By on January 2, 2013

Flashes and pulses.

I was staring at an archaic diagnostic system on a 1992 Volvo 940 wagon.  It was located underneath the hood, inside a plastic cover, with six little holes for each one of the six digits, along with a cheap plastic wand.

What came out was morse code. Three little reds, stop. One little red, stop. Two little reds, stop. Code 312. Time to visit the brickboard, where the code could be translated to about fifteen different potential issues.

21 model years later, and we’re still not quite there yet.

Not too long after my experience with Volvo code readings, OBD-II system would roar into the scene during the mid-90′s and seemed to change everything for the better.

Instead of having a shop that required an expensive tool du jour and a book full of possible translations, nearly everything became universal. Code P0420 would always a bad catalytic converter. Code P0301 became a random cylinder misfire for cylinder #1. P0131 would be an oxygen sensor with low voltage.

So what do you do with an oxygen sensor with low voltage? Well, the good news was that there were only three possibilities.

Causes

A code P0131 meant that one or more of the following has happened:

  • Faulty o2 oxygen sensor
  • Short to voltage on O2 signal circuit
  • High resistance or open on O2 signal circuit

Possible Solutions

  • Replace that faulty sensor!
  • Repair short, open, or high resistance on o2 signal circuit?

(Information courtesy of obd-codes.com)

Option 1 was simple and potentially expensive. Some oxygen sensors were cheap. Others not so much.

Option 2 could be cheaper… or even more expensive. You could buy the tool needed to measure the resistance. Then read up on how to determine if that 02 circuit is short, open, or high.

With option 2 you were always taking a gamble. You may have to pay for a good voltmeter and a new o2 sensor in the end. Or just the voltmeter.

Then there was the wealth of online information that either enlightened you or intimidated you when it came to figuring the whole thing out.  Click here, here and here for a small taste of that experience.

For many enthusiasts out there, all this potential for misdiagnosis represented an “I give up!” moment, and a trip to the local independent repair shop.

The mind would wander, “Perhaps that oxygen sensor could just be loose, or defective. Or maybe the problem was truly beyond the confines of that sensor.”

Who knew? Not you.

The world of yesterday and today still has one link in the chain that keeps everything together. A good mechanic. An expert with knowledge and experience that can find the resources needed to zero in on a problem which is elusive to most owners.

But what if you could do diagnose it instead? With absolutely no question as to what needs to be done?

What if your car also monitored all the essential fluids and components that wear out over time?

Many of us have a good ear for a starter or alternator that is about to conk out. However, a rear main seal or a water pump may escape our attention as we travel from here to there.

How much would you pay for perfect diagnostic information?

Let me toss in another reality for you to consider?  Hundreds of thousands of vehicles are exported overseas, in part, due to the high feature and option content of vehicles sold in North America.  There are certain marques I routinely sell, such as Honda, Toyota, VW, and Mercedes, which continue to have a strong demand in overseas markets.

Would you be willing to keep a vehicle for 200,000 miles if such a system was installed on your vehicle for let’s say $750, in exchange for an extra $1500 at trade-in time? Let’s say such a system would also save you, on average, about $1500 in repairs and maintenance expenses as well. Not to mention saving a few of our resources.

It’s your call.

How much would you pay? Would you keep it for the long haul?

Is the offer I described attract the keeper side of your personality? Or is the temptation to trade it before that 200k mark simply too great? Feel free to exchange 200k for 13 years if you don’t drive much these days.

All the best… and happy new year!

 

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36 Comments on “Question Of The Day: How Much Would You Pay For… Perfect Diagnostic Information?...”


  • avatar
    Jesse

    Gotta love those old Volvo diagnostic systems:

    “Your car is running excessively rich. Or lean. Or something. Probably just reseat that stupid blade fuse under the hood, and everything will be fine.”

    In Massachusetts, we recently had a vote on the “right to repair” bill. This bill basically requires automakers to standardize on all diagnostic information the same way that OBD-II standardized emissions equipment. Some people feared that it would require automakers to use archaic diagnostic systems. Support for the bill was initiated by indie mechanics who were tired of buying new diagnostic equipment for each new model series that came out.

    As a shade-tree mechanic, I’d have to say that access to a robust diagnostic system is appealing since you can’t really properly diagnose many things with a multimeter anymore.

