If your vehicle was manufactured after 1996, it contains an On Board Diagnostic (OBD) computer that captures information about how it’s running. OBD II is version 2.0 of the standard for communicating this information.
The data tracked by the OBD II system was originally intended to monitor the engine’s emissions and track down problems that caused cars to pollute more than normal. Today, however, manufacturers have extended the standard to contain a great deal of data about problems and performance. OBD II data is what causes your car’s “check engine” light to go on when there is a problem, and it is your mechanic’s tool of first recourse when you bring the car in with symptoms that have no obvious cause.
Since the data’s transmission format and content are standardized, a number of third parties have developed hardware to detect and display these codes. Some of these devices hook up to laptops, which means you can display and catpure this data.
ProScan is an popular tool that allows you to use a laptop or PC to communicate with your vehicle’s diagnostic system.
With the new Fuel Economy Analysis tool, you’ll be able to determine your vehicle’s average fuel economy during any trip. It’s real-time display allows you to monitor instantaneous fuel consumption rates which can help you learn to drive more efficiently, thus saving money on fuel. You can also specify the current price of fuel and learn exactly how much each trip costs you.
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