Handheld automotive diagnostic tool with VIN decoder and communication system

  • US 9,117,319 B2
  • Filed: 07/13/2009
  • Issued: 08/25/2015
  • Est. Priority Date: 06/30/2005
  • Status: Active Grant
First Claim
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1. A method of diagnosing a vehicle having an onboard computer and a vehicle identification number, the onboard computer configured to transmit the vehicle identification number in response to receipt of an identification request transmitted in a first protocol, the onboard computer including diagnostic data being retrievable in response to receipt of a diagnostic request in a second protocol, the method comprising the steps of:

  • a. connecting a diagnostic device to the onboard computer;

    b. retrieving the vehicle identification number from the onboard computer using the first protocol;

    c. matching the vehicle identification number with a second protocol database independent of user intervention, the second protocol database stored locally on the diagnostic device and including one or more second protocols, to determine a specific second protocol of the one or more second protocol(s) being useful for retrieving diagnostic data associated with a particular vehicle system;

    d. configuring the diagnostic device to communicate in the specific second protocol;

    e. transmitting a diagnostic request in the specific second protocol from the diagnostic device to the onboard computer;

    f. receiving diagnostic data associated with the particular vehicle system via the onboard computer;

    g. transmitting the diagnostic data from the diagnostic device to a cell phone via a local connectivity network; and

    h. transmitting the diagnostic data from the cell phone to a main server via a cellular telephone network, the main server having a diagnostic database being arranged to map vehicle diagnostic data to a possible vehicle fix(es),wherein the diagnostic device is configured to receive information from the onboard computer independent of the cell phone.

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