From as early as the 1980s, it has been a requirement for vehicles across the globe to have an On-Board Diagnostics system. Vehicle diagnostics form part of an essential package that allows owners and mechanics to identify faults. The integrated system monitors vehicle health and collects data points to ensure it is running correctly.
Cars have an array of dashboard lights and screens which indicate vehicle system errors and faults. If the onboard diagnostic system finds a fault, it will display a light or text on the screen to indicate which system or part is faulty. Then users can scan using a diagnostics tool or use advanced scanning devices to identify what needs to be fixed or replaced.
What is a Car Diagnostic Tool?
An On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) tool or scanner is a device that connects to a user's designated OBDII port which can be connected wired or wirelessly to an app on a device such as a tablet. This app has an end-user interface to display vehicle data, and buttons for scanning the vehicle and in some cases can test vehicle functions.
Using built-in software the device is fed vehicle data, accessing various databases to link the correct vehicle with the systems it needs to scan. The vehicle’s ECU (Electronic Control Unit) and other memory units are scanned, displaying any faults.
Error codes are revealed if something specific is causing a fault. These codes can be researched online or through software to identify a fix. More advanced systems have a database of fault codes for all major brands and can display the exact system and component that needs attention.
What are the benefits?
Advancement of vehicle features and safety systems results in more complex modules and onboard wiring harnesses that house sensors and link vehicle architecture. Not only physical parts can go wrong, but digital and infotainment, safety systems and communication signals can be at fault. Sometimes without drivers being aware, especially if they do not use a particular feature. A diagnostic tool can run tests for most vehicle systems. This helps prevent accidents that may have been caused by a faulty sensor or ADAS feature.
A vehicle needs to be properly maintained as it is important for resale value. Scanning for faults can identify malfunctioning parts or parts nearing the end of their life. This helps reduce repair bills as an owner and keeps the car on the road for longer.
Challenges For Diagnostic Tools
A basic code reader only gives users a fault code. With brands having different codes for the same fault, it is a challenge for a user to research online. Usually needing mechanics knowledge, it can be easy to get the fault code incorrect. This often costs the user unnecessary repair time and money.
More advanced tools allow users to clear the codes displayed on their vehicles. Resetting the codes may cause further problems down the line, however. As it may hide an underlying issue with the vehicle that may involve a greater cost later in its life.
How Car Diagnostic Tools have Moved on
Modern-day vehicles have in-built GPS and sim cards to communicate telematics data via mobile data networks. On-board diagnostics data is now possible to be sent over the air too.
Using an API, end-users such as fleet management companies have a bespoke program that remotely accesses their vehicles. From here, remote diagnostics tests can be performed quickly and easily.
Advantages of Remote Diagnostics
With a remote connection, the car can be diagnosed whilst out in the field. As remote diagnosis does not require visiting a physical location such as a mechanics workshop, with the data being sent over the air. Ideal for when a car becomes faulty in a remote area, or when repair shops are not nearby.
A third party can access the diagnostics data almost instantly. Technicians can remotely monitor vehicles from the comfort of their workshop. Identifying the problem and ordering parts in advance to make the repair process as efficient as possible when the vehicle comes in.
All compatible fleet vehicles can be remotely accessed by the same central operator when a bespoke program is built. This requires no additional resources for field support teams, additional hardware or fuel costs. Saving the need to visit the vehicle in person and diagnose issues.
Businesses such as High Mobility are paving the way for remote diagnostics. With the advancement of telematics hardware, mobile data networks and cloud technology - diagnosing a fault is as easy as checking your email inbox.
High Mobility’s Unique Tools
At High Mobility, we offer the tools to remotely diagnose vehicles without additional hardware. Simply take our API to build the app you need. Fleet management, rental companies and law enforcement industries are centralising their fleet operations and remotely accessing their vehicles.
As High Mobility partners with major vehicle brands including Mercedes, BMW, Opel, Land Rover and many more, we offer the all-in-one solution for building your custom app. Once created, simply onboard your vehicle using the instructions provided. Then run diagnostics tests from the comfort of your home or office.
We take data protection seriously. All of our client's data is sent encrypted via our central servers using the cloud. We have strict measures including GDPR and ISO27001 to ensure correct data handling practices. Our conformance to TISAX enhances this protection too. TISAX works directly with the German Automotive Industry for data security, leaving nothing to chance.
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