All You Need To Know About OBD2 Freeze Frame

No one bothers to know what is hidden under the car’s dashboard. It only becomes a concern when the vehicle starts to show malfunctioning signs. That is the time we are in a rush to unearth where the problem is originating. The point where you are required to know what is ‘ailing’ your car, brings us to what we call and OBD2 freeze frame.

BUT FIRST, What is OBD2? 

OBD 2 ( On-Board Diagnostics) is a term referring to the cars self-diagnostics and reports capability in the field of automotive. Onboard diagnostics- just like the name on-board, give technicians and vehicle owners access vehicles status of different sub-systems.

If you own a vehicle built in the last 15-20 years you will find that it has an entry point to everything that makes your car tick. That is the reason why OBD2 port is important. It helps you to diagnose and troubleshoot mechanical problems.

Unlike earlier OBD1 & OEM Specifics

OBD2 systems use similar code designations, communication protocols and connectors from different manufacturers.

In that case, the OBD2 single scanner will provide access to your car’s data. All these systems are capable of delivering across all models and makes of the cars manufactured since 1996.

Now that we now know what an OBD2 is what is the most important element of the tool? We will take a look at one of the major element of the OBD2 which is called the Freeze frame.

What is OBD2 freeze frame?

The freeze frame data meaning is an element that captures and stores the operating conditions of the engine. The operating conditions are stored at that moment when emission related fault gets stored in the memory.

That is when the MIL command is on. The stored data is used to identify the cause of the faults related to the emission.

Regulations that are related to the OBD2 system requires certain engines operating conditions to be captured and then stored when you illuminate the MIL. The data that is captured is what we call the freeze frame data.

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This data can be either a single record of a certain set of operating conditions. At any time when the MIL is illuminated, the corresponding records of the operating conditions are recorded to the buffer of the freeze frame. The incoming data does not overwrite the original data.

The only time that the freeze frame data can be overwritten, is when receiving data which is associated with fuel trims or the misfire faults.

Reason? These types of data from these kinds of faults take center priority over the data that is associated with just any other type of fault.

In much simpler term, the OBD2 freeze frame is a snapshot of whatever is wrong with your vehicle.

However, the freeze frame data is not erased unless the whole DTC History is cleared. The next step that follows is how to view the freeze frame data.

Viewing Freeze Frame

When you have the viewing freeze available for a DTC, you will see it is well marked by an icon similar to a camera. The icon is alongside the DTC code, description, and the status.

To access the data, click on the view freeze frame button. A window will open providing you with all the controls and the information that is typical of the reports.

The window has an additional feature which is very unique to the freeze frame and events data reports.

This viewing option splits the screen vertically. The viewing allows you to view the data from the different freeze frames types perfectly side by side.

Freeze frame data interpretation

Freeze frames are important to diagnosis and then fixing the OBD2 freeze frame vehicles by addressing the faults or replacing the sensors at hand.

As shown above, the data stored in the freeze frame is recorded when there is system failure the first time and for two consecutive trip faults. Freeze frame data can only be overwritten if there is a fault of a high priority.

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The collected data gives guidelines to you or to the mechanic so that you are able to fix the problem.

In short, it interprets the error codes to a much simpler language that you will understand and manage to fix the vehicle.

The OBD2 freeze frame interpretation is crucial to all car owners and mechanics so as to determine the root cause of the problem. Rather than just clearing the code without getting the right information.

Here is a table showing some of the freeze frame data and their interpretation.

Error CodeMeaning/ Interpretation.
Absolute mapIt is a live reading of your vehicles reading helps the user to access similar conditions
PO 420 errors

Occurs two times per month indicating the readiness codes are reading perfectly well.
Load PCT 92.2
Indicates the air that is entering the engine is below 100%
RPMThat is when the fuel says fail
Upstream O2S VoltsLive reading to the oxygen sensor to indicate the performance
Fuel SYS 2 N/AThere is no fuel injectors in the bank 2
Fuel system good trip counterTrip counter that turns off the MIL for the fuel DTC systems.
ECT (F) 221Shows the engine temperature.
Test done this tripWill indicate the monitor was already run and completed during the trip which was current.
VSS MPHIndicates your vehicle engine when the data was recorded
Fuel SYS 1 CLFuel injection bank is in closed loops.

IMPORTANT NOTES

As with many other systems in the world like computers and mobile phones, cars have also a specific language that they in communicating with the right gadgets that are made for their purpose.

That is why we have demystified the OBD2 freeze frame to understand its meaning. The OBD2 Freeze Frame will view the snapshot and then interpret the collected data. All this for the benefit of your car, could it start showing the engine light on.

And since the OBD2 allows external electronics to interface your car’s computer system, an element in the OBD2 called the freeze frame will capture all the error codes. The error codes are later interpreted to get their meaning and start working on them.

Lastly, when you are looking to purchase an OBD 2 reader or scanner, look out for the one that will be compatible with the make of your vehicle.

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