Comparison: OBDI and OBDII Explained

OBDII or On-Board Diagnostics stands for a testing methodology used for all cars, to review and test the emissions and the productions of carbon gas into the environment. Basically, all cars are now equipped with on-board diagnostic controls. The OBDII standards give a mechanic the ability to test the car for efficiency. Specifically, it helps to control the amount of pollutants released in the air due to the pollution that cars make during the course of every day travels.

What Is OBDII?

OBDII is a standard that is used in many newer cars on the road today (cars that have been manufactured since the 1990s). It is a part of the car's diagnostic system. What is does is provide engine control. OBDII also helps to monitor various components of the chassis. In addition, it watches various body and accessory devices and it performs analysis on the diagnostic control network found in the vehicle (car or truck).

Why Was OBDII Implemented?

Basically, OBDII was put into place because of the pollution problems found in the state of California. Namely, many California officials were concerned about the major smog problem that was beginning to occur in and around the Los Angeles area. Upon the introduction to the California market, the Federal government quickly rose to adopt the standards nationally.

As part of the national implementation, car manufacturers began to develop cars with electronically controlled fuel feed and ignition systems. While these components were being developed, the governing body over the automotive industry began to toy with the idea of standardization with regard to these regulations required on cars. OBDII was developed as a result of the push towards standardization. It has since been adopted by national car manufacturers in their cars since around 1996.

Why Do We Need OBDII?

OBDII provides a standard on emissions testing and diagnostic requirements. It is an effort to help clean up our air pollutants and to require the ongoing maintenance of car owners that will help to preserve the environment and the quality of the air.

What Is OBDI?

OBDI was really the precursor to OBDII. It was the beginning development of standardization for automotive emission testing. It started out being developed to test the emissions sensors in cars. It was great to check some of the sensors, but not all sensors in the cars. For example, OBDI was good at checking the EGR valve. However, what it failed at was recognizing whether some of the components in the car's emission system was even working at all. It did not test completely inoperable parts or alert the mechanic to the inoperability. Without the learning and stumbling blocks run into through the OBDI framework, the standards relative to OBDII would not have been developed.