Wouldn’t it be nice if you can do some diagnostics on your car with your own Windows Notepad or Android smartphone? That means you won’t have to rely solely on the OS and software you have on your car computer. That’s what you can actually do with the BAFX Products 34t5 Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool for Android Devices. You can send and receive vehicle info in real time, and find out the condition of your car.
Features of the 34t5
So exactly what can you expect with the 34t5?
- You plug this in your car, and then you connect to your computer through Bluetooth.
- It reads and clears DTC (diagnostic trouble codes). When your Check Engine Light is on, you need a scan tool like the 34t5 to diagnose the problem. That means either paying a dealer to do this for you or you have the 34t5 to do it yourself. You’ll then get the number code and find out exactly what’s wrong with the car.
- It reads and displays lots of info that you don’t find on your dashboard. While you’re driving, you get your exact RPM and speed, long and short term fuel trim, timing advance, the intake air temperature, the air flow rate, and data from the oxygen sensors. You can also even get the amount of gasoline you have in the tank, both as a specific amount and as a percentage of your tank capacity.
- You can use this to prepare for your emissions testing.
- It works on just about all modern cars. Every car sold in the US is OBDII-compliant, so this will in all likelihood work on your car.
- It works with Windows computers and Android smartphones.
- You will need a 3rd party PC software or Android app. However, you will get a demo CD and freeware so you can use it right out of the box.
- It comes with a 2-year warranty. But the customer support can be flexible on this. So you can still call on them if there’s a problem with your 34t5 even after 2 years have passed since your purchase.
This is quite a convenient tool, especially when you use a nice program like Torque.
- It works very well. It plugs straight in, and then it pairs right up with your Android phone or Windows PC with no problem. It can also work with Windows Phone 8.
- It’s extremely reliable. The data figures are accurate and it works every time. It also works with the CAN and J1850 protocols, which isn’t always true for cheaper diagnostic interfaces.
- It works on a lot of cars. Even some cars that aren’t available in the US but can be bought in Asia or Europe can also be OBDII-compliant. That’s why you may want to contact BAFX first if your car isn’t available in the US. It may still be compatible.
- It’s also very affordable. Some apps only cost a few dollars, and even expensive specialty apps won’t push the total price of the package to more than a hundred bucks. It sure beats these “special” bundles that come with 3-digit price tags.
- The customer support is excellent. The “no questions asked” return window is for a full 60 days. The warranty is for a full 2-year period, and can be informally extended beyond. So even after 2 years have passed, call the customer support anyway. They’re just so helpful.
- The instructions even come with setup guides for Torque, which is a popular app for this interface. It’s not even affiliated with the manufacturer (the freeware in the demo CD is the one they push), but at least they recognize this popularity and still help out.
- You do have lots of options as to the software or app you use with this interface.
- We aren’t the only reviewers which give it a glowing report. Other customers have overwhelmingly given it top marks in online reviews.
The main problem with the 34t5 isn’t really with the unit at all.
- Often the data available to you depends on the car you’re using this on. In general, the newer the car, the more info you get. But sometimes even newer cars (like some 2012 Hondas) only offer half the data you find with other models. But at least with that brand you still get miles per gallon, which is a big help for fuel-conscious drivers.
- It’s not compatible with Apple and iPhone devices. That’s probably because the Apple certification process can be rather involved, and some manufacturers don’t even bother. But there are a lot of iPhone users out there who will be disappointed.
- The number of available apps and programs can be a bit overwhelming, so choosing one may be confusing. But try out the freeware on the demo CD to get an idea of what you can do. And then try out the Torque program. There’s also a free version of this but the Pro version only costs a few bucks ($5 or so). It’s gotten more than a million downloads, so you know it’s good.
Comparisons with Similar Diagnostic Interfaces
Of course, the 34t5 isn’t the only diagnostic interface around. You do have other options, although for the most part they’re not really as good. Or they don’t offer as much value relative to their cost.
The Veepeak Mini WiFi OBD2 scanner works for both Android and iPhone, and it’s even a few bucks cheaper. But its reliability is a bit suspect. Then you have the impressive BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone, iPad & Android. But it’s not really geared for Windows laptops, plus the price is about a hundred bucks.
While the 34t5 doesn’t really help Mac and iPhone users, the rest of the world who uses Android devices and Windows laptops can really benefit from this. It gives you clear idea of how your car is performing. It also offers you diagnostic info that can save you from failing inspection by letting you fix the problem beforehand.
Given its low price, this is perhaps the best bang for the buck diagnostic interface for your car. It’s extremely easy to use, and the information you get is dead on accurate. You won’t have to rely on your dealer for very minor problems, as you can identify the issue and deal with it yourself.
So should you get the BAFX Products 34t5 Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool for Android Devices? As a diagnostic tool, you really ought too. Even for non-DIY fans, the data you get can be fascinating. You can monitor the state of your car easily and notice when something (such as the mpg) changes drastically. And you can fix the problem more quickly because of it.