Yeah, our mechanics love working on engines, flushing radiators, getting downright filthy. There’s grease under our fingernails from 1982, swear on our mother’s BMW scheduled maintenance plan. (We’ve got you scheduled for this Tuesday, Mom!)
But that doesn’t mean we’re not huge tech geeks too. We are always tooling around on our phones, especially diagnostics apps. You say a device as small as a TV remote, with more data drive than the computers that launched Armstrong to the moon, can help us better understand our cars? We’re cool with that.
So here’s a few of our favorite car diagnostics apps for 2018. And no, Candy Crush did not make the list this year.
BAFX Products 34t5
The beauty of this device is it works on all domestic cars made after 1996. The device connects to your Android phone or tablet to read off diagnostic data. You’ll need a third party app as well, but we’ll get to that later. You can also clear out diagnostic codes, including manufacturer-specific codes, to turn off that pesky check engine light. Yes, you can finally rip that duct tape off your dash.
Torque Pro is great for identifying any car problems. It can also be used together with Track Record to give you stats on a trip. You can also analyze useful data related to horsepower, dynamometer, car emissions and environmental sustainability. The catch is you get what you pay for, which is a lot — this app will cost you, but you’ll also save money on car repair.
OBD Car Doctor Pro
OBD Car Doctor Pro delivers real-time information on your car engine performance, including pressure, speed, the angle of rotation, and temperature among other sensor data. It even delivers that data in visually understandable graphs and charts. The Bluetooth connection isn’t the best and it doesn’t work well with cheap adapters.
OBD Auto Doctor
OBD Auto Doctor is an iPhone version of the Doctor Pro and is probably one of the best OBD apps there is for iPhones. It is so easy to use. You can see real-time data of fuel use so you can track fuel efficiency. You can even give yourself your own e-check to see if you’ll pass. (It won’t give you the required certification. But at least you’ll know you can pass before spending money at an e-check station). And you can get all that diagnostic data delivered via email, complete with graphs.
Fair warning: It does have connectivity issues with adapters labeled ELM327 v2.1. And fuel consumption rates for diesel vehicles may not be entirely accurate.
The beauty of Engine Link is you can connect it through a Bluetooth connection, but an adapter works well too. It shows real time data into your car’s condition and you can track emissions. Fuel consumption tracking is highly detailed. You can also choose what data you want to track and what to turn off. The Wi-Fi can have poor connectivity. It’s also a bit picky when it comes to adapters.