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When you’re earning money through apps, you need car maintenance tools to match your 21st century career. Car space is prime real estate for a rideshare driver, so condensing your emergency stash is a must. With the BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII scan tool, many drivers are using their smartphones as their ultimate backup storage space.
In this article, you’ll learn about the purpose of OBDII scanners, what the BlueDriver tool offers, and a handful of our favorite BlueDriver alternatives.
- What Is an OBDII Scan Tool?
- Corded vs. Cordless OBDII Scan Tools
- About the BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool
- BlueDriver Bluetooth Scan Tool Alternatives
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is an OBDII Scan Tool?
On-board diagnostics (OBD) tools are special gadgets that help drivers find the source of their car issues when their check engine lights turn on. There are two categories of OBD scanners:
- OBDI or OBD1 scan tools: These scanners are dedicated to 1995 or older vehicles. Most OBDI tools are specific to manufacturers and cannot be used across all or even most makes and models.
- OBDII or OBD2 scan tools: For cars manufactured in 1996 or later, OBDII scanners are the industry standard. These work universally for almost any vehicle, but electric vehicles and commercial vehicles like semi-trucks and tractors are common exceptions.
The primary function of OBDII scanners is to retrieve five-character Check Engine Light (CEL) codes from your vehicle’s OBDII port, which is usually located below the steering wheel on the driver’s side. These trouble codes tell drivers what triggered their check engine light by pinpointing a problem area — for example, your airbag or a specific cylinder.
Since all vehicles are different, OBDII tools can’t provide you with an exact solution. However, they’ll direct you to a part of your vehicle to investigate so you can save money by fixing it yourself. Or, at the very least, you can ensure the solution isn’t as simple as removing a foreign object in the trouble area before spending money on a mechanic.
Corded vs. Cordless OBDII Scan Tools
A traditional diagnostic scan tool uses a cord to connect two primary parts — a plug-in for your OBDII port and a controller with a display screen. This scanner style has existed since OBDI scanners were first invented in the 1980s.
More recently, manufacturers have introduced cordless tools that connect straight to OBDII smartphone apps via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. These unique models reduce the size of your cargo by turning your mobile device into the controller, leaving only the OBDII plug for you to carry.
However, plenty of professional mechanics prefer to have corded OBDII scanners in their shops. This is often to avoid dependence on strong Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections, since the tool is essential for their day-to-day work. Plus, the majority of high-end scan tools — we’re talking $1,000 Autel scanners with incredibly diverse functions — are only available with cords.
On the other hand, when you’re a driver who primarily packs a scanner for (hopefully) rare cases of a shining check engine light, portability is a must. Cordless scanners make it easy for you to save space without forfeiting core functions that prove useful in many situations. As long as you don’t need fancy window regulators or shop management tools, cordless OBDII scan tools can be just as reliable.
About the BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool
Lemur’s BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool is a leader in the cordless OBDII scanner market and an extremely useful purchase for ride-share drivers. This is because it goes beyond pulling error codes by providing clear code definitions, a list of possible causes, and certified repair suggestions for your vehicle. By doing so, it decreases your research time, so you can start your repairs and return to driving or rideshare as soon as possible.
In addition, the BlueDriver sensor connects directly to a corresponding free app called the BlueDriver OBD2 Scan Tool. This BlueDriver app and scan tool is compatible with any Android, iPhone, or iPad, so you can use whichever device is most convenient for you.
Beyond everything you need, here are additional features that make the BlueDriver scanner a solid investment for rideshare drivers:
- It displays live data using interactive graphs, so you understand how your car is functioning in real time.
- It allows you to pull freeze-frame data that capture the exact moment when the issue started.
- You can perform smog checks with the BlueDriver device. This alerts you of any repairs needed before your state-required smog test.
- It provides free misfire counts and exportable repair reports dedicated to your vehicle.
- Your BlueDriver app will receive complimentary updates, so you always have the latest information about your vehicle issues.
If you run into any errors, the BlueDriver OBD-II Scan Tool additionally offers in-app support and a one-year warranty. You can purchase the Lemur Vehicle Monitors BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro OBDII Scan Tool for $99.95 on Amazon.
