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What are OBD readers? How can we use them to monitor our vehicle?

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  • 4 min read

OBD (On-board diagnostics) is a blessing for modern mechanics. As a former mechanic myself, OBD system saved the time I would’ve spent fiddling around in an engine bay going through every part determining the culprit that’s causing the issue.

OBD is a diagnostic tool that is equipped on most modern automobiles that monitors your engine’s temperature, oil pressure, fuel ratio, battery status and many more depending on your vehicle and OBD capacity. It’s used by mechanics to detect any abnormalities in the engine’s performance.

People might call them OBD2 — the two stands for the second generation of OBDs for vehicles produced after 1996.

Today, many third-party vendors sell OBD Bluetooth modules for relatively low prices which you can plug in your vehicle and use alongside a mobile application to monitor your vehicle status.

It’s especially beneficial for those who like to keep an eye on their engine vitals after they have remapped or chipped their vehicles to produce extra power or run a different fuel map than what is initially programmed by the manufacturer.

Also read: Why you shouldn’t leave your device’s Bluetooth switched on in public?

OBD is also a great tool to check the performance of the vehicle under varied conditions. Or if you have different performance mods installed; or just a cool way to show off your vehicle’s performance, like the Nissan GT-R’s performance dash screen (I’m not kidding check it out it’s pretty cool) to your co-passengers if you have a Bluetooth enabled Android head unit.

Cool right? It’s a simple accessory you can plug in and monitor your vehicle’s vitals in real time. If you’re an automotive enthusiast, this comes highly recommended.

Note: As every vehicle is different, please check your owners manual to identify if your vehicle has an OBD port, what generation it is and where you can find one. You might also want to consult with your mechanic if doing this would affect your warranty as it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Although there are many options available on the market, BAFX Products Bluetooth Diagnostic OBDII Reader/Scanner is a good option available for both Android and IOS devices. If you are looking for something cheaper, then Kitbest Bluetooth OBD OBD2 Scanner Adapter comes to save the day.

All you got to do is plug in the device on your OBD port as instructed by the manufacturer and use the app recommended by the manufacturer. If you don’t like that interface or require more functionality, you can always opt to use third-party apps.

Here are three popular OBD apps you can choose from.

Torque Pro & Torque Lite

These are two compelling OBD apps which can detect almost any Bluetooth OBD dongle — it helps if it’s a popular branded product). The Lite version is a free app that displays detailed info about your OBD data. The Pro version, on the other hand, has some extra goodies such as a GPS speedometer tracking, error code database that you can utilise to identify any issues, custom gauges, themes and many more.

You can find Torque Pro & Torque Lite here

Carista OBD2

Carista is a powerful OBD reader application that provides detailed reports by comparing your car’s real-time parameters with its vast database. It’s a handy tool if you often find your car’s engine to be faulty or if you’re working with multiple vehicles.

You can find Carista OBD2 here


Dash command is a simple yet robust tool which can help you manage your car’s vitals in real time. Unlike others, its user interface is more straightforward and decluttered allowing you to focus on the details, and is customisable too.

You can find DashCommand here

Well, with this simple yet powerful tool we hope you could better understand and get to experience the unique and often complex inner workings of your car. Possibly even take care of it better than usual.

Also read: How to check your iPhone’s battery health? Tips for a longer battery life

Mani Maaran

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