Car

Once again, this little device to the left has saved me $100+.

A few years ago, my Chevy Volt’s ABS warning light came on. A brief search around various forums said the most likely cause was driving through deep puddles in wet weather. That the water would muck up the ABS (automatic braking / skid avoidance sensor) and, typically, waiting until everything dried out and then resetting the trouble code would fix it (would make the warning light go out).

To reset the trouble code requires an OBDII scanner of some sort. OBDII is the on board diagnostics system and a standard connector for interacting with the system has been mandated on all new cars in the US since 1996 (but the original OBD systems date all the way back to 1969!).

When you take your car to the shop and they come back after 15-20 minutes with a printed report of various trouble codes? Most likely, a standard report produced by the OBDII system.

There are three types of codes, more or less, confirmed, pending, and permanent. Confirmed and pending are typically the “detected a problem, might go away” and “might be a problem variety”. Permanent are the “yeah, really, a problem was detected” variety. Would have been at least $150 to clear the codes at a dealer and, of course, an upsell for many hundrends of dollars to “fix” the “clearly on the verge of failing” sensor.