FAQ

What is OBD-II?

On-Board Diagnostic systems are in most cars and light trucks on the road today. During the '70s and early 1980's manufacturers started using electronic means to control engine functions and diagnose engine problems. This was primarily to meet EPA emission standards. Through the years on-board diagnostic systems have become more sophisticated. OBD-II, a new standard introduced in the mid-'90s, provides almost complete engine control and also monitors parts of the chassis, body and accessory devices, as well as the diagnostic control network of the car.

Does my car have OBD-II?

All cars built since January 1, 1996 have OBD-II systems. Manufacturers started incorporating OBD-II in various models as early as 1994. Some early OBD-II cars were not 100% compliant. <Click here> to see the dates OBD-II started being included on specific makes and models.

There are three basic OBD-II protocols in use, each with minor variations on the communication pattern between the on-board diagnostic computer and the scanner console or tool. While there have been some manufacturer changes between protocols in the past few years, as a rule of thumb, Chrysler products and all European and most Asian imports use ISO 9141 circuitry. GM cars and light trucks use SAE J1850 VPW (Variable Pulse Width Modulation), and Fords use SAE J1850 PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) communication patterns. <Click here> to see which cars use each system.

You may also tell which protocol is used on a specific automobile by examining the connector socket carefully. If the dash connector has a pin in the #7 position and no pin at #2 or #10, then the car has the ISO 9141 protocol. If no pin is present in the #7 position, the car uses an SAE protocol. If there are pins in positions #7 and #2 and/or #10, the car may use the ISO protocol.

What good does it do to measure OBD-II output?

OBD-II signals are most often sought in response to a "Check Engine Light" appearing on the dashboard or driveability problems experienced with the vehicle. The data provided by OBD-II can often pinpoint the specific component that has malfunctioned, saving substantial time and cost compared to guess-and-replace repairs. Scanning OBD-II signals can also provide valuable information on the condition of a used car purchase.

Tell me about that "Check Engine Light".

The service industry calls the Check Engine light on your dash an "MIL" or Malfunction Indicator Light. It shows three different types of signals. Occasional flashes show momentary malfunctions. It stays on if the problem is of a more serious nature, affecting the emissions output or safety of the vehicle. A constantly flashing MIL is a sign of a major problem which can cause serious damage if the engine is not stopped immediately. In all cases a "freeze frame" of all sensor readings at the time is recorded in the central computer of the vehicle.

Hard failure signals caused by serious problems will cause the MIL to stay on any time the car is running until the problem is repaired and the MIL reset. Intermittent failures cause the MIL to light momentarily and they often go out before the problem is located. The freeze frame of the car's condition captured in the computer at the time of the malfunction can be very valuable in diagnosing these intermittent problems. However, in some cases if the car completes three driving cycles without a re-occurrence of the problem, the freeze frame will be erased.

Where can i find software that is supported from CarMM

Begin to read here and you will find everything you want

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