• Imagine driving your car and the vehicle automatically prompts you on how to improve upon your driving, thereby making the fuel efficiency, the emission and overall health of the vehicle, far more efficient.
  • Image, the OBD app tells you which part of the engine is malfunctioning and needs repair.
  • Imagine the OBD serving as a ‘fastag’ and allows you to drive through the toll without stopping
  • Imagine the OBD is now part of your car that allows you to make cashless payments for fuel (Fossil or renewable) wherever you go to refuel or recharge.

On-board diagnostics (OBD) is an electronic system that provides vehicle self-diagnosis and reporting capabilities for repair technicians and car owners, fleet managers. An OBD gives t access to subsystem information for the purpose of performance monitoring and analysing repair needs.

OBD is the standard protocol used across most light-duty vehicles to retrieve vehicle diagnostic information. Information is generated by engine control units (ECUs or engine control modules) within a vehicle. They are the vehicle’s brain.

Why is OBD so important? OBD is an important part of telematics and fleet management, making it possible to measure and manage vehicle health and driving.

Once fitted into a vehicle, the OBD can,

1)  Track wear trends and see what vehicle parts are wearing out faster than other parts.

2)  Instantly diagnose vehicle problems before they occur, supporting proactive rather than reactive management

3)  Measure driving behaviour, speed, idling time and so much more

In a typical passenger vehicle, you can find the OBDII port on the underside of the dashboard on the driver’s side of the car.

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What’s the difference between an OBD and OBDII?

An OBDII is the second generation of an OBD. The OBD was initially externally connected to the console of a car, while the OBDII is now integrated within the vehicle itself. The original OBD was used until OBDII was invented in the early 1990s.

What data can be accessed from the OBDII?

The OBDII provides access to status information and Diagnostic Trouble Codes for:

  • Powertrain (Engine and transmission)
  • Emission Control Systems

Additionally, you can access the following vehicle information via the OBD II:

  •  Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  •  Calibration Identification Number
  •  Ignition counter
  •  Emissions Control System counters

When a car is taken to a shop for service, a mechanic can connect to the OBD port with a scanning tool, read the trouble codes and identify the problem. This means mechanics can accurately diagnose malfunctions, inspect the vehicle quickly, and fix any malfunctions before they become a major problem.

OBD and telematics

The presence of the OBDII allows telematics devices to silently process information such as engine revolutions, vehicle speed, fault codes, fuel usage and more. The telematics device can then use this information to determine trip start and finish, over revving, speeding, excessive idling, fuel consumption, etc. All this information is uploaded to a software interface and allows fleet managers to monitor vehicle use and performance. With the OBD-II port, a fleet tracking solution can be connected to your vehicle quickly and easily.

In the expanding world of IoT, the OBD port will soon become an important part in understanding vehicle health, safety and sustainability.

Developed by TrackMate, EngineCal and iWire, this OBD will soon prove to be your best friend while you drive. Not only will you be able to trace the location of your vehicle, it will help you reduce the maintenance cost of your vehicle / fleet.

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