BMW F20 diagnostic tools: Find the optimal device for your needs


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Do you own a BMW F20 1 Series and want to learn more about your vehicle? Do you wish to save money by performing vehicle diagnostics yourself and even customizing some of your car’s features? Don’t worry – if warning lights come on, you don’t have to schedule the next workshop visit every time. Instead, you can purchase a BMW F20 diagnostic device and do the work yourself. In this article we want to help you choose the best diagnostic tool for your BMW F20 and provide more information about this car model.

The BMW F20 is the second generation of BMW’s 1 Series and was produced from 2011 to 2019. It is known for its sporty design, driving performance and comfort. The F20 models are available with a range of gasoline and diesel engines featuring advanced technologies such as TwinPower Turbo and EfficientDynamics.

Which is the right BMW F20 diagnostic device for your vehicle? There are a variety of devices that are suitable for your BMW F20, so prices can vary. For example, you can buy simple scanners for as little as 30 euros, with which you can read error codes, or professional devices with extensive functions for thousands of euros. An excellent and cost-effective option is the Carly app and scanner. The Carly app is available for an annual price of between €21 and €80, while the Carly Universal OBD scanner costs a one-off €59.90.

In this article, we would like to offer you a deeper insight and show you what to look for when choosing a diagnostic device for your BMW F20.


Diagnostic equipment for the BMW F20: options and recommendations

To perform vehicle diagnostics, you need the appropriate diagnostic device. There are several options available to you for the BMW F20: external standalone diagnostic devices, laptop software, and smartphone apps. Each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages, but in our comparison, the smartphone app has the most advantages, especially the Carly OBD scanner.

External diagnostic devices are mostly small and suitable for basic diagnostic functions, unless you choose a professional workshop device, which is expensive and less mobile. Inexpensive, portable diagnostic equipment often offers limited functionality and small screens that only display error codes. To find out what the codes mean, you may need to do some additional research. Moreover, the device takes up extra space in your luggage when you are on the road.

Laptop software is rather impractical for most car owners or car enthusiasts, as they have to carry the laptop and its adapter cable. The software must be purchased and possibly upgraded at a cost, which increases the overall cost. Laptop software offers extensive diagnostic functions and a large screen for data display, but is less user-friendly and mobile.

Smartphone apps are the most convenient options for vehicle diagnostics, as most people have their smartphones with them all the time. Apps like Carly are user-friendly, offer a wide range of features, and are usually updated regularly for free. The Carly OBD Scanner has been specially developed for BMW models such as the F20 and offers comprehensive diagnostic functions as well as individual vehicle coding and data logging.

The BMW F20 is a popular model of the 1 Series and impresses with its sporty design and its wide range of engine options. To get the most out of your F20 and keep track of your vehicle’s condition, we recommend using the Carly app and the Carly OBD scanner for convenient and effective vehicle diagnostics.

Error codes and diagnostics for the BMW F20

In modern vehicles such as the BMW F20, numerous control units are integrated, each of which is responsible for different systems. If there are deviations from the defined parameters, error codes are generated and stored. There are two types of error codes: internationally standardized codes and manufacturer-specific codes. While simple diagnostic devices can usually only read general fault codes, specialized scanners and smartphone apps such as the Carly OBD Scanner are also able to interpret manufacturer-specific codes.

Error codes, also known as Data Trouble Codes (DTC), consist of five characters that provide information about the affected area, the error code type, and the affected system. Simple diagnostic devices only show the error code, while more advanced devices and apps like Carly provide a detailed description of the error and even give advice on which errors should be fixed immediately and which can be ignored.

The control units in the vehicle are small computers that are responsible for the various vehicle systems. They are connected to each other via a communication network. If an error code is generated, this may indicate either a small deviation or a significant error. The Carly app evaluates the error codes and shows you the most important information in a clear order.

The OBD2 interface is an essential element of vehicle diagnostics and enables the connection of an external diagnostic device to the vehicle. When using a smartphone app such as Carly, an OBD2 scanner such as the Carly 20-pin scanner is used, which is wirelessly connected to the smartphone. To ensure proper communication and avoid damage to the ECUs, it is important to use a high-quality OBD2 scanner.

The BMW F20, a 1 Series model, benefits from comprehensive diagnostics and monitoring to ensure optimal performance and efficiency. By using the Carly app and the Carly OBD scanner, you’ll get detailed information about your vehicle’s condition and be able to proactively respond to potential issues.

The CAN bus in the BMW F20 (for technology enthusiasts)

We have already mentioned the communication network in the vehicle, which is called the CAN bus system. In this system, data “buses” continuously transport data packets from one station to another within the vehicle. For example, when you change a setting in an app like Carly, this command is sent to the OBD2 adapter via BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy).

In the adapter, the command is translated by the integrated ELM 27 chip into a language that the vehicle can understand. The data is then sent via the CAN bus from the OBD2 socket to the corresponding control unit and processed there. The feedback takes the form of a data packet that is sent back to the OBD2 interface via the CAN bus, translated and transmitted wirelessly to the app. This entire process happens within a fraction of a second, so it seems as if the confirmation of the change occurs almost immediately after the input.

