Don’t Be Fooled: Understanding OBD Monitor Status

March 18, 2021 Published by Leave your thoughts

There’s a good chance that at some point you will see the “check engine” indicator light up on your dashboard. This light is also known as the “service engine soon” or “malfunction indicator” light. When this illuminates, there are a variety of issues that could be wrong with your vehicle, and these issues could range in severity from minor to very severe.

Let’s take a look at how you can use OBD monitors to determine what your check engine light is telling you before you bring your vehicle in for repairs in Gary, IN.

Onboard monitors and your check engine light

All auto manufacturers are required to comply with emissions standards put forth by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to legally sell their vehicles in the United States. All vehicles put on the market go through EPA-regulated tests to determine the level of emissions control the vehicle has. The limits put in place on the vehicles will determine some of the conditions required for the vehicle’s check engine light to turn on.

This means that in the right conditions, the check engine light will illuminate. This means something in the emissions control system is not functioning properly, and is below the mandatory minimum limit of performance. The light will go on because you have onboard diagnostic (OBD) monitors that are functioning properly and making sure these systems do their job.

Just because the check engine light comes on does not mean the engine is running poorly. To determine the specific cause of the light turning on, you will need to access the data trouble codes within the onboard computer that indicate the system in which the vehicle is having problems. An experienced auto technician in Gary, IN will be able to use an OBD reader to get this code and analyze your vehicle to determine exactly what’s going wrong.

Your ability to scan for these issues wouldn’t even be possible without OBD monitors. These monitors continuously (or non-continuously, depending on the type of monitor) scan and check the system to determine the level of performance of certain control systems for your vehicle’s emissions. Continuous monitors will run as long as the engine is running, while non-continuous monitors must meet certain conditions to operate, such as speed, fuel level, acceleration or deceleration and other conditions.

These monitors are especially important if you’re purchasing a used car. There’s a chance the vehicle’s computer could have had its memory erased, which will at least temporarily shut off a check engine light and change the settings for readiness monitors. It might take some time for system monitors to get back online and perform their tests so they can switch on the check engine light as needed. This is a good reason to have the computer scanned in a vehicle before you make the purchase, so you can determine the availability of the readiness monitors.

For more information about OBD monitors and their importance in vehicle systems in Gary, IN, we encourage you to contact Glen Park Autoworks today with your questions.

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