Are you sick of engine warning lights giving you false positives? An OBD scan tool like the BAFX Products Bluetooth Diagnostic OBDII Reader/Scanner can save you a lot of time and money on car check-ups and maintenance.
Complex machines like cars and trucks depend on many factors for optimal performance and longevity. By tracking these factors, you can detect potential issues and accidents before they happen. And you can tell a false positive from a real problem.
While car diagnostics scanners are nothing new, advances in consumer technology have made them more available and useful than ever before. With a simple plug, you can get in-depth info right on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
As with all simple electronics, there’s a jungle of different brands out there, and many cheap ones hardly work. So, let’s take a look at how well the BAFX Products Bluetooth Diagnostic OBDII Reader/Scanner holds up its promises.
OBDII – How It Works
OBD is short for Onboard Diagnostics. This system uses sensors spread out across your car’s vital components to track information about car and reports issues and potential problems. A long time ago, each brand had its own system.
These systems only gave basic information, and it was only accessible to mechanics. The first OBD standard came in 1987 and with it set a baseline of information all cars must provide. In 1996, OBDII replaced the old standard and included more information. All cars and most light trucks made for the American market after 1996 are OBDII-compliant, although they use different signal protocols.
These are the five basic protocols:
There are slight variations even in systems based on the same signal protocol, but they’re the same overall. CAN is the modern standard, and all vehicles built after 2008 use this protocol.
These days, you can access your car’s diagnostics data with a variety of tools, such as the BAFX Products Bluetooth Diagnostic OBDII Reader/Scanner. The core advantage is that you can learn about problems before you notice anything strange or see that dreaded Check Engine light.
That can save you trouble and spare you from visits to the garage. Furthermore, you can get information about your car’s general performance, fuel economy, excess emissions, and more.
Federal law requires the OBDII port to be within easy access on the driver side of the car. You’ll usually find it under or behind the dashboard. It’s a rectangular socket with 16 pin holes. You insert a scan tool like a BAFX Products Bluetooth Diagnostic OBDII Reader/Scanner and get the information and any potential error codes. These codes vary between manufacturers.
- NOT compatible with iOS devices (iPhones, iPads etc) For iOS devices, see our WiFi OBD Reader; This version of our Bluetooth OBD2 scanner and is only compatible with Android or Windows devices
- Compatibility - Our OBDII reader will work on all vehicles purchased in the USA model year 1996 or newer; Unlike other OBD2 readers, ours works on all OBD2 protocols including J1850 and CAN
- 2 Year Warranty - For 2 years you will be covered by our warranty against all manufacturing defects; With a hassle free claims process and friendly USA based support you cannot go wrong
- Monitor & Analyze - A must have tool for any DIY mechanic; You can read and clear your check engine light and monitor different vehicle sensors in real time to better locate your problems
- IMPORTANT - Please follow ALL setup steps indicated in instructions for a successful connection! This OBD2 scanner does not read ABS, SRS, TPMS, Oil Change or any other non-OBDII related lights
A Closer Look at BAFX Products Bluetooth Diagnostic OBDII Reader/Scanner
The BAFX Products Bluetooth Diagnostic OBDII Reader/Scanner is a simple and affordable yet versatile OBDII scan tool. It reads your vehicle’s computer and transfers the information to your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. You can get detailed information from various sensors, and you can turn off the Check Engine light in case of false positives.
Ease of use
Using the BAFX Products Bluetooth Diagnostic OBDII Reader/Scanner is very simple. Once you’ve plugged it in, you sync it to your phone or computer with the pairing code, and it’s ready to use.
One thing to note is that you need a dedicated app to read the information. There are many choices, some of which are free. Two popular options are Torque and Dash Command. These apps do cost money, but they’re cheap and powerful. If you prefer to use a PC, you’ll find a list of suitable diagnostics programs in the included manual.
One drawback is that the BAFX Products Bluetooth Diagnostic OBDII Reader/Scanner isn’t compatible with iOS. If you want to use your iPhone, iPad, or Macbook for car diagnostics, you’ll have to get the WiFi version. It costs a few dollars more and is slightly more demanding, but it’s compatible with more devices.
One standout feature is that it’s compatible with all signal protocols. While many manufacturers claim that their products are, most really aren’t. Problems usually occur with J1850 and CAN systems. Since the latter is the standard for modern cars, that’s a problem. The BAFX Products Bluetooth Diagnostic OBDII Reader/Scanner can read them all, and the manufacturer guarantees that it’ll work.