In the BMW F20, the CAN bus system ensures fast and efficient communication between the various control units and the Carly OBD scanner app. With this technology, you can easily make adjustments to your vehicle and get detailed information about its condition and performance.

Vehicle diagnostics for the BMW F20: what is done?

Vehicle diagnostics is all about reading and interpreting fault codes. Simple and inexpensive diagnostic devices, such as an inexpensive BMW F20 diagnostic scanner, can read these codes and display them in their coded form, but their functionality is often limited to this. Some such devices may also clear error codes, but they don’t offer much else. If you’re using a simple diagnostic device, you’ll often need to research online to understand the meaning of each code.

Take fault code B0115, for example: this code indicates that there is a short circuit in the area of the side airbag leads (which are controlled by the SRS control unit). Simple diagnostic devices might only display “B0115”. A higher-end device, on the other hand, might display “B0115: Side airbag leads short-circuited”. With the best diagnostic tools, like the Carly OBD scanner, you’ll not only get a description of the fault, but also information about how critical the fault is and whether you can fix it immediately, address it later, or even ignore it.

For BMW F20, a powerful diagnostic device like Carly OBD scanner is an excellent choice to get detailed and useful information about your car’s condition. These scanners will not only provide you with helpful descriptions of the error codes, but also recommendations for the right course of action to fix potential problems.

Costs for a diagnosis for the BMW F20: What do you have to consider?

There are two types of costs associated with vehicle diagnostics: the direct costs of performing the diagnostics and the potential savings from identifying and fixing faults early, before they lead to serious problems.

A basic vehicle diagnosis in a workshop can cost between 25 and 60 euros, depending on the vehicle model, manufacturer and workshop. For example, if you have a diagnosis every three months, paying an average price of 40 euros per visit, the annual cost will be about 160 euros. On top of that, there is the cost and time involved in making the appointment, bringing and picking up the vehicle, and any additional transportation costs while your car is in the shop.

The Carly app is available for your BMW F20 for about 6 euros per month, in addition to the one-time purchase of the Carly Universal OBD scanner for 59.90 euros. A powerful external adapter such as the Carly scanner is essential for all external diagnostics, including the use of BMW F20 diagnostic tools. The price includes the full functionality of the Carly app, which can potentially save you several hundred dollars in direct costs.

The indirect costs saved are difficult to quantify, but are certainly likely to be in the range of several hundred to a thousand euros per year. With a diagnostic app like Carly , you can run diagnostics as often as you like, even monthly or even more frequently. With a reliable BMW F20 diagnostic device, you can thus identify and fix minor faults and underlying issues early on, before they worsen and lead to costly repairs.

The ideal diagnostic tool for your BMW F20: Why the Carly app is the best choice.

Here we would like to show you the advantages of the Carly app and explain why it is the best option for your BMW F20 diagnostic tool. The Carly app offers a variety of additional features, which we’ll get to in a moment, and is available for download from the Apple App Store as well as the Google Play Store. The Carly app has already been downloaded over one million times. Moreover, you can start with the free version, which offers you limited, but still impressive features. Here are the main features of the Carly app:

  • Compatibility: The Carly app is compatible with both iOS and Android devices, making it accessible to a wide range of users.
  • Ease of use: The app is easy to use and allows you to quickly and easily diagnose your BMW F20.
  • Comprehensive diagnostic functions: The Carly app offers a wide range of functions that go beyond simply reading and clearing fault codes. This includes detailed information on detected errors, troubleshooting guidance, and prioritization of issues based on their urgency.
  • Regular updates: The Carly app is continuously updated and improved to meet the latest standards and requirements. This way you can make sure that your BMW F20 diagnostic tool is always up to date.
  • Customer Support: If you have any questions or problems, Carly customer support is available to help you use the app and resolve any issues.

The Carly app is a great choice for your BMW F20 diagnostic tool as it offers a user-friendly, comprehensive and always updated solution. With the Carly app, you can regularly check the health of your vehicle and identify and fix potential problems early, before they lead to expensive repairs.


BMW F20 diagnosis and vehicle condition

The Carly app is not only able to read and interpret standard fault codes, but also manufacturer-specific fault codes that apply specifically to BMW and the BMW F20. With the Carly BMW F20 diagnostic tool, you’ll get detailed information and explanations about the detected errors, so you won’t be left in the dark. But that’s not all. Carly goes even further and presents you the state of your vehicle, ranking the faults according to their urgency. A traffic light system is used here:

  • Green light: Your car is in good condition and no further action is required.
  • Yellow light: Action is required because there are errors that should be corrected. A more accurate diagnosis is recommended.
  • Red light: Your car has serious problems and needs immediate attention and repairs.

This simple traffic light system allows you to quickly and easily assess the health of your BMW F20 and act accordingly. The Carly app and the Carly OBD scanner thus provide you with a powerful vehicle diagnostic tool that will help you keep your vehicle in top shape and detect potential problems early.

