Best OBD II device for car

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I’m looking to get an OBD II device for my 2002 Toyota RAV 4. I’ve found several for less than $30 that seem to have good ratings, and one that’s $99. Thought I would ask the community here if they’ve had good experiences with any particular device.

Thanks!

Comments (15)

15 responses to “Best OBD II device for car”

  1. xperiencewindows

    I would highly recommend ScanGauge.

  2. Patrick3D

    I bought the Automatic Link (what is now referred to as Automatic Lite) back in 2013 when it first launched and have been using it ever since then. They released a newer "Pro" version that adds a few extra features but it relies on a subscription service that is only free for 5 years and is used to track your car via cell towers which anyone concerned over privacy may want to avoid. I've never paid a single penny extra since buying the original Link.


    The main features I use are the "Check Engine" light diagnostics, hard braking & speeding alerts. The device and app have the ability to clear a "Check Engine" light but more importantly it tells you the relevant code as to what is causing the light to come on. For example, 2 cars I have owned and used the Link in are notorious for O2 sensor failures. Rather than spend $400+ to have a mechanic replace the sensor, I just buy the $20-$50 part and install it myself then clear the light. The hard braking alert is good to train yourself to brake sooner and softer so you don't wear out your pads as quickly, and the speeding alert is handy for those times when you are fighting your way through highway traffic and don't realize how fast you've gotten up to. I don't bother with the fuel economy information since my current car has that information displayed on the dash.


    I wouldn't recommend the Automatic Link though, and certainly not the Pro, they are grossly overpriced compared to the countless sensors made by nameless Chinese vendors on Amazon which sell for $10-$20. Those cheap sensors also provide many of the same features as the Automatic Pro for free. The only situation in which I recommend the Automatic brand is if you want a cleaner app with a customer service team supporting it.

  3. AnOldAmigaUser

    I bought an ANCEL AD310, cost about $35, is self contained and works just fine. The codes for most manufacturers are built in; I have used it on all four of our cars and several neighbors. It is good to bring along any time you are looking at used cars, if you get a check engine light, or just to get a better idea of what is going on with the engine systems (such as the ECT1 temp on an Odyssey if you are disabling the VCM).

  4. Chris_Kez

    Apologies for the newb question but are there any security concerns with these things? Is it just the same as with any IoT device?

    • wright_is

      In reply to Chris_Kez:

      It depends on what it can do. It is directly attached to the CANBUS. If it has bluetooth, wi-fi or cellular, then you can possibly open up the car to remote hacking (EMC, ABS, ASC etc. can be accessed over the bus), if the manufacturer has cut corners on security.

      Charlie Miller's hacks on Fiat/Jeep vehicles a couple of years back was based around such a connector, just that it was built into the car entertainment system and not a third party add-on.

      That said, the chances are, at the moment, fairly low that somebody will attack you.

  5. vernonlvincent

    I appreciate the recommendations! I should have said I'm using this on an Android device, but iOS functionality is good to know too in case I ever switch over.

  6. Tim

    I've been using a Carista for the last couple of years, no complaints at all.

  7. Lauren Glenn

    I just got SyncUp Drive through TMobile for just about $30 w/ $20 or $25/mo service charge. One reason I did this was basically that it is providing some useful data to me in terms of telling me when the battery may die, fuel levels, recalls, trip history, etc. But TMobile is giving me free roadside assistance through Allstate with this device providing I keep data coverage. That's the main reason I got the device and probably the best reason to keep it. If I need roadside assistance, I launch the app on the phone and they know exactly where I am with the built in GPS.


    Plus, it apparently will return those diagnostic codes over the ODB II port into your phone and alert you of things like bad battery, low gas, warning lights, etc.

    • AnOldAmigaUser

      In reply to alissa914:

      What did the terms of service look like, regarding what they will do with the data collected? Not that I am a madman behind the wheel, but I am very leery of letting the nannies track my driving habits.

      • Lauren Glenn

        In reply to AnOldAmigaUser:

        I don't have insurance through them so it doesn't matter. Progressive gave me a snapshot device, they wanted the device back after a couple of weeks and a month later, they removed the savings. It saved me maybe $10 on my insurance for a couple months.


        It thought my acceleration was too fast, but it is the most fuel efficient way to accelerate. I used to get 38mpg in my car but avoiding a beep in the snapshot device dropped it to about 32.


        But this new device really just sends me diagnostic data if a check engine light comes on, can warn me if I'm speeding (which I would turn on in some red states, like TX, that have aggressive enforcement of speeding or some blue states that want to be red, like NJ).


        It's like when I found out Movie Pass was selling my personal data. I honestly didn't care because I'm saving $50/mo on movie tickets and Outlook.com sends me so much spam already, I figured what's a few more if I save $50/mo?

        • AnOldAmigaUser

          In reply to alissa914:

          Thanks. I am insured through Allstate, so I am sure they would get the data, since they are the roadside assistance partner. I was too lazy to follow the links to the Mojio site to see what they were doing with the data.

          Your acceleration story is part of the reason I do not want the nannies enabled. A lot of the newer technology they are adding is great, but some of it just seems designed to suck the fun out of driving.

          <rant>Anyone that wants a self driving vehicle should take the bus.</rant>

    • Lauren Glenn

      In reply to alissa914:

      I was getting periodic beeps on the phone from the car as well. Apparently, it thought it had been moved (but it was because I just installed it). Since it has a cellular connection at all times, it can detect if the car moves and indicate where it is. So if your car is being towed or if someone steals it, you'd get a notification on your phone that "a trip has started." That could be useful.

  8. vernonlvincent

    Amazon is apparently having a sale today on the Kobra OBD-II readers. I just ordered a bluetooth version for $7.12 (with a coupon code I found on Windows Central today). So that seems like a cheap price to pay to test this stuff out and get an idea of what I can live with.

  9. SvenJ

    I think it depends on how much of a shade tree mechanic you are. I got a Kobra that is wired at Amazon because I didn't need something constantly attached to the port providing me information I don't understand. My Wife's Hyundai has a finicky fuel system that periodically throws up a check engine light because it detected a 'vapor leak' (loose gas cap). It sometimes just goes away on its own, and sometimes costs $100 for someone to connect a reader and tell me that. With the Kobra I can see what the code is, reset it (if it is that), and if it doesn't come back on in a day or two it has paid for itself. I did get acheck engine a while back that wasn't the gas cap, it gave me insight on what it might be and a Bing search gave me possible remedies. I wasn't going to do them myself, but I was more informed when I saw the mechanic. Are you amechanic? Are you going to do more than a periodic check? Consider whether you need another wireless device and cell phone app. Wires still work ;)

  10. Hoomgar

    Any of them really. I bought this cheap one off Woot for 9.99 shipped. Works great. Have used it to diagnose two issues and fix them already.


    Kobra Bluetooth Mini OBD2 Wireless Car Code Scanner Tool

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