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OBD-II stands for On-Board Diagnostics Level 2 (II).

It is a complement of emissions system monitoring equipment that is required
to be included in any new car sold in the USA starting with the 1996 model 
year.  The system is designed to detect failures of system components, and 
be difficult to "tamper" with (a la TAP, IA, SuperChips).  I don't recall if
the OBD-II keeps track of how long you have run your car since the fault was 
reported, but if that isn't in there it will be coming soon.  In the sunny 
state of California they are experimenting with transponders that report 
failures to automatic monitoring stations to ensure that your faulty car 
(which probably still pollutes less than the average 25 year old vehicle)
gets fixed ASAP.  This is scheduled for OBD-III last I heard.  In general,
California seems to be the leader [read - guinea pig] in this sort of tech-
nology, with the rest of the US (and apparently Canada) following.  

Here again, I wonder what group of bedfellows is foisting this sort of thing
upon us.  I certainly hope that the automakers aren't assuming that this will
bring a lot more service revenue into them from the non-marque-specific ser-
vice vendors.  If so, it may backfire on them.  I have been getting more and
more reluctant to buy a new car as the years go by ... it'd be a long time 
before I'd willingly buy a car that had a built-in transducer.  Whose to say
what kind of information they'd be collecting ...

Steve Buchholz
San Jose, CA (USA)