There are many, many OBD2 scanner apps available on Google Play and I’ve tried most of them. The two main problems I found is either the free solutions don’t work 100% of the time or you have to pay to get to basic features, which may or may not have the same issues. In short, I wasn’t satisfied until I tried Car Scanner.
Car Scanner has a free version which is amazing (and the one I use) and there is also a Pro Version which has more advanced features which I think 90% of people won’t understand or need.
(There is a trial period for the Free version after which some of the features are taken away but even still, it’s a great app even after the trial period)
Why Is Car Scanner So Good?
Reliability. Never have I had an issue reading OBD2 codes, it has worked everytime for me regardless of the car or van.
Features. It is absolutely feature packed and honestly, it does much more than I would expect.
What Else Do You Need?
To use Car Scanner you’ll need an Android device and a OBD2 scanner Bluetooth.
Just Want To Scan For Codes?
See this article for information on how to read OBD2 codes.
What Can Car Scanner Do?
Many, many things and probably some you never even thought of
This page of the app will focus on components specifically related to emissions. Why use this feature? It’s faster because it doesn’t scan all the modules.
This is a bonus feature which I would never have considered in the OBD2 scanner app. As it says, you put in what speed ranges you want to record and Car Scanner will record the time it takes to go between the two speeds. Amazing.
About the accuracy. It’s limited by the number of parameters that are being passed between the phone and the car and also the speed of the Bluetooth connection so I don’t believe it will be as accurate as a performance box for example but I believe it will give a good ball park figure. There will be a video coming on this in the future. I’ll test the times it gives versus a Performance Box to see it’s accuracy.
Fault Code Reading
Probably the reason you are reading this article and the thing everyone wants from an OBD2 scanner. There is a default option that will get the main codes. There is also an advanced feature where you can tell it how deep to go. Again, an advanced feature for experienced users only, as stated in the app.
Simple one this. Gives you a list of all the available sensors it can read from the car’s ECU.
Live Sensor Data
Gives a numeric or graphed output of two sensors simultaneously in the free version, more channels in the Pro version. Very nice feature for trouble shooting.
If I understand this correctly it can give you breakdown of the sensor readings when a fault code is logged. So you know what was happening to the engine when the code was triggered. Again, very nice feature for troubleshooting hard to replicate issues.
Non Continuous Monitor
Monitors the sensors that are only active under some conditions, for example EGR valve.
Another massive one and the reason I tried Car Scanner in the first place. Absolute gold if you are trying to narrow down a problem, assess how an engine is running and can even help with engine tuning. And the added bonus is the app will always datalog if it is receiving data. It saves the file according to data and time in CSV format. Brilliant feature and brilliantly executed.
And if there weren’t enough cherries already, Car Scanner has the custom dash feature. Which as the name suggests allows you to make a completely custom dash using the data the app is receiving.
There is literally nothing you cannot do with the custom dash feature.
Change format of sensor data eg bar graph, number or analog gauge. Change scales. Add redlines, add visual and/or audible warnings when redlines are surpassed. All the text is customisable and all the colours are customisable. Change the needle colour, change the background colour of the gauge face, change the colour of the background of the screen itself. I think you get the idea. This feature on its own is worthy of being an app in itself and it would be a brilliant app.
Does your car output data not covered by the app? You can program in your own custom PIDs to get the data to your device.
Car Scanner OBD2 Scanner App – Wrap Up
Hopefully from this article you can see how feature packed and how useful this app is. This app is head and shoulders above all the free OBD2 scanner apps I tried. StrikeEngine recommended.