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Performing a Drive Cycle Test

Published on January 2nd, 2024

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What is a Drive Cycle Test?

An OBD2 Drive Cycle is an extended set of driving procedures that takes into consideration the various types of driving conditions encountered in real life. These conditions may include starting the vehicle when the engine has been shut off for a period long enough for the engine to reach ambient temperature (Cold Soak), driving the vehicle at a steady, cruising speed (Without using Cruise-Control), accelerating, etc.

An OBD2 Drive Cycle begins when the ignition key is turned ON, and ends when the vehicle has been driven in such a way as to have all the Enabling Criteria met for all its applicable monitors. Only those trips that provide the Enabling Criteria for all Monitors applicable to the vehicle to run and complete their individual diagnostic tests qualify as an OBD2 Drive Cycle. OBD2 Drive Cycle requirements vary from one model of vehicle to another. Vehicle manufacturers set these procedures.

A Drive Cycle is a collection of data comparisons involving vehicle speed and time. It distinguishes vehicle performance by calculating fuel consumption and pollutant emissions.

When to Conduct a Full Drive Cycle Test?

A complete Drive Cycle is done to check the status of your car after doing some repairs and before sending it to a safety and emission inspection to ensure it will have passing results.

Why conduct a Full Drive Cycle Test?

If you go to an inspection without a complete drive cycle, you will fail the inspection (specifically a full system readiness test) and get a rejected car sticker. It needs to be completed so the ECM can conduct a complete self-diagnostic test.

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Procedures for Drive Cycle

Drive Cycle Procedures vary by vehicle brand and model. It's necessary to check the car manual and procedures to ensure that you follow the exact guidelines for your car. You can click HERE to get more information on drive cycle procedures for your specific vehicle or you can purchase an Innova scan tool that provides the drive cycle procedures when connected to your vehicle.

Safety Recommendations

When performing a Drive Cycle Procedure, have someone with you who will check if the monitors are done. It is dangerous if you check the status of the monitors while driving.

Note: Using the Innova 5310 to view drive cycle procedures.

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