“Good morning!”, your boss says to you as you walk into your job at your favorite car company. “I’ve got an interesting project that it seems car people really want and I think you’re the person for the job.”

“People get tired of having to go to the dealer to get codes read, so we thought for our new model we’d introduce a feature that would tell you what was wrong right on the dashboard!” You’ve thought this would be a pretty neat idea too. Even Grandma should know what to do if her car says “check gas cap” (though she was an engineer). “You’re going to be working on the database of trouble codes and their solutions. How hard can it be?”

Unfortunately, you know how that phrase often goes. Here is no different. From being around previous models and knowing what breaks on them, you can make people cry by reciting a four digit number. Here though, it’s not possible to rely on being able to do that because you’re working on an all-new model with a new engine design, a new transmission design, a new everything (plus everybody would rather forget past mistakes...). The only things you probably have enough information to use are diagnoses common to most cars as a whole.

Your boss interrupts your thoughts. “Now the big wigs aren’t fully sold on the idea, but I told them you can manage. I’m sure you know that I like cars too, and I’ve got a few codes I read and diagnosed over the past year or so. If you can come up with good descriptions for them, I’m sure they’ll be convinced. Next Wednesday is our next meeting. Come up with something great before then!”

As he leaves, he hands you a post-it with the following written on it:

  • P0420
  • P0440
  • P0730
  • Po740
  • P0303

Opponauts, will you let your boss down?

If you haven’t gathered, I have strong opinions on this technology, but I’m open minded. I want to see what you guys can come up with because I’m probably missing something. Next week or so I’ll pick some good responses and share the stories behind each code. All of them are real and (as far as I know) can be generated by any OBD-II equipped car model (though they may come from optional features that not every car has). Good luck!