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Kopycinski's Brain - OBD & Troubleshooting Sensors

Posted in How To on November 1, 2011
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A modern vehicle with On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) holds substantial microprocessor power and has small control modules that communicate with each other throughout the vehicle. They can monitor vehicle health, and through the use of sensors, engine control is now a highly sophisticated process.

OBD-II vehicles typically have oxygen sensors in the exhaust flow ahead of and behind the catalytic converter(s), twice the number of sensors as non-OBD-II vehicles. OBD-II systems are also capable of monitoring misfires based on individual engine cylinder. Some codes point to the oxygen sensor as a possible problem, but to be sure, it’s often best to make voltage measurements on the sensors to determine its health.

Whenever you have drivability problems or your vehicle flags a fault code, you’ll often need to do some troubleshooting to get to the root of the problem. A specific code may or may not point you to a specific component that is out of spec. It may suggest several possible components that could be at fault. In this case, further troubleshooting may be necessary. It may be a situation where you can monitor the sensor voltage level, such as on an operating oxygen sensor, or you may have to take other voltage or resistance measurements at a sensor to further determine its condition. Factory repair manuals often specify the measurements that need to be made.

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