If you have read my blog before you would know that I’m a DIY kind of guy. I love to fix anything and everything including my own cars. Since the mid 90’s car computers and systems have become increasingly complex. Though it would be quite simple for most modern cars to display any errors and trouble codes on their numerous screens, the manufactures still love to light the check engine light! This is where the BlueDriver comes into play. The BlueDriver can help you scan your cars computer and not only read the trouble codes, but it also suggests common fixes for your issue.
A little history – Why the BlueDriver exists(or scan tools in general)
In the 1990’s the world was becoming more aware to the global warming crisis and how automobiles were contributing to the problem. Governments were trying to help by passing more stringent emissions standards. The problem was how could we insure the new emissions systems were properly working? The solution came in 1996 with the ODBII system On-Bard Diagnostic System 2. Prior to 1996 there were other more rudimentary systems, but ODBII was the standard for them all and still the standard today.
When an emissions fault was detected by the ODBII system it would light the MIL (Malfunction Indicator Lamp) also know as the check engine light. You would then take the car to your local dealer and they would use a scan tool to pull the error code to diagnose the malfunction. At first in the 90’s all cars had the same codes to diagnose emission issues, however as time went on manufactures started to add manufacture specific codes which required a manufacture specific scan tool.
The ODBII system grew into a robust diagnostic system that could not only report on your emission system, but also provide a wealth of information from live real time engine data to errors in baking systems, cooling systems, electrical issues, and so much more.
Here comes the bluedriver – the scan tool to end them all
I have a few different car brands, Lexus/Toyota, Honda, Dodge and Chevrolet. It would cost a small fortune to buy scan tools for each brand. Professional scan tools can run upwards of $3000, and most cheap scan tools don’t cover manufacture specific codes.
BlueDriver can actually read them all! Amazing this small USB dongle will plug into any ODBII port on any car and read all the codes. Including the manufacture specific codes to each brand. There are other tools that can do this too, but many of them either make you pay to unlock a car brand or force you into a subscription model. If you’re like me the weekend mechanic you really just want to pay once and have the scan tool work.
The BlueDriver is only $99 at Amazon and is a one time purchase. There are no hidden fees, no modules to buy and it comes with 24/7 tech support. The system works with both iPhones and Android devices.
What does the interface look like?
The main interface is simple and clean. Check for codes, clear codes, live data, previous reports and more.
As you know if you clear your cars codes or loose power due to a dead battery you will need to drive a while before the ODBII system cycles and is ready for a state inspection. This tool can tell you if your car is ready. It can also predict if you will pass or fail and emissions test.
As I was saying above the tool can tell you if you were going to possibly fail an emissions test. In the image to the left you can see all systems on this particular vehicle are ready to go except the Evap System.
Some states allow one or two systems to not be in the ready state and the car can still pass. Most don’t. Its great to know that your car will pass the test before going to your state inspection station. Why wait inline just for the tester fail your car and force you to come back for a retest at a later date.
In this image my son’s 2007 Honda Accord was throwing a P0420 error that was causing his check engine light to illuminate.
The BlueDriver was able to read the code and told me Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold Bank 1
Being the amateur mechanic, I would look toward the O2 sensors on the car.
The BlueDriver had other ideas.
The BlueDriver report gave us a full report on the issue indicating the most common cause for this code was a faulty catalytic converter.
They provided a graph showing how common this issue was, possible causes and frequently reported fixes.
Plus they included links to parts that may be needed to complete the repairs.
In my case we proceeded to replace the 13 year old catalytic converter as it was the top reported fix. On my sons car it was rusted solid and just looked bad. We wound up replacing the converter and for good measure both oxygen sensors too. Issue resolved and the car was able to pass emissions testing.
I’m not sponsored by BlueDriver in anyway shape or form, I just found this tool extremely useful diagnosing issues and if you’re a weekend mechanic like me its a great addition to your toolbox. It would be the best $99 you have spent on a tool.
I also enjoyed using the real time monitoring & logging system. You can pull a huge array of information from RPM, Coolant temp, Fuel trim, Engine load, Oil pressure, Oil temp and so much more. In fact it may be a good ideal to record a sample of your cars data while its running well, this way if there is an issue later you can use BlueDriver to pull the data again and compare!
Here is an example of the data log.
Here is an example of the PDF data report
Again, I highly recommend the BlueDriver scan tool
Thank you for reading my blog,
Don’t forget to visit my Etsy store www.GeeGearStore.com