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OBD Trouble Codes
Several automakers introduced computer interfaces for their own cars before the 1990s; but the push to standardize didn’t begin until 1991; when the California Air Resources Board (CARB) mandated that all cars sold in California needed some form of capability. However, CARB didn’t issue standards for the systems until 1994.
So, Virtually every new car sold in the U.S. over the past 20 years follows this standard. Cars have a port, usually located under the dashboard on the driver’s side; that devices can plug into and connect to a car’s computer. Companies have plenty of ideas about what you can plug into that port.
The trouble codes are just that, though: Codes. Instead of a diagnosis like “loose gas cap,” you will see a string of letters and numbers; that is incomprehensible without a reference. Trouble codes start with a letter and include four or five numbers; which together point to the specific subsystem and what problem it is experiencing.
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