A Guide to On-Board Diagnostics for Students Interested in an Auto Mechanic Career

automotive schools in Canada
Vehicle malfunctions can occur at any time, and can affect a number of components found within certain systems. However, once drivers notice a problem with their car, it can be difficult for them to diagnose the specific area in need of repairs.
As mechanics begin to inspect the vehicle to identify the location of a particular malfunction, they are aided with on-board diagnostics as a tool to better understand the problem. These systems can play an intricate role in helping automotive experts accurately locate a fault within a vehicle and avoid any additional errors. Here is a guide to on-board diagnostics that those aiming to pursue a career in the automotive industry can benefit from.

What Are On-Board Diagnostics?

Today’s cars, trucks, and other vehicles contain subsystems that consist of electrical, fuel, engine, and other components that make up the vehicle. On-board diagnostics are systems that are built within vehicles that monitor each subsystem’s performance and report any potential malfunction. In the 1980’s, vehicle manufacturers began installing these diagnostics in automobiles in order to alert drivers when a malfunction had occurred. Once a malfunction is detected, it allows repair technicians to effectively identify and retrieve the necessary information needed in order to repair the problem.
Moreover, students in automotive mechanic courses will become familiar with the system’s ability to improve vehicle and environmental safety. That’s because it can help maintain vehicle performance and quality by catching problems early enough to sometimes prevent more severe situations.

How Can On-Board Diagnostics Help Professionals in an Auto Mechanic Career?

On-board diagnostics have a built-in self-diagnosis program with sensors that can detect minor or major failures in the vehicle and will alert the driver by illuminating a warning light if a malfunction is detected. A Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL), also known as the “check engine light”, will appear on the dashboard panel to signal a possible problem relating to the engine, fuel, exhaust, or other component. Also, the motion of the light can tell technicians if the problem may be major or minor upon first glance. If the light is flashing as opposed to steady, it could indicate that there is an engine misfire or fuel control system fault that could severely damage the performance of the vehicle.

On-board diagnostics make it easier for mechanics to solve complex problems
On-board diagnostics make it easier for mechanics to solve complex problems

Once the light has been turned on, the system will store a fault code that will indicate the precise problem, which technicians can access with a scan tool. Those in an auto mechanic career can use a scan tool to reveal the code and then match it with its area description. The area that is associated with each code will tell mechanics where the problem is located. This helps to speed up diagnostics, as mechanics don’t have to spend time examining multiple parts. It is important for future mechanics to familiarize themselves with different fault codes to ensure accuracy during diagnosis.
Are you interested in pursuing a career in mechanics?
Contact CATI to learn more about automotive schools in Canada.

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