What an automotive mechanic thinks about Auto Doctor?

This is a guest post by Tim Miller. He’s an automotive mechanic from Colorado. Read on what he thinks about OBD Auto Doctor.

What is OBD Auto Doctor?

Given the name, you can imagine this OBD2 application can diagnose and cure problematic symptoms in your vehicle - all this without scheduling an appointment.

While this doctor is unlike most others, the OBD Auto Doctor is an advanced software that puts the medicine in your hands.

With this software you are able to use your PC, Mac or Mobile device to read and clear diagnostic codes from your car’s onboard diagnostics module. Either computer, tablet or smartphone can be your home mechanic with OBD Auto Doctor.

If you want to get to know your car’s diagnostics better and put all the tools into your handheld device, this is just a simple download.

With this software you will be able to find out why the check engine light or the MIL is blinking. Above all, it will tell you what steps you need to take to turn it off.

Additionally, you will have access to live data streaming and graphing in order to monitor your engine’s performance and make sure your car can pass emissions tests.

If you are tired of overpaying at the dealer, it’s time to upgrade your future repairs with a device that can help you save time and money.

What does it do: Features and Functions?

With the OBD Auto Doctor, you simply have to attach the adapter to your vehicles OBD2 port. OBD Auto Doctor is the best application for most of the trusted Bluetooth OBD2 adapters in the market.

This device will act as your personal communicator between your car’s computer and your mobile device.

Using Bluetooth, WiFi connection, serial port, or USB connection, you can utilize many ways to begin communicating and diagnosis your vehicles internal needs.

You will be able to turn your mobile device into a tool to help read Diagnosis Trouble Codes (DTCs) that appear when a malfunction is detected, such as confirmed codes, pending codes, or permanent codes.

Access to Freeze Frame data in order to capture live data from your engine at the exact time a malfunction is detected.

Beyond just reading the DTCs with a library full of over 18,000 trouble codes, this will also clear the check engine light.

Additionally, you’ll have access to readiness monitors to test the emissions of your vehicle, with the OBD Auto Doctor two readiness groups will be displayed.

Check your emission test yourself with this device, it will tell you the status of your vehicle since the last cleared DTC, as well as the status for the current driving cycle.

It is also loaded with various sensors and modulators that can help you monitor your vehicle in real time.

Some sensors include coolant temperatures, fuel pressure, manifold absolute pressure and airflow pressure.

One nice feature is the availability of both the metric and imperial system, making this device universally adaptable.

Moreso, you can perform oxygen sensor monitor tests, onboard diagnostics monitoring, and find ECU information.

Tell me the Pros and Cons

All is good here:

  • Compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux - Turn your computer into your comprehensive auto scanner with this next level technology.

  • Transferable data - Unlike some software which only allows you to use with one computer, the license key for OBD2 Auto Doctor can be transferred from each computer you own.

  • Multilingual functionality - With a user-friendly setup, you will have access to twelve different languages.

  • DTC database with 18000 trouble codes - You no longer have to look up an unknown trouble code, with an extensive database, the definition is at your fingertips.

  • Accurate diagnosis - With freeze frame data, clear emission readiness tests as well as sensor and parameter graphs, you will gain extensive knowledge about your vehicle, from the inside out.

What you need to know:

  • Subscription setup - In order to keep the OBD2 Auto Doctor updated and accurate, you’ll have to pay for updates along the way. To this end, the subscription model is quite flexible depending on your needs. Namely, if you want to use the software on a computer, it’s a single purchase.

Will it work with your device and vehicle: Compatibility?

The software works on Windows, Linux and Mac computers. For mobile devices, OBD Auto Doctor supports all iOS, Android and Windows phone. However, if you’re using iPhone or iPad you just need to check if it is a Bluetooth Low Energy adapter.

As long as you have an OBD2 compliant vehicle, OBD Auto Doctor should work for you.

This means you should double check if an OBD2 port is readily available within your vehicle, this is normal protocol for all vehicles newer than 1996 in the US or 2001/2004 in Europe.

However, if your car is an older model, this technology may not be suitable to assist you with vehicle diagnosis.

Who is it built for?

This technology is useful for those people in or outside of the automotive world.

If you’re a car enthusiast who would like to monitor your vehicle’s systems and stop paying dealership fees, the OBD Auto Doctor can help you have all the tools you need while keeping money in your pocket.

If you’re more involved in the automotive industry, such as a modern DIY mechanic, or small repair shop owner, OBD Auto Doctor technology can help reduce the time you spend trying to figure out a complication within a vehicle.

With OBD Auto Doctor monitoring all OBD2 systems and diagnosis, you will be able to identify and repair small problems before they become a big hassle.


