Friday, February 21, 2014

What About OBD II Software for the Computer?

There are literally TONS of OBD II scanning software that is out there. However, some of it's free and some of it costs a good chunk of money. I'm going to briefly talk about a few products, what they do, what features they have and most importantly, how much they cost!
One of the better known line of OBD2 software scanning products is called "ScanTool" (one picture to the right) and you can find all their programs and OBD II USB Cables over at They actually have a whole line of different types of products, from specially designed products for different car manufacturers, touch-screen based programs and even your basic checking and clearing codes programs. Their programs range from ~$25 to roughly $130 + extra addons you can get for them... not to mention the price of their specific OBD II cable for your computer. Not bad, but you can get a very good tuner for about the price of their "full setup".
Another quality program is called "ProScan" and it's actually the one I use on my laptop. This DOES work with a generic USB OBD II cable as that's what I use. This program is very nice and has just enough features to keep me interested in it and not just as a "okay, time to get the laptop to check the codes" type of thing. It tells you what codes mean in plain English so you don't have to spend time Googling whatever code you received means. It clears codes quickly and has monitors for pretty much any sensor you can imagine. It has an HP/Torque estimator (It's used as just that: an estimator) and can even give you pretty accurate 1/4 mile times. Although I suggest if you want to use either of these features, you do it in a SAFE environment that doesn't have people all around.
The last program I'm going to talk about is called "EasyOBDII." It's a rather good program and was one of the first ones I found and tinkered with. It gives you some pretty good sensors information and other car information. However, there is a VERY limited free trial which only lets you just about read codes and do a few other small things -- you can't even clear your Check Engine Light with it unless you have a paid version. However, the VERY GOOD news is that a commercial license on costs $19.99! I'm not positive, but I believe that the commercial version unlocks everything you should need (and some more). The best bang for your buck is probably with this program and the fact that you can get the free version and mess around with it to become familiar with the program is a very good marketing strategy.
To be honest, I do love ProScan, but if I wouldn't have snagged a free copy of it, I would have definitely bought EasyOBDII for a mere $20. However, my best suggestion would be to research, research, research and come to your own conclusions. My opinions are simply that, my opinions! Make sure you can understand and work the software before you even begin thinking about getting a USB OBD II cable!

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