Purpose of this article is to save you time researching reliable professional OBD software for your PC/laptop.
Basically we’ve done all the research for you (having used and tested them all extensively) – and will present our 7 top researched OBD2 diagnostic software.
Basically last judgement is on you. See their website, get a feel for it. And get one that makes sense to your unique automotive needs. For this reason, we’ve kept our reviews bullet point short.
There’s not much to say, as they’re all basically going to do the SAME thing end of the day, else we would’ve not mentioned them here.
What we can tell you about them all is:
- These are not free OBD software. For free OBD2 software (for ELM327 scan tool), download EasyOBD. It’s the best “free” you’ll find anywhere.
- Automotive industry generally only targets Windows. There’s only two (decent) OBD2 software for MAC in list below.
- All software support ELM327 OBD2 Bluetooth, WIFI and USB interface. You can find ELM327 install instructions here.
- None of these software are bidirectional. For bidirectional, you’ll need high-end OEM scan tool (which are usually in $1000+ range).
So let’s begin with brief intro guide about scanners / code readers / diagnostic tools…
Automotive engineering has come a long way since Karl Benz developed the first petrol or gasoline power automobile in 1885. What started off a form of transportation to solely move people from point A to point B has not turn into a luxurious, fast option to transport people from A to B.
Before the technological boom, cars were plain and simple and easy to fix. However, as we have advanced in all aspects, cars now are equipped with the most technological items that one can think of, from air conditioner, to navigation, to even autopilot.
With the technological advancement, automobiles are becoming increasingly smarter. Today’s cars can collect information navigating the best route available, to adjusting the fluids in the car to fit the driving condition, to lastly, detecting errors in the engine.
Most automobiles you on the road today all have an on-board diagnostics, or an OBD2 port which provides access to all the data from the engine control unit (ECU). With the data, a technician can determine the car’s problems and see if maintenance is required.
Step 1: Connect ELM327 to your car’s OBD port.
Step 2: Install ELM327 drivers.
Step 3: Launch OBD2 software, and click “Connect”. It’s that easy!
To access the information from the ECU, you would need a computer and software to plug the port and gain access. Because of this trend, more and more companies are now developing and creating software which can cater to the end-users and assist them in accessing the ECU for data.
Usually, the product will come with two pieces of equipment, a device, hardware or cord and the software. The hardware/cord connects the ECU to the computer. The software then reads the data and analyze the data for the end-users. The main goal of this application is to assist with the maintenance of the vehicle as well as prolonging the life of the vehicle.
Below, we have gathered seven different types of diagnostic software from seven different companies which we believe are the best software that you can purchase now for your Windows/Mac laptop/PC computer.
(Note: None of these links are affiliate links. Total Car Diagnostics is not interested in earning commissions on these recommendations. It’s just a sincere write up on our recommended list of scanner we believe will help you fulfill your diagnostic reading needs.)
TOTAL OBD & ECU Auto Diagnostics™ (TOAD®) contains advanced, comprehensive and powerful “car-manufacturer-approved” OBD software applications that’ll perform a thorough health-check on your car, diagnose and present common problems, and fine tune your cars ECU.
This is the same software that’s usually ONLY reserved for highest rated, registered and acclaimed car repair shops, manufacturers, serviceman and mechanics.
It’ll allow you to “hack” your car’s performance, optimize fuel consumption, perform live diagnosis and fix common problems.
TOAD® is suitable for home car owners who’re willing to save hundreds of dollars by doing it themselves. Or for professional car mechanics/service shops that need the latest cutting-edge detection and analysis software.
Benefits of TOAD PRO:
- Check engine light detector: Will display a description of what the problem is so the owner can fix the car accordingly
- Extract “Extra” OBD Fault Codes usually unfound by other scanners/software (Yes, we tested them all.)
- Save Money On Car Repair because software will tell you about the broken component (Hence can buy it cheap on eBay or negotiate with the mechanics)
- Optimize / Tune Cars Performance
- Save Fuel Costs
- Increase Engine Life Span
- See What Your Car Is Doing In Realtime
- Helps You Fix Your Car and Helps Keep Repair Costs Down!
- Drive With Peace Of Mind Knowing Car Is In Good Condition
- Display real-time data in a variety of formats including tabular and plotted in a graph
AutoEnginuity offers brand specific options, such as (BMW, Ford, GM, Chrysler, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, Land Rover, Jaguar, Honda, Porsche) and much more! ScanTool is available for Windows and iOS systems.
