Matt here – we’ve been getting a lot of feedback on our article, Best OBD2 App and Software for iPhone and more, and decided now would be a good time to write a more in-depth OBD Car Doctor review.
The OBD Car Doctor is a free app that you can download on Google Play or Apple App Store.
In this review, I tested both the free and paid versions of the OBD Car Doctor app. Is the free version good enough for average motorists, or do you really need to fork out $2.99 to unlock all the amazing features of this OBD-II app?
The great thing about the advent of OBD2 compliant vehicles is the seamless and reliable operation. But when something goes wrong, the check engine light will illuminate in the console to warn you of the problem. Back in the earlier days of OBD2 vehicles, diagnosing the check engine light will basically mean spending money.
There were no wireless OBD2 scanners back then (typically before 1996). The trouble code will need to be scanned using expensive OBD2 scanners that were only exclusive to car dealerships.
But now, you can use your tablet, smartphone, or laptop to scan diagnostic trouble codes and erase the annoying check engine light on the dash. If you happen to be wondering how this works, you need three things:
- An OBD2 compliant automobile
- OBD2 scan tool hardware – You can get and Android OBD2 Adapter, or iPhone OBDII Adapter
- OBD2 app on your smartphone or tablet
OBD2 scanning tools are available in Wi-Fi or Bluetooth versions. The OBD Car Doctor app is compatible with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi wireless scan tools. All you have to do is to plug in the scan tool and fire up the OBD Car Doctor in your smartphone.
Features of the OBD Car Doctor
Skip to the good stuff:
In my review of OBD Car Doctor, I quickly found out it is super easy to use and is one of the best OBD-II diagnostic apps in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
The FREE OBD Car Doctor app will enable you to read and interpret diagnostic trouble codes, clear the error codes, read real-time engine parameters (including engine RPM, coolant temperature, fuel system status, ignition timing, etc.), monitor fuel economy parameters, store and share DTC data and general info, and read the VIN/chassis number of your vehicle.
The paid version of the OBD Car Doctor app will allow you to:
- record real time driving parameters,
- read/display/record multiple parameters simultaneously,
- and the provision for GPS support.
In my humble opinion, the free version of OBD Car Doctor is good enough for the average user. You don’t need to buy the paid app unless you are tuning your vehicle for high-performance applications. However, the $2.99 price tag of the paid version costs less than a cheeseburger, so don’t be cheap! This is a small price to pay if you are looking to monitor the performance of your vehicle after installing go-fast engine, suspension, and transmission mods.
Want to know how to use the OBD Car Doctor?
Check out this instructional video for using the app if you’re like Vince and don’t like to read 😀
My Test and Review on a Chevy Malibu
In order to make this OBD Car Doctor review a bit more interesting, I paid a visit to my good friend who happens to be a certified car nut like myself. He fixes cars in his free time, and he also happens to be a part-time pastor/speaker at the local church.
I was trying to find a couple of vehicles with existing trouble codes. I found an old Subaru Outback with a check engine light on the dash, but that’s about it. My friend offered me a challenge: he will deliberately unplug a sensor so the scanner and OBD Car Doctor can diagnose the fault.
Of course, I agreed with no hesitation at all!
The chosen vehicle was a 2013 Chevrolet Malibu. My friend did something to the car while I wasn’t looking to illuminate the check engine light.
First, I scanned the old Subaru Outback in the garage. I later found out it was a 2007 model equipped with a 2.5-liter Boxer four. I plugged in my Car Wi-Fi Scan Tool Foseal Scanner in the OBD2 port of the Subaru and opened the OBD Car Doctor app in my Android smartphone.
The OBD Car Doctor app was able to diagnose the fault code in less than 30 seconds.
The fault code was P1133. I accessed the general info for the diagnostic trouble code and I was able to determine the source of the code. It was a faulty front O2 sensor.
My friend was impressed. The Subaru has been lurking in his garage for almost a month. The owner of the car has since bought a brand new pickup truck. However, the car will need a suspension overhaul along with minor engine tuning and a new O2 sensor. He was sold on the user-friendly layout of the OBD Car Doctor and how quickly it was able to diagnose the fault code.
Next up is the Chevy Malibu that was rigged to illuminate the check engine light. If my scan tool and OBD Car Doctor can easily scan real trouble codes, why would it have problem reading a ‘fake’ one, right? This is going to be a real challenge for the OBD Car Doctor.
I plugged in the scan tool and proceeded to diagnose the fault. It only took less than thirty seconds to display the P0013 and P0014 trouble codes. I looked up the meaning of the codes and voila! It was the cam position sensor!
My friend told me that my scan tool worked as efficiently as an expensive Snap-On OBD wired scanner. He was visibly excited when I told him the OBD Car Doctor can be downloaded free of charge and used with an Android or iPhone. I whipped out my iPad mini and fired up the paid version of the OBD Car Doctor. We spent about an hour tinkering with the app. We plugged in the scan tool to the other vehicles in the garage and proceeded to play around.
It is suffice to say the OBD Car Doctor app works brilliantly on both Apple and Android devices.
The Google Play Store and Apple App Store is awash with choices in terms of OBD2-compatible applications. OBD Car Doctor is one of the best I have used so far. I particularly like the free version which is packed with useful features that will enable you to scan, diagnose, and fix OBD2 trouble codes in the comforts of your own garage.