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Top Car Diagnostic Apps for Every Driver

Key Takeaways

  • Diagnostic apps transform smartphones into tools for troubleshooting car problems and maintenance.
  • Options like Torque Pro and Car Scanner ELM OBD2 offer real-time data and error code reading.
  • Premium apps like OBD Fusion and BlueDriver provide enhanced diagnostics and easy data access.
  • Free and cross-platform apps, such as DashCommand and Engine Link, offer customizable dashboards.

A flashing check engine light is one of the most frustrating experiences you may have while driving your car.

However, not knowing what’s wrong with your car can be even more confusing, and that’s where the power of car diagnostic apps comes in handy!

These tools turn your smartphone into an advanced diagnostics device to help you troubleshoot problems and maintain your vehicle in the best conditions.

If you’re interested in finding the best apps for car maintenance or a simple app to decipher engine fault codes, this article will walk you through the most reliable options for every operating system and need.

Best Diagnostic Apps for Android

Many car diagnostic apps today are available on several operating systems to appeal to a larger base of users.

However, some apps provide significantly better performance on Android devices than iOS ones.

This includes better compatibility and a wider range of additional features. The following list includes some of the top options to consider if you use an Android device.

Torque Pro

Torque Pro is a diagnostic app developed mainly for Android devices. The app mainly works with an OBD2 adapter, but keep in mind that you need to buy these scanners for cars separately.

The one is a paid app that costs $4.95, which makes it a decently affordable option with a variety of functions. These include:

  • Reading, explaining, and clearing OBD error codes
  • Tracking engine speed in RPMs, engine temperature, Oil temperature, vehicle speed, and fuel economy/consumption
  • Display unique metrics like the car’s inclination on the road

However, the main standout feature of this app is real-time data logging, which works surprisingly well. You can also customize the dashboard to only include the aspects you want to track.

The app is compatible with a huge variety of car brands and models. It also exists in a free Lite version with less functionality if you want to try it first.

Car Scanner ELM OBD2

ELM OBD2 is another highly reliable app known for its simplicity and ease of use. This makes it perfect for anyone who’s new to using car diagnostic apps and OBD2 adapters.

The app is also popular for its versatile set of vehicle diagnostics and monitoring aspects. These include reading and clearing OBD2 codes without needing any special hardware.

In fact, you can connect the app to your car using several connection methods, including cable, Bluetooth, and WiFi.

The app provides detailed diagnostic reports with information that car manufacturers may hide. You can even use the app to see if your car would pass emission tests.

Car Scanner ELM OBD2 is also compatible with a variety of adapters and comes with a pre-configured profile for each model, especially popular brands like Toyota, Chevrolet, Mitsubishi, Lexus, Kia, Mazda, and Nissan.

Best Diagnostic Apps for iOS

If you prefer diagnostic apps specifically designed for the iOS ecosystem, check out the following apps.

Keep in mind that these apps are also available for Android, but their functionality and smoothness in iPhones and iPads are quite noticeable.

OBD Fusion

OBD Fusion has an excellent user interface that makes it easy to read and understand diagnostic data from your car.

The app allows you to create a virtual dashboard and display a variety of metrics and data from car sensors.

These data monitoring systems can help you decipher and clear diagnostic codes as well as turn off the check engine light when it’s glitching.

OBD Fusion is also an excellent app if you’re interested in improving your fuel economy . It tells you information like how much gas you have left in your car’s tank and estimates the amount of time left before you run out.

The top feature of this app is that it logs advanced data that wouldn’t normally show on your dashboard. The app also supports a huge variety of OBD2 adapters , so you don’t have to worry about compatibility problems.


BlueDriver is a car diagnostic app that works alongside a separate sensor to give you a deeper understanding of your vehicle’s health. Keep in mind that you’ll also need the BlueDriver Pro Tool to function properly.

Similar to other diagnostic tools, BlueDriver can read the standard fault codes your car may display.

Additionally, it goes in-depth to provide enhanced diagnostics about various systems of your vehicle. These include ABS brakes, transmission, climate control, airbags, and more!

What makes this app stand out significantly is that it also displays all this information as live data, so you don’t have to stop or shut the car down to get real-time readings.

The app has an extensive compatibility list, although some features may only work with certain car models.

Cross-Platform Diagnostic Apps

Most app developers now build their apps with both operating systems in mind. If you want a diagnostic app with cross-platform compatibility and a remarkable set of features, check out the following options.


DashCommand is a perfect app for anyone who wants to understand their car better and stay on top of maintenance needs.

The app helps you keep an eye on real-time data for car diagnostics . This includes standard aspects like engine speed, the temperature of various parts and fluids, and OBD2 codes that trigger the check engine light.

Additionally, the app offers some unique features like displaying acceleration and braking torque with min/max indicators.

Another cool feature that DashCommand offers is customizability. The app allows you to set up your preferred layout with data and metrics that matter most to you.

While the app is generally user-friendly, understanding all the data and features might require some time.

You also need a compatible OBD2 adapter to work with the app. But with the app’s decent compatibility, this should be a problem for most common cars.

