Each year the new car designs are more computerized and more complicated than ever. What most people
don't realize is that there are ways to make all this complexity work for you, rather than against you.
Your vehicle's on-board computer systems contains useful info for vehicle maintenance, diagnostics / repair,
performance tuning, and even driver evaluation.
Many do-it-yourself fans gave up on vehicle maintenance/diagnosis, intimidated by the complexity of newer cars.
Don't let something as simple as a loose gas cap force you to spend time / money hooking up to a car dealer's
overpriced diagnostic machine, just to get your Service Engine Soon light off.
(see this Wired News article: Drivers Want Code To Their Car
Or fail a state
emissions test because of a loose connector, or contribute to air pollution, waste gas, and lose
performance because of a malfunction that may be simple and inexpensive to repair. OBD2 can make it easier
than ever to work on your own vehicle, or communicate better and have more trust when it comes
to involving a professional mechanic.
Performance is about getting the most out of your vehicle, your gasoline, and your consumable parts.
Remember the 'good' old days, when the majority of performance tuning involved the black art of carburetor
adjustment, timing strobes, and dwell meters for adjusting points? Newer vehicles adjust fuel injection,
timing, and spark constantly, providing great tuning but can often hide performance
robbing problems. If a human has an adjustment all the way out, they often start looking for contributing
issues, while the computer cheerfully obeys its simple instructions. Want to get the most out of an expensive,
high performance air filter? Or should you just swap it out whenever the clerk or manufacturer thinks the
'average' usefulness is over. OBD2 can help you objectively measure the effectiveness of parts, to see
if the expensive ones are worth it, or precisely when to change them.
Better communication with your vehicle can mean better drivers. How many people got better gas mileage
when the 'instantaneous' calculated mileage showed up on the dash? Keeping track of teenage drivers,
deciding which commute path used the most gas, providing data on accident circumstances, and providing
feedback on driving smoothness can all be accomplished with a little help from the data usually
isolated inside your vehicle.
Interested? Here are some Frequently Asked Questions (and answers) to get you started.