Walnut Creek Auto Repair

What Is An OBD Scanner?

Every car owners' worst nightmare involves the check engine light being on their dash. When you notice it, your first instinct may be to take your car to the repair shop to find out what's wrong. Life would be a lot simpler if cars could communicate with us exactly where the problem stems from.


Well - it sort of can. Our technicians at Central Automotive can get to the root of the problem using OBD scanners. These scanning devices plug into the OBD port in your vehicle to read data collected from the numerous sensors in your car. It will show a specific line of code that mechanics learned to read. If you had one of these OBD scanners, you'd be able to check it yourself, right? Well - yes and no. You have to have good knowledge of OBD scanners and error codes before you can interpret the data.


The acronym OBD stands for On-Board Diagnostics. It's a system in your automobile that monitors and records data from the Electronic Control Units (ECU), a collection of tiny processors that control the micro-functions of various car parts. As soon as you start your vehicle, the OBD system activates and checks all your engine components. If the system reads an error, it can also trigger the check engine light to come on. While it may be safe to continue driving with a steady check engine light, it is hazardous to do so with a flashing one. If your dashboard light is blinking, please bring it to Central Automotive ASAP!


What Kind of Problems Can the OBD Detect?

The OBD system watches and can detect flaws across all aspects that impact engine performance. Some of these include:

  • The fuel system
  • Engine misfires
  • Emissions system
  • Vehicle/speed controls
  • Computer systems
  • Transmission system
  • Vehicle body & chassis

Each of these sections is assigned a particular code that gets stored in the OBD system. When our certified mechanics plug an OBD scanner into your vehicle, they will be able to understand and interpret it right away. For proper diagnostics, please bring your car to us at Central Automotive.

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