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Fuel Savers - Automotive Scan Gauges...

16 March 2013, 07:41 PM

Fuel Savers - Automotive Scan Gauges

Many of us have had the opportunity of sitting in a Skoda or a Volkswagen and seeing the onboard computer display information such as the Fuel economy, Distance to empty, Run time etc..

 and wondered why can’t our Indian manufacturers also provide us with something similar. Until recently even the Honda’s and Toyota’s did not have a Multi-information display on their cars. Maruti introduced this feature with their New Swift, however most of the other models were not so privileged.  So what do the rest of us who wish to have this feature do? We at set out to research this very question and came up with a surprisingly easy answer – The OBD2 Gauges.

What exactly does OBD mean? OBD is the short form for On Board Diagnostic. Mostly all vehicles with Multi-point Fuel Injection system have an on-board computer.  Controlling the engine is the most processor-intensive job on your car, and the engine control unit (ECU) is the most powerful computer on most cars. The ECU uses closed-loop control, a control scheme that monitors outputs of a system to control the inputs to a system, managing the emissions and fuel economy of the engine (as well as a host of other parameters). Gathering data from dozens of different sensors, the ECU knows everything from the coolant temperature to the amount of oxygen in the exhaust. With this data, it performs millions of calculations each second, including looking up values in tables, calculating the results of long equations to decide on the best spark timing and determining how long the fuel injector is open. The ECU does all of this to ensure the lowest emissions and best mileage. All the information on the ECU can be accessed by connecting a

Scan Tool to the vehicles OBD port (which basically is as simply as connecting a computers’ monitor to the CPU). The ECU can pinpoint the exact fault rather than go through the lengthy process of manually trying to detect the problem areas. So all we need to do is connect the equipment to the OBD port and all the information that we need is readily available at hand. However these scan tools are bulky to use and very expensive to own.

The OBD2 Gauges are Small, Portable, extremely Affordable and one Gauge can fit in practically all cars. As long as the car has an OBD2 Port, these gauges will operate, no matter if your car is a Petrol, Diesel, Hybrid or Runs on Alternate fuel such as LPG..

Installation of these gauges is extremely simple and requires no technical knowledge. All you do is locate the Car’s OBD2 Port, Which is mostly located below the car’s steering wheel. Plug in the OBD2 Connector and switch on the ignition. The Gauges will automatically detect the type of Car and the Protocol that it is running and present you with the gauges that are compatible with your car. All you have to do is follow the onscreen instructions and enter the Engine Size and Fuel Tank capacity and the device is ready to be used to save fuel and money.

So basically who would require an OBD2 Gauge in their cars? Answer – Just about everyone.

Why? Well to save fuel and money of-course..

How? Let us point out how and which details can be obtained through the OBD gauges and how will this benefit the common man.

1. It is a proven fact that your driving style is directly proportional to your vehicles fuel consumption. Rash Driving, Fast Acceleration and Braking hampers the vehicles’ average to a great extent. But how do we know if our driving style is correct, or if we are obtaining the maximum efficiency from the car? The best way is by the means of the Instantaneous Mileage figure. The OBD Gauge determines how much fuel is going into the cylinders and provides you with the average of the car at any given point of time. This figure tells you the average of the car at the current time and your driving style. So press the pedal more than required or drive in the wrong gear and you will see the average drop. Just by using these figures, you can select the most efficient gear and throttle position to increase your cars’ average by over 30%. You can also determine certain facts for yourself, such as

Is it better to drive with Windows down or with the Air Conditioner

Does tyre inflation play a significant role in the vehicles’ average

Driving at what speed delivers the best average

Which is the best gear for climbing or descending slopes

Does engine braking use more fuel

How much fuel is getting wasted while idling the car at a Signal etc..

In an Era of ever increasing Fuel Prices, the better the average of your vehicle, the more significant is the monthly cost saving.

