Modern cars have the capacity of a few computers, are tooled with software that contains millions of lines of programming code and produce gigabytes of data, but they are still different from connected cars.
A smart vehicle is able to optimize its performance to reduce fuel consumption, show the best path to follow taking into account current traffic and weather conditions, detect errors in the engine and collect information data to negotiate lower insurance rates.
Most cars and light trucks are equipped with on-board diagnostics or an OBD II port that provides access to data from the engine control unit (ECU). To get the information you need to plug in an external device.
The OBD-II specifications provide a standardized hardware interface - a female 16-pin (2x8) J1962 connector, so a single external device can be used for most car models. It also should have an Internet connection to transfer the collected data.
To handle all information collected from OBD2 device you still need on-board diagnostics app for car. Here are 7 best OBD apps you can find that will help you to maintain the performance of your car. You can find some of the best OBD2 apps for different platforms: Android OBD app and iPhone OBD app.
Archer Software is a recognized provider of embedded software solutions for connected cars as well as mobile apps for car owners. With a vehicle monitoring application that can be customized based on the needs of your organizations and customers, you can be sure your drivers are meeting best practices. Such a tool is perfect for industries like taxi and limousine services, general shipping, and the transportation of dangerous goods.
Additionally, we have vast expertise in developing mobile applications for Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and Blackberry, including geolocation tracking and geopositioning services and we monitor the emerging solutions on the market. Let’s review the ones that we deem top of the market at the moment, their advantages and disadvantages.
Here are the most popular auto diagnostic OBD apps for Android:
1. Torque Pro (OBD 2 & Car)
One of the most popular obd2 app for android reader application in the Play Store, Torque Pro shows a broad list of features and detectors supported, and the numerous widgets and plug-ins that use it as a base, enabling more functionality.
See your car's activity in realtime, get OBD code faults, vehicle productivity, sensor’s info and other. Torque is a vehicle efficiency/diagnostics instrument that uses the OBD II Bluetooth adapter connected to OBD2 engine control/ECU.
You can make a customized dashboard with the widgets in the application. The app uses the GPS to allow tracker log with OBD engine logging to see what your car was doing at any period of time. It also shows and resets a DTC/CEL/fault code like a scanner. Torque helps you to fix your car and reduce repair costs.
Other Torque features:
- Dyno/Dynomometer and Horsepower/HP
- It reads the temperature of the transmission
- speed timings - it became more accurate than via GPS
- CO2 emissions indicators
- Custom dashboard
- User profiles
- Automatically GPS tagged tweets
- Big fault code database and fault codes history
- Supports different color themes
- Available to send logging information directly to web or email for analysis
- HUD mode for night mode driving
- GPS Speedometer and compass in real-time
- Turbo boost for vehicles that support MAP and MAF
- Voice alarms
- Car dock maintenance
- Allows to share application screenshots to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, e-mail, etc
- A simple interface for developers for AIDL API for third-party apps
- Supports tablet devices
Works on different vehicles that use OBDII Bluetooth adapters (almost all vehicles produced after 2000).
Common problems with Torque Pro:
- High battery consumption.
- Incompatible with some cars
We think high battery consumption can be a great obstacle to use this software. Every software development team should pay attention to the customer’s reviews. For example, here in Archer Software we either follow our client’s specification or we make sure that our software solutions are environmentally friendly. We advise reading our 5 things you need to know before developing the car app.
You should try one of the most undervalued OBD apps in the Play Store, especially if you are the owner of a hybrid car. HobDrive is an intelligent Trip Computer and OBD2 diagnostic software.
HobDrive uses your ELM327 adapter and GPS sensors to measure trip information. ELM327 (Bluetooth, Wifi) is recommended but can use GPS only.
A HobDrive version, in comparison with demo:
- Continuous errors tracking
- MPG tracking hour, day, week time periods
- Graphical measurers
- Diagnostic of KWP protocols
- Fueling and service records
HobDrive includes such features:
- Vehicle sensors indexes
- Engine diagnostics
- Trip recording computer
- Performance tools
- Route planning
- Calculating MPG
- Flexible visual layouts
Many users complain about:
- Unstable work
- Poor clarity (blurring) on devices with higher resolution
- Problems with Bluetooth connection
Archer Software monitors the appearance of new gadgets and their popular resolutions. Therefore we try to release new versions of our applications every 1-2 months, increasing stability with every new version of the software.
3. OBD Car Doctor Pro
The primary and functional app, OBD Car Doctor reads the data sent from your OBD adapter, and reports all real-time engine and car parameters: speed, angle of rotation, temperature, pressure and some other sensors data supported by your vehicle. It enables to draw charts with real-time data. Car Doctor checks engine light control: reads and clears stored error codes and related data.
- Real-time vehicle indicators: speed, angle of rotation, temperature, pressure and other sensors
- Chart drawing with real-time data
- Check engine light control: error codes and related freeze frame data
- Records of parameters in real time
- Allows to read and display multiple parameters
- Recording of parameters in the background
- View and send recorded parameters
- GPS supported
- Fuel Economy parameters
- Allows to store and share DTC data
- Fuel consumption in time periods
Common problems here:
- Unstable connection with cheap adapters
- To clean up errors, you need additional step-by-step manipulations
- Problems with Bluetooth connection
We advice other software development companies to make stability improvements in every released version like we do in Archer Software. We think it is the key to success.
