Is Automatic compatible with cars older than 1996?

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  • Updated 1 week ago
  • Answered
  • (Edited)
Does Automatic work with cars older than 1996? I know officially it's not supported but I was wondering if it would still work.

I drive a 1995 VW Cabrio which is basically the same as the 1996 edition so what's the possibility of Automatic working for me?
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Alasdair Sun

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Posted 5 years ago

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Amy

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Official Response
No, because OBD ports weren't standardized before 1996. There could be things about the connection points in your port that are different, even if it has an OBD port. You could always give it a shot, however, we can't guarantee that it will work and if you have problems, we won't be able to troubleshoot for you or provide official technical support. Sorry!
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Joel G

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Automatic not supporting older models (before 1996).


What is the reason for the device not being compatible for cars made before 1996? I have a 1995 Honda Civic which is similar models to the 1996-97 version, but not sure why it wouldn't work for 1995 models. My car has a computer system that would detect the features on the app. Will there be a version available for older cars?
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Ani, Customer Care Lead

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Check out Amy's post above for more details why we only support 1996 and up. Since the ports were not standardised before 1996, we don't have any plans for a version that will support older cars. That said, we have heard of people using it on older cars that do have a OBD-II connector that was made before it was standardised without any issue. We can't recommend it, but let us know if you decide to give it a shot!
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Jerermy

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
No EPA MPG reported for my car..


I have a 1994 Toyota Camry. (V6, it complies with OBD2)
Two problems:
1) Your app does not supply EPA MPG for my car.
2) Your homepage (is my car supported section) does not have an option of selecting cars from before 1996. There are cars out there that came OBD2 compliant straight out of the factory from before 1996.

Thank you.
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Amy

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Hi Jeremy. Please see my reply at the top of this post. Thanks!
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Jerermy

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Amy, I understand stating that you do not support older cars on the information pages for your product, since you cannot be sure if it will work without a lot of legwork. Can you somehow enable customers, who on their own, confirm that the device does in fact work properly to your company? In this case, it would be a quick database entry for my make/model, using information readily available from the EPA.
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Ani, Customer Care Lead

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We have heard of some people that do use Automatic on pre-1996 cars with OBD-II ports, but we can't support it. We don't have any plans to make an official database since we don't indent to support it, but you can always try it out and post about your experiences in the Community if it works.
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Jerermy

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Ani, the device works great, that is what I am saying. Error codes, current MPG, the works. What doesn't work is the EPA mpg that your server supplies to the app. (the server gives me a 0 mpg EPA). Oh, and sorry for calling you Amy last post, My brain and my hands don't always agree on what I should type.
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Ani, Customer Care Lead

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No worries, Amy and I are actually distinct people. Though our names do look similar given the font size here. :) That makes more sense of matching the EPA mileage with your car. It is not likely we will given we don't intend to support pre-1996 cars but there's no harm in bringing it up with our dev team.
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Frank Lynch

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
I noticed that automatic is compatible with a 1996 corvette. The 1991 and 1996 are the same C4 model. Will automatic work with a 1991?.


I noticed that automatic is compatible with a 1996 corvette. The 1991 and 1996 are the same C4 model. Will automatic work with a 1991?
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Tom, Former Employee

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Hi Frank! Please see our response at the top of this thread. 
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Bobby Van

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Why will this not work with a 1995 auto?.


My car is a Lincoln Town car, and I have a computer system, with an available port. Why would this not work with a 1995 Lincoln Town car?
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Tom, Former Employee

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Hi Bobby, thanks for your interest. We don't support cars manufactured before 1996 because the OBD port was not yet standardized in these vehicles, and you could encounter some issues when using Automatic. Having said that, some users have had success with older vehicles, but it's a use at your own risk situation.
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Dino Ladki

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
what's the oldest a car can be to work with Automatic?.


Does an 1982 Mercedes have to right data port?
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Tom, Former Employee

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Hi there, Dino! The OBD-II port was standardized in 1996, but some users have had success in using in older vehicles (it's use at your own risk, though). See the above posts for more details. 
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Chris Kolstad

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Automatic use in non-OBD2 cars?.

