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Car diagnostic software helps keep your vehicle running smoothly. This software is built into all cars made after 1996, and it is included in many earlier cars as well. The latest technology is called OBD-II, which stands for on board diagnostic system. The OBD-II is incredibly useful to mechanics and other people curious about the status of their vehicle when something seems to go wrong.

Positioning of the Software

The OBD-II system in your vehicle has sensors and ports in various parts of the car. There is one underneath the dash of most cars, and many vehicles also have a port under to the driver's seat. There are other sensors and activation centers spread throughout the vehicle in order to monitor the activity of various parts of the car. Essentially, the software is located all throughout the vehicle.

Function of the Software

The OBD-II monitors the proper functioning of your vehicle. It not only controls certain engine functions through the on board computer, it also keeps a record of all of the things that happen to your car as you drive it, good and bad. This information can be used later by mechanics, who download a series of diagnostic codes from the OBD-II port. These codes explain what is going on with the vehicle, and are the basis for the diagnosis of your problem and how to fix it when the check engine light comes on or if you experience other problems.


The software that measures the diagnostics of your car takes regular readings of different systems in the car. This is primarily centered on the engine, but the OBD-II includes sensors for the chassis, frame and other parts of the car too. At each reading, the software records a particular acronym or code that represents the functionality of that system. This information is stored within the OBD-II system and can be retrieved by attaching a computer to the port. The mechanic then downloads the codes and translates them to determine exactly what was going on at each point of inspection. This helps to calculate when and how damage occurred to a part of your car.