    For now though, I can use my multimeter on most of my cars, and use the OBD-I and OBD-II systems on my 240, 940 and 850. I diagnose the 1800 by sound, simple gauges, and the multimeter.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    I think it’s the $100/hour labor charges that grind on the owners. What would that go up to $200/hr?

  • avatar
    grzydj

    Got my first (and last) P0420 code on my Subaru over the weekend. I should have expected this seeing how the headgaskets were leaking not that long ago (Subaru was nice enough to replace them) and probably contaminated the sensors.

    I really wish the RAV4 still came with a V6, because after 20+ years of Subaru ownership of dealing with faulty headgaskets and sensors, I’ve finally decided to move onto another brand for good.

    It’s sad, because I really, really enjoy the hell out of Subaru’s otherwise. :(

    This isn’t related to the OP. Sorry.

    • 0 avatar
      Sammy B

      Get moving, chief! The 2012 RAV4 still had the V6 option. You’re right that it goes away w/ the 2013 redesign. A quick search on autotrader shows 3218 V6 RAV4s for sale out there….of course might be more since not all dealers list new inventory on there. So you can certainly get one still, but time is running out.

      For what it’s worth, the price spread is $23K to $36K, so it definitely seems like all trims and 2WD & 4WD are mixed in.

    • 0 avatar
      Littlecarrot

      What year Subaru? I thought the head gasket problem was fixed by 2005 or so.

      • 0 avatar
        grzydj

        Haha. It’s a 2006 Impreza 2.5i. I too was told that the headgasket issues had been resolved by this model year. Apparently I was told wrong.

        @Gleanerizer
        Perhaps a standard 4 cylinder RAV4 would work just as well as a V6, but the main reason I bought a Subaru over the RAV was the Impreza handles pretty decent for what it is. The RAV4 was a bit wallowy and uninspired at best.

        The Honda Element I cross shopped was downright scary to drive, even far away from its handling limits.

        I know there’s no perfect car, but I just want one I can buy without worrying about all the time.

        Sorry for the derail.

    • 0 avatar
      Gleanerizer

      The last RAV4 V6 is not a bad choice at all. I love my base 2008. If you’re coming from Subaru though, you’ll definitely want to shake hands with the torque steer and see if it’s something you’ll want to live with (I can only assume it would be a noticeable difference; I’m well used to mine now).

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t know what your timetable is, but Mazda will be bringing something more powerful than the standard 155 HP engine to the CX-5. It sounds like it would make for an excellent sporting crossover…

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Well, a complete diagnostic system would be worth having even if you don’t plan to keep the car for 200K miles and 10 years or whatever. It adds to the value of the car, which means that a purchaser of that car will pay something for it, even if you sell the car 3 years after you bought it new.

    Certainly the current system requires some knowledge. My 2001 BMW with the 3.0 engine was throwing a vacuum leak code along with various other misfire codes and so on, no doubt associated with the vacuum leak and the system’s efforts to compensate for it. What to do? A while back my mechanic had already replaced the rubber hose between the throttle body and the intake manifold. After checking the fit of the hose clamps, that was eliminated. Then the good ol’ Internet to the rescue. It seems that what BMW calls a “DISA valve” (which shifts between the short and long runner intake tracks) often is a source of a vacuum leak (because it is vacuum actuated). The part cost about $150 online and replacing it looked like a 5-minute job. So, I took the gamble and bought a new DISA valve. When it arrived, it took me 5 minutes to install and Bingo!, problem solved. No codes; engine runs better than ever.

    A less happy story involves my old Saab 9-5 Aero which was throwing a “rich mixture” code about the time it was due for emissions. Well, who knows how many different things could cause that problem? Anyway, by experimentation, I determined that there as a narrow window of mileage after I reset the CEL between when it would indicate everything fine and when it would come back on again. So, I arranged to visit the inspection station during that window and passed.

    But the “rich mixture” persists along with other issues, so it’s off to the mechanic I go.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    As a mechanic, I would say current info is pretty detailed. Some suggestions though:

    It would be nice to have a system like Saab’s ignition system, where it uses the spark plugs as sensors, on all cars (if they don’t use something similar already).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saab_Direct_Ignition

    On some cars, you can access data right on the climate control or infotainment screen. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to make the infotainment into a built-in full function scan tool with datalogging. I’m sure people in certain positions hold this feature back to protect their profits though. You could say that’s the reason behind much of this subject.