BlueDriver Bluetooth Scan Tool Alternatives
While the BlueDriver tool functions beautifully in most areas, we’ve identified a few missing features that other OBDII scan tool manufacturers are increasingly resolving. These include the product’s:
- Expensive price tag
- Inability to use Wi-Fi connection
- Incompatibility with Windows devices
- Incompatibility with Hyundai, BMW, and a handful of other popular car makes
- Inability to work with other diagnostics apps
If these features are important to you, consider these two cordless OBDII scan tools that work as great BlueDriver alternatives:
1. Vgate WiFi iCar2 OBDII Elm327 Code Reader
This Vgat scan tool hits pretty much every mark that the BlueDriver tool doesn’t. In addition to working with Apple and Android devices, this scanner’s dual Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity capabilities allow it to work with Windows devices.
Though this tool won’t work with some diesel, hybrid, or electric vehicles, it will work with any other vehicle make that’s sold in the United States. Plus, the code reader is compatible with some car enthusiasts’ favorite apps such as Torque Pro, BimmerCode (for BMWs and Minis), and Car Scanner ELM OBD2. At just under $20, you’ll receive a large amount of the BlueDriver OBDII scan tool’s functions for less than a quarter of the price.
2. BAFX Products’ OBDII Readers
BAFX Products has two popular OBDII scanners for drivers: a Bluetooth version for Android devices and a Wi-Fi version for iOS devices. Both of these are highly rated tools that function for the widest variety of vehicles we’ve seen. In addition to working with popular car models that the BlueDriver tool doesn’t support, this diagnostic tool is compatible with most diesel vehicles. All hybrids — including popular models like the Ford Fusion, Toyota Prius, and Chrysler Pacifica — are also supported.
This code reader doesn’t work with Windows devices, but pretty much any third party app will link to the OBDII device. If you choose to download a free app, you’ll only be paying $29.99 for the Android-compatible scanner or $26.99 for the iOS scanner.
Frequently Asked Questions
No matter what vehicle you’re driving, a reliable OBDII scan tool is always a great gadget to have in tow. Learn more about this money-saving device with our answers to frequently asked questions:
1. Are there any good corded OBDII scan tools for rideshare drivers?
There definitely are. Corded scanners have been in development far longer than cordless scanners, so some of the best OBDII manufacturers make fairly traditional tools. You can learn about a few of our favorite brands, as well as some corded scanners they make, in this article.
2. Is my OBDII scan tool purchase tax deductible?
Whether you’re a rideshare or delivery driver, your OBDII scanner serves a direct business purpose. This means your purchase is more than likely tax deductible, as long as you’re primarily using the scan tool for your independent contractor gig. To prevent any accidental errors during tax season, we recommend consulting with an accountant before officially writing your purchase off as a business expense, and always keeping your receipt or an image of your receipt.
3. Do cordless OBDI scanners exist?
While some fairly compact OBDI scan tools have been developed over the years, we haven’t found any that function without the cord. Since OBDI scanners are dedicated to older vehicles, less modern looks and functions should be expected.
Some Bluetooth OBDI scanners do exist, but they are typically for the purpose of searching through a database for error code definitions and solutions and come with the cord and controller.
Turn Off Your Check Engine Light
When the solution for your car issue is right in your vehicle, your check engine light won’t remain on for long. Whether you select the BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool or one of our favorite BlueDriver alternatives as your OBDII scanner, you’ll have peace of mind while driving passengers around town.
If you’re interested in an additional investment to help you make money while driving for a rideshare app, take a look at our guide to the best car cameras for any budget.
Brett Helling is the owner of Ridester.com. He has been a rideshare driver since early 2012, having completed hundreds of trips for companies including Uber, Lyft, and Postmates. In 2014 he acquired Ridester.com to share his experiences with other drivers. His insights are regularly quoted by publications such as Forbes, Vice, CNBC, and more. He is currently working on a book about working in the Gig Economy, expanding his skill set beyond the rideshare niche. Read more about Brett here.