I've been servicing all my cars for the last 50 years. The OBD have certainly been useful for diagnosing engine sensor/system problems.
Unfortunately, you have to spend over $3,000, even on third party scanners, to get the useful brake and chassis scanners. After replacing all the brake lines on a 2006 Buick Lucerne, I discovered that you needed the expensive scan tool in order to bleed the ABS controller. Fortunately, I had a mechanic friend who dropped by with his and we bled the brakes. To the average backyard mechanic, this would require a tow, unless you want to drive to your friendly service emporium with no brakes. In my experience, the expensive scanner will also identify an intermittent wheel speed sensor. It's also necessary to diagnose transmission problems. It will also read your AC pressures among a host of other parameters.
The issue is the old charging what the market will bear. Let's face it, the added cost of a large enough flash to store all the additional codes wouldn't be more than 10% of the price of the cheap scanners.
Giving access to the car's buses will probably result in many inadvertent code changes, necessitating an expensive trip to the dealer to set things right by changing expensive modules - a great new profit center.
I'll be watching Ford closely to see if they end up with a serious hacking problem. This is a decision that has the capability of destroying the company. After all it would be viewed as a challenge to hackers around the world. Would you continue driving a Ford if suddenly they were going out of control and crashing all around you?
@peplin, thanks much for the reference! It looks like they are in fact using the OBD interface but are documenting it more fully. I wish I would have had something like this for my Corvette. On that car and on my wife's Chrysler van my scanner only interprets the generic codes. It certainly doesn't provide programming information as does this site for the Mustang.
Hey Larry, the data available is listed here, through a link in the Ford-specific section: http://openxcplatform.com/hardware/vehicles.html and there is lots of information on the supported hardware interfaces (including open source hardware options): http://openxcplatform.com/vehicle-interface/hardware.html
It is a great move but a lot of car lovers are already changing computer data to improve engine power and twist the performance of the car. In addition, if general public can start twisting performance of an engine w/o enough understanding, there might be concern to not only Ford Motor but also to the safety of road users.
Great move from Ford. Only an american company could have been the first to do such a change in the global way of thinking. I hope the other car makers will follow. I also hope it will not be limited to the usual ODB Codes that everybody already know. It could be extended to diagnostic control codes, calibration procedures, options/extensions configuration and these stuff that remain closed today.
@Larry, thank you. It's interesting and 'silly' as you say that they limit the access to code because they want to give an advantage to repair shops. Meanwhile, I thought it was for the sake of 'security' of a car. Have I been misled?