If you want to be able to better monitor your car, you can do so with OBD2 software. But, you’ll need an app to make it even better and more informative.
What is an OBD2 app? This is an app that you download to your device so you can gain a wealth of information from your car to ensure that it’s running properly.
But, these apps have other benefits, such as monitoring how you drive your car so you can become better when on the road and avoid accidents.
Let’s check out the best free and paid OBD2 apps to purchase and why they’re worth it.
You can find free or paid apps to use as scanning tools, but the first thing to do is check the app compatibility with your device so you won’t be disappointed.
Then, you can explore the product’s features.
With that in mind, let’s go through the pros and cons of all the above OBD2 apps so that you can find one that’s not only compatible with your device but will give you the information you need about your car.
- 1 Best OBD2 App – Reviews & Buying guide for 2021
- 2 OBD2 App FAQ
- 3 Conclusion
Best OBD2 App – Reviews & Buying guide for 2021
Best Overall: Car Scanner ELM OBD2
This car scanner has tons of excellent features to help you get to know your car much better, even if you’re not a DIY enthusiast or weekend mechanic. Here’s what you need to know about it.
- This car scanner app will enable you to see what your car is experiencing, such as faults, in real-time.
- You’ll also be able to get OBD fault codes to improve your car’s performance.
- This scanner can connect to your car’s computer wirelessly via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth for the ultimate convenience.
- It will display DTC faults and it also has a large database of DTC code descriptions so you won’t be left wondering what the code you’re receiving means.
- You can also get ECU self-monitoring test results so that you can maintain your car’s wellbeing.
- This app will come in useful before emission tests, as it will let you know if your car is ready to pass them before you take your car to them.
- You can view all of the car’s sensors on one screen, which makes it easy to use.
- This best OBD2 app for Android and Apple comes with a HUD mode so you can project the data onto your car’s windshield.
- It’s compatible with any vehicle that has OBD2 on it, but you’ll receive extra features for certain car brands, such as Renault, Kia, Chevrolet, Toyota, and others.
- If you’re going on a long trip with your car, Car Scanner will be able to show you fuel consumption stats.
- There have been issues with using cheap adapters with this app that make it impossible to connect or result in performance issues, such as lagging or a lost connection. The manufacturer of this app, therefore, recommends that people who purchase it use genuine ELM327 adapter brands.
- Some people who have bought this car scanning app have reported issues when upgrading to the pro version, such as a lack of features that should be provided.
Runner Up: Torque Pro
Torque Pro has created a lot of buzz among car enthusiasts who sing its praises. But is it right for you? Here’s what to know about it.
- This OBD2 app uses an OBD2 Bluetooth adapter to enable you to connect it to your car’s OBD or ECU.
- This best OBD2 scanner app allows you to customize your dashboard with gauges and widgets. This is great because you can make it as user-friendly and as easy to interpret as possible.
- You can use the GPS feature to give you tracker logs with OBD engine logging. This enables you to have more information about your car’s performance and faults.
- This app will display and reset CEL or DTC fault codes so you might be able to go ahead and fix your own car, which will save you money.
- This app will give you readings on a variety of features, such as transmission temperature, speed timing, CO2 emissions, and various other faults. This makes it the best iPhone OBD2 app, while it’s also compatible with Android.
- You can even use the app to video record your driving journey with the Track Recorder plugin.
- It gives you warnings and alarms, such as if your car’s coolant reaches dangerously high temperatures while you’re driving. And, you’ll also be able to enjoy voice or speech features, so you won’t miss any notifications that there’s a problem with your car.
- The information this app retrieves from your car can be provided in graph format for easier interpretation. It’s both user-friendly and really easy to use, no matter how much experience you have with scanner apps and devices. This makes it the best iOS OBD2 app for beginners.
- Some people who have purchased the app have reported that the company doesn’t provide good support in the event that they have a problem with it.
- Others have reported that the app doesn’t update properly, but this could depend on the device that you’re using, so it’s always good to check if your device is compatible with this app.
HobDrive is a smart trip computer software that is compatible with Windows, Android, and Apple smartphones. Let’s see what it has to offer.
