The Ford diagnostic codes list is a list of Ford’s manufacturer-specific trouble codes that you must know if you want to diagnose a problem that occurs in your Ford car. The onboard diagnostic (OBD) system was standardized in 1996. This standardization required every vehicle manufactured in the United States since 1996 to use the new OBD system, called OBD2. It also required that every manufacturer use a set of global or generic codes to identify specific problems that the onboard diagnostic system detects. If there are specific problems that occur in a Ford car and have not been represented by any generic codes, Ford’s manufacturer-specific trouble codes can be used.
The Code Format
To understand codes that represent generic codes and codes that represent Ford’s manufacturer-specific codes, you need to understand the code format. All trouble codes, including the ones you see in the Ford diagnostic codes list, use the same five-character format that starts with a letter followed by a four-digit numeric code. The letter can be one of the four letters that determine the location of the problem: P for powertrain, B for body, C for chassis, and U for the network. The numeric code specifies the nature of the problem, which can be read by a code reader and interpreted by a scan tool.
How to distinguish generic codes from manufacturer-specific codes? When you check Ford diagnostic codes list, you will see that the first and the second numbers in the four-digit numeric codes can be used to distinguish which codes are generic or global and which codes are manufacturer-specific. This distinguishing format for every car’s system can be explained as follows.
1. Powertrain Codes
Powertrain codes that start with P0, P2 and P34 to P39 are generic codes. If the codes start with P1 and P30 to P33, the codes are manufacturer-specific.
2. Body Codes
Body codes that start with B0 and B3 are generic codes, whereas codes that start with B1 and B2 are manufacturer-specific.
3. Chassis Codes
Chassis codes that start with C0 and C3 are generic codes, whereas codes that start with C1 and C2 are manufacturer-specific.
4. Network Codes
Network codes that start with U0 and U3 are generic codes, whereas codes that start with U1 and U2 are manufacturer-specific.
An example of these code format is P1135, which is a manufacturer-specific code that signifies missing or improper ignition switch signal, and P0300, which is a generic code signifying engine misfire. A complete Ford diagnostic codes list can be found in your car’s manual or on the internet.
Can All Scan Tools Read Ford Diagnostic Codes?
Not all scan tools are the same. Some are pretty basic while more expensive models may offer advanced features that are not found in cheaper models. Among the weaknesses of cheap scan tools is its inability to read certain codes. Some cheap scan tools can only read generic codes and some even cannot read the body, chassis, and network codes (they only read powertrain codes). When you use a scan tool that doesn’t interpret manufacturer-specific codes, you need to refer to the Ford diagnostic codes list to get the interpretation. If your scan tool cannot read B, C, and U codes, you may need to buy a new compatible scan tool or to consult your mechanic.
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