The software allows users to quickly scan the vehicle’s trouble shooting codes, vehicle sensors, and IM240 to decide what services are required. Another attribute which makes ScanTool stand out from the rest is the depth of the coverage.
The systems can access ABS, airbag, instrument cluster transmission, and many other controllers.
The depth consists of online data, bi-directional controls, adaptive resets and learns, and system test.
Benefits of AutoEnginuity Scan Tool:
- Data: logged in XML for browsers, and CSV for spreadsheets
- Customizable sensor data: Users can change how the data is displayed in regards to the sensor’s sampling rate, ranges, units , and scaling value
- Ease of use: Display data is concise and easy to understand form instead of raw data.
Considered to be a more generic version of diagnostic tool and scanner. PCMScan can make charts, add logs playback old data and also other information about the car.
This universal scanner supports all US, Asian and European automobiles built after 1996.
Benefits of PCMScan:
- Customizable dashboard= User can change to personal preference
- Dyno and Drag features
- Data logging
Please note Total Car Diagnostics have bought out ProScan in 2015. This OBD2 software is now greatly improved for 2018 and beyond – and it’s part of TOAD LITE package.
ProScan is easily the most user-friendly PC-based scanner in the market today. ProScan is compatible with any standard ELM327 hardware.
Best feature in ProScan that’s somewhat lacking in others, is timing performance 0-60mph (100km). So you can conduct instant accurate measurements of speed/torque gains after adjusting it’s ECU parameters.
Benefits of ProScan:
- Fuel Economy: can adjust fuel economy depending on driver’s habit
- Vehicle Connection Manager: The interface when launching the program
- Read and display freeze frame data: monitor data from any previous period of time
- Oxygen Sensor Tests: Display all the tests which has been done on the oxygen sensors. Furthermore, it will show which individual sensor is malfunctioning
- One button Diagnostic Report Generator: can generate report on the automobile easily
- Show you the status of your vehicle’s readiness monitors, indicating emissions conformance
- Show the number and location of oxygen sensors on the vehicle
- Test your vehicle’s oxygen sensors to verify correct functionality
- Record and play back data
- Calculate and display instantaneous fuel efficiency (mpg) information for any maf-based vehicle
- Calculate and display the real-time cost of a trip based upon distance and average fuel efficiency
- Calculate performance statistics such as 0-60 mph, 1/4 mile time and trap speed, 1/8 mile, etc.
- Estimate horsepower and torque curves and generate dyno charts
- Generate printable diagnostic reports for a given vehicle
- Convert between english and metric units
OBD Auto Doctor
OBD II Auto Doctor is one of the most sophisticated OBD2 car diagnostics tool out in the market today. It is also the best OBD software for OS X platform. Yes, it also supports Windows. The software can let the users check and reset codes and communicate directly with the car’s OBD2 system.
OBD II is an very resourceful and excellent tool for car enthusiasts who wants to understand more about their beloved automobiles.
Benefits of OBD II Auto Doctor:
- DTCs, Freeze frame, MIL
- Fuel emission and fuel consumption
- OBD2 real time indicators
- Interchange between numerical and graphical view
- Data can be sent via email
- Can be utilized to read VIN, and calibration ID of ECU
- Has a built in DTC database of over 14,000+ alarm codes
Movi and Movi Pro
One of the coolest feature for this MAC based OBD software is the ability to read information from the engine control module (ECM).
Movi/ Movi Pro has the ability to extract every historical failure (DTC) of a vehicle. It can also clear the check engine light off of your vehicle as it extracts trouble codes.
Benefits of Movi and Movi Pro:
- Can view real time data to assist with engine failures
- Read / clear DTCs
- View / clear freeze frame data
- View fuel consumption and fuel economy
- Monitor virtual horsepower and torque
- Make graph up to 4 engine indicators at the same time
EOBD Facile MacOS software is very simple and easy to setup and connect car-computer via ELM327 interface. It’s available in App store.
Once the connection is established, user can diagnose and see the results in real time, see Vehicle info and view what car sensors are saying.
Benefits of EOBD Facile:
- Clear check engine light
- View issue with engine codes and what they mean
- Monitor manufacturer error codes
- Backlog of records of GPS data
When looking for car diagnostic software, it is best to see what would be most suitable for you according to your needs. Some people may want to have more functions, while others would just want to basics.
When making a purchase, be sure to do research prior to purchasing. Furthermore, be sure to talk to your technician about which software is most suitable for you!