05-21-09, 10:05 AM
Interesting article regarding the computerization of autos and the diagnostic codes that are most times kept secret by the automakers.
There is no reason not to have a simple process to display diagnostic codes using the radio display or DIC. Automakers can then provide the explanation of the codes on their owners' websites.
The OnStar service to read and interpret codes is good, but it requires you to maintain the OnStar contract and the level of integration between OnStar and the car varies on different models.
I think that anybody who really wants to know how to access codes and interpret them can do it alreday. I am able to, and trust me, I am not mechanically or computer saavy. I just did an internet search and printed off the code information for each vehicle. On the SLS, I know the "trick" to getting the codes to display on the dash. For the Lade, I have a handheld programmer that also pulls them.
Don't get me wrong, I like Congress' idea here. I am just saying, I am not sure who it is going to help. Anybody who is that interested can do it themselves right now with just a little bit of research. However, I am only speaking to vehicles I have owned (GM). So, I guess I don't know how easy or hard it is, for example, to do the same thing with a Honda.
A funny story about diagnostic codes /messages:
The Allante displays diagnostic messages on the DIC when you start the car. When I was shopping for my car, I'd search the online ads for dashboard pics. Enlarging that pic usually showed a diagnostic message on the DIC that hadn't been cleared.