    Maybe it’s just me owning an “oldie” (2008 Taurus X), but I find the low tire pressure alert and the backup sensor failure on it maddening. It tells you there is a problem SOMEWHERE where there are multiple sensors, and doesn’t tell you which one.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Yeah, I’ve always wondered why Ford didn’t integrate individual tire pressure readings into the DIC? The sensors report the current pressure and the temperature ( which can be read by a scan tool).

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        My 350Z does this. One of the three gauges in the center stack allows you to scroll thru various displays like MPG, DTE (distance to empty) and tire pressure for each wheel. Much better then the wife’s Volvo that just has the idiot light.

        However the wife’s Volvo (’08 C30) has good diagnostic info displayed in the dash. For example it told us when the low beam HID blub blew.

        I work for a company that makes digital printing equipment, our software does the same thing: code X means X failed. However at what point does the whole system suffer from sensor overload? In order for it to really work EVERY single possible failure point requires a sensor. The wiring alone for such a system would be a nightmare!

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        The issue with individual tire pressure readings, especially on people using square setups, is that I think it would be near impossible to determine which wheel the signal is coming from, as it is done wirelessly. This is complicated when the owner rotates their tires, whether ti be front to back ro corner to corner.

        I guess it could give yuo all 4 pressures, but it doesn’t do you much good to not know which belongs to which tire.

  • avatar
    Terry

    Steve, it’s really quite simple–the 02 sensor is the “camera” and it’s giving you a “picture” of what’s happening in the engine control system. If the 02 sensor voltage is low, this can indicate a lean condition. Vacuum leaks, intake gasket, clogged injector(s), low fuel pump pressure, intake air duct cracked, etc.
    The 1st step would be to test the 02 sensor by monitoring its voltage and introducing an auxiliary fuel source, such as propane into the air inlet and seeing if the voltage rises. If not, then you can suspect the sensor itself. The days of “get a code, get a part” are long gone.
    These codes dont tell you what part is bad, they tell you which part of the system has detected a fault.
    It’s scary how many cars come to me with 2-4 new 02 sensors under the hood @ $150+ each when the issue was a cracked air intake duct costing $55 and a half hour labor to install it and clear a code.

    • 0 avatar
      d524zoom-zoom

      Exactly Terry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I used to HATE it when a customer came in to my parts department and said “Autozone said that i have code for the O2 sensor do you have one in stock and how much?”

      To sell this person a part based on the above type remark would have only caused a problem for me later when this same “novice” would come back wanting to return the part, because i sold him a part that did not fix his problem. Now me being a total gear head and not just a parts guy like a couple of my co-workers it would routinely tick customer’s off when i would inquire about their need for said part instead of just selling them the part they asked for. Was it wrong for me to stop and ask a couple of questions??? I say no. But if they insisted to buy that part that “Autozone” told them was bad I would sell them and make in clear with them that the part is not returnable. Again am I wrong for doing things that way??

      • 0 avatar
        Terry

        Exactly Terry!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        I used to HATE it when a customer came in to my parts department and said “Autozone said that i have code for the O2 sensor do you have one in stock and how much?”

        To sell this person a part based on the above type remark would have only caused a problem for me later when this same “novice” would come back wanting to return the part, because i sold him a part that did not fix his problem. Now me being a total gear head and not just a parts guy like a couple of my co-workers it would routinely tick customer’s off when i would inquire about their need for said part instead of just selling them the part they asked for. Was it wrong for me to stop and ask a couple of questions??? I say no. But if they insisted to buy that part that “Autozone” told them was bad I would sell them and make in clear with them that the part is not returnable. Again am I wrong for doing things that way??

        Every guy that has a claw hammer and a bent screwdriver in a fishing tackle box fancies himself as a mechanic. As such there is no need to pay someone to fix a car. Yes–you should have sold them the part, or referred them to your service department
        I had a Miata come in, the owner asked for me, told me his car was cutting out and died, wouldnt restart. He told me he had replaced: Spark plugs, air filter, plug wires, ignition coils, and the fuel pump. I told him “Wow! You must be rich! I have to prove the parts are bad before I can replace them.”
        Long story short–the new aftermarket plug wires were bad, the spark plugs were loose, and the crank angle sensor had failed. 1.5 hour labor at the shop, a good used sensor($50used $800 new) installed, new Mazda plug wire set and retorqing the spark plugs was all it took.
        Unnecessary part replacement and procedures are the first and last refuge for those that can’t diagnose.