Once you hook it up and start your app, you’ll get diagnostics data in real-time. What specific parameters you can view depends on the model, but common ones include:
Unlike most cheap OBDII scanners, the BAFX Products Bluetooth Diagnostic OBDII Reader/Scanner is a real tool that the manufacturer stands behind. Users praise their customer service, the scanner’s relatively high quality, and the universal compatibility. Only a few unhappy users report issues with functionality and product lifespan. This lands it at 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
You can order one on Amazon. This includes a two-year warranty and easy returns and replacements. That’s a high-value deal compared to similar products.
How It Compares
Since there are many OBD diagnostics tools, we’ll make some comparisons to show how the BAFX Products Bluetooth Diagnostic OBDII Reader/Scanner delivers. We’ve chosen both cheaper and more expensive options to give you a better idea of what you can expect. The competitors in question are Goliton ELM327 Bluetooth OBDII Diagnostic Scanner, VeePeak OBDCheck BLE, and ScanTool OBDLink LX Bluetooth.
How We Reviewed
This is one of those markets where many manufacturers make big, questionable claims and results can vary a lot. Therefore, we’ve gathered and compared the opinions of many customers. Most of this user data comes from Amazon customer reviews.
Goliton ELM327 Bluetooth OBDII Diagnostic Scanner
- Newly developed wireless scan tool
- Works with all OBD-II compliant vehicles
- Display current sensor data
- Read diagnostic trouble codes, both generic and manufacturer-specific
Goliton ELM327 is one of the cheapest options available. Most cheap options use ELM327 chips or copies thereof, so they tend to have similar names. Goliton claims that their ELM327 Bluetooth OBDII Diagnostic Scanner covers all the basics and works with all OBDII-compliant vehicles. Let’s see how it stands up to the BAFX Products Bluetooth Diagnostic OBDII Reader/Scanner.
Ease of use
It’s comparable to the BAFX Products Bluetooth Diagnostic OBDII Reader/Scanner in terms of simplicity. It plugs in, pairs via Bluetooth, and lets you view information in your app of choice.
Some users say it can be tricky to use sometimes. One issue reported is that the plug may not be a perfect fit for the car’s port. Some also say you may hit your knee on it in smaller cars, or that its performance varies. As for system compatibilities, it works best on Windows 8 and 10.
Windows smartphones also work well, but the newer Android operating systems may give it trouble.
The Goliton ELM327 delivers all the data that your vehicle and app allow. However, you may sometimes experience a slow rate of information, especially if you’re tracking multiple parameters at once.
Many users do report a lack of compatibility with many vehicles, despite the manufacturer’s claims. Others experience inconsistent performance, and some report getting defective units or a WiFi version instead of Bluetooth. However, many like the low price and ease of use. It gets 3.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
It makes a prime example of what you can expect of most OBD scanners that sell for prices equal to or lower than that of the BAFX Products Bluetooth Diagnostic OBDII Reader/Scanner.
As long as you make sure it’s compatible with your vehicle and phone or laptop, it can be a good budget option. Otherwise, it’s better to go for a BAFX Products Bluetooth Diagnostic OBDII Reader/Scanner.
VeePeak OBDCheck BLE
- Bluetooth obd2 adapter with support for extensive apps (such as OBD Fusion, Torque Pro, Car Scanner ELM OBD2) can turn your iPhone, iPad or Android phone/tablet into a sophisticated car scan tool.
- Read diagnostic trouble codes and freeze frame data, reset check engine light, prepare smog test, view real-time sensor readings, create customized dashboard and estimate fuel economy.
- Works with all brand OBD2 / EOBD compliant cars and light trucks (in the United States, vehicles since year 1996 are supported, including pickup trucks, hybrid and many electric vehicles).
- Easy to plug in and unplug. No complex settings or tricky connections plus much lower power consumption compared to WiFi, and it does not block internet access for other apps.
- A third-party App is required (check recommendations in the description below, some may require separate purchase). Compatible with iOS (no Bluetooth pairing needed) & Android devices. Mini carrying case included.
The main point of interest of the VeePeak OBDCheck BLE is iOS compatibility. In most regards, it’s very similar to the BAFX Products Bluetooth Diagnostic OBDII Reader/Scanner.
Ease of use
The general procedure is the same as with the previous two. However, pairing with an Apple product is slightly different. You activate Bluetooth LE (low energy) on your phone or iPad, then tap the Connect button. Connecting via the usual Bluetooth menu won’t work.
It also works with Windows and Android, although some Android car head devices may not be compatible. You can connect to your car’s Bluetooth and to the internet while using the VeePeak OBDCheck BLE.
