Best OBD car apps for Android: turn your phone into a black box

Best OBD car apps for Android: turn your phone into a black box
Even if you are not a car geek, a simple $20-$25 Bluetooth OBD2 adapter off of Amazon or eBay can go a long way spotting car troubles and avoiding the "mechanic's premium" that blows a problem out of proportion to gauge a bit more money for the repair.

It also goes a great length towards clearing accumulated errors that fire up the engine check light and might kick your motor or transmission in security mode at the least suitable time. 

Or you could simply want to observe your car's behavior and stats in a little more detail in real time, down to "suspicious fuel trims increase" or "MPG without idling/jams". You can also overlay this info on real time video recording of your trip tagged with GPS data to serve as proof in case of an accident. How do you read the sensor data coming from the OBD port in your vehicle on the cheap, though?

Easy, just get a decent Bluetooth adapter for your OBD port, and load your Android phone with an app that lets you follow your car's vitals in real time, clean errors, record accidents and diagnose problems. We've rounded up a few of the best OBD apps for you below.

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14 Comments

1. rallyguy

Posts: 620; Member since: Mar 13, 2012

Good article. I'm not complaining, but it would of been nice if you included a rough estimate of what the OBD adapter would cost. Now I have to go to a website to see if the price is even something to consider.

2. Daniel.P

Posts: 126; Member since: Jul 14, 2011

Included, thanks :)

11. eb121209

Posts: 1; Member since: Aug 28, 2014

My ELM327 was only 9.99 off of Amazon with Amazon Prime.

13. JoeNolan

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 30, 2014

You can purchase an obd adapter for about $20 on websites like amazon.I found eCAR pro on googleplay to be the best obdII tool out there.See play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.OBDII.re​ader. They also have links to where you can purchase an obd adapter

16. zackL

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 27, 2015

Bought the same eCar app and used with the bafx adapter. I was surprised about the info I was able to retrieve from my bmw's ECU

14. CWB198402

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 12, 2015

I just bought an adapter on ebay for 12.00 with free shipping well worth the app was only 5.00 on google play store its a good deal

3. dsmboost

Posts: 46; Member since: Nov 01, 2011

Nice, I had no idea this existed. I just got myself an obd2 scanner for 20 bucks. =D

4. devonblue4u

Posts: 68; Member since: Apr 12, 2011

19 bucks free shipping on ebay. Been using Torque for 2 years now, great app!

5. robwest

Posts: 1; Member since: Feb 06, 2013

Thanks for the nice article but I think you are missing one of the best OBDII apps. Have you tried OBDAutoDoctor? I think it has the most professional user interface of them all.

8. OBD2MIKE

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 11, 2013

Great, an OBD2 adapter for $20 is really cheap. If you already have an OBD2 adapter, why not try some other fun OBD2 apps... I can recommend SoundRacer OBDII Engine Sounds at Google Play. It will make you smile.

9. lovecars

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 26, 2013

Great article. For true accurate OBD data readouts and code reading, Torque is a great app if you are an advanced user and know what you're doing. it is the best! Also OBD Droidscan has a few less features than Torque, but is extremely user friendly and works excellent every time! Both are my favorites and I switch between them regularly for my auto business. And both have excellent support teams! You can't beat cost vs functionality of OBD Droidscan! But it is hard to say it is my favorite with Torque being so good. Depends what you're looking for..

10. oded_samuel

Posts: 1; Member since: Aug 19, 2013

one thing about this app. can it update external server online , letting monitoring from outside the drivers cabin? lets say office headquarters, or just home?

12. BadDriver

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 14, 2014

I stumbled over another quite new app, currently for FREE, that seems to be promising. I’ve only been running it for a couple of days, it works really well and helpt me identify a bad connector and clear out my engine light. It’s called Performance, check it out on google play

15. ThomRussel

Posts: 1; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

Best application for audi drivers that I found is OBDeleven, it can be found on google play. It requers special dongle that cost 29Eur, but with it you can read trouble codes from all systems, activate aditional functions as cornering lights, lap timer, engineering menu, dont know how is with functions to other cars, but with my Audi A5 2012 it working well. Highly recommend this.

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