I have a 1973 car without OBD2. I realize that the features associated with speed and diagnostics would not function, but I want to know if I supply power to the connector on startup if it will work? My son is a new driver and will be driving the car, so the geofencing, crash alert, and features related to the accelerometer would be great to be able to use. Is it possible to get the Automatic to work in this way?
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Tom, Former Employee

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Thanks for your interest, Chris! An OBD-II port is required in order to use Automatic. Otherwise, we can't guarantee that the product will work properly (the OBD-II port was standardized in 1996).

Having said that, some folks have used Automatic in older vehicles with OBD-II ports. See the above posts for more details.
(Edited)
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Justin Brown

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People don't know how to read responses! How many times can a person say the same thing :) thanks for the great customer support Automatic team!!
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Tom, Former Employee

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Thanks for the props, Justin :) We're here to help!
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Chris Kolstad

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Justin, the replies were reviewed and my question was unique from what I could tell.  It is well understood that it won't work completely in older cars.  I just wanted to know a bit more of the interface to understand whether I could simply apply power and start signal and get SOME of the features working.  The ability to have Automatic all out if there is a crash in an older car would be very useful as well as the ability to track the whereabouts of my new driver.  It would be great if Automatic allowed this sort of interface, but apparently it does not.
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Tom, Former Employee

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No worries, Chris. It looks like our support team followed up with you via email some additional details, but if you have any other questions, let us know.
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Manksgloob

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Hi Chris,
I know this is 4 years later, but would you still happen to have the information that the team sent you regarding getting rudimentary functionality working? Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you!
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Derrick S., Official Rep

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Hi Manksgloob,

I was the person who responded to the email that Chris sent us, and basically we told him that just adding power will not make the Automatic adapter work. This is because the adapter only powers on when it recognizes ignition, and it can't recognize ignition with the OBD information that it receives through the OBD port. In short, the Automatic adapter will not work unless you plug it into an OBD port.
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Manksgloob

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Hi Derrick,
Ah, that's too bad... I'm in the market for a new car but unfortunately the one that I'm considering doesn't have an OBD-II port. I was legitimately disappointed when I realized it would mean losing my Automatic Link so I started trying to find ways around it. Haha, oh well.
I appreciate the response though!
(Edited)
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Matt Palmer

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled OBD-I support?.

Hi folks,

Does Automatic work with OBD-I?

I have a 1992 Subaru SVX, and want to know if it will work.

thanks,
Matt
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Tom, Former Employee

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Thanks for your interest, Matt. Automatic is only supported in cars manufactured to be sold in the US since 1996 (the year that the OBD-II port became standardized), so unfortunately, your 1992 Subaru SVX isn't compatible. Some folks have used Automatic in older cars, but we can't guarantee that it will work, and it does carry some risk. See the above posts for more details. 

To check compatibility on another vehicle, be sure to visit our compatibility page here.
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Armando Gonzalez

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Official Response
Since folks keep asking the same question and getting the same response from Automatic (OBD not standardized prior to 1996), maybe some additional background will help...It is not Automatic that is defining the "standard." The U.S. Dept of Transportation defined the standards for OBD2 (2nd generation of the On Board Diagnostics port) that were required to be implemented in ALL vehicles in the U.S. The compliance date for all auto manufacturers was 1996. These "standards" include pin assignments (power, data, etc) and the list of a minimum number of data parameters that had to be reported through the OBD2 port/plug. Most auto manufacturers included their own extended list of proprietary data parameters, but the schema (format) to read these parameters is not available to the public. Is it possible that some auto manufacturers incorporated the OBD2 standards prior to 1996? Yes, and in those cases your Automatic device will likely work fine, but as they keep saying, they can't guarantee it because the official implementation date of the DOT standards was 1996...so ONLY 1996 models and newer will (for sure) provide the format the Automatic device is designed to use.
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Amy

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Thank you so much, Armando. Very clearly explained.