What Does DTC Mean?

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DTC (Diagnostic Trouble Codes), also called OBDII codes, are your car’s system for alerting you of auto issues. There are typically limits for every system in your vehicle. When the vehicle detects that the problem exceeds these limits, it sends out a trouble code. Technicians use these codes to diagnose and repair vehicle issues.

Trouble codes can tell you about any system issues in your vehicle, including airbags and brakes. And since all vehicles since 1996 have OBDII diagnostics, it’s unlikely you don’t have it. The challenge with this is often that each model has different codes and meanings. For example, a Ford won’t have the identical codes as a Chevrolet. This makes it difficult if you’re reading the codes on your own unless you recognize the codes for your specific model. Besides, the methods for repairing these issues are likely different for every make and model. Knowing the codes for your fleet vehicles is crucial to proper maintenance and repair.


The Four Systems of DTC:

Before DTC, diagnosing a vehicle declined to engine misfire and gross failures of parts. The arrival of OBDII allowed vehicles to observe their systems and alert drivers as issues arise with indicator lights. Most people recognize the foremost common ones: the check engine light and the car care indicator. Today, our vehicles provide us and technicians with more information than ever before with DTC. The Society of Automotive Engineers created the initial list of codes, which all vehicle manufacturers had to adapt to suits emission regulations. European and Asian automakers adopted the identical list. These codes are categorized into four main systems:

    1. B-codes (body codes): Though the body often refers to the surface of the vehicle, B-codes see features inside. More include comfort, convenience, and safety features.
    2. C-codes (chassis): Functions outside of the passenger compartment including brakes, steering, and suspension.
    3. U-codes (network/vehicle integration): Functions shared among the vehicle’s systems and computers.
    4. P-codes (powertrain): Include functions like the engine, transmission, and drivetrain.

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