On-board Diagnostics and its impact on your fleet business

karthipriya s | May 17 - 2018


When you are a part of a technology-driven economy, it becomes challenging to identify which of the multitudinous innovations are imperative for your business. However, the importance of on-board diagnostics for your fleet operations remains undebatable.

Back in 1970, there seemed a growing concern regarding the environmental pollution arising from motor vehicles. And so, the first on-board diagnostics system was introduced to monitor emission levels.

Today, intelligent on-board devices that are capable of analyzing engine performance have launched onto the market. The advanced capabilities of these devices have transformed the way vehicles are operated to help them sustain for a longer period.

But, how is on-board diagnostics significant for the functioning of a fleet business? Let’s take a closer look.

Workings of an On-board Diagnostics

Before we identify the benefits OBD brings to fleet management, it is vital to understand exactly how OBD functions.

In simple terms, a typical on-board diagnostics system is a combination of actuators and sensors with each allocated to diagnose a particular engine function. These actuators and sensors are, in turn, connected to an ECU (Engine Control Unit).

Every engine trouble has a specific diagnostic trouble code (DTC). So, whenever there is a problem, the system picks up the error and provides a warning by sending out the DTC alert. These codes are readable by various tools using which vehicle owners can understand the problem.

And here’s where the fleet intelligent system comes in.

The OBD-II device transmits the DTC alert to the fleet managers and they can implement preventive measures to protect the vehicle.

Some of the data that can be gathered from an OBD-II include:

   i) Vehicle odometer reading

   ii) Engine faults

   iii) Battery life

   iv) Engine speed

   v) Engine working hours (including idling hours)

   vi) Fuel level

   vii) Fuel usage (including idling fuel wastage)

   viii) Emission levels

   ix) Harsh acceleration, braking and cornering

How OBD benefits your fleet operations?

By providing real-time diagnostic data, on-board devices help fleet managers in maintaining their vehicles in optimal condition. Also, the cumulative effect of having such intelligent system can help businesses in lowering their expenditure.

   i) Predictive maintenance for reduced costs: The key aspect of an OBD is the early detection system. By identifying minuscule problems at an early stage, your fleet business can rectify the error before it leads to a major vehicle problem. This way, your business can save big on major maintenance expenses.

   ii) Monitor aggressive driving: Speeding, harsh acceleration and hard braking are destructive to the driver’s safety and the vehicle. OBD helps fleet managers in controlling such driving patterns by sending out alerts to their application.

   iii) Improve engine health: When detrimental practices such as harsh driving are controlled, it becomes easier to preserve the engine life. Using OBD, your fleet business can ensure the longevity of your vehicles and, thereby, extract the maximum potential from your assets.

   iv) Reduce engine idling: An hour of engine idling can lead to at least a gallon of fuel wastage. Besides, idling can shorten the engine life. Using on-board diagnostics, fleet businesses can track the number of idle hours and identify ways in which it can be managed. By doing so, your business can reduce fuel wastage and improve vehicle condition.

   v) Analyze fuel consumption: OBD helps in tracking fuel level at every interval. With the relevant data from your fleet management system, you can monitor fuel consumption for every vehicle. This will help in identifying vehicles with better mileage for your operations.

   vi) Better maintenance planning: Instead of randomly planning your vehicle maintenance, fleet managers can prioritize the maintenance schedule based on the vehicle and engine performance. Using the OBD data, fleet managers will know the exact problem of each vehicle and how it can be rectified.

Stay one step ahead of your operations and make better decisions by implementing an OBD device for your fleet.