If you are looking to take care of your vehicle, or you want to have a better understanding of it, you should know what the OBD-II system is. To better understand what it is, we will first break down the significance of the two parts of OBD-II. The first part are the letters O, B, and D. OBD stands for on-board diagnostics. This is the system in the vehicle that gives owners or mechanics access to the diagnostics of the various components.
Next lets move on to the second part. The 'II' indicates that it is the second generation of the system. This generation gives access to much more information and it has become standard in all US sold vehicles since 1996. This allows owners and mechanics to more easily connect and diagnose their vehicle with a wide variety of products.
The OBD-II system is incredibly useful when it comes to car care. Now that we know what it actually means, lets take a look to see what it can do. The OBD-II port, which is how you connect to the system itself, allows you to access all of your vehicles information. It is very complex, and the more you know about the vehicle and the way it communicates, the more information you can gather about the vehicle. Most importantly, you can get information such as live data, which would be something like your fuel trim level and RPM. You can even see how fast you are going if you didn't feel like looking at your vehicle's speedometer.
The main reason you are probably going to your vehicle's OBD-II port is because there is some issue you want to diagnose. This is where you would want tot check for DTCs or diagnostic trouble codes. These codes allow you to identify the issue and gives an indication of how to fix it.
The OBD-II port is great, but there is one big issue with this. Your vehicle, like any other vehicle, does not communicate like us. The raw data from the vehicle is unreadable to you and me, and you would need to be an expert to begin to understand it. Even when you translate it, you get something like P0440, which may not mean anything to you. This code actually indicates the problem and where it is, but getting from the data your vehicle gives you to a solution isn't always easy. That's why having an OBD-II scan tool is super useful. You can go for the expensive scan tool that a mechanic would have, but that will cost you. Many scan tools will go for about $2,000 and you can find some upwards of $40,000. If you get something like that, you might be going overboard because you can find something for much less that does the trick. You can find a variety of OBD-II readers for under $100 that might be better suited for the non-professionals.
Now that you know a little bit more about your vehicle, we hope that the next check engine light, misfire, or oil change is a little less intimidating. For more helpful information about your vehicle, please check out our blog.