Owning a car might just be one of the most fulfilling achievements in your life You’ll notice that most people treat them as they would their own children, with a ton of love and care. There’s something about the relationship between a car and its owner that is just special. This is why it’s extremely troubling for an owner when their car malfunctions or has any kind of problem. You want to fix it as soon as possible to be back on the road again. But for that to happen, you need to understand what the problem is, which means you need to understand the car codes.
Diagnostic trouble codes
These are basically generic fault codes that come with any car so that any device can figure out what is wrong with the vehicle. What happens is the device reads the code, and based on a preset code added by the manufacturer, it decodes the numbers and letters in front of it and identifies the problem.
You’ll most likely come across the term OBD codes quite often when dealing with your car, and you need to understand what it means. OBD stands for onboard diagnostics, and it’s basically the car’s electronic system performing self-diagnostics and figuring out the problem. There is an OBD2 code list that you should get acquainted with because it is likely that whatever is wrong with your car will be found on that list. You should understand how these trouble codes work so you can pinpoint the problem with your car and fix it.
The first letter
To understand an OBD code, you should know what each letter and number mean in the code. Each has a different classification, and based on that you can pinpoint the exact problem and work on fixing it.
P: Powertrain, which includes the engine, gearbox, and so on.
C: Chassis, including mechanical systems like steering, braking, and suspension.
B: Body, which mainly covers the parts found in passenger compartments.
U: User network, and that is the functions that are managed by the onboard computer systems.
The first digit (second character)
After the first letter, you’re going to find that there is a number that serves a very important function. It shows you whether or not the code is a standardized code, also known as a generic code, and that is referred to by 0. The other option is a manufacturer code, and that is referred to by 1.
The second digit (third character)
This digit shows which particular function of the car is malfunctioning, and you’ll find eight systems numbered from 0 to 7. You have 0, 1, and 2 indicating problems with air and fuel mixtures, 3 for ignition systems, 4 auxiliary emissions, 5 engine idling, 6 computer circuit, and 7 for transmission.
There are also two more digits between 0 and 99, and those define the exact problem you’re dealing with. An example of code would be P0008, which means that the engine control module has some timing issues. You should try to acquaint yourself with these codes because you’ll most often come across plenty of them.