My Complete Checklist Guide Before Buying an OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter

My Complete Checklist Guide Before Buying an OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter

broken-down-carHaving an automobile is really wonderful, as it enables you to move from one place to another easily. It also facilitates your movement, and saves you a great deal of time and troubles.

But as useful as automobiles are, sometimes they can cause a lot of troubles for the user. Just imagine, you’re on the highway heading somewhere, and your vehicle suddenly stops or breaks down there on the middle of the road!

Or here’s another scenario, you were being called for an emergency purpose and you get set to be on your way there, on getting into your vehicle, you try putting it on and it doesn’t start, you try it several times over and over again but it still won’t come up! How will that make you feel?

Or in a worst case scenario, there’s a contract which you have been working on for a long time and miraculously, one day you get a call to come and finalize the deal within 2 hours or you get to lose it.

Imagine for a moment everything is going fine in life. Only for your vehicle to unexpectedly break down in the middle of nowhere where nobody can come to your assistance! And due to this, you couldn’t meet up with the time, and as well get to lose the contract. How will that make you feel?

So in order for you not to find yourself in any of such situations, you need to make sure that your vehicle is in a perfect working condition always. This is where the Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) popularly being referred to as the “check engine” light comes into play.

The “check engine” light has been put there to act as a kind of interpreter that notifies you whenever your vehicle is having any kind of problem with its engine. So, the check engine light is very important as it quickly lets you know that there’s a problem, whether it’s a major or minor issue.

But the problem is that most car users usually disregard the check engine light whenever it comes up, they do so maybe because they believe it is nothing important, or maybe because they are simply scared of parting away with some amount of money which they already know is inevitable if they take the vehicle to the mechanic or automobile workshop to diagnose the problem for them.

Although thinking in such way is understandable, since naturally nobody likes anything that would make him or her spend money just anyhow like that.

But in this case, it is necessary to spend because since the check engine light of the vehicle is already giving you signs that there’s a problem, it needs to be fixed, whether it is a minor issue or a major one.

If you decide to disregard this sign from the check engine light, sooner or later such a vehicle will likely break down. So, it is better to fix an issue immediately when the check engine light gives you a sign, so as to avoid an unexpected breakdown of the vehicle.

So as it can be seen, the check engine light is very useful to vehicle users. However, despite its usefulness, the check engine light has one major shortcoming which is, it can only notify that a vehicle is having some kind of problem, it doesn’t tell what exactly that very problem is.

Also, it doesn’t tell if the problem is a major or minor one, and it doesn’t give any recommendations or the origin of the problem. All it does it to give notification that the vehicle is having a problem.

 Consider how great it would be if the check engine light could indicate what the exact problem is, and provide recommendations for fixing the car’s problem . Well, this is where Automobile Scanners come into the scene.

Automobile scanners are devices that interprets the messages or signs passed by the check engine light. It decodes this message, and presents it in a simple language which the vehicle owner or user can easily comprehend quickly.

Automobile scanners are very useful for vehicle users, as it tells what the exact problem is being notified by the check engine light.

Another nice thing about the automobile scanners is that most of them even offer recommendations to the vehicle users on how the problem can be resolved. So you can see how useful these scanners are. They are being be used by car owners, mechanics, and various automobile workshops.


Based to the immense benefits for various car owners, mechanics and automobile workshops, we compiled some benefits of using a scanner for your automobiles.

These benefits are:

regular-car-maintenance-obd2-bluetooth-adapterEase of use – majority of the automobile scanners are very easy and simple to use, whether it is a handheld or Bluetooth enabled scanner. When you buy them, they usually come with a manual which helps in bringing you up to speed regarding how to use the scanner.

Affordable – despite their usefulness, they are quite cheap to afford. They may actually look technologically sophisticated, but aren’t really that expensive to purchase.

Less expense for car owners – it brings less expense for vehicle users, since they don’t have to take their vehicles to the mechanic workshop always. All they have to do is just to run some diagnostics on the vehicle to know why the check engine light is coming up.

