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.
Catalytic converters were designed and introduced on vehicles to clean up the exhaust emissions. They became standard issue starting in about the 70’s and now they are on every vehicle on the road. A well running vehicle will have a longer lasting catalytic converter.
How do catalytic converters fail? There are two primary reasons – they may become plugged, or they may be contaminated by a poorly maintained engine. When a “cat” fails, your check engine light should come on.
When it comes to catalytic converters, you get what you paid for. they contain Platinum and Palladium which are precious metals. For this reason you may hear about thefts in the news regarding stolen catalytic converters. Thieves are able to take the metal and sell it in the metals market. However, on another note, “economical” converters use less of the rare metals and wear out faster or don’t work well in the first place. So when replacing catalyic concerters, it’s best not to cheap out. This doesnt mean you need the most expensive one on the market, but a happy medium.
Performing routine car maintenance the key to a long lasting engine, and in turn a long lasting catalytic coverter. Setting up a schedule with a reputable auto repair facility can take the headache out of remembering when to do what and keep you on track. If you have concerns about your catalytic converter, don’t hesitate to stop by and have your shop of choice take a peek.
If you are looking for top quality auto repair in Mint Hill or Sou.th Charlotte area, please stop by Manchester Auto and Tire of Mint Hill or give us a call at 704-545-4597.