  • avatar
    redav

    How much would I pay for perfect diagnostics? Simple answer: Less than the amount I’d have to pay for unnecessary/excessive repairs if I didn’t have it.

    Now, the question is: How many unnecessary/excessive repairs have I had over the life of my car? After failure–not many, IMO.

    However, if that perfect diagnoistic system was also predictive, i.e., could tell me when parts are approaching failure, then it would be worth more. Not only would it save money by initiating a repair prior to a worse failure, it would permit greater confidence in stretching more life out of parts before replacement.

    • 0 avatar
      corntrollio

      The predictive diagnostics are already done in aviation, where systems failure can admittedly be much more catastrophic. The systems can monitor a variety of inputs and detect when certain repairs or maintenance routines should be executed before failure occurs.

      As a “keeper”, this type of system would be great for me. I’d be happy to know that I should replace X before driving 2 hours.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    I don’t think it can be done at any price. The computer can tell you what is wrong, but it can’t tell you why.

  • avatar
    Terry

    Redav, OBDII does that to an extent. In Mode 6 you can read system test results. Minimum, maximum, and measured results are displayed. The goal is to have the measured result 10 points away from both the minimum and maximum. No check engine light or code required. These are just the results of the last test the engine control unit ran. Example:
    Mode 6 Test 10:41:00(EGR system) shows a minimum of 3, and a maximum of 54. You check this test, and it shows a measured value of 51. Before too long, you will have an EGR code and a check engine light.
    You clean the carbon from the EGR valve and passages, clear the code and Keep Alive Memory(Disconnect and reconnect the battery negative cable)–and drive the car to retest the system. You then read the result of that test. Now instead of a reading of 54 you see a reading of 17. You headed off a potential problem, and verified your repair.
    In Mode 6 you can read missfire counts, evaporating emission system tests, EGR tests, catalytic converter tests, etc.
    If you didnt have any driveability issues, but noticed in missfire counts a problem with a particular cylinder, you could repair the missfire and potentially save you from an expensive catalytic converter failure. And even then, you can monitor converter efficiency.
    So yes, with the right scan tool you can head off expensive repairs before a code or check engine light is set.

  • avatar
    Exfordtech

    It never has been “get a code get a part”. Anyone that attempts to repair like that more often than not throws money away. Symptom to system to component to root cause is the basic diagnostic procedure to follow whether you’re addressing a check engine light or a driveline noise. There’s a lot of theory and knowledge needed for accurate diagnosis and repair. Knowledge and experience are not cheap. The old saw about the mechanic that fixes a rough running engine with a well placed whack with a hammer and the customer that balks at the $50 bill saying all you did was hit my car with a hammer applies to that mentality. The hammer hit was $1, $49 is for knowing what to hit.
    I also disagree with the right to repair legislation in MA. Diagnostic information was already available from the OEMs, you simply had to pay for it.

    • 0 avatar
      Terry

      True, to actual techs it’s never been “get a code, get a part”. But that’s just us. The “Tinkerers” do that all the time. I know–after they “play” with their cars I get to repair them.
      Every day I talk to customers that attempted their own repairs saying..”I got an O2 code and replaced the 02, but the light’s STILL on!” Many times that line is followed with…”I thought I got a bad new O2 so I replaced with another O2 sensor–and the light is still on. It must be a bad engine control unit…. Then I get the “What else can it be?”

      • 0 avatar
        d524zoom-zoom

        Oh and Terry I was not able to reply to you above…….Don”t forget that we dealers are only here to screw everyone, and we are not at all competitive when it comes to service and parts.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Terry, you are correct, but not all of us who work on our cars are “Tinkerers” who throw parts at their cars. Anybody who goes to Autozone and walks out with a new oxygen sensor without thinking probably also goes back to buy the socket that clears the sensor wire. Then they go back and complain because the light comes back on. So many things can cause a setting of the MIL that assuming the sensor is bad is likely to be throwing money away more often than not.

        Regarding OBDII and preemptive diagnosis, as you stated it does offer some ability to “look ahead”, but I think this is the area that will see the most improvement in the near future. I would love the ability to display monitored parameters on the vehicle’s own display and see how things are operating. That amount of freedom is likely not to happen for car owners because the profit incentive is to get buyers into the dealership for service. However, sometimes savvy operators can detect problems before they happen. My wife told me her car was beginning to misfire. I could not detect anything but she was sure. One week later the CEL set and the code was misfire! A coil was going bad, which I found by swapping and noting that the code moved. No thrown parts here! And as for the OP’s question would diagnostics prompt one to keep their car for 200K? Already do that!!