- This best OBD2 app provides you with information about your car trips, such as the time and distance that you’ve achieved, and the maximum and average speeds you’ve reached.
- It runs all the time in your car so you can receive statistics from the car’s sensors and then gain analysis via OBD2.
- This best OBD2 Android app software gathers data and provides you with explanations of what’s going on with your car so you can see if your vehicle is in good condition as well as how well you’re driving. However, it has to be linked to an ELM327 OBD2 vehicle adapter in order to work.
- You can customize the theme of this software so that it is easier and more fun to use.
- The app gives you custom PIDs for many car makers such as Ford, Toyota, Chevrolet, Mazda, and Prius.
- There is a free trial available for you to try before you buy HobDrive so you can give it a test drive before committing to it, which makes it the best free OBD2 app.
- Despite how it can be customized, some people who have used this app have reported that it’s got an interface that’s not as smooth as they would have liked.
- This app is a must for you if you’re interested in planning and tracking your trips, as well as your engine’s response. However, its diagnostics are not the best.
- Some people who have purchased this software have reported that it has limited capacity for their vehicle.
Alternative: OBD Auto Doctor
This software makes it easy for you to gain information about why your “check engine” light is showing, but it offers many other features which is why it’s regarded as being the best OBD2 iPhone app. It’s also compatible with Android.
- It comes with diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) so that you can refer to them and reset the light so that it stops being on display.
- You’ll be able to view sensor data in real-time in both graphical and numerical form, so it’s perfect whether you’re experienced with working with OBD data or you’re a complete beginner.
- You’ll also be able to keep an eye on your car’s functionality and performance while ensuring it’s ready for those yearly emissions tests.
- You’ll save money by using this app because you’ll be able to monitor fuel economy in real-time.
- This app is compatible with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi adapters.
- While it comes with a free and paid version, you’ll probably find that the free version gives you everything you need, which is a bonus.
- Despite the above point, you will need to buy a license in order to unlock other powerful features of the app.
Alternative: EOBD Facile OBD2 diagnostic scanner
This app will enable you to view engine and transmission fault codes as well as learn what they mean.
You’ll find over 15,000 fault code definitions in this app’s database! Let’s see what other features it has to offer.
- You will be able to delete or erase fault codes and clear the malfunction indicator light on the dashboard.
- By being provided with manufacturer-specific OBD2 error codes for brands such as Chevrolet, Volkswagen, Opel, BMW, and Renault, you’ll be able to get even more information about your specific car’s fault.
- You’ll enjoy real-time information from the car’s sensors and even get to record them in a file. You’ll also get to view a variety of information, such as engine temperature, vehicle speed, engine torque, air intake quantity, and more.
- If you drive regularly, you’ll love being able to make records of your trip and read them with the use of the EOBD-facile Windows/Macbook software.
- This best OBD2 iPhone app is highly versatile as it’s compatible with all petrol vehicles that were produced since 2001 and all diesel vehicles that were made since 2004, so you’re sure to find that your car is compatible with this app.
- Some people who have purchased this app have reported that there are too many ads.
- Others have said they sometimes battle to get and maintain a connection.
OBD2 App FAQ
Now that we’ve gone through five of the best OBD2 apps on the market that will help you improve your car’s performance, let’s answer some common questions related to OBD2 scanners and how to use them.
Where can I get a free OBD2 scan?
If you don’t think that you need to purchase an OBD2 scanner app, or you’re not interested in learning how to use an OBD2 scanner yourself, you might still want to get OBD2 scans on your car.
The good news is that you can do this by heading over to auto parts stores such as Advance Auto or AutoZone. They will give you a free code reading on your car.
So, they’re valuable to go to if your “check engine” light is on and you don’t have the OBD2 software to help you out. You should phone ahead of time to find out if they’ll do a scan for free.
The scan will be useful because it will tell you what the error/fault codes mean and give you reasons for why they could be showing up in your car so that you can tackle the problem.
Another way to get a free car scan is to head over to your mechanic and ask him or her if they’ll do a free scan for you. If you have a good relationship with your mechanic, they’ll probably be fine with that.
The good thing about this is that you’ll get much more detailed information about the error codes and repairs you need to do on your car.
