If you’ve had an emissions inspection done on your vehicle, or have ever had a check engine light come on, you’ve most likley heard the term “OBDII” before. But do you know what it means?
OBDII is an acronym for On-Board Diagnostics II. OBDII is a car’s self-diagnositc tool, it can perform basic diagnostics on itself and can give a broad idea on what is or isnt causing a problem. If you own a car that is model year 1996 or newer, you have OBDII. Though some vehicles from madel year 1995 have OBDII, it was not legally required.
What Can OBDII Do?
OBDII’s most common use is as a self-diagnostic tool. For example, whenever your check engine light comes on, OBDII also generates a code which shows why the light is on. For example, if you have a misfire, your check engine light would come on and OBDII would produce a code like P0300.
Are there Downsides to OBDII?
While in some areas OBDII can be very speific, in others it can be broad. For example, code P0300 means “Random or Multiple Misfires.” While this information is useful, it doesnt clarify why those random misfired happened, it only shows that misfires happened. OBDII is best used as a tool to “point you in the right direction” as compared to a definite diagnostic.
Why is OBDII Important?
While OBDII helps diagnose issues, like a misfire, OBDII also helps keep our air cleaner by monitoring emissions systems. OBDII is also what makes State Inspections possible. OBDII is also responsible for speeding up diagnostic times on engine related repairs.
Once again, the holidays have arrived. Colder weather, lots of food, and, for some, road trips. While a road trip may seem like a fun adventure, having one in cold weather is a whole new ballgame. Before you head over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s house, ask yourself, “Is my car ready for a winter road trip?” If you aren’t sure, here are a few things to check before you leave.
Tires are important in any season – after all, they do keep you glued to the road – but in winter tires have all new obsticals to overcome. Things like black ice, snow, and even heavy rain are all things you may see on your trip, and old tires are dangerous in these situations. 2/32″ is the legal minimum for tire tread, but if you are traveling somewhere that definitley is getting snow (Buffalo, for example) you should replace long before that.
Much like tires, wipers are also an all-season divice, but becomes much more useful in the winter. In areas where snow has fallen and things like mush and salt cover the road, your wipers will be in almost constant use. If your wipers are old, they may not wipe off melted snow or physical debris as well as new ones would.
Even in a fairly mild winter climate like the Carolinas, windshields and mirrors are bound to freeze over or fog up. While it may not be necessary to have defrosters, they will save you lots of time keeping your windshield visible. If your car comes equipped with them, check them!
4. Washer fluid.
If you live in or are visiting somewhere that has temperatures are below freezing, water won’t be a good substitute for washer fluid. Most washer fluid is designed to freeze at a much lower temperature than water, and also is better at breaking up snow and salt on your windshield. Of all the things on this list, washer fluid is both the fastest and cheapest fix, so be sure to change your fluid!
5. Be prepared for emergencies.
Though you never want to break down, it is always best to be prepared in case you do. A winter emergency car pack should have things like blankets, non-perishable food, a first aid kit, and warning markers. Portable phone charge-packs are also useful so your cellphone can stay on even when the car cannot.
6. Have your battery tested.
Cold weather is a dangerous time to have an old battery. Have your battery tested by a professional to see if the battery is healty enough to take on a long trip. If not, consider replacement.
7. Consider an oil change.
Consider how long the trip is, in miles, and compare to where you are in your oil’s life. If you think you’ll pass your vehicle’s “milage due” for an oil change, it may be best to do it before you leave.