How To Install OBD II Device In Your Car?

OBDs are electronic devices that can be connected to an OBD port built into your car. These were initially used by mechanics and inspectors to analyze all that has been happening in a car’s hood.
This included such information as for engine speed and its overall performance, fuel efficiency, temperature, air flow rate, codes for various engine malfunctions and so on. In this way, the OBD gave real time information of everything that went on when a car engine was on, and all cars (in the US) since 1996 have been manufactured with the necessary provisions for installing an OBD.


example of a Bosch scanner

Example of a Bosch scanner

example of a Bosch scannerexample of a Bosch scannerWith the advent of the OBD II (On-Board Diagnostics Generation Two) and its superiors functions and options, every driver can keep track of their favorite machine’s health and use it to its optimum potential. It would let you know exactly why your engine check light is on using codes that refer to your car’s powertrain, computer, chassis, and body. The values that it monitors can also be coupled to your smartphone’s GPS and accelerometers to obtain a holistic real-time view of your car’s performance and your driving skills. Also, its installation and usage are so easy that anyone can do it!


As seen in previous articles, OBD II devices of today mostly use Bluetooth and can be synced to your smartphone. Though the compatibility of your OBD II device, your smartphone, and the software required may vary according to the make and model of your car, clear instructions can be easily obtained from the OBD II’s instruction manual as well as from online sources. After choosing an OBD II according to the kind of functions you need the most, compatibility can be easily cross-checked.

The first step in the installation process is to locate the OBD port. It will most likely be under the steering wheel, under the dashboard or around the gear box. Sometimes, it may be hidden under some flap.

The second step is to insert your OBD II device into the 16-pin port simply. Installation cannot start until the car engine is turned on (thus turning on the motor vehicle computer system) and before you begin, note that some OBD tools must be installed on your phone and this can be done through your phone’s wireless system. You can also install smartphone apps according to extra services you may need. For example, to monitor your engine’s torque (assuming it cannot be done through the OBD’s software), install an app that caters to that facility.

The third step is to turn on your car. Once the engine has started, wait a minute for the OBD II device to finish setting up. Then, turn on your smartphone’s Bluetooth, find your OBD II device, and pair with it. There will be a Bluetooth pairing code (four-digit) that acts as a password.

If the OBD device does not use Bluetooth, you would instead have an interface which gives instructions on OBD scan tool installation. This stage would vary according to the OBD II device you use, and its compatible software would provide clear guidance on what you must do to install it.

The final step is to allow the device software to run and set up. Now, your OBD II device will be paired with your smartphone, and you can check the status of your car. Once installed, the device and your smartphone will be able to pair right away every time you use your car.

plug the obd scan tool into the port

And one last thing that you need to remember is to remove your OBD II device whenever you give your car for servicing. It is in no way a must, but it is the safer thing to do.

Diagnostic Apps and Systems

Several diagnostic apps are available on the market than can be installed on your smartphone to improve your OBD II experience. One of the most popular of these is DevToaster’s Rev for iPhones. This Mechanics Editor’s Choice Award winner (2009) displays your real-time car performance on a map. You can monitor your efficiency through graphs of your acceleration, braking forces and g-forces.

Other popular apps and devices that are on par with the Dev Toaster Rev iPhone and OBD II system include PLX Kiwi Drive Green, VoyagerDash, and OBDroid.

As for OBD II devices themselves, some popular products available on the market are BAFX Bluetooth OBD II Scan Tool, Panlong Bluetooth OBD II Car Diagnostic Scanner, and iAutomobil OBD II Scanner.