What is OBD?

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On-Board Diagnostics (OBD):

On-board diagnostics (OBD) is an automotive term relating a vehicle’s self-diagnostic and reporting capability. OBD systems give the vehicle owner or repair technician access to the status of the assorted vehicle sub-systems. The quantity of diagnostic information available via OBD has varied widely since its introduction within the early 1980s versions of on-board vehicle computers.

Early versions of OBD would simply illuminate a malfunction indicator light or “idiot light” if the problem was detected but wouldn’t provide any information on the character of the matter. Modern OBD implementations use a standardized digital communications port to produce real-time data. Additionally to an identical series of diagnostic trouble codes, or DTCs, which permit an individual to rapidly identify and remedy malfunctions within the vehicle.


Kinds of OBD:

There are two varieties of on-board diagnostic systems: OBD-I and OBD-II.



OBD-I refers to the primary generation OBD systems that were developed throughout the 1980s. These early systems use proprietary connectors, hardware interfaces, and protocols. A mechanic who wanted to access diagnostic information typically had to shop for a tool for each different vehicle make. OBD-I scan tools that support multiple protocols are furnished with an array of various adapter cables.



In the early 1990s, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and International Standardization Organization (ISO) issued a collection of standards that described the interchange of digital information between ECUs and a diagnostic scan tool. All OBD-II compliant vehicles were required to use a typical diagnostic connector (SAE J1962), and communicate via one of the qualities OBD-II communication protocols.

OBD-II has first introduced in model year (MY) 1994 vehicles and has become a requirement for all cars and lightweight trucks starting with MY1996.

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