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Allegations of automobile malfunctions having caused an accident are often the basis for a claim against an automotive repair facility. The scenario usually develops as follows. An automotive repair facility works on a vehicle and releases it to the owner after the repair has been completed. Shortly afterward, the vehicle is involved in an accident and the driver blames the accident on an automobile malfunction related to the recent repair. One repository of factual information that will help evaluate such a claim resides in the onboard memory of the sensing diagnostic module (SDM) of the vehicle, often called the black box.

Figure 1 is a view of a vehicle that struck another vehicle in the rear end. The driver claimed that the engine stalled, causing reduction in power brake assist and an accident. The repair shop had performed ignition work on the engine a few days prior to the accident.

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