform, invert flips waveform over, and polar control determines the presence of either positive values or negative values or both.

Lastly, the trigger system determines when a new waveform starts.
Make proper use of all systems and keys in electrical work to observe the electric output signal.

Measures Difference Between Voltage & Time:

With the help of measurement markers, an oscilloscope can determine the exact difference between two different points: the value of the voltage on the vertical y-axis and the other is the value of time on the horizontal x-axis.

Determines Primary & Secondary Ignitions:

The ignition system ignites an air-fuel mixture. It is divided into primary and secondary ignitions.

Firstly, the primary ignition system is a low voltage circuit that runs on battery current and is controlled by a breaker point and ignition switch.

And the secondary ignition system is composed of the ignition coil, distributor, and spark plug. It depends on an individually tested primary circuit.

With the help of an oscilloscope, it is possible to determine whether the ignition system is primary or secondary.


An oscilloscope can troubleshoot different problems of a vehicle with the help of all the various kinds of information stored away.

It manages to troubleshoot procedures, actuators, section locations, and displayed waveforms.


An oscilloscope can be used to test sensors. It can also be used to determine communication data streams.

In some cases, it can be used for engine management systems or brake and balance systems.


An oscilloscope is an extremely important device in the automotive industry due to all that it can do.

In fact, it has come to a point where the question is no longer what is an automotive oscilloscope used for, but rather what it is not used for.

Next time you run into a problem, take a peek at all the uses of an automotive oscilloscope, and maybe you will find a solution then and there.