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Learn About Engine Diagnostics

How do engine diagnostics work?

Since 1996, every vehicle that is built to be sold in the United States must have the OBD-II System.

The OBD (On-Board Diagnostics) System is a device that detects problems in your engine.

The system was put in place to help control vehicle emissions. This system can detect and inform the driver of malfunctions in the engine.

It will send a message to your engine’s ECM (Engine Control Module) computer system.

The ECM is in charge of controlling many of your engine’s processes including air/fuel mixture and emissions.

The ECM system keeps your engine running efficiently while keeping emissions low. 


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ECM uses sensors to monitor your engine, adjust emissions, and/or engine timing when necessary; it will inform the driver when something is wrong with the vehicle by triggering your “check engine” light on your dashboard.

Learn About Engine Diagnostics
Learn About Engine Diagnostics

If your OBD-II System detects a problem, it will record and store the corresponding code for the problem, which can be accessed by a technician.

A trained technician can hook up his/her computer to your ECM System to receive the error code and diagnose the problem.

The OBD System makes it much easier for a technician to determine what is wrong with your engine.

Learn About Engine Diagnostics
Learn About Engine Diagnostics

Why do engine diagnostics need to be performed?

Engine diagnostics keep your engine running efficiently.

The OBD-II System can detect problems before they damage your engine or hurt its performance.

These diagnostics will detect problems and turn on your “check engine” light.

If your “check engine” light stays on, you have a problem with your engine, and it should be checked.

These diagnostics will let you take care of problems early and help you save money.

Learn About Engine Diagnostics
Learn About Engine Diagnostics

The diagnostics will also keep your vehicle running efficiently and keep your vehicle’s emissions low.

If you ignore your “check engine” light, you can be damaging your engine. Also, your vehicle may not pass emissions tests when this light is on.


READ: WHAT’S AN ENGINE CONTROL MODULE (ECM)?

What’s an Engine Control Module (ECM)?
What’s an Engine Control Module (ECM)?

When do engine diagnostics need to be performed?

Again, since 1996, all vehicles built to be sold in the United States have on-board diagnostics that monitor the engine’s performance and inform drivers of problems.

Your vehicle monitors and diagnoses its performance.

However, you can purchase your computer or scanner to check for problems with your engine.

These are the same scanners that technicians use to receive and diagnose problems stored by your OBD-II System.

You can purchase one of these scanners and periodically check your engine’s performance, or you can rely on your OBD-II System and have your vehicle inspected by a trained technician whenever your “check engine” light comes on.


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