Need to know which software to download to use your wireless OBD2 scanner?
Skip to the good stuff:
- Need to know which software to download to use your wireless OBD2 scanner?
- How to Get Rid of the Check Engine Light
- So which ELM327 compatible software should I get for my Windows, Android, iOS device?
- Best ELM327 Software for Windows Smartphones
- ELM327 Bluetooth Software for Android
- ELM327 WiFi Software for iOS Apple Devices
Let me guess. You’re here looking for the best ELM327 free downloadable software, right? If that’s the case, you have come to the right place.
Hi, Matt here.
I worked on a lot of cars, and I really mean a LOT! I started tinkering with cars in high school. My experience allowed me to test drive and diagnosis a multitude of makes and models, including prestigious German cars.
I became particularly fond of the OBD2 system on modern cars. If your vehicle is 1996 or newer, you have an OBD2-compatible car. Without the OBD2 diagnostic system, it will be extremely hard to pinpoint the nuances in your car’s engine. When something goes wrong, it will all turn into a time-consuming guessing game.
The type of ELM327 software will all depend on the make and model of your vehicle. The ELM327 microchip is primarily designed to work with modern vehicles that utilize the CAN OBD2 protocol (ISO 15765-4). However, the chip is also compatible with the following OBD2 protocols:
- SAE J1850 PWM (41.6 kbit/s) and VPW (10.4 kbit/s)
- ISO 9141-2
- ISO 14230-4 KWP
- ISO 15765-4 CAN
- SAE J1939 (250 kbit/s and 500kbit/s)
If you have an older car, you will need to verify the OBD2 protocol of your vehicle. This will ensure that your scanner and ELM327 software is compatible with your vehicle.
Before reading on, we recommend watching this video from ChrisFix to get a crash course in using one of these wireless OBD2 scanners.
How to Get Rid of the Check Engine Light
If you previously bought an OBD2 ELM327 scan tool, they you are probably dealing with a check engine light on the console.
But in order for the scan tool to work, you also need to download a paid or free version of ELM327 software. Depending on the scan tool, the ELM327 or OBD2 software will basically communicate with the scan tool to show you the specific vehicle parameters, i.e. reading and showing the meaning of the check engine light on the dash.
So, if you are using a Windows laptop or PC, you need an ELM327 software designed for Windows. But if you are using a wireless Wi-Fi OBD2 scan tool such as the Foseal or the Bluedriver, you need to download a compatible ELM327 software. Since both of the aforementioned scanners are also designed to work wirelessly with Android devices, all you have to do is download a compatible app on Google Play and you’re ready to work.
When everything is complete, here are the things you need to do:
- Step 1: Download the ELM327 software and install in your device. Do not launch the program/software. Wait until step 3.
- Step 2: Hook up the ELM327 OBD2 scanner or Bluetooth interface in the OBD2 port of your vehicle. If you are using a USB scanner, simply connect the USB interface to your laptop.
- Step 3: Turn on the car ignition but don’t start the engine! At this point, you can launch the ELM327 software. It will automatically detect the OBD2 reader and the vehicle ECU.
That’s it! You can go ahead and play with the features and settings of the ELM327 software.
Of course, if the primary reason is to diagnose the source of the check engine light, you can proceed to do that as well.
Allow me to issue a stern reminder: if your vehicle has a check engine light and you erase the trouble code using your OBD2 scanner, the code will resurface and the check engine light will illuminate once more if the trouble was not fixed. This may mean cleaning or replacing engine sensors and certain vehicle components like fuel filters or catalytic converters.
So which ELM327 compatible software should I get for my Windows, Android, iOS device?
For the sake of clarity, I will present the best free ELM327-compatible software for Windows, Android, and iOS devices.
Best ELM327 Software for Windows Smartphones
Please note, if you’re looking for OBD2 software for Windows Laptop/PC, these will not work. You’ll need to look into some software like PCMScan or AutoEnginuity if you want to use a USB ELM327 with your laptop.
With that noted, let’s talk about 2 apps for Windows smartphones that pair well with wireless OBD2 adapters:
1. Car Scanner ELM OBD2
The Car Scanner ELM OBD2 app is FREE to download. It is compatible with Windows 10, Windows 8.2, Windows 10 Mobile, and Windows Phone 8.1. This app was inspired by Android OBD2 apps such as OBD Car Doctor and Torque.