Tim Miller profile photo

I’m Tim Miller, an automotive mechanic and blogger from Denver, Colorado. I’m the founder of obdstation.com, the automotive blog about OBD2 scan tools. My fanpage is facebook.com/autozikcom or twitter.com/autozik. I’ve had over 10 years experience in car repair and using OBD scanners. Some of my review articles about car diagnostic tools can be found on my own website obdstation.com.





How does lambda affect fuel consumption?

The engine fuel rate parameter ($5E) is supported only by rather new OBD2 compliant cars. The engine gives real-time data on how it’s consuming fuel with this parameter. But don’t worry even if your car doesn’t support it.

OBD Auto Doctor provides the calculated fuel consumption for almost every car. The software calculates the estimated fuel consumption based on several other parameters. The formula is a bit different depending on what parameters your car supports and what fuel it uses.

What is lambda?

In car diagnostics domain, air-fuel equivalence ratio is often regarded as lambda (λ). This is especially true in spoken language. Air-fuel equivalence ratio is the ratio of actual air-fuel ratio (AFR) to stoichiometry for a given mixture. In other words, lambda is the ratio between the amount of oxygen actually present in a combustion chamber versus the amount that should have been present to get perfect combustion.

  • In an ideal mixture, there’s exactly the amount of oxygen required to burn the amount of fuel present. Thus, lambda = 1.0.

  • In a lean mixture, there’s too much oxygen for the amount of fuel. Thus, lambda > 1.0.

  • In a rich mixture, there’s too little oxygen for the amount of fuel. Thus, lambda will be < 1.0.

In practice, the AFR devices measure the amount of residual oxygen or unburnt hydrocarbons in the exhaust gas. The engine monitors the lambda values in a feedback loop to adjust the air-fuel mixture.

OBD Auto Doctor uses the lambda values for the fuel consumption calculations. This is to get the most accurate estimation of fuel consumed.

Sources, and more information available at Air-fuel ratio on Wikipedia and Lambda as a Diagnostic Tool.

Lambda in practice

We did an experiment to find out how the lambda values affect the calculated fuel consumption in practice. In a data set A, we fetched the real lambda values from the car, and used those in the calculations. In a data set B, we assumed that the mixture was ideal all the time. In this case, the value of 1.0 was used as the lambda value.

We drove a sample track and measured both data sets during the same drive. Below is a graph containing the results. Click the image for larger view.


Fuel consumption with ideal and measured lambda
Fuel consumption chart from the csv data. Click for large image.


As you can see from the image, the ideal vs measured lambda doesn’t have too much impact in fuel consumption calculations. When driving at a constant speed, the difference is barely noticeable. During and after acceleration and deceleration, you can observe the change easier.

With this experiment, the average consumption with the ideal lambda was 5.69 [l/100km] while with the measured lambda it was 5.64 [l/100km]. So on average, the calculations are accurate even without the measured lambda value. However, with other engines and car models, the change can be different. This data was collected from 2.0 liter TFSI gasoline engine.





Torque, engine power and boost pressure added

A few days ago we launched the updated OBD Auto Doctor software. This time our main focus was in calculated performance parameters such as Engine Torque, Engine Horsepower and Turbo Boost Pressure.

You can now measure the performance of your car by monitoring these new sensors in real time. Read further to get insight into the details.


Torque, Engine Power and Boost Pressure
Engine performance sensors chart from the csv data, saved using Google Sheets


Engine Power or Horsepower

Engine power (or horsepower) can be estimated quite well using vehicle speed and its change over very short period of time. The total weight of the vehicle is also needed for valid results.

OBD Auto Doctor measures the engine power at the wheels. This is not the same as at the flywheel. Therefore, if the vehicle speed doesn’t change, the power will show zero. The horsepower will be greater than zero only when the vehicle is accelerating.

The software will also take power loss due to drag into consideration when calculating the power. An average drag coefficient and vehicle frontal area are used.

You can set the vehicle weight in the app settings. To get the most accurate weight, drive your car to a weightbridge. You could also estimate the total weight by using manufacturer defined weight added with the passenger weight, fuel weight plus any extra weight included in the vehile.

Torque

Torque is calculated from the engine power and RPM. With these two pieces of information, the torque can be estimated quite accurately. Torque is measured at the wheels just like the engine power.

Since torque is using engine power for the calculation, the vehicle weight is a factor in the calculation. Remember to set the correct weight!

Boost Pressure

Boost pressure value yields from the intake manifold absolute pressure. Barometric pressure is also taken into consideration. Now, the vehicle is required to support MAP (manifold absolute pressure) in order for the boost pressure to appear as supported. Barometric pressure is optional. The default pressure value at sea level is used unless the car provides support for the actual barometric pressure.

Negative pressure values represent vacuum. Positive values are boosted by a turbocharger or supercharger.

