Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner Review and Apps
Read your car like a book.
You're driving down the street, and your check engine light comes on. Instantly your mind starts to race. "Did I change the oil, maybe that's the problem? Is it the transmission? Oh man that'll be expensive..." So you drive down to the dealership, have them look at your car, and pay them $80 to make the light go off, if you're lucky! But what happened when they took the car? Well they probably hooked it up to an OBD-II scanner, saw the code was tripped because of a $5 sensor going bad, replace it in under a minute, and then wait around for a few minutes so that it seems like more work had to be done and charge you for an hours work. There's probably a better way to go about fixing this problem. The Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner.
OBD2 Codes, or OBD-II codes are codes that your vehicle sends out if there is an error. OBD2 scanners can read these codes through the OBD2 port in your car. Usually, these scanners are pretty expensive - in the multiple hundred dollar range. Recently here at As Seen On TV Hot 10 we found a better way to do this, the Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner. It can connect to your phone and read and even reset error codes, and provide diagnostic information on your car.
To put the code reader in your car you need to find your OBD2 port which you can do at this website. OBD2 ports are on almost all vehicles made after 1996, and several before that year.
OBD2 Codes are 5 digits long, and the breakdown is usually as follows:
- The first letter is the system the error code is affecting. P = Powertrain | B = Body | C = Chassis | U = Undefined
- The second number is the code type. 0 = Generic 1 = Manufacturer Specific
- The third number is the sub system that is being affected. 1 = Emission Management (Fuel or Air) 2 = Injector Circuit (Fuel or Air) 3 = Ignition or Misfire 4 = Emission Control 5 = Vehicle Speed & Idle Control 6 = Computer & Output Circuit 7 = Transmission 8 = Transmission 9 = SAE Reserved 0 = SAE Reserved
- The fourth and fifth codes define the specific problem and usually have to be looked up online. You can look up any codes from your car at this site. Our code reader know how to interpret many types of codes, but some manufacturer specific codes need to be looked up.Read more at: http://www.obd-codes.com/faq/obd2-codes-explained.php
ELM327: The Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner
The ELM327 Bluetooth OBD2 code reader is truly awesome. The price of all technology decreases over time, but the jump from $200+ for a bulky handheld OBD2 scanner that connects to your car with a thick cable to a small Bluetooth model that connects to your phone for just over $10 is just crazy.
I was reading reviews of this product while I was sourcing it for our store, and I noticed a lot of reviews were 5 stars, and a few of them said that the product didn't work. I found that the reason for this is that several different factories make these items and some wholesale for just $1. This means that some factories cut corners and ship lower quality items, while others focus on build quality. At As Seen On TV Hot 10, we don't like items that break or don't work. We have one of the best refund policies compared to our competition, if even %5 of our items were defective we'd lose money. So we ordered from a high quality factory and tested them all out and can proudly say these are some of the best code readers on the market. Get yours for $10.95 at AsSeenOnTVHot10.com!
To start using this bluetooth code reader after you plug it in, you'll need to connect the device to your phone like you would a headset or any other bluetooth device. The instructions come with the product as well. Then, you'll need to pick an app to interface with the code reader. I'll go over a few of the options below, starting with my favorite: Torque, the app the comes with the scanner.
Torque Pro App Review
Torque Pro is what ships with the ELM327 Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner. It's normally $4.95, but it's free with your purchase from us. Torque Pro is a diagnostics tool and vehicle tracking suite. You can look over the full feature list on the Google Play Store Listing or the Torque Pro Wiki. There is a pretty cool video that shows a bit of it's features in action.
Here is a list of my favorite features:
- Tracking your car on the map and being able to see the speed, fuel economy, or virtually any other metric at any point on the map.
- Reading Error Codes (it has 3k definitions built in, so you'll know right what you're looking at)
- Clearing Error Codes!!! I can think of several times that my car sent the wrong signal and turned the engine light on. If I didn't know how to reset the codes I would have had to pay to get the car checked only to have it be as simple as pressing a button to get rid of the error.
- Dashboards. You can make a dashboard with all of the information you want to track on one screen. MPH, Fuel Range, RPM, Engine Temperature, and a whole lot more!
- Plugins. There is an entire page of plugins that you can use with Torque made by other developers. This is great because the more community an app has the more likely it is to continue being supported, updated, and improved.
|Torque's Main Screen||Torque's Dashboard|
DashCommand OBD App Review
DashCommand works a lot like Torque Pro, but you'll have to buy this one separately if you find after their free trial that you like it better. I really like the design of DashCommand, it's very clean and easy to read while still being reminiscent of all of the classic car gauges and meters. I recommend you go check out DashCommand after you get comfortable with Torque Pro, although there aren't very many extra features the user interface is much more polished. This is really just a matter of choice.
OBD Car Doctor Review
OBD Car Doctor was the only app on my list I couldn't get to work. Which is fine because I didn't find the design that appealing, and the feature list wasn't as robust as the other two apps. In my opinion, you can steer clear of this one.
This is only a list of a few of the apps that you can get for our Bluetooth Code Reader, there are several more in the appstores for Android and iPhone.
- samuel lourcey