Coding and customization of the BMW F20

Individualization may sound technical, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s all about customizing your personal preferences for numerous features of your BMW F20. You can set various parameters for a variety of aspects, such as turning lights, turn signals, brake lights, corona rings, comfort features, park sensing (PDC), entry assist, power windows, power tailgate, welcome lights, automatic climate control, engine start/stop and much more. There are hundreds of customization options.

In a workshop, such individual adjustments would cost between 30 and 50 euros for each individual aspect. With the Carly app and the Carly OBD scanner, however, you can make as many adjustments as you like, test different settings, and switch between them at will. This way you are able to tune your BMW F20 exactly to your personal needs and preferences without having to pay high fees at a workshop every time.

Carly BMW F20 used car inspection – a real helper

The Carly used car inspection is a feature you won’t find with any other provider! If you want to buy a used car, such as a BMW F20, it’s often difficult to find a trustworthy deal. Unfortunately, even the most appealing vehicle can have a manipulated mileage. In fact, up to one-third of all used vehicles are affected by mileage manipulation.

The Carly Used Car Inspection is a unique feature that checks all relevant control units of your vehicle to detect signs of mileage tampering. It then produces a detailed report that tells you whether the vehicle is really as trustworthy as it seems. So with the BMW F20 diagnostic tool and the Carly app, you can not only make sure the seller is honest, but also potentially save thousands of dollars by avoiding buying a tampered vehicle!

BMW F20 service interval reset

There are some tasks that car enthusiasts can do themselves, such as changing the oil (see below for tips on how to do this). After an oil change, it is important to update the control units and reset the service interval so that the system recognizes that the oil has been changed and no longer issues service warnings. With the Carly app, this is easily possible. In addition, Carly can help you register a new battery or perform other maintenance tasks yourself, saving you extra money.

Short excursus: Performing the oil change independently

The intervals for oil changes are between 15,000 and 60,000 kilometers. You can change the oil yourself, but you should pay attention to a few points. First, make sure you’re using a high-quality oil that meets the manufacturer’s requirements. It would be beneficial if you had a way to lift your car and provide a catch basin for the used oil to avoid spillage on the ground and possible pollution. Ideally, you will perform this work in a well-equipped home workshop. Also note that the dealer from whom you buy new oil is required to take back your used oil free of charge. Alternatively, you can dispose of it at a designated recycling center. Never pour the used oil down the drain or throw it in the normal household waste.

Retrieve BMW F20 real-time vehicle data

Do you want to track important parameters like fuel consumption, exact speed, oil temperature or other values in real time while driving? The Carly app has a real-time monitoring feature that lets you do just that. Just select the desired parameter and keep an eye on it.

Additional functions

In addition to the functions already mentioned, Carly offers a wide range of other options, such as emission tests, resetting the automatic transmission control, the digital garage (here you can save all the data collected and share it as a PDF or via email), checking the diesel particulate filter, and much more.

Try the free Carly Lite version in advance and discover what options are available for your car model, like the BMW F20.

Are we saying goodbye to the workshop?

So does this mean we can say goodbye to workshop visits for good? Unfortunately, this is not the case. While it’s true that you can use Carly to reduce the frequency of your garage visits and the associated costs, it’s not possible to avoid them completely. No app can accomplish that. There will always be minor and major repairs that need to be done in a workshop, as well as complex problems that only an expert can identify. However, you can still perform minor diagnostics, coding, and service resets yourself, saving you time and money.

Final summary: The advantages of the Carly App for your BMW F20

Now that you’ve thoroughly explored the possibilities of a diagnostic tool for your BMW F20, we’d like to present the Carly app as the ideal solution. The app offers numerous features that not only increase driving comfort, but also help you save significant costs. Here are some of the benefits that the Carly app offers for your BMW F20:

  • Read error codes: The Carly app allows you to read and understand both standard and manufacturer-specific fault codes. This will give you detailed information about the errors detected by the app.
  • Maintenance: With the Carly app, you can perform basic maintenance tasks like resetting service intervals and signing up for a new battery yourself. This saves you time and money, as you don’t have to go to the workshop for every little service.
  • Real-time vehicle data: The Carly app offers a real-time feature that allows you to monitor vehicle parameters such as fuel consumption, accurate driving speed, oil temperature, and more. This allows you to adjust your driving style and optimize your fuel consumption.
  • Vehicle coding: with the Carly app, you can customize many features of your BMW F20 to your personal preferences. You can set various parameters in areas such as lighting, comfort functions and driver assistance systems.
  • Used Car Check: The Carly app offers a unique feature that helps you detect tampering with a used car’s mileage. This protects you from fraudulent sellers and allows you to make an informed buying decision.
  • Extensive additional functions: The Carly app offers many additional functions such as emissions testing, resetting the automatic transmission, checking the diesel particulate filter and much more.
  • The Carly app is a worthwhile investment for any BMW F20 owner who wants to save time and money without sacrificing convenience and safety. By using this versatile app, you can increase your driving comfort, reduce costs and have more control over your vehicle. Try the free Carly Lite version and discover the possibilities available to you with your BMW F20.

Keep in mind, that every car has different software and modules built-in. Therefore specific features will vary with every model.

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