So if it is just a minor issue, they can easily fix it by following the recommendations provided by the scanner. So, instead of taking the vehicle to the mechanics who will bill them for every service offered whether its a minor or major issue.

Can be used anywhere – Another benefit of using the automobile scanners is that they can be used almost anywhere. What this means is that whenever the check engine light comes up, all you have to do is remove the scanner and run some diagnostics on it to ascertain the source of the problem.

Easy set up – another feature of majority of these automobile scanners is that they are very easy to set up. They usually come with all the needed accessories required for setting up a diagnostic check-up.

Some like the OBD 2 Bluetooth Adapter even comes with a Bluetooth whereby all you need to do is to set up a Bluetooth connection via a mobile phone, tablet or laptop, and immediately the diagnostics will commence.

So as it can be seen, no special tools or accessories is needed by the vehicle user to use it.

Faster jobs for mechanics – a scanning diagnostic device is really helpful to mechanics and automobile workshops, since it facilitates their work and reduces the stress that comes along with the job.

Instead of just getting down on the vehicle blindly and using their technical knowledge acquire to detect the source of the problem provided by the check engine light, with a scanning diagnostic device, all they have to do is to use the scanning device to run some diagnostics on the vehicle to detect the problem easily and faster.

This reduces the time and efforts that would have otherwise been used in detecting the problem. So from the explanation given, the scanning diagnostic devices are really helpful to mechanics and automobile workshops.

Prevents vehicle users from being exploited – What this means is that, with an automobile scanner, a vehicle user or owner stands a lesser chance of being exploited by mechanics, since the vehicle owner would have already known what the exact problem of the vehicle is.

For example, a car owner who doesn’t have a scanning device has a problem with his or her vehicle, there’s no way the user can detect the problem, except he or she is a mechanic. So, the vehicle owner will have no other choice than to take the vehicle to a mechanic workshop.

And on getting there, the mechanic may try to play a fast one and extort the vehicle owner by telling him or her that the problem of the vehicle is a major one, whereas it could just be a minor issue, since the mechanic is aware that there’s no way the vehicle owner can know this.

But with a scanning device, a vehicle owner would have already known what the exact problem of the vehicle is, and even inform the mechanic on getting to there, so thereby eliminating any avenue of being extorted by the mechanic or automobile workshop personnel’s.

So from all the explanations given, the importance and benefits of having an automobile scanning device can’t simply be over emphasized, as it provides a lot of help to vehicle users, mechanics, and automobile workshops.

Due to the availability of different types of automobile scanners, we shall be focusing on a particular type of scanner know as the OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter.


elm327-bluetooth-scanner-obdiiBefore going in-depth on the OBD 2 Bluetooth Adapter, it would only be appropriate to give an overview of what it really is.

So, first things first, the acronym OBD2 stands for On-Board Diagnostics.

It originated in 1996 when the EPA mandated all vehicle manufacturing companies and firms must meet a particular set of standards when manufacturing and designing a vehicle.

Actually, the primary reason for this was to check pollution, so the On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) would serve as a way of checking the engine for emissions so as to curb environmental pollution.

This turned out to be a very welcoming idea for mechanics and automobile workshops because, before this mandate was given by EPA in 1996, mechanics and automobile servicing workshops had to spend double money on purchasing diagnostic and scanning devices.

This was so because they had to buy different diagnostic device and scanners for each make of vehicles they work on.

For example, for Toyota vehicles, they had to buy a diagnostic tool and scanner which is made for only Toyota products. And for Honda vehicles, they had to also purchase another diagnostic tool and scanning device which is made for only Honda products, and so on.

So this was really hard for them, and considering that these diagnostic and scanning devices are very expensive to afford.

So when the EPA mandate was made in 1996, it was really a relief for the mechanics, since all vehicles will now follow a particular standard whereby any diagnostic tool or scanner can work on any vehicle, no matter the make.

What this means is that, when you buy an automobile diagnostic tool and scanner, you would be able to use it on Toyota vehicles, Honda vehicles, and all other makes. So with this, you wouldn’t need to buy multiple diagnostic tools and scanners.

