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Module 2: Types of Vehicles

To begin Module 2, it is important to understand that while vehicles share certain similarities, there can be vast differences. The last thing you want to happen on the job is for a customer to bring in their vehicle, and you have no idea how to repair it. By the end of this section, you should be able to identify different vehicle types and how to find solutions for them.


Classic Ozona, 2013, 300DayZ Photography.

To begin, we have classic cars, such as the Ford Model A. These vehicles are becoming increasingly rare, and are often owned by classic car restoration hobbyist. Nonetheless, you may still encounter a classic car from time-to-time. It is important to realize that much of the vehicle is still the same. These vehicles were carbonated, did not have emissions control, and had the bare minimum of electronics. Everything was done by hand, so be prepared to put in some elbow-grease and patience, as classic cars are typically thoroughly rusted. Parts for these vehicles can be extremely hard to source, so try searching for replacements on Classic Car Industries and eBay. Additionally, there may be a classic car restoration company in your area, so it is always worth a quick check to see if any local shops have the parts that you need.

Moving forward, cars got progressively more advanced in engine performance, handling, and technology. By 1988, the Engine Control Unit (or Management) became an electronic way of controlling the engine and emissions outputs. In 1988, Honda introduced the On Board Diagnostic (OBD) systems in vehicles with their B-series engines. This early model of technology is informally known as OBD0. It was not until 1992 that the OBD1 system was introduced, a true programmable computer controller for car performance. A more advance version of this system, the OBD2, was introduced by Honda only four years later in 1996. Cars with OBD2 systems, the majority of which you will see today, contain nearly every dataset you could ever dream for, and allows for dealers and mechanics to quickly identify problems within a vehicle.

During this course, we are going to focus on cars that are gasoline powered and run on the OBD2 system. We will not be getting into more advanced topics, such as diesel engines, heavy equipment operation, or classic car restoration.

Regardless if you are working on a car or truck, the most important thing to remember is this: All gasoline powered cars require the same key ingredients, which we will dive into next.