In the last couple of weeks, a few users have asked, “What is an OBD-II adapter, and why do I need one?” And we’re glad they did, because we think it’s important everyone know a little more about the history and use of this monumental, game changing device. Don’t you?
Volkswagen kicked things off in 1968 when they introduced an on-board computer system in all fuel-injected type 3 car models. Soon other car manufacturers began to follow suit, including General Motors and Nissan. However diagnostic data from these systems were highly unreliable since each manufacturer had introduced their own set of standards. In an attempt to combat the problem, the OBD-I device was developed in 1987 as well as a proposed set of standards from the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), followed by an OBD-II device in 1994.
In 1991, California passes a law requiring all new vehicles to have basic OBD capabilities and then in 1994, the United States government passes a law that required all 1996 or newer vehicle models to come equipped with a standard diagnostic connector (DLC) to communicate with the Electronic Control Unit (ECU), also known as the cars computer.
What can we learn from these standard OBD-II devices? We’re glad you asked. An OBD-II device grants us access to a vehicle’s insider information, like fuel economy, emission statuses, VIN, and even help detect future problems. This automotive device is key to transforming your vehicle into a sought after connected car, without ever stepping into the dealership.
Previously only mechanics had access to scanning tools required to read and understand diagnostic codes, but rapidly developing technologies like affordable Bluetooth scanners and the Clutch Optimized Driving app, now allow consumers the same capabilities. And if you’re having problems locating the port, it’s typically located behind the dashboard, above the brake pedal.