It was a pleasant surprise to see OBD being mentioned in a TV advertisement of passenger car. OBD an acronym which automotive telematics people often talk about, but has not been a selling proposition amongst the passenger car manufacturers in India so far.
Somewhere in 1970s and early 80’s vehicle manufacturers started using electronically controlled engine to diagnose engine problems leading to polluting emission, and this was done to meet EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency)emission standards. OBD-II was introduced in the mid-’90s and made mandatory in all the passenger vehicles in 1996 in United States. OBD, the On Board Diagnostic for vehicles fitted with electronically controlled engines, provides vehicle engine performance data, including the emission, fuel usage, and other parameters vital for better maintenance of the vehicle.
In India, it has been in discussion amongst the automotive pros and enthusiast for last 5-6 years. It was somewhere in mid 2000s when some of the passenger cars in India started coming with OBD II, if I go by the some of the discussion threads in automotive portals in India.
According to official government notification(1) in July 2008, OBD I has to fitted in vehicles manufactured onwards April 2010( with some exception) and OBD II from April 2013 for all categories. Following items are mentioned under the monitoring items for the OBD II: catalyst, fuel injection system, particulate trap, coolant temperature, EGR, fuel system, emission control system, circuit continuity for all emission related power train components and distance traveled since malfunction indicator lamp turns on.
In couple of months, new vehicles will start coming with OBD II in India, including commercial and public transport vehicles. It could further lead to reduction in air pollution, maintenance cost and downtime of vehicle.
In days to come we can look forward to a shift in-house workshops with the government and industry, which may try to ensure that departmental inspection and maintenance of vehicle, benefits from the OBD I and OBD II. It opens a window of opportunity for training of the staff for capture and analysis of data. With the ability of OBD scanners to send these data to mobile phones or cloud storage, it could change the way we look at repair and maintenance of our vehicle. Moreover, the prerogative of having the vehicle maintained on basis of what needs to be done rather on the basis of number of kilometers run, which was with few of the luxury cars will now be there for people’s car too.