Plugging one's car into the computer at the parts dealer.

albert_135January 10, 2011

It seems to be a mixed bag, doesn't always work, or so I'm told by my spouse, but plugging one's car into the computer at the parts dealer has been a fact of life for several years now.

So, it suddenly** occurred to me that the manufacturer should have just put the computer in the car.

** Actually I was prompted by a news story that Kenmore was going to put a diagnostic computer in some of their appliences.

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sushipup1

There are already all sorts of computers in cars now. And they fail, too.

In the past 18 years, we've had three Fords, all of which had the same 'engine diagnostic computer' fail at about the same mileage, 70K to 80K miles. For about a $800 repair on each.

My Hondas, OTOH, have never had an engine computer fail, not in 150K+ and 265K+ miles. The two current Hondas, with 101K and 60K miles, have no issues either.

But maybe that's for the Auto forum?

    Bookmark   January 10, 2011 at 3:16PM
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brickeyee

The OBD (On Board Diagnostic) port only works as well as the cars software at reporting problems.

In many cases the diagnostic tree starts with getting an error code, and then making sure the sensor itself is operating correctly.

If the sensor is bad, any input it supplies is suspect, and the computer may create other problems that appear only vaguely related to the sensor problem.

A bad throttle position sensor can cause the conptuer to alter the engine air-fuel mixture, or a bad oxygen sensor can result in changes in air-fuel also (producing all the symptoms of that problem).

It is not like the computer always identifies the defect, it just might say that the oxygen sensor is 'out of expected range.'

    Bookmark   January 11, 2011 at 8:21AM
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dennisgli

It's not that the car needs a computer. It's that the car needs a display that would show you the error codes. Then you could look them up yourself on the web :-) .

    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 9:48AM
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mike_kaiser_gw

It's not that the car needs a computer. It's that the car needs a display that would show you the error codes.

Years ago I had a Chevy that would display the codes as flashes of the check engine light. Flash - pause - flash - flash was code 12. I just needed to short out two of the terminals on the connector with a paper clip.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 3:43PM
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albert_135

It's not that the car needs a computer. It's that the car needs a display that would show you the error codes.

That's what I was thinking. I just garbled the OP. We need a display in the vehicle.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2011 at 4:01PM
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brickeyee

"We need a display in the vehicle. "

It would only help with the first step of repair, reading the codes.

The codes often do NOT tell exactly what the problem is, just what sensor the computer thinks is giving it bad (out of range sometimes) data.

GM used to have EGR position sensors on their carburated OBDI engines.
If the EGR failed the trouble code was normally 'EGR position sensor failure.'
Often there was nothing wrong with the sensor, the EGR itself was frozen up and not moving.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2011 at 3:58PM
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