October 24, 2012 by quirkyuncle
It is really convenient to have a tool that reads the On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) codes from your car, so you can tell why that pesky check-engine light is on. The BlueDriver Scan Tool puts this capability in your iPhone or other iOS device.
The BlueDriver Scan Tool requires purchase of a BlueDriver bluetooth sensor, shown above, that plugs into your car and sends data to an application in your phone. The sensor is available from Lemur Monitors, listed at $99. (I paid $39 for mine in early 2012 – I’m hoping the price comes back down.) I’ve seen refurbished units available online for significantly less, so shop around.
The free basic BlueDriver application provides the ability to: scan codes, clear codes, freeze frame a code, check anti-lock brake system (ABS) codes for Ford/GM/Chrysler, view interactive system gauges, and email scan results and logs. Full information about these features is on the Lemur Monitors website.
The application provides comprehensive information about the trouble codes, as shown below. There might be enough here for you to remedy the problem, and you can certainly look the code up online to find information applicable to your specific vehicle.
A great feature allows you to clear the trouble codes, to quickly see if you fixed the problem. In the example shown, a common cause was a loose gasoline filler cap. I tightened the cap, cleared the code, and was done! (Note – this won’t work for cheating your way through an emissions test, because they can tell that you’ve cleared the codes and you need to drive the car a certain distance after clearing to make sure that no problem codes reappear.)
There are additional premium features for BlueDriver that you can purchase through the application. These are also explained on the Lemur Monitors website. I purchased the “Smog Readiness Check” feature to make sure my cars were ready for the state test. It found a couple issues, allowing me to correct the problem before being failed – very cool.
For more information about using the BlueDriver Scan Tool to troubleshoot a problem indicated by your “Check Engine” light, see DIY – Help! My “Check Engine” light is on!.
(Updated 26 October 2012)