While the Car Scanner ELM ODB2 is still in Beta version as I speak, it managed to work very well in our Windows laptop and smartphone. We were able to diagnose the OBD2 fault codes and read the sensor data in our fleet of test vehicles without encountering unusual errors.
But since Car Scanner ELM OBD2 is still in Beta, you can expect a couple of bugs upon first use. If you are downloading this software on a Windows mobile device, make sure the default install location is set to phone memory. The latest Windows Mobile 10 Update has a bug that makes it tricky to download and install the software on the SD card of your device but it should be fixed soon.
You can download the Car Scanner Free ELM OBD2 software at this link.
2. OBD Auto Doctor
You can download a FREE version of OBD Auto Doctor at the Microsoft Store here. In my opinion, the free version is good enough for average users. But if you demand more features such as monitoring real-time fuel economy, clearing trouble codes, or reading sensor data, you will need the paid version of OBD Auto Doctor.
However, there’s a minor caveat. If you are using a Windows laptop or PC, the paid version of the software is a bit costly. OBD Auto Doctor is offering the Express plan for $39.95 and the Standard plan for $59.95. If you fix cars for a living, you need the Business plan which will cost you $199.95.
But for mobile devices, OBD Auto Doctor is compatible with Windows 10 Mobile, Windows Phone 8.1, and Windows Phone 8. You will need to download the free version of the app and upgrade to the Pro version for around $9.99 via an in-app purchase.
When it comes the best ELM327 free software for Windows, OBD Auto Doctor remains a stellar choice.
ELM327 Bluetooth Software for Android
1. Torque Pro
Don’t get me wrong about Torque Lite. The free version of Torque is good enough for basic applications but it had trouble reading the trouble codes on some Nissan and Subaru vehicles.
Torque Lite also contains a fair share of advertisements within the app which some users might find annoying. Torque Lite still remains one of the best free ELM327 software you can download today, but power users can download the more powerful Torque Pro for approximately $5.
The great thing about Torque Pro is the built-in dyno feature. This will allow you to measure the horsepower and torque ratings of your vehicle without paying huge money at the tuning shop. The app can also measure the 0 to 60 mph time of your vehicle if you’re interested in that kind of thing.
But the thing I like most about Torque Pro is the Track Recorder. You can think of it as a ‘vehicle black box’ that stores all your driving data. This is great for high-performance or racing applications.
If you don’t want to spend $5 for Torque Pro, Torque Lite is one of the best choices for Android devices.
You can drive smarter with the Dash ELM327 app for Android. This is a free OBD2 app that you can download on the Google Play Store. What I really like about Dash is the enriched user experience. Did you know you can still use the Dash app in your Android smartphone or tablet even without a separate ELM327 code reader?
That’s right. You can still use Dash to view and monitor gas prices, engine light alert lookups, and vehicle maintenance procedures. But if you hook up an OBD2 scanner, you can diagnose and read engine fault codes and monitor the I/M readiness of your vehicle.
I did encounter some problems with Dash on my old Samsung phone. The app will sometimes freeze or crash after connecting via Bluetooth. But on newer Samsung devices with updated versions of Android, the operation was smooth and seamless.
You can download the free version of Dash here.
ELM327 WiFi Software for iOS Apple Devices
1. OBD Auto Doctor
If you have an Apple or iOS device, you can’t go wrong with OBD Auto Doctor. This is one of the smoothest and most accurate free ELM327 software for Apple tablets and smartphones.
The free version of OBD Car Doctor can be downloaded here. It can scan, read, and diagnose engine trouble codes so you can determine the source of the check engine light.
However, the PRO version of OBD Car Doctor can be yours for only $3.99 and contains a full suite of features including real-time recording of engine parameters, GPS support, and a fuel economy screen. If you are a professional user or if you like installing go-fast mods to your ride, OBD Car Doctor PRO is the best choice for you.
You don’t need to search long and hard for free ELM327 software. With our list of the best downloadable OBD2 apps, you can begin working on your vehicle without spending more money in the process.