Get to Know the OBD2: A Brief History and Explanation

What is an OBD2 device?

OnBoard Diagnostics 2 (OBD2 or OBDII) devices receive and translate the standardized system of fault codes reported through the vehicle’s main computer. These codes are officially named “Diagnostic trouble codes” or “DTCs”, and are accessible through a port located around the driver’s seat or under the dash. In the past, mechanics used large, expensive devices to plug into the ports and access vehicle data. However, as more OBD2 devices flood the market, it is easier than ever for consumers to access their vehicle data on their own!

 

Brief History of OBD

In 1982, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) developed the first OBD system. This first-generation system only monitored the oxygen sensor, EGR system, engine control module, and fuel delivery systems. At the time, it was very useful to track emissions, but didn’t provide detailed information for the majority of car functions. Back then, you also had to have different adapters to work on different vehicles, so ARB pushed to develop a universally accessible system. Their solution was a standardized 16-pin data link connector (DLC) that transmits standardized fault codes. By 1996, this system was mandatory for all new vehicles.

 

car Code Reader vs obd scanner Tools

Car code readers are the simplest diagnostic tool you can purchase. They can effectively read and clear codes from any OBD2 equipped vehicle. However, code readers lack information on manufacturer-specific codes and explanations. obd Scanner tools, on the other hand, offer many more features including access to manufacturer-specific codes, recording and organizing trip data, and providing advanced troubleshooting information for a large database of fault codes.

OBD2

An OBD2 port among other circuitry under a car’s dashboard

What is difference between OBD1 and OBD2?

There are several factors that differentiate the first and second generations of OBD devices. During the first generation (OBD1), each car manufacturer used their own set of codes to identify faults. This made it extremely difficult for mechanics to service multiple car brands, having to decode each unique set of codes. Another limitation was that the OBD1 devices could not detect certain types of car faults. Those included dead catalytic converters, ignition misfires, or evaporative emissions issues.

The second generation was released in 1996 and features a universal set of fault codes. By standardizing these codes, mechanics are now able to read and service cars from all manufacturers. For example, the generic fault code “P0302” indicates a cylinder misfire detected in cylinder #2. This remains true across all OBD-equipped brands and models. The OBD2 also features a quicker “baud rate”, meaning the communication is much faster to the read

 

Which cars are OBD2 compatible?

All cars and light trucks are required to be OBD2 compatible since January 1, 1996. Check around your driver’s seat area for a port, particularly under the dashboard and behind ashtrays. There will also be a notice under the hood, either on a sticker or nameplate that says “OBD II Compliant”.

Check this guide to locate the OBD2 port in your vehicle!

 

OBD2 Device and Engie

The Engie app is fully utilized when paired with an OBD2 device. The device transmits data via a secure bluetooth connection directly to your smartphone. This allows the app to monitor the health and safety of your vehicle while collecting data on fuel efficiency, mileage, emissions, and other topics. The OBD2 device and Engie app were a match made in heaven!

 

Happy scanning,

The Engie Team

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