The dreaded check engine light: whether it’s popping up because of something small or large, the light won’t go away until you get a mechanic to look at your vehicle. It’s something we’ve all encountered before, but is it really worth the trip when it could be something you could have easily fixed yourself?
Enter BlueDriver, a professional grade OBD-II scan tool that works with your mobile device to let you know exactly what is going on with your car. Here at DoItYourself.com, we’ve fiddled with other OBD-II scan tools before, but most only give you a code that you have to look up on your own or are too expensive to be practical. BlueDriver has the added bonus of not only letting you know what that error means, but also gives you your entire car’s diagnostics so you can make an informed decision when it comes to getting it fixed.
Using the device was pretty straightforward: we just had to download the app (don’t worry, it’s free), and plug the BlueDriver into your car’s connector located under the dash. It’s a big rectangle port and all cars after 1995 have them. The app guided us through syncing the device and then immediately got to work.
The app has two main sections: scan tool and live data. The scan tool has six features including scanning/clearing codes, repair reports, smog check readiness information, Mode 6, and freeze frame which allows you to save the current statistics to look at later. The repair report defines trouble codes while giving suggestions for possible causes while also listing frequent and other fixes on your car. Mode 6 will let you know every issue your car’s computer has ever recorded as well.
The live data section is exactly what it sounds like: what’s going on right now with your car. You can choose from a huge list of things your car’s computer is currently scanning and create your own list. It’s pretty fun to watch the numbers change in real time, especially if you’re a passenger and leave in the device while the vehicle is in motion. This information can also be saved to a CSV file so you can analyze it more in-depth later.
Honestly, we found a lot of uses for this little device. More advanced auto DIYers can use it to get all the information they need when fixing a car, but novices should use it to research their vehicle’s issue before they go to a mechanic so they can talk about the issue, and the pricing, from an informed perspective. The smog check feature keeps you from surprises during your next emissions test as well.
BlueDriver is priced at about $100 which can seem a little on the high end for most beginners who just want simple diagnostics, but it’s actually on the low end of the price scale for auto scanners on this level. The product is smaller than most others (we could fit it in our pocket), works on all your family’s vehicles, and can tell you even the smallest details about what’s going on in your car. If you ever plan on working on a car yourself, don’t want to get oversold on repairs by a mechanic, or are just interested in what’s going on under the hood, BlueDriver is a solid choice.