So all cars sold in the United States which are manufactured after 1996 comes with the OBD 2 port used for diagnostics.

Hence returning to the OBD 2 Bluetooth Adapter, this device is a scanner, although not the same as a handheld automobile scanner, but still performs same functions.

An interesting feature of the OBD 2 Bluetooth Adapter is that, you don’t need a cable with a standalone OBD2 scanner to connect with your vehicle’s OBD port.

All you need is a mobile smartphone which is an Android or an IOS, and that’s it. Or even better, and Windows powered laptop/tablet. Because OBD software on Windows is much more powerful then on Android.

Here’s how it works:

You simply turn on the Bluetooth detection on your smartphone or Windows OS, and set up hook up OBD 2 Bluetooth Adapter to the car’s OBD port.

Immediately the connection is set up, the Bluetooth Adapter will start reading message from the vehicles check engine light and then pass the message to your smartphone/Windows which you can easily read and deduce what it is saying.

So basically, it acts as an interpreter or say a middleman between the vehicle user and the check engine light.

However, there are many OBD2 Bluetooth Adapters available in the market today, and most of them are fake as expected with most electronics.

So how do you get to know which of the OBD2 bluetooth scanners to buy?

Well, we are going to provide you with a guide on which OBD 2 Bluetooth scanners/readers you should buy.

My Complete Checklist Guide Before Buying An OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter

We know how difficult and confusing it can be when trying to buy an OBD 2 Bluetooth Adapter due to the various brands and makes available to choose from.

Due to this, have compiled a detailed and well researched information which you can use as a personal guide when trying to purchase an OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter.

We have compiled these based on features and other necessary factors that should be considered when trying to purchase. And they are as follows:

Compatibility with all OS – a standard OBD2 Bluetooth Scanner should be compatible with all operating systems such as Android, IOS, Windows and Mac. And even if it is not compatible with all operating systems, it should be compatible with at least 3 major OS platforms.

So before purchasing an OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter, you have to be sure that it can work on most operating systems, so you wouldn’t need to download or purchase any special operating system before you can use it.

Powerful OBD 2 software – another feature to be on the lookout for when trying to purchase an OBD 2 Bluetooth Reader is the app being used for it.

A good OBD 2 reader should come with software application(s) for it. And if it doesn’t come with such, it should have a well-tested and dependable app which can be easily downloaded from any app store such as Google Play and Apple Store. Or for Windows, can get powerful TOAD obd software.

Emission inspection – A standard OBD 2 Bluetooth Adapter should also be capable of running emission inspections and smog test status. So you have to be on the lookout for these features as well when trying to purchase an OBD2 Bluetooth scan tool.

Affordable – A good scantool doesn’t have to be necessarily expensive to perform effectively. As a matter of fact, there are some OBD2 Bluetooth scan tool which are well known and very cheap which performs effectively. So normally, a good one shouldn’t cost above $100.

Easy set up – a good OBD2 Bluetooth software should also be very easy to set up for the user. It shouldn’t require much technical knowledge to set up.

The app should be fairly easy to install on your device. And the Bluetooth connection as well shouldn’t be difficult to detect for gadgets. These features need to be put into consideration and verified before buying any OBD 2 Bluetooth Adapter.

Online reviews – this is one part you shouldn’t overlook as well. Before purchasing an OBD 2 Bluetooth Adapter, you need to check online for users’ comment regarding its performance.

So, search for online reviews to learn everything you need to know about the product before buying it. Having fore-knowledge on an OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter you intend to buy will help you to quickly decide if it is the right one for you or not.

Other factors – you also need to look out for other features such as ability to save or print diagnostic reports, ability to monitor live sensor data, ability to read and check engine light easily, and ability to run scan easily.

In conclusion…

By following this guide properly, you can be assured of getting a standard OBD 2 Bluetooth Adapter which is good and reliable for use.

Additional sources: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

My Complete Checklist Guide Before Buying an OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter
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