Mar 15 2016

All About Your Car’s Diagnostics

car repairSome drivers are natural car experts who can diagnose a problem without even popping the hood, while others know just enough to fill the gas tank and put the car into drive. But regardless of the in-depth car knowledge a driver possesses, understanding and appreciating a car’s diagnostics is very important. Defining a Car Diagnostic Cars are drastically different than they were at the turn of the 20th century. Today, every car contains a sophisticated computer system with intelligent software that monitors the sensors and electronic devices in the vehicle. When the computer perceives any irregular readings, it will record a specific error code that results in a check engine light or other warning light flashing on the dashboard. A car diagnostic, then, occurs when you bring your car into the mechanic because your dashboard lights have indicated that you have some sort of problem. Your mechanic will perform a car diagnostic test by plugging a scanner into one of your vehicle’s port to obtain a code that indicates the exact problem. On Board Diagnostics Before 1996, cars had more basic on board diagnostics that varied greatly by manufacturer. Today, the majority of cars use OBDII, or On Board Diagnostics, version II, as the interface for diagnostic information. Mechanics can use a specific tool to scan the car diagnostics system and identify the error. Mechanics are trained to understand the codes that are provided to categorize a problem. The codes can look confusing to the untrained eye, but there is an organized logic to the system. For example, a trouble code might read P0100 or B-1402. Typically, codes starting with “P” indicate powertrain trouble, while “B” codes relate to the body of the car, and “C” demonstrates issues with the chassis. The number helps fill in the specific problem for that area of the car. Overall, car diagnostics are very important because they help to identify the exact problem plaguing your car so that it can be resolved.