All you need to know about vehicle digital diagnosis

The diagnostic test can reveal existing flaws including problems with the exhaust, transmission, oil tank and other systems. Photo by Rachel Mabala

What you need to know:

According to, OBD stands for On-Board Diagnostic, a standardised system that allows external electronics to interface with a car’s computer system. It has become more important as cars have become increasingly computerised, and software has become the key to fixing many problems

“The need to diagnose any mechanical problem with ease caused me to opt for digital diagnosis,” Simon Were, owner of a VW says. He adds that it not only saves him money but time.
Jimmy Etyang, a mechanic at S-Line Motors LTD, says the amount of time spent on locating car problems, the hefty sum spent on the repairs or the sudden case of car malfunctions is very annoying. Etyang explains that the OBD is an automotive term referring to a vehicle’s self-diagnostic and reporting capability.
OBD systems give the vehicle owner or repair technician access to the status of the various vehicle subsystems, an intelligent system where different types of sensors are integrated into the vital areas of the vehicle that monitor the performance and report the system whether those areas are working according to the designed specifications of the vehicle or not.
When any anomalies are found, the sensors trigger an error code that is stored in the responsible controllers to be retrieved by the technician; and those that require immediate attention illuminate on the vehicle’s dashboard.
“There are several diagnostic codes and these are stored in the relevant controllers simply awaiting to be triggered by a fault within the system, which then is reflected on the dashboard panel. However, they are different for various error types while others will not show on the panel unless retrieved with a diagnostics tool,” Samuel Okello, a mechanic specialising in German cars explains. To eliminate the confusion, Okello says mechanics have the car’s OBD II port at their disposal, which when connected to the diagnostics machine, the codes are retrieved and the technical skills of interpretation and repair come into play.
He adds that this software offers several benefits such as:


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