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automotive diagnostic apps.

0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 9,388 ✭✭✭✭✭
So I was tasked with doing some testing of automotive diagnostic software by an independent review company and thought I would share some of the apps I found that work pretty well and are free.
They require an OBD2 bluetooth adapter and most are available on Amazon for around $20.
And there are some "pro versions" of most of these that range from $2.99-$6.99)

These are the bluetooth adapters I used in the testing.
These are the ones that worked well with all of the apps I tried.
Goliton bluetooth adapter
BAFX Products 34t5 Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool
ScanTool 427201 OBDLink LX Bluetooth - This is the most expensive ($49.95) that I tried, but probably the most reliable.
Foseal Scanner Adapter

Android
Torque Lite
OBD Car Doctor -- I ended up purchasing the pro version of this for $4.99
Carista OBD2
ScanMaster for ELM327
Car Gauge Lite OBD2
FordSys Scan Free - if you own Ford products, this would be my preference.
Dash - Drive Smart
.
iphone
OBD Auto Doctor
Engine Link
BlueDriver OBD2 Scan Tool
OBD Car Doctor
OBD Fusion - liked this one best for iphone.

Realize that this is based on my opinion of what a code reader/scan tool should do for someone trying to figure out a problem on their car. For each person, they may find that one app works better for them, than another based on their preferences. 
So while this is just a list of what works, someone would need to figure out what works best for them.
Because of the nominal cost of the adapters and free apps, they are all worth trying and seeing what you like.


In Fumo Pax
Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy cigars and that's close enough.

Wylaff said:
Atmospheric pressure and crap.

Comments

  • jlmartajlmarta 50 miles from ParadisePosts: 7,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Got a question, Tony, m'lad...

    If my car is equipped with OnStar and if I subscribe to their service, does their monthly diagnostic report cover all the points (major or minor) that an onboard diagnostic device would cover?  My guess is that it would but that's just a guess. 
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 9,388 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2016
    It should. Onstar should email you a monthly report or at least email you if the vehicle creates a code.
    So in the case of having Onstar's monthly report, the only thing an app like this would do for you is give you real time monitoring, if you are trying to diagnose the problem and would allow you to clear codes to see if you solved the problem.

    Onstar will alert you to a problem and give symptom causes, but you will still need real-time info to go after the problem. 

    If you have a reputable shop you deal with, the info from Onstar should be sufficient.
    In Fumo Pax
    Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy cigars and that's close enough.

    Wylaff said:
    Atmospheric pressure and crap.
  • jlmartajlmarta 50 miles from ParadisePosts: 7,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Good info. Thanks very much. 

    I had looked into buying one of the onboard devices before I bought this latest car. They were available on eBay as well as the other sites. I just never got around to buying one. I could still do it for my pickup but I hardly drive it anymore. Too old, I guess. All my macho mojo ran out....   :D
  • dirtdudedirtdude Green ValleyPosts: 5,065 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Thanks Tony, I have a pesky check engine light that comes and goes at will, soemthing like that might track it down
    A little dirt never hurt
  • jlmartajlmarta 50 miles from ParadisePosts: 7,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    dirtdude said:
    Thanks Tony, I have a pesky check engine light that comes and goes at will, soemthing like that might track it down
    My last car did that. My mechanic told me it was a lock-out solenoid in the tranny and that it wouldn't bother anything based on the kind of driving we did. He was right. As long as we drove around town it was fine but if we took it up to highway speeds the light would come on. 

    I could turn  it off by disconnecting the battery for about five minutes and then hooking it back up. Only problem was, it wouldn't pass a smog check if the light was on. 
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 9,388 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited July 2017
    So after a bunch of testing for a couple of companies, here is my personal preference on phone app code readers for cars.

    Norway OBD2 Bluetooth interface adapter. About $11.

    Android - Torque Pro OBD2 - $4.95
    If you have a Ford, then go with FordSys Scan Pro - $1.99
    iPhone - Engine Link 

    I've tried the Norway adapter with about 10 different apps and it connected without any problems with all of them. 
    That's not saying that there aren't some out there that it won't connect with.

    There are some like BlueDriver $99 and Launch $50 that require their own adapters and you pay dearly for them.

    But, BlueDriver by Lemur also has capabilities so that you can do manufacturer specific diagnostics, along with SRS, ABS and transmission codes.
    Which most OBD2 apps do not have.

    So for in depth diagnostics, my choice would be Lemur BueDriver and BlueDriver adapter.
    For basic every day stuff, I'd go with the Torque Pro and Norway adapter.

    This image is from FordSys Lite.





    In Fumo Pax
    Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy cigars and that's close enough.

    Wylaff said:
    Atmospheric pressure and crap.
  • dirtdudedirtdude Green ValleyPosts: 5,065 ✭✭✭✭✭
    That android/torque pro is turning out to be the best $7.61 I have ever spent, located the faulty spark plug a couple months ago and now has turned up a P0496 which is a faulty solenoid on the evaporative emissions system, was wondering why it was hard starting after gassing up. WTF would I know about that, exactly, thats where youtube come in, looks like a fairly easy fix when you know what to look for.
    A little dirt never hurt
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 9,388 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I hate android phones sometimes. 
    You can click on one of those damn buttons and not even know it.
    In Fumo Pax
    Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy cigars and that's close enough.

    Wylaff said:
    Atmospheric pressure and crap.
  • dirtdudedirtdude Green ValleyPosts: 5,065 ✭✭✭✭✭
    dirtdude said:
    That android/torque pro is turning out to be the best $7.61 I have ever spent, located the faulty spark plug a couple months ago and now has turned up a P0496 which is a faulty solenoid on the evaporative emissions system, was wondering why it was hard starting after gassing up. WTF would I know about that, exactly, thats where youtube come in, looks like a fairly easy fix when you know what to look for.
    It was a simple fix, 10 minutes out, a $45 part, and 10 minutes back in, it helps when you know what you are looking for. Wonder what a shop would have charged me?
    A little dirt never hurt
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 9,388 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I spent quite a few years working with some diagnostic companies. 
    I still look for things that are affordable and will actually tell you something.
    The advantage with the Android/iOS apps is that you always have your phone and for less than $20, you can buy the bluetooth adapter and pretty much leave it in the vehicle.
    One loose gas cap will pay for the app and adapter and then some.
    In Fumo Pax
    Money can't buy happiness, but it can buy cigars and that's close enough.

    Wylaff said:
    Atmospheric pressure and crap.
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