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Bluedriver OBD-II Code Scanner

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Recently I had a Check Engine fault light on the dash of my car. I took it in for service to find that it was caused by a rotted gas-cap seal. We replaced the cap and I went on my way, a little less cash in my pocket. Flash forward a few weeks later and I'm driving in for a car stereo installation, and the check engine light comes on again. The stereo is installed, but now I'm afraid to drive the car. I suspect it might just be the same problem, but I don't want to risk that it is something major with the engine or power train. Still, I don't want to take it back to the shop and pay another hour of labor just to find out that the gas lid wasn't sealed right and the OBD computer detected a vapor leak. 

The boss had a Bluedriver OBD-II scanner by Lemur Vehicle Monitors he had recently purchased to diagnose some issues with his truck, and he handed it to me and said, "give this a try, and see what the problem is." 

I went home, downloaded the app on my Android phone (there is an iPhone version too,) plugged the module into my OBD-II port, and within minutes, I had discovered that it was the same fault. I re-seated the gas cap, cleared the code, and saved myself a service call. I also had the piece of mind of knowing that I wasn't about to blow a gasket or throw a rod by ignoring my check engine light. 

The problem with ODB-II and the check engine light is that it triggers on any fault code. Eventually this causes people to disregard their check engine light - and they end up with an expensive repair because their OBD-II system has cried wolf too many times. 

There are far less expensive systems on the market than the Bluedriver scanner - but the Bluedriver scanner is specifically targeted for consumers who aren't necessarily going to turn the wrench themselves if an issue comes up. There is a tag-code on the back of the device. Scan it into your phone and your device will automatically download the app for you. The app itself is clean and well designed and easy to use even if you're not a mechanic. One of the nice features of the Bluedriver is that it connects to your phone via Bluetooth - you don't need extension cables or bulky readers, just the Bluedriver and your smartphone. 

The newer your vehicle, the more options that are likely to be supported. On my 1996, there were a lot of features that the car didn't support - but the important things all worked fine. The user interface has 3 buttons at the top (you can access these screens by flicking left or right on your screen, too.) Those are the "Scan Tool," "Live," and "More" buttons and screens.


The Scan tool starts a vehicle code-scan on your car and delivers the results to the app. Live view gives you a real-time view of the communication between the car and the module. On the "More" page you can read the user manual, order a sensor, access the settings, update the module firmware, contact the manufacturer, and rate and review the product and app. 



The main page allows you to Read Codes, Clear Codes, View Saved Reports, view a "Freeze Frame," run a Smog Check readiness scan, Check Mode 6, Mil Status, Vehicle Info, and conveniently, activate the flashlight on your phone. 


Freeze Frame views a snapshot of the data from the OBD-II computer at the moment the engine fault light came on. 

Mode 6 are advanced test results for OBD monitors, showing if tests are passing and what range they are in.

MIL status is another name for the Check Engine Light - "Malfunction Indicator Lamp." It will tell you how long the MIL has been on or off, the distance traveled with MIL on or Off, and the run time since the engine was started - depending on your vehicle's reporting capabilities. 

Vehicle Info will scan your VIN code and ABS data if your ODB-2 module supports this. If not, you can scan in your VIN bar code on your door, or enter your VIN number by hand. Once entered, you will get additional information, including Vehicle specifications, recommended Maintenance Schedules,  Recalls, and Service Bulletins, if available. 

I was impressed enough with the features and convenience of the boss's Bluedriver scanner that as soon as I was done resetting my fault code, I purchased one for myself from Amazon. The ability to confirm a fault code and reset it on your own if it is trivial is worth the cost alone - but when the additional features are considered, if you have more than 1 car that is ODB-2 capable, I can't see why you wouldn't add one of these to your tool-kit. There are various competitors, some selling for a 5th of the price of the Bluedriver scanner. Reviews for those products mention a lot of reliability and compatibility issues. I think it is probably worth paying the premium to avoid headaches down the road.

 

If you drive any vehicle that is OBD-2 compatible, having one of these in the glove box is a little extra piece of mind. If you're looking to purchase a used OBD-2 compatible vehicle, plugging this in will tell you the real history that the owner may not be. If you have to take your car into the shop, the Bluedriver will help you make sure your mechanic is being honest with you. For $100, the piece of mind seems well worth it. 

Buy yours now at Amazon