Hands On: This Gadget Lets You Monitor And Diagnose Your Car With Your Phone or Tablet

For the car enthusiasts among us, this gadget is worth checking out. It’s called iOBD2 and it’s made to work with your iPhone, iPad or Android phone. I’ve been using it for about a month and I’ve come to appreciate a lot of what it provides. They’ve recently updated the app with more functionality (including Landscape mode) and it’s just getting better.

iOBD2 is a combination of software and hardware. You need the wireless connector to plug into the OBD-II port of your vehicle (under the dash) and the free app from the App Store (iOS) or Play Store (Android). The wireless connector is available from a few online vendors, but the best price and current availability I found is from NewEgg. You can buy it for $69 bucks with free shipping here. That’s the only cost involved. Even basic DTC code readers are similarly priced, but don’t have near the functionality.

So, what does iOBD2 do for you, my fellow gearhead?

Read and Clear Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC)

If your check engine light is on, iOBD2 will tell you why. It’ll give you the DTC code for further investigation and a brief description of the code. If it’s something you’re already aware of or if you’re in the middle of troubleshooting an issue, you can clear the code with the tap of a button.

Live Data

Even more helpful for troubleshooting, you can view a stream of live data as your car idles. Need to know what your Mass Airflow Sensor is reading? Check. Coolant temp? Check. Ignition timing? Check. Mass air flow or intake air temp? No problem. Suspect an O2 sensor is going out? There’s a test for that, too.

My Dashboard

When you’re not diagnosing a problem or tinkering, the app has a customizable dashboard that will display a variety of live information as you drive. There are four different dashboard modes: Idle, Cruise, Sport, and Performance. They each layout the data a little differently, optimizing what you see for each circumstance. If you’re driving down the highway with the cruise control on, you’re probably most interested in instant fuel mileage, travel time, and coolant temperature. If you’re running laps around the race track, you probably care more about a large tachometer instead of speedometer.

Performance Test

If you’re curios about your 0-60 time, the Performance Test mode will give you that answer. Or on the contrary, if you want to know how good your brakes are, you can test your 60-0 time. There are a few other tests you can configure as well.

Home Screen

iOBD2 Dashboard

iOBD2 Dashboard

iOBD2 Live Data


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