Knowing what’s wrong with your car no longer has to be guesswork. Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast who likes to take your vehicle’s condition into your own hands, or you’re put in a tough spot by an unexpected issue on the road, you have on-board diagnostics (OBD) to help you. Knowing what this system entails and how to make use of it can make all the difference in keeping your car running at its best.
A car’s systems are not purely mechanical. Since its invention in the 1980s, the Controller Area Network (CAN) bus has seen use in automobiles to coordinate the various electronic control units (ECUs) spread throughout. ECUs monitor and manage the engine, airbags, transmission, brakes, power steering, audio systems, lane assist and more through a series of sensors, and the CAN bus allows them to communicate information without needing specialized wiring. This coordination between systems and parts is invaluable in a car’s proper function, not unlike the nervous and endocrine systems coordinating your body.
Because the CAN bus transmits all of the information the ECUs collect, it can also log this data. This is what enables modern OBD systems to give you essential reports. Where older, pre-CAN vehicles would only go as far as toggling a malfunction indicator light, your car can give you more detailed information via a standardized connector based on OBD-II specifications. Auto repair shops and dealerships have diagnostic tools that can plug into the OBD connector to read these logs, but you can also find and buy computer diagnostic equipment hampton va to do your own troubleshooting. Tools range from hand-held scanners and data loggers that function while you drive to mobile devices or PCs connecting via USB adapters or Bluetooth. Vehicle telematics devices also access OBD and can be used for remote diagnostics and contacting emergency services.
Take advantage of onboard diagnostics to respond to, or prevent, car troubles and stay safe on the road.