The manufacturer claims that the OBDCheck BLE works in all EOBD and OBDII-compliant vehicles and with all signal protocols. You can track and diagnose potential issues and reset the Check Engine light, but you can’t turn off other warnings. Since the App store has certain OBD apps you can’t get on Android, you have more options that may give you different information.
Some users report connectivity issues. Your smart device may not detect the unit sometimes, and you may have to restart the app or the car or unplug and reinsert the VeePeak. A few users say a firmware update improved the situation. Another common issue is that you may lose connection after a few minutes and have to reconnect. Other than that, they seem pleased, so the Vepeak OBDCheck BLE gets 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
This price includes a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 12-month replacement warranty.
ScanTool OBDLink LX Bluetooth
- HIGH SPEED SCAN TOOL: Transform your Windows PC, laptop, or phone into a super-fast, accurate automotive diagnostic device (not compatible with Apple iOS devices)
- WIRELESS DIAGNOSTIC DEVICE: Bluetooth scan tool is easy to install, safe to leave plugged in without draining your car's battery, and features hackerproof wireless security
- FREE ANDROID APP & WINDOWS SOFTWARE: Includes OBDLink app for Android and OBDwiz for Windows, and is compatible with 3rd party apps such as Torque and DashCommand
- MAXIMUM VEHICLE COVERAGE: Works on more vehicles than any scan tool on the market including all 1996+ cars and light trucks sold in the United States (except hybrid or electric vehicles)
- SATISFACTION GUARANTEED: Your ScanTool is supplied with a 90-day money back guarantee if you are unsatisfied for any reason, along with a 3-year repair or replace manufacturer warranty
If you’re looking for something more proper, this is something for you. It costs more, but it also does much more. It’s a complete scanner on its own with abundant features, but it’s still tiny and supports third-party apps.
Ease of use
You can have it up and running in less than five minutes. It even comes in an easy-opening package. You know the drill by now: plug it in and sync up. Once you plug it, you can leave it in because it turns off automatically to prevent battery drain.
What makes it even easier to use is that it has its own OBDLink software for Android and comes with an OBDWiz license for Windows, so you don’t need to look for a good app. These are no token extras, they’re advanced tools that give you detailed information and easy logging. And they won’t charge you for subscriptions or updates later down the line.
In addition to OBD scanning, the OBDLink LX also has a trip computer and real-time performance tracking. The scan tool is faster and more accurate than cheaper units, it offers up to four times the data speed of generic OBD tools.
As for vehicle compatibility, this may be the most versatile option on the market. It supports EOBD, JOBD, and all five OBDII types. With the exception of many electric and hybrid cars, it should cover every American car and light truck made after 1996.
The OBDLink LX enters sleep mode when you turn your car off. Furthermore, it has overvoltage protection. That means it won’t overload and break or catch on fire due to electrical issues. It’s also safe from hacking attempts, thanks to a multi-layered link system with 128-bit encryption instead of the usual “1234” pairing code. And it won’t show up on nearby devices.
Beyond reading data and clearing the Check Engine light, you can calculate things like fuel usage and whether it’s time for an emissions test. Using the Android app, you get information in neat graphs, and you can customize your interface.
The main downside is that the OBDLink LX isn’t compatible with iOS systems. Buyers say it works as advertised, they find it easy to use and don’t have many complaints. A few users report losing their connection sometimes. In the end, it gets 4.1 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
That covers free firmware and software updates for life, a 3-year warranty, and a 90-day refund policy.
Pros and Cons of the BAFX Products Bluetooth Diagnostic OBDII Reader/Scanner
That was a lot of technical information. Let’s round up the strengths and weaknesses of the BAFX Products Bluetooth Diagnostic OBDII Reader/Scanner.
All in all, the BAFX Products Bluetooth Diagnostic OBDII Reader/Scanner offers dependable performance at a low price. It’s not the cheap junk you often find in this price range.
If you’re an Apple user, this isn’t the scan tool for you. As for other issues, the warranty and customer support have you covered.
Should You Buy a BAFX Products Bluetooth Diagnostic OBDII Reader/Scanner?
If you want a happy middle ground between the cheap units that hardly work and the high-end units that may not suit your budget, this is a solid choice. A BAFX Products Bluetooth Diagnostic OBDII Reader/Scanner will give you the information and control you need without breaking your bank.
There isn’t much it doesn’t do that a pricier option could. Other than the somewhat cheap build quality, it’s a well-made product. It’s a worthy choice if you want to save money on trips to the mechanic.