Other improvements

Among the new calculated performance parameters, we also added more.

The software has now support for all Mode $06 scaling IDs. The latest OBD2 standard version added 12 new identifiers. OBD Auto Doctor implements now all the new IDs in addition to the old ones.

If you are using the desktop software, download the latest version from the download page. The updated mobile apps can be found from the approriate app stores using your phone.





Diagnostic Trouble Codes Explained

Diagnostic Trouble Codes or OBD2 Trouble Codes are codes that the car’s OBD system uses to notify you about an issue. Each code corresponds to a fault detected in the car. When the vehicle detects an issue, it will activate the corresponding trouble code.

A vehicle stores the trouble code in it’s memory when it detects a component or system that’s not operating within acceptable limits. The code will help you to identify and fix the issue within the car.

Each trouble code consists of one letter and four digits, such as P1234. This blog post will teach you how to interpret the meaning of the codes.

Format of the OBD2 Trouble Codes

System or Category

The OBD2 Trouble Codes are categorised into four different systems.

  • Body (B-codes) category covers functions that are, generally, inside of the passenger compartment. These functions provide the driver with assistance, comfort, convenience, and safety.

  • Chassis (C-codes) category covers functions that are, generally, outside of the passenger compartment. These functions typically include mechanical systems such as brakes, steering and suspension.

  • Powertrain (P-codes) category covers functions that include engine, transmission and associated drivetrain accessories.

  • Network & Vehicle Integration (U-codes) category covers functions that are shared among computers and systems on the vehicle.

The first letter of the code will mark the system related to the trouble code.

Generic and manufacturer specific codes

The first digit in the code will tell you if the code is a generic or manufacturer specific code.

Codes starting with 0 as the first digit are generic or global codes. It means that they are adopted by all cars that follow the OBD2 standard. These codes are common enough across most manufacturers so that a common code and fault message could be assigned.

Codes starting with 1 as the first digit are manufacturer specific or enhanced codes. It means that these codes are unique to a specific car make or model. These fault codes will not be used generally by a majority of the manufacturers.

The first digit might be also 2 or 3. In this case the type depends on the system. B2xxx and C2xxx codes are manufacturer controlled while B3xxx and C3xxx codes are reserved at the moment. P2xxx codes are generic codes while P3xxx codes are manufacturer controlled. U2xxx codes are manufacturer controller as well as U3xxx codes.

Subsystem or functional area

Previously, the second digit defined the sub-system of the codes. However, the latest document defining the diagnostic trouble codes (J2012 revised in 2016-12) had some changes to this.

According to the document, as the DTC usage has increased with the introduction of new technology to vehicle systems, it was necessary to remove the grouping of DTCs into functional areas.

Fault description

The last two or nowadays three digits define the actual fault description. These numbers will tell the particular problem and each code is defined separately. There’s no formula to decode these codes automatically.

Luckily, OBD Auto Doctor software contains the fault description for over 18 000 diagnostic trouble codes.

Learn more

There’s no need to memorize the format of the codes because you can read the codes with the free version of the OBD Auto Doctor car diagnostic software.

If your car has the Check Engine Light on, it means that the vehicle has one or more confirmed OBDII trouble codes active. To learn

  • What to do when the malfunction indicator light illuminates, read this article.

  • How to read and clear the diagnostic trouble codes and the check engine light, read this article.





Thousands of new OBD2 Trouble Codes added!

OBD2 Trouble Codes or Diagnostic Trouble Codes are defined by SAE (Society of Automobile Engineers). SAE is the organization that specifies the OBD2 standards. These include the one that defines all the generic Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs). Car manufacturers follow these definitions when they assign DTCs for detected errors.

New DTCs

J2012 is the document that defines the OBD2 Trouble Codes. The standard hasn’t been updated for a while but few months ago it got a new revision. The newest revision contained a bunch of new DTCs. These DTCs take new technology such as hybrid vehicles into better consideration, for example.

OBD Auto Doctor contains now all the possible generic OBD2 Trouble Codes that exists. We added total of 3899 new DTCs to the software.

The software contains total of 18193 Trouble Codes. The latest PC & Mac software as well as the Android and iOS apps have all these codes included.

The codes include:

  • Powertrain: 6631 codes
  • Network & Vehicle Integration: 1017 codes
  • Chassis: 363 codes
  • Body: 165 codes
  • Rest of the codes are manufacturer specific trouble codes

Multiple Freeze Frames

The latest desktop software version added support for multiple Freeze Frames too. Typically, only one freeze frame is saved. But with newer cars, it’s possible to store multiple freeze frames; one for each trouble code. The software will now read all available frames.

This is a great addition if the vehicle has more than one issue present. You get details from each issue, not only the first one.