Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Does the OBD system use more than lights to communicate with the driver?

asked by on

Are lights the only thing the OBD uses to warn the driver of issues?

Malfunction Indicator Lamps (MIL) and audible alarms are currently the only means by which the On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) system can inform the driver of any issues that adversely affect the operation of the engine or other electronically controlled system.

The MIL, or Check Engine Light, being illuminated doesn’t automatically mean that your car is about to break down. It does mean that the Powertrain Control Module (PCM) has detected a failure that is causing your tailpipe emissions to exceed acceptable limits. Basically, the MIL is telling you that you are polluting the air. You need to have a trained technician check the OBD system to determine what issues the PCM has detected and to have them addressed. Not only will your engine run efficiently, but you won’t be polluting the atmosphere, either.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!
  • Home
  • Questions
  • Does the OBD system use more than lights to communicate with the driver?

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Where is the plug in for the code reader? 2013 Honda Civic

I am working on this

Q: air conditioner not blowing air from dash vents, but blowing air from side vents

A few different items can cause the air to not blow out of the dash vents. The most common are a blend door or a control switch. The best method for the AC diagnosis feature can be found in the...

Q: Obd scan tool is not reading. Car wont start. An battery keeps dying. New battery

Check fuse number 11 in fuse box to see if it is blown. Check all fuses in engine and interior fuse boxes for any blown ones. You may need to try disconnecting the engine control module and reconnecting it...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...