Engine Link

Engine Link is a high-end cross-platform app that offers outstanding monitoring and special features for car diagnostics and maintenance.

The only downside of this remarkable app is that it costs $5.99 to download. But unlike some other car diagnostic apps that require monthly subscriptions, Engine Link is a one-time purchase with no in-app purchases or microtransactions.

The app taps into the car’s computer through an adapter and shows you live data from various sensors. These include essential metrics like engine temperature, speed, fuel level, and OBD fault codes.

Car data enthusiasts can also find this app an excellent addition to their toolset, as it allows exporting the readings to computers for further analysis.

The diagnostic data from the app can also help you seek the right type of help, as you can share it with care platforms to find the best mechanics, such as CarAdvise and YourMechanic.

Engine Link is also highly customizable, so it’ll only show you the gauges you’re interested in tracking.

Specialty Diagnostic Apps

If you want an extra specific app to help you diagnose your vehicle, the following apps will offer some decent options.

EV Watchdog

EV Watchdog is an Android app specifically designed to monitor and track the inner workings of your electric car .

The app uses an OBD2 adapter to connect to your car’s diagnostic port, similar to other apps on the list.

Keep in mind that you need to purchase the adapter separately, and you can find a list of the compatible models on the app’s website. Luckily, the app works with many popular brands , such as OBDLink, Vgate, iCarsoft, Konnwei, Veepeak, and EXZA.

The app displays various graphs and real-time battery-related readings , showing things like voltage, charge/discharge rate, and remaining range.

The app has a simple dashboard and is available as a free Lite version , so you should expect some ads in the main interface.

The only downside here is that the app is only compatible with a limited list of electric cars , but hopefully, the list will include additional models in the future.

RepairSolutions 2

RepairSolutions 2 is a cross-platform car diagnostic app that won’t only help you troubleshoot your car, but it’ll also guide you through the process of fixing it.

Like other apps, this one works by connecting the app to the car’s OBD2 adapter. The app will then give you detailed diagnostic reports , including trouble codes explained in simple terms .

The app also works in real-time, so you can also stay informed about your car’s status and monitor its performance on the road.

After finding the problem with your car, the app will provide you with suitable repair instructions written by ASE Master Technicians .

Of course, to carry out these simple repairs, you’ll need to have basic DIY and mechanic skills . Yet, these simple fixes can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Additionally, if your repairs require specific parts, the app will also provide you with information on where to source them.

The best part about RepairSolutions 2 is that it’s also a free app , so you can easily give it a try, but remember that some of its functions are limited to specific car brands and models.

Tips for Choosing the Right Diagnostic App

With all the options available out there, finding the right app for diagnosing your car issues can be challenging. Here are some handy tips to help you pick the ideal one.

1. Check the App’s Compatibility with Your Vehicle

Since car diagnostic data is not standardized, not all diagnostic apps will work perfectly across different car makes and models.

This also applies to the type of dongle or OBD2 adapter you’re using, as some apps have a limited number of compatible options here. Remember to always check the developer’s notes to see if your vehicle is compatible.

2. Balance Between Variety and Focusing on Particular Features

Some apps focus on particular aspects while others provide general diagnostic information. To get the best of both worlds, check the app’s feature list to pick the one that ticks all the boxes for you. If that’s not possible, you can always use multiple apps to get the job done.

3. An App is As Good As You Can Use It

Some apps out there offer a remarkable variety of features but with poorly organized user interfaces and complicated layouts. That’s why a first-time user should prioritize the ease of use over extended features.

4. Don’t Underestimate Free Apps

It’s easy to assume that paid apps offer a wider range of variety and quality than free apps. While that is true to a certain extent, it’s not always the case.

Some of the free apps on the market offer competitive features that would give paid options a run for their money.

5. Update Your Apps Continuously

Many app developers continuously update their platform with new features and extend the list of compatible cars and tools, so make sure that you don’t miss out on that by always keeping the app up to date.

Conclusion: Empowering Your Vehicle Management with the Right App

Picking the right diagnostic app for your car can feel overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to start. Hopefully, the previously mentioned tips and considerations will help you pinpoint the apps that serve your interests.

Remember, always pick an app you’re going to understand rather than one with plenty of features that are too hard to figure out.

After familiarizing yourself with these apps, you can then work your way up to a more advanced one.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use My Phone As a Car Diagnostic Tool?

In most cases, using your smartphone is possible as a car diagnostic tool is possible and even surprisingly easy to do. To make this work, you’ll need a device called an OBD2 adapter.

This tool plugs into your car’s diagnostic port to extract data from the car’s built-in sensors and diagnostic systems. You’ll then need an app that connects to this adapter through Bluetooth, cable, and WiFi to display the data.

Do Car Diagnostic Apps Really Work?

Many diagnostic apps offer incredible functionality and can help you troubleshoot problems and even warn you about potential future ones.

Yet, the functionality of the app will depend on its capabilities and features. Additionally, they can only display simple information, but won’t perform complex diagnostics like a real mechanic.

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