Why We Now Want Our Cars to Break

Scenery - Stoplight

By now, you’ve surely seen the news about OpenbayConnect, where Openbay leverages connected-car technology to diagnose your vehicle and tell you which nearby mechanics can fix it at what price.

What? You missed it? Here are some highlights:

Today is a big day. We’ve just received our OpenbayConnect OBD II in the mail, and installed it in the car this morning.

Here’s how it went:

Take a look at the below photo, and please pardon the dirty floormats – this is real life! See the far lefthand side, right under the trunk-release button? That’s our car’s on-board diagnostic (aka OBD) port.


If your car or truck has an issue, when you bring it to a shop, the mechanic will plug a scanner into that very port to read your vehicles diagnostic trouble codes (aka DTCs) to determine what’s wrong with your vehicle. Didn’t think you had a connected car? Virtually all cars built on or after 1996 have one of these ports.

Let’s take a closer look. It almost looks like a computer’s USB plug, and the OBD is just as easy to install.


There we go – it fits like a glove.


When a mechanic connects to that port, the scanner will display codes. And those codes are complicated to send even the most ardent car fans searching in car-repair manuals and online for the codes’ meaning.

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Newer cars rarely break, but our car is a 2010, and it’s not unusual to have error codes “thrown.” We’ve had an airbag light illuminate occasionally over the last couple of days, so are curious to learn what’s going on.


So, now that we’re part of the OpenbayConnect early access program, what will happen when our car throws a DTC (remember that’s diagnostic trouble code)? Openbay will receive that data, translate its complicated code into plain English. If the issue is a simple one, it’ll alert you with a simple fix, such as “Tighten your gas cap.”


If the vehicle’s issue-severity warrants, your car’s codes will be shared with local car repair shops. Those shops will submit quotes to make the fix, and voila – we’ll be notified about which shops are able to fix the problem and at what price. All we’ll have to do is choose a shop and click to book. No problemo!

Stay tuned for more. In the meantime, we’ll keep fingers morbidly crossed that this thing breaks.