        Have not heard you here in awhile; Welcome back!

    • 0 avatar
      Advance_92

      “It never has been “get a code get a part”. Anyone that attempts to repair like that more often than not throws money away”
      According to a friend working at BMW that’s pretty much how the dealer’s mechanics operate. The only problem being a lot of the diagnostic software and support manuals are only available in German.

      I don’t agree that the manufacturer can control the diagnostic information. ODBII was a step in the right direction for the owner, the mechanic and for the longevity of the maker’s product. The only person losing out is the short term greed head at the top who’s not likely in the long term survival of the company as much as their next quarterly bonus from extracting as much money as possible. At some point we need to realize this mentality does not always benefit everyone else through some trickle down faith.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I don’t think you can afford ‘perfect’ diagnostic information. As engineers, we design systems whose complexity makes then difficult to diagnose, since there can be so many cross interactions between sensors. The movie Apollo 13 gives you an idea of this problem.

    It really helps to know how a sensor works, and what its function is. Basic engine principles haven’t changed.

    I’m fortunate to have worked for a company that produced industrial oxygen sensors, made with the same zirconium oxide technology used in an automotive sensor. They produce a millivoltage governed by the ‘Nernst equation’, in the presence of an oxygen differential across the sensor. In a car, this voltage should be varying all the time. It also helps to know that leading sensors (those positioned before the catalytic converter) are the ones that manage fuel mixture, and the trailing sensors (after the catalytic converter) merely monitor the performance of the catalytic converter.

    Here’s an example:
    In my former 05 Scion xB, I would periodically get a traction control light followed by an ABS warning light. The check engine light would only come on sometimes. All would disappear in a couple of days. My OBD-II computer did not show a bad O2 sensor code, but the voltage on the trailing sensor was stuck at 0.075v. Knowing this was unusual, I changed out the sensor ($75), and none of those lights ever came on again. Who would have thought a traction control light and ABS light could be caused by a bad O2 sensor?

    So, to answer the question, I’m willing to pay for a $200 car computer and 30 years’ worth of experience and training to have semi-perfect diagnostics. I won’t pay for a shop to do it, even if it takes me a while to figure things out. Even the occasional misdiagnosis at home is cheaper than having the shop do the job.

    PS: I was a little fried when I learned that my 96-07 OBD-II computer wasn’t compatible with 08+ cars because of the CANBUS protocol requirement. So now I have two of them.

  • avatar
    jco

    oh this post is well-timed (for me)..

    8 months ago, we acquired a mostly clean and non-rusty Subaru impreza wagon. the seller warned me that it would need the valve cover gaskets replaced and that it was throwing codes. the valve cover gasket leak was so bad that it had coated the underside of the engine in oil as well as the subframe.. the low point on the H-4 is the rear of both cylinder heads. so anyways, one of the codes was the P0420, which on the Subaru signals a catalytic low efficiency. after replacing the seals, a worn ignition coil, wires, and the four spark plugs that were somehow still firing despite being coated in 5w-30, the codes cleared out on their own once i got the thing started back up.

    the thing is, i think the previous owner had indeed been chasing the code by replacing sensors (good for me since I then didn’t have to do it). when it was obvious that the problem was somewhere else.

    the internet has digital reams of information on what to do when your Subaru throws a P0420. other brands use the code, but it seems to be particularly troublesome on the older Subarus. some say it will always be the cat and that replacing other things will only delay the inevitable. others say it just points toward a fuel mixture that is off, which could be caused by any number of things and then leading to the 02 sensors seeing a lean or rich condition downstream.

    this weekend, after the end of a 2000 mile road trip, the P0420 code came back. since the car didn’t seem to be running any differently, and given the parts already replaced, I decided to just throw in a can of fuel system cleaner. after running through that tank, the light is out. at a cost of $7. but then again, the code could come back in two weeks.

    but.. i had some success in dealing with the issue by only the using the code as a reference. the rest came from experience in how a car operates. if i did not have that knowledge, I would have had to pay someone else who DID have that knowledge. whether or not they would have been lazy and just thrown parts at it, or had the necessary experience and patience to correctly diagnose it is a different story.

    were this upgraded diagnostic system to exist, would it turn mechanics from knowledgable technicians who are trained to diagnose into simple wrench turners being told what to do by a computer? if so, does the consumer necessarily benefit from that?