2. The Trip Average can be used to determine how much fuel was used during a particular trip and will show you how short trips and cold engines seriously affect the overall average of the car. You also get other useful gauges such as Litres used per 100 Kms along with Litres used per hour etc.

By manually inputting the price of Fuel, you can also calculate how much money you are spending per kilometer.

3. You can enter the amount of fuel (Petrol / Diesel) that has been put in the fuel tank and these gauges can determine your current DTE (Distance to Empty) which shows how many kilometers you can travel before your car runs out of Fuel. Using the average figures it also tells you how much Fuel you have used and exactly how much Fuel is Remaining (in Litres) in your fuel tank. Some of the cars have the fuel sensor connected to the OBD which means that you do not have to manually enter the amount of fuel filled everytime and the OBD gauge automatically detects the amount of fuel in the tank.

4. The OBD Gauges also give you the Run Time or the amount of time that you have been driving the car. This information is useful to know how much time it took you to get from one place to another without counting the halts taken. The OBD Gauge also informs you of your Average Speed throughout your Trip.

5. The OBD is also connected to the cars speedometer. You can see the cars Speed in a digital readout and can calibrate it with a GPS too. This will enable you to calculate distances and fuel economy more accurately.

6. For Cars that do not have an inbuilt Tachometer (Like the base variants of many cars) the OBD Gauges also have the option of showing you the Current RPM.

7.  You can also record your cars Performance with these gauges. You can calculate your 0-100 Acceleration rate, 100-0 Braking Performance along with your Quarter mile time, Top Speed etc.

Though this may not meet everyone’s fancy, there is a real plus side to this feature.

Many of us have drivers or young children using the car. Once the car is out you really do not know how it is being driven. Whether the car is being used safely or being driven rash and fast is a big question.

With the recording capability of the OBD gauges, you can easily see how fast the car was being driven, what was the Top Speed that the car was Driven at, What was the maximum RPM recorded and what was the Fuel Economy. Knowing these figures the Big Question is easily answered. By catching the Bad Driving habits in time, you may just save your Child’s life.

8. For the Enthusiasts’, there is a gauge for all your needs. The OBD gauge can provide you information such as Engine Load %, Horse Power being generated, Amount of Torque being Generated Manifold Pressure, Engine Coolant Temperature, Transmission Temperature, Intake Air Temperature, Exhaust Temperature, Outside Air Temperature, Throttle Position, etc
A total of over 75 such gauges are possible along with a few sets of Trip Data.

You can also check your Cars real time CO2 emission and compare the DATA with your PUC certificate.

But the best part is the ability of the OBD gauge to act as a Scan Tool. When the

vehicle check light comes on, the cars User Manual says that you need to immediately take the car to a service station. Then we are at the mercy of the Garage to inform us what is wrong with the car. There is no way of verifying what they are saying is 100% correct nor can we know if they are lying by telling us a few extra things that are not actually spoilt to earn some extra money. The OBD gauge tells you the exact problem so that you can research the solution and costs before going to the garage. This way you can ensure that you are not cheated in anyway.

You are also informed of any Pending Trouble Codes that might occur shortly so that you can carry our preventive maintenance to ensure you don’t get stuck midway along a journey and can avoid extra costs that may be applicable if a part completely fails.

In case you feel that the check light has come on but the problem is not serious (like a blown fuse which can be easily replaced) you can just opt to Turn OFF the CHECK LIGHT. This further saves time and money by not having to go to the Garage at all.

The OBD gauges can also tell you when it is time to get the car serviced and how old is the engine oil. You can also check your Battery’s voltage to see if the Cars’ Battery has got spoilt or requires replacement.

Apart from giving a lot of information about the car, its’ engine and the mechanicals, this simple yet effective device can not only help us increase the average that we are getting from the car but also save money by enabling us to know what exactly is wrong with the car. And it could maybe save someone’s life too.

Here are a few examples of the type of OBD2 Gauges that are available and their mounting options


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