What about getting your car’s scan at a dealership? Car dealerships will have costly diagnostic equipment for car scanning that’s updated regularly.
However, you will probably not be able to get a free scan from them.
Finally, another option you have is to download the best OBD2 app, such as one that we’ve featured in our reviews. However, bear in mind you’ll need to buy an adapter in order to use it.
Although some of these apps are free, you might need to upgrade to their paid versions in order to make use of their additional features. If you want to scan your car’s engine regularly, however, they’re worth it.
Can I diagnose my car with my phone?
You can definitely turn your smartphone device into a car diagnostic tool.
As we’ve seen in these reviews, you just need to download an app and use this to communicate with your car’s internal computer so that you can gain a wealth of information about your car and troubleshoot it for any faults it could have.
The benefit about using such scanner-tool apps is that they offer many other types of information that doesn’t only make your car healthier but also prevent you from being a bad driver.
For example, the Car Scanner app that we featured in our reviews can give you valuable information about how much fuel your car is consuming during long journeys.
Similarly, the EOBD app gives you information that’s not just useful if your car is experiencing a problem that needs to be looked at by a mechanic but that will help you maintain your car daily.
It keeps you updated on information such as your car’s speed, air intake quantity, and engine temperature. All of these can ensure you increase your car’s lifespan and keep it in excellent condition.
How can I tell if my engine code has been cleared?
Sometimes a person who is selling his or her car will reset their “check engine” light so that they don’t have to inform the new buyer of any problems with the car.
This is obviously illegal, but it happens. You need to be able to find out if the “check engine” light was reset so you don’t end up with a faulty car on your hands!
You can find out if the “check engine” light was recently reset by using an OBD2 code reader. You will need an ELM327 adapter and a free app, such as Torque or Free OBD2.
However, it’s important that the scanner you use to do this can display I/M Monitor Readiness Status.
Then, here are the steps you need to follow:
- Start by putting the car ignition in the “On” position without turning the car’s engine on.
- Plug the OBD scanner into the OBD port. A commonplace where this port is located is underneath the dashboard.
- As soon as you’ve connected the scanner to the port it should start working.
- Press “Enter” or “Read” on the scanner, then scroll down to the “I/M Readiness” menu.
- Once there, you should take a look at the systems on display. If most, or all, of them, are listed as “Not ready,” this is a sign that the “check engine” light has recently undergone a resetting process. This is because after resetting the light you need to drive your car around a lot in order for the system to start working properly again.
If you’ve recently purchased your car and the “check engine” light has been coming on soon after driving it for a bit, this can definitely point to the light having been erased or deleted before it was sold.
The “check engine” light will start showing again if whatever problem was causing it to come on has not been resolved, so you’re going to have to get to the bottom of the fault and repair it to ensure your car’s good performance.
Is it illegal to clear check engine codes?
It’s not necessarily illegal to clear “check engine” codes unless you’re doing it because you’re trying to deceive prospective car owners who are interested in buying your car about the repairs your vehicle needs.
However, it’s worth bearing in mind that trying to clear your “check engine” light when you haven’t tackled the problem that your car is experiencing won’t get you anywhere.
Even after you clear it, such as with a scanner or without one, it will come back on because the problem is still there.
And, of course, leaving something damaged in your car will only give you further troubles and more expensive repairs that you need to do in the near future.
Generally, though, if you are clearing the “check engine” error codes, this isn’t illegal. If you go ahead and tamper with or completely disable the “check engine” light mechanism, however, this is illegal.
If you’re resetting the “check engine” light for yourself, this isn’t against the law, but it can land you in problems because whatever is causing the problem will not go away unless you repair it.
If you want to download an OBD2 app for your car, you might not know which one to get and if you have to pay for it.
In this review, we’ve looked at five of the best OBD2 apps on the market, featuring all of their pros and cons so that you can make the best choice for your vehicle.
Whether you have an Android or Apple device, there’s an excellent OBD2 app that’s available for you to use to scan your car.
We’ve also looked at some important information you should know about OBD2 apps and how they work. With an OBD2 app, you can finally take your car’s health into your own hands and possibly save some money on auto repairs.