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I think those actually interested in “perfect” (or at least very detailed) diagnostic information already have good set of choices if they want to spend the money.

    Depending on how in depth you want to get with your self diagnosis, you can start with a several hundred dollar OTC scan tool and go all the way up to the more expensive OEM scan tools.

    Most people just wouldn’t be interested enough to warrant a factory option, and the OEMs would rather keep that business for their dealers. The average non-car people I talk to nowadays get scared when they open the hood and see a plastic engine cover.

  • avatar
    turbobrick

    Hey now, that old Volvo wormbox is pretty handy when your car is dead at a grocery store parking lot. Not only will it record codes but you can also have it cycle through the different systems to see if they’re working. Obviously it’s a very crude tool, but it sure makes life easier when you can use it to verify that the injectors are getting power or that the crank sensor is sending (or not sending) signals.

  • avatar
    cheezeweggie

    Awww come on OP. You can google just about anything and come up with tons of info. And you can pick up a dirt cheap digital meter at harbor freight for $1.99 that is accurate enough for what you’re doing.

  • avatar
    Terry

    Hello, Golden2Husky! If you are still interested in that mod for your ProbeGT that gets you 4-7 MPG for about $25 in parts, let me know. And I realize not all that do their own service are tinkerers. But if you saw what I see day in, day out you get a pretty good picture of who knows, and who acts like they know what they are doing.

    D524zoom-zoom
    Many of the independents replace parts at will, and when the issue still isnt corrected, They have a way out. They stick their hand out and say..”We did all we can..you’ll have to see the dealer on that one. PAY US.”
    We do not have, nor need a way out–we ARE the dealer. The manufacturer backs us up with tech support, tools and equipment, etc. I don’t feel the need to compete with anybody–I just have to repair the vehicle not only for today, but for tomorrow as well.
    The is a saying in our occupation–”You can have it fixed fast, you can have it fixed cheap, and you can have it fixed right. Pick 2, because youre not going to get all 3.”
    And yes, back in my Jurassic-era youth, I worked at independents. I know the difference 1st hand.

    JCO, I also have 35 years as a Subaru Master Tech. Years ago, there was a reprogram and/or new ECU to repair an issue with steam in the exhaust cracking the porcelain inside the 02 sensors. Many times the sensors would fail, then gall in the thgreads upon removal. MANY converters and sensors needed replacement, and the reprogram was part of the repair.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    One issue that’s been overlooked is problems with non-engine systems. I won a lemon law suit on my former 05 Odyssey because the dealer couldn’t keep its power sliding doors working, which had failed on Day One of ownership.

    The mechanics had replaced the entire power drive assembly, ‘stretched’ the wiring harness (whatever that means), and dented the rocker panel during 20 month of tortuous ownership, and we were generally lied to the whole time. I got pretty soured on dealer service during this episode, not to mention the myth of Honda quality.

  • avatar
    Terry

    Gslippy, in the last few years OBDII has included Body Control Systems, ABS/Traction Control, Electronic Power Steering, Transmission, Heating/ Vent/AC Systems, and others.
    For example: Power Lock not working in LR door–I can, via the OBD Diagnostic Data Link– read the switches, motor, supply voltages, etc to operate the lock.
    Audio systems now have their own diagnostic procedure monitored via the radio display.
    These are Mazda systems I’m talking about, but I’m sure most manufacturers these days have similar systems in place on their vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      Cabriolet

      I have owned VW’s for the last 25 years. When OBD II came about i purchased a data cable that hooks between my OBD II port and my lap top along with a free program called VAG COM from a firm by the name of Ross-Tech. Over the years i have updated the data cable to handle the new Dual-K & Can cables of the newer VW / Audi vehicles and i can scan my entire vehicle in about 5 minutes. Not only will it tell me what is wrong it will tell me the part no. to goggle for the best price. The program also allows me to make computer adjustments and other changes to the vehicle. Total cost for this cable is now about $250.00. Free updates for life. I scan my car every year and if i have a problem and do not want to fix it myself i can tell the dealer what is wrong. Great system, any one with a VAG product should look into it.


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