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What is OBDII?

  • By Ryan Skidmore

What does it do?

Simply, it is on-board electronics that controls and monitors automobile functions. All those great safety features that fill modern vehicles to the brim, brought to you by OBDII. Anything that makes your car more than a ’57 Chevy (AKA simple as simple can be) probably OBDII. OBDII is made of a kind of system called CAN bus or Control Area Network bus. Your car is a small computer network. All those sensors and things, “transmission, airbags, antilock braking/ABS, cruise control, electric power steering, audio systems, power windows, doors, mirror adjustment, battery and recharging systems for hybrid/electric cars,” they are tiny computers on the network that is your car. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAN_bus) All this says one thing, Carmine is here to help you help yourself. Many of our features are predicated on access to some kind of electronic system being present on a vehicle. Fortunately, all new vehicles sold in the US after 1996 are equipped with OBDII and the OBDII port that allows humble mortals like us to use its powers.

Why?

Why such newfangled contraptions? No go back! “How good we had it just before everything became automatic?” We luddites wail along with Miranda Lambert (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ksWKOy665o).  Well, the first reason is…Diagnostics! The increase complexity of cars in the 70s and 80s lead manufactures to use computers to help them figure out what went wrong and when it did go wrong. (http://www.obdii.com/background.html) Plus, the government put increasing pressure on car manufacturers to make their vehicles run clear with various measures including the creation of the EPA (https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/our-mission-and-what-we-do). (http://www.obdii.com/background.html) Again, and for a final time, we ask the question, why? Standardization, my dear Watson. This modern miracle allows “clear communication between industry and its suppliers,” “low cost,” and “interchangeable parts.” (https://www.britannica.com/technology/standardization) Most parts work with most other parts and human progress takes incremental steps forward. IE. I’m a road trip and my check engine light comes on in a very unfortunate middle-of-nowhere kind of place. I nurse my poor car to a small NAPA Auto Parts in a one-horse country town. I buy an OBDII code reader to find out how severe a condition my car is (or not). I plug in this device to discover, joy of joys, there was nothing wrong at all. Bravo, Technology. Bravo.

Cool Beans.

Now for something cool and fun. OBDII can make your car faster and more powerful with a simple computer chip. Superchips are designed to instantly tune your car to improve its performance. (http://www.focalobd.com/blog/top-5-ways-to-improve-your-car-performance/) A kind of Plug n Play, if you will. If One is of the less “I wanna go fast” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qJGsSuFRIg) persuasion, OBDII allows data gathering on every function of a vehicle. Better gas mileage, fixing various undiagnosable problems, thing we haven’t even imagined yet, all of these are possible and “the world is your oyster”. Lastly, OBDII technology allows us to read check engine lights. How bad is it really? Now we can tell immediately.

Carmine offers a little slice of each of these functions (except making your car faster). The main difference being we serve it up on a silver platter. Or wrapped up with a bow. Whichever metaphor you prefer. With Carmine you can have a whole suite of fleet management tools at your fingertips.  We take advantage of the OBDII and get that information and present it to you in an easy to understand dashboard for you to make more informed decisions about your fleet.

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