What is OBD? Understanding Your Vehicle's On-Board Diagnostics System

Today's modern vehicles are equipped with an on-board diagnostics system or OBD. Think of this system as your vehicle's computer. It is connected to many different sensors throughout your vehicle and basically monitors your vehicle's performance. It keeps track of your vehicle's needs, and can also detect when a problem occurs. In this instance, you'll notice a warning light appear on your dashboard, letting you know that you need to bring your vehicle to an expert mechanic for further diagnostics.

Your car's computer system is able to report on performance and translate any issues into codes for better understanding. When something is wrong with your car, you can bring your vehicle to the professionals here at Westside Car Care. We use state-of-the-art scan tools that plug into your vehicle's computer and can run a report to see where the issue is.

Basically, the engine computer is able to read the input from various sensors in the engine in 'real-time' as the reactions of the car's engine to real driving situations are monitored and stored. When a reading is abnormal or outside of the set parameters, the system will log this anomaly which will be read by the OBD and a warning light will turn on in the dashboard of the vehicle. It is usually the 'check engine light' that turns on and the sensor can be located beneath the car's steering column.

The scan tool can pull up an error code, which can be used to figure out the issue at hand. The code can be cross-checked with manufacturer bulletins and information to determine where the problem is coming from. Experience also helps in this matter, because our mechanics can recognize familiar codes when they are pulled. Once we know where the issue is, we can perform a further visual inspection to confirm the repair that is needed. In this aspect, the OBD is crucial because it helps save drivers money by eliminating unnecessary repairs.

Did you know that the very first OBD computer system with scanning capabilities was actually introduced by Volkswagen in 1968? Ten years later auto manufacturer, Datsun, introduced their own simple version of on-board diagnostics too but it was several decades later that OBD really became an integral part of the operations of the modern-day car. However, most websites dealing with the automotive business will show that vehicles from 1981 to 1996 used what was the OBD-I and vehicles from 1996 to the present time use OBD-II.

In conclusion, the OBD system in your car is essential to its function and optimal performance. When your vehicle's check engine light illuminates, you can have peace of mind knowing that you can bring your car into our shop for expert and accurate diagnostics.