Turning your phone into an OBD2 scanner is easy. In less than five minutes you can troubleshoot your car yourself. You can read, clear, reset fault codes or monitor your engine performance with your smartphone with a help of an ELM327 Bluetooth adapter.
In this article, we will show you how to use your iPhone or Android phone as a diagnostic scanner. If your check engine light is on, you will be able to know right away what the DTC code is, what it means and even reset it in seconds. There are many other benefits such as checking to see if the vehicle is ready to pass the emission test.
These instructions work on all vehicles 1996 and newer including domestic makes such as Ford, Chrysler, GM; Asian makes such as Honda, Toyota, Subaru; Europen models such as Jaguar, Land Rover, BMW, Porche, VW, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz etc.
The OBD2 port is located on the driver side under the dashboard. Typically it is near the hood release. Here is a couple of pictures on how the OBD2 port looks.
Turn the ignition until all the dashboard lights come on. This is position II. Don't turn on the car yet.
On your smartphone go to Settings > Bluetooth and turn it on. Next, search for new devices. You will see the name of the Bluetooth adapter. It may show as OBDII, Vlink, Bluetooth ELM 327, BAFX, Kobra, BlueDriver or Scan Tool depending on the Bluetooth device that you purchased.
Click on the name of the OBDII adapter and enter the pairing code. The pairing code should have been provided by the device manufacturer.
Enter pairing code.
If they didn't provide you with a code try 1234 or 0000.
Once the pairing is complete, allow the phone to connect to your vehicle's ECU. Click on read fault codes. If your check engine light is on, you will get a Diagnostic Trouble Code (often referred ad DTC or fault code) and a description of what it means. You can also monitor the readiness status to see if your vehicle is ready to pass the emission/smog test.
As you can see in this picture this vehicle is not ready for an emission test. Once you all the test change to Complete you will be able to take your car for emission testing and pass it. ;)
Using your phone to diagnose your car's Check Engine Light (CEL) and fault codes is easy and can save you money in the long run. An OBD2 Bluetooth adapter will also allow you to monitor your car sensor live and test to see if the vehicle is ready for emission testing.
Don't expect to diagnose ABS, Airbag or ESP light with a cheap OBD2 Bluetooth adapter. If you are buying an ELM327 adapter you won't be able to connect to any other system except the engine. Which is fine if you are looking to monitor the engine and clear that check engine light.
As the Bluetooth technology evolves we hope to see Bluetooth adapters be able to scan multiple vehicle systems. We are already seeing Bluetooth tools such as BlueDriver OBD-II Scan Tool being able to read and clear codes from ABS, Airbag, and transmission but this feature works only on GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, BMW, and Mini.
There are so many Bluetooth OBD car apps for both iPhone and Android devices. We wanted to share with you Top 5 most popular auto diagnostic OBD2 apps.
1) Flow rate cars
3) Spent fuel for the trip
4) Distance traveled per trip
5) Engine speed
6) Vehicle Speed
7) The temperature of the engine
8) Alternator voltage of the car
9) High speed