Viewing OBD2 Freeze Frame Data: What does it mean?

If you have ever used an OBD scanner or studied about vehicles, then you must have heard of the term freeze frame data.

Those who know vehicles, find this term self-explanatory, but those who do not know much about cars have no idea about the concept and they also struggle with viewing freeze frame data.

Do not let the name confuse you, we’ll answer all your questions about freeze frame data including tips on viewing OBD2 freeze frame data. 

This is very important because merely knowing what freeze frame data is can never be enough. You must also know about reading and viewing OBD2 freeze frame data.

Let’s get started:

1 What is Freeze Frame Data? 

In simple words, whenever the computer detects a fault and illuminates the CEL, it also clicks and stores freeze frame data related to the issue. 

This data is essentially a snapshot from a number of components and sensors.

You can view this information to find the cause of the problem. It is also a legal requirement in some cases to capture and store emission-related information. This captured data is known as freeze frame data.

We use the word ‘freeze’ because this data is saved and frozen the moment.

How Is Data Stored?

The data is stored in the form of a list. This list can be very hard for someone to read and understand and cannot be accessed without an OBDII scanner that supports this feature.

New data keeps on adding to the system whenever the MIL illuminates. However, this new data doesn’t overwrite what is already there.

But, in some cases, your original data may get overwritten. This happens when the new data is associated with misfires or fuel trims.

The system is able to do this because the monitors are constantly running when the vehicle is in use. However, there are also some non-continuous monitors like heaters, catalytic converters, and oxygen sensors.

Freeze Frame Data vs Live Data: What’s the Difference?

Live data is very useful. It tells you about the condition of your vehicle at any given moment and can help you quickly identify and solve problems. However, in order to understand live data, you must have a basic understanding of OBDII systems and what all the figures, charts displayed on the screen mean.

Also, not all OBDII scanners offer live data as it is not among the most common features despite the fact that it is very beneficial and is used by a large number of people, including DIYers and mechanics.

view obd2 freeze frame data

On the other hand, freeze frame data does not require you to keep your eyes on the scanner when you drive. You can be behind the wheel, doing your own things, and the data will be stored for you to visit whenever you want to. 

Hence, there are no distractions. Secondly, your data is saved at different intervals, without you having to do any manual work. It will be there whenever you want to view it.

Plus, you do not have to worry about reading this data since the data is stored in the system for future access. 

You can take your vehicle to a mechanic or even take a print out of this data to share with an expert who will interpret the information for you and help you find a solution to your problem.

Viewing OBD2 Freeze Frame Data 

This data can be found in the PCM with the related-DTC code, if your scanner supports the function. 

You will, however, need a supported OBD scanner in order to access and view freeze frame data. 

Viewing OBD2 freeze frame data can be complicated for people who do not know much about OBD scan tools.

The information will help you identify why the engine light is on so you can come up with a solution. Some advanced tools may give you even more information regarding the issue, including possible solutions.

The data will tell you a lot about your vehicle at the time of the error. This includes the condition of the engine – whether it was warmed up or cold.

It may also give information regarding the fuel. You can use this data to go in the right direction.

What You Need to Know When Viewing OBD2 Freeze Frame 

As stated earlier, merely viewing OBD2 freeze frame data is not enough. It is important that you know what it means or how to interpret it so that you can do it on your own, without needing the help of a professional.

Here’s some information for you:

Freeze Frame Data and Their Meanings

Error Code Meaning
Load PCT 92.2 Less than 100% air entering the engine
Absolute Map It’s a live reading that allows you to put your vehicle in a similar condition to identify the fault
Fuel SYS 2 N/A No presence of fuel injectors or fuel injectors missing
PO 420 errors Happens twice a month and means readiness codes are working well
Upstream O2S Volts Indicate performance by providing live data regarding the oxygen sensor
ECT (F) 221 Gives the engine temperature at the given time
Fuel SYS 1 CL Means the fuel injection bank is in closed loops
VSS MPH Gives the condition of the engine at the time the data was collected
RPM When the fuel fails
Test done this trip Means the test completed the cycle during the trip

In addition to this, there may be some other codes as well. 

How to Read Freeze Frame Data? 

Your vehicle talks to you in a language of its own. You will need to understand this language to be able to read freeze frame data.

The table above will help you to read this data. But, if that isn’t enough then you can search online for specific codes or try the DTC feature.

How can I Clear Freeze Frame Data Using an OBD2 Scan Tool? 

The system will automatically remove DTC data once your vehicle completes a specific number of good trips, i.e: trips without faults.

You will also lose freeze frame data if there is no power supply to the PCM.

Also, you can manually choose to delete this information by going into the system and following instructions which will depend on the scanner that you have.

Bottom line

We hope you now know all that you need to know about viewing OBD2 freeze frame data. It can give you insights into your vehicle and help you solve problems quickly and easily.

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