4. Carista OBD2
Carista OBD2 lets you personify your car by improving its electronic options. It also lets you test your vehicle for errors, and delete any existing faults of code and tests emission. One should have an OBD II adapter that plugs into car's OBD2 port. Once you allow Carista app gathers data from your vehicle with OBD II adapter it will tell you if the car is struck. If you don't have OBD adapter, you can enter the data by yourself.
Extended diagnostics. The Carista application can monitor your vehicle's viability and reports faults. You can also delete any fault of codes and reset the check engine light, check if you're ready for emissions testing. This application is compatible with all OBD2-compatible manufacturers and models (almost all vehicles produced after 2000). In comparison with other apps, Carista gives you admission to advanced manufacturer's specific diagnostics, such as ABS, airbag, navigation, etc. and gives you the aptitude to reset these indicators for supported models.
Extended customization. Carista app lets you change the way your car behaves: the app can set headlights to turn on automatically when one starts the engine, or the doors to lock when one starts moving, or change the type of sound that the back parking sensors make. The Carista application can do all these things.
Preventing Damage. Carista's overheating alert allows you to control your engine's temperature and respond in case of overheat. Carista runs in the background and can notify with an alarm tone just when the temperature of the engine rises to an unsafe level.
This app also has some things that may upset its users:
- Connection error while saving changes in the settings
- Connection problems with some adapters
Archer Software always pays attention to testing our applications before releasing the software. Be sure, when developing application from specification to the final version, the app we produce will not have any errors or problems. It’s a level we support. For example, the certifying body conducted an audit of Archer Software and reported that we are the first IT organization to obtain this new ISO 9001:2015 certificate.
There are also many universal OBD apps for iPhone:
1. OBD Auto Doctor
OBD II Auto Doctor is the leading OBD II car diagnostics instrument. It is considered to be the best car diagnostic app for the iOS platform. The Auto Doctor application allows to check and reset the sick codes. Using this OBD II diagnostic app you can interact with your vehicle's OBD II system easily, and make your mobile a very gifted automotive scanner. OBD II Auto Doctor is a great app for ones who are interested in knowing more their vehicle. If you want to control car data in real time or turn off the check engine indicator, this is an obligatory instrument.
- You can see the preparedness for the test of emission and advanced diagnostic
- DTCs, Freeze Frame, MIL
- You can view fuel consumption to save money
- View OBD II indicators on time to detect anomalies
- You can change the numerical or graphical view of OBD II sensor data
- Supports data of engine, transmission, etc.
- You can send diagnostics data via email
- Allows to read VIN, Calibration Identifications and Calibration Verification Numbers of ECU
- Auto Doctor supports built-in DTC database with over 14000 alarm codes
- You can choose imperial and metric units
A few disadvantages of OBD Auto Doctor:
- Problems with connecting adapters labeled ELM327 v2.1
- The problems with the accuracy of fuel consumption in diesel vehicles
Such applications are made to get more from driver’s cars. But some software problems and errors can trigger your users to switch to other applications. Here you can read why users may dislike your application.
2. EOBD Facile
One doesn't need to call the manufacturer to make a diagnostics of your vehicle or find out why the check engine light is turned on - now it's available on iPhone/iPad. Connect an OBD II device to port in your vehicle and start the application: it will allow to diagnose a car, turn off the indicator lights and see the vehicle's data in real time.
The EOBD Facile app functions:
- View engine faults of codes and find out their meaning
- Clear the check engine light
- Monitor special manufacturer error codes
- Make recordings of trips and save via iPhone/iPad, recover them later using EOBD Facile application
- Create and view records of GPS data
There are also some errors in EOBD Facile:
- Incompatible with some cars
- The free version is completely non-functional
- Periodic connectivity problems
Such a high number of errors may appear when a development company skips or minimizes the testing and error correction phase. In Archer Software we advise choosing outsource software development when you feel you don’t have enough staff to make the best testing to avoid problems. Here you can find the benefits of outsourcing software development.
3. Engine Link
The EngineLink application can help your iOS device to become a vehicle diagnostic instrument with OBD II with WiFi/Bluetooth adapter.
- Start checking emissions
- See the vehicle's condition in real-time.
- Read and clear OBD II faults of the code.
- One can see car performance in real time and read sensor data.
- You can choose the data you want to see and turn off the rest of information
- Interactions with DTC/CEL /fault code - stored or in real-time
- MPG widget for monitoring fuel consumption and its efficiency
- HUD mode for driving in night
- Display the temperature of transmission
- Speed, RPM, load and coolant, fuel tank
- Customized dashboards
- See full customized GUI with different kinds of gauge
- You can add different libraries via the app
- ECU support
- User can change back colors
- Log in via e-mail
The EngineLink application has some problems:
- Can use only ELM compatible Wi-Fi or Bluetooth Low Energy adapters to work well
- Problems with wi-fi connection
- Problems with language support
Such data visualization software can help to turn your car into a connected car. When outsourcing software development you can be sure you get an app that has all the features you wanted and all errors eliminated before the app went live.
For more information about how we can develop connected car software solutions that are right for you, contact our experts at firstname.lastname@example.org.