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The OBD II system records a diagnostic trouble code in its memory, so the repair technician can access these codes to facilitate a repair.
The system turns on the Check Engine Light, which is the same as the Service Engine Soon·Light on some vehicles. The light will stay on until the technician turns off the light when he or she repairs the problem, or the system may turn off the light when no faults are detected for several runs.
All cars and light trucks sold in the United States and Canada from 1996 onward have a common diagnostic system called On Board Diagnostic II, which is referred to as OBD II. This diagnostic system monitors basic functions of the fuel injection system, ignition system, and emission control system. When this system detects a fault in one of the components of these systems, or just simply detects the vehicle is not running efficiently, it does three things:
If the check engine light comes on an assessment must be made to determine if you can still drive the vehicle, or if it needs to be towed to the repair facility. If the light is not flashing, and the vehicle is running well, it Is likely that the vehicle can be driven. However you should NEVER drive a vehicle with a temperature gauge reading hot, or with any indication of oil problems. You also should NOT drive if the engine is jerking or vibrating noticeably. If the problem is serious enough unburned fuel may go into the exhaust system, and when this fuel is burned it will ruin the catalytic converter and may cause a fire under the car.
There is an equipment and diagnostic fee for the technician to read and analyze the check engine light In the OBD II system. Any actual repair is a separate charge.
If the technician reads the codes, and in their judgment the trouble codes indicate a singular event such as a load of bad fuel or the gas cap was left off, the technician may simply choose to reset the light. It would be Inappropriate to perform repairs that may not be needed. However, if the codes are suggestive of a specific problem, the technician will suggest a repair or further diagnostic work.
On occasion there may be so many codes in the system from past occurrences or some unusual event that the codes may not make any sense. In this case, the technician will suggest resetting the light and erasing the codes to see if any of them repeat after driving for a couple of days. In such a case, any charges to the vehicle owner are for diagnostic work and not for any repair work.
If the fault, Is serious enough, the OBD II system will put the affected system into default mode, to try to minimize any potential damage, and keep the vehicle running long enough to get you off of the road. The vehicle may run with reduced power. The check engine light may start flashing to note that damage is possible.
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