Get to know what your car thinks

Satirical! Is it? That is likely what you may have t encounter when you tell your colleagues on the importance of knowing the working of the car engine.  Many are the cases when one may drive with certain car elements like the alternator in bad condition which may require urgent attention.

Without proper guidelines on communications, the car engine may end up grounded and as dead as a Dodo. Car engines are complex formations with some intricate details which may not be easily accessible by the mere sight of it.

However, with the rise in use of the on board diagnostic (OBD) tools, motorists have been enjoying the access to some vital information from this vital part of the “car’s mind”.  the on board diagnostic scan tools have now been in use for close to three decades with commendable results, thanks to their ability to go deeper into the unseen details.

The car engine works like the human mind, with its numerous connectors to different areas. When the mind is sick, the whole body is likely to have some problems. This is not a unique case to humans a lot but also with cars whose thinking has been found to be in the form of codes.

What is OBD?

The on board diagnostic tools (OBD) are electronically modified gadgets used to read certain aspects of fault in the ‘mind’ of the car. It is an involving process which uses the aid of the manufacturer and generic codes to be able to discern the mind of the car. In the process, it is seen to be a solution based approach to the numerous faulty codes which appear all through.

he designers of the OBD idea did not have a lot in mind but just to help reduce the pilferage of waste emissions into the environment. With time, the scope of its coverage of the car engine has increased two fold giving rise to what is now known as the second generation scan or OBD 2.

The reading, display and detection of the vehicle engine fault codes have been an important part of the repair process. This importance has also brought in so many players which have hitherto led to the rise of unscrupulous practices. With this, the need for a uniform system has never been that urgent.

What brain?

Like the human brain, the OBD scan tool is comprised of a set of chips within its system to aid in the vital part of communication. Most of the tools comprise of specific software’s within these chips. For instance, you are likely to have access to some software which will only communicate with windows, while others may be useful on the other android gadgets.


Because it is an internally installed gadget and requires constant use to be able to know what is exactly going on within the engine, the OBD is designed for smooth use so as not to cause fault in itself. The OBD Tool has the blessing of having diverse systems to aid in this complex work.

For instance, you will be surprised at how the OBD nerve center has diverse connection points, each with its unique use. In total, the OBD usually comprise of a 16 pin connection. With this and the area where it is usually located for convenience, the tool is not worked up when conducting that crucial work.

But the visible fact with OBD use has been in the area of data which in most cases are unique to certain cars from certain manufactures. However, the codes have to be accessed using a specific hardware within the OBD. These may include the chips and gauges within the OBD system and the engine.

Additionally, the presence of a clear working standard was a necessity, especially when the old OBD was looked at. Most of the car systems were seen to conform to certain laid down protocols which became an integral part of the OBD system. The most new and notorious controlled area network (CAN).

How is it done?

Looking at the numerous car systems, it was realized that the codes are used to denote certain aspects of the car. The innovators thus came up with diverse codes which meant different thing depending on the car model, or just the universal aspects.

The codes are in most cases read through what we call the diagnostic trouble code (DTC).  These error codes usually manifest themselves through some flickering aspect on the car computer engine commonly referred to as the check engine light.

Normally, the car engine gets to have real time data reading when the OBD reader or scan tool is connected to its data link connection point (DLC ) port, located somewhere below the car driver seat in most modern cars. The raw data reading is useful in overturning the area of car engine fault.

In some cases, some of these machines are enabled with a system to store the data for some time and then make the reading available in the form of freeze data. All the data reading process including the analysis part is essential to the car repair process, just like in the case psychiatric help or the use psychology.


With the surprises of modernity, you may meet some other peculiar objects for use on the cars. OBD has stood the test of time with its rise in use by the day. most cars nowadays have the important gadget fitted strategically with an aim of reading the mind of your car as you drive.

Rick Man Joorian

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