When my on-air sparring partner Ronke Giwa came up with that slogan, it hit me that, that’s the way to go for any serious minded and or smart vehicle owner. Often times I listen to frustrated but relentless vehicle owners complain to me about how much money and parts they have thrown into solving one particular problem or the other that has been plaguing their automobiles, one thing that is fairly common in the entire narration (which often ranges from few minutes to half an hour or more) is that, there is hardly a mention of a diagnostic scan.

A diagnostic scan is not a new phenomenon. It is just sad that automobile owners and technicians alike in this part of the world, are yet to fully embrace and judiciously use these money and time saving technologies.

The OBD (On board Diagnostics) started in 1969, when Volkswagen introduced the on-board computer on their fuel injected type 3 models, this was followed by Datsun in 1975 and General Motors in 1980. But in 1991, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) made it mandatory for all vehicles sold in California have some form of OBD capabilities.

However, standardization of the system came into effect in 1996 when it became mandatory for all vehicles sold in the United States to conform to the OBDII standard which includes the adoption of a universal connector for all brand of Vehicles. The OBD-II specification provides for a standardized hardware interface—the female 16-pin. Unlike the OBD-I connector, which was sometimes found under the hood (bonnet) of the vehicle, the OBD-II connector is required to be within 2 feet of the steering wheel.

The essence of having this system, is to allow technicians interact with the onboard computers which are monitoring the activities of the various sensors and actuators on the vehicle. Some of which includes the but not limited to (engine, transmission and emission), chassis (ABS, Traction Control System, Vehicle Stability Control e.t.c), body (Impact protection system, suspension control system e.t.c.). The available systems for electronic diagnosis however varies from one manufacturer to another.

The availability of Malfunction Indicator Lamps (MIL) which comes in various shapes and colours on the instrument clusters  of  all vehicles is to alert the vehicle driver or owner (as the case may be) of a problem. When a vehicle is started, the On Board Computer runs a diagnosis on all the sensors and actuators and triggers the MIL if a problem is detected or turns it off if all is clear.

All Malfunction Indicator Lamps should be off while the vehicle is running, if otherwise, RUN A SCAN.

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