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OBD2 scanner for your BMW 4 – Easy Guide and How It Works.


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If you want to get more control over your BMW 4 and save money on repairs you’ve made it to the right place. We’ll introduce you to a small yet powerful tool that every BMW car owner needs: an OBD scanner!

With an OBD reader, you will finally know at all times what is going on with your car. And depending on the OBD reader that you get, you can even:

  • Personalize your vehicle through car coding
  • Read real-time data
  • Prevent expensive repair fees by performing your own car health check
  • Perform your own basic maintenance services
  • Detect car scams

The best part is that you can get your code reader for your BMW 4 for an affordable price and avoid relying on workshops at all times! Let’s get started and show you what is an OBD2 scanner and all you can do with it.

What is an OBD2 scanner?

Carly OBD reader

OBD means onboard diagnostics. An OBD2 scanner (also called a diagnostic scanner or scan tool is a vehicle diagnostic device that can be used to read faults and data that is inside of your vehicle systems.

Basically, an OBD scanner allows you to make a connection between your BMW 4 and a mobile app or diagnostic software. Once the connection is established, if you are using a mobile app, you can quicly access all of your vehicle’s data from your smartphone!

Moreover, if you do not own an OBD reader for your BMW 4, you can carry out diagnostics for your vehicle at a workshop for a fee.

diagnostic tool

They usually use a handheld device, advanced scanners, or OBD cables with a computer. But usually, this equipment is more expensive and complex to use.

Therefore, OBD2 readers are the most convenient tools for beginners and even professionals since they are:

  • Pocket-sized (unlike handheld scanners or heavy OBD cables)
  • Easy to carry and use
  • No additional diagnostic equipment (ex. computer software, cables)
  • Provides more functionalities than just diagnostics

Now that you have an overview of what an OBD2 scanner is, we will show you what you can do with it and how it can help you keep your car in better shape.

How does an OBD2 scanner for your BMW 4 work?

Every modern vehicle has a ‘fault memory’. This memory is responsible for storing technical defects or any trouble code that arises in your BMW 4.

So with an OBD2 scanner, you can access the data stored in the fault memory, and read out the fault codes in order to correct them.

A common misconception is that all fault codes are bad. But it is quite normal that cars have fault codes.

Furthermore, there are error codes that vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but having them present is normal. There are only a handful of error codes that can lead to serious issues.

The most severe ones are engine codes since the engine is one of the main systems of a vehicle and repairs are usually costly. For example, of a trouble code related to the engine is the check engine light. However, if you perform your own car diagnostics on a monthly basis you can easily save money on car maintenance and repairs.

How can I read my BMW 4 error codes with an OBD2 scanner?

error codes can be easily read out using an OBD reader and its corresponding app. The errors will then be displayed on your phone’s screen and you will be able to clear them as well.

fautl codes

In the case of the Carly app, you will also get all the code definitions for every fault and get deeper insights into what they mean.

If you use an OBD2 scanner often and carry your own diagnostics every 2 months, you will end up saving thousands of dollars per year on vehicle maintenance and repairs.

What can an OBD reader tell you about your BMW 4?

With an OBD2 scanner, you can read out a lot of data. However, the type of data depends on the OBD scanner and mobile app that you are using.

The most common data that OBD reader let you read are:

– Diagnostics (errors) and/or
– Real-time data

There are some scanners that only provide this data related to the engine. This feature is usually called “OBD level diagnostics”. So for example, will only be able to read engine-related codes such as the check engine light.

However, there are other OBD readers that let your read data for every system of your car, and not just about the engine. This function is called “Manufacturer-level diagnostics”. So for example, you will be able to read faults related to other critical systems of your BMW 4 such as ABS, airbag, transmissions, and more!

Moreover, other OBD2 scanners let you do more than just reading out data. For example, you can personalize your car through car coding, perform basic maintenance repairs, and detect car scams.

What does the Carly OBD2 Bluetooth reader and app do?

The Carly app allows you to get a lot out of your car for little money by reading out the data transferred via the OBD scanners.

And in many ways, the Carly Universal Adapter is unlike other OBD scanners. This is because, besides diagnostics, you can access many other features that are typically only included in a high end or expensive scanner.

Perform a used car check on your BMW 4

For example, the ‘used car check’ feature is always helpful if you want to get a used vehicle and want to check if you are not being scammed with mileage fraud. So, with Carly, you can look under the hood and get a better feeling for the condition of the car, avoiding negative surprises.

Try car coding on your BMW 4
obd2 scanner for bmw

Moreover, with the car coding feature, you can customize car and make it more unique using your Carly scanner and your phone. You can code the welcome lights, deactivate the start-stop function, and more! With Carly, time-consuming (and expensive) workshop visits are a thing of the past.

Professional insights on your BMW 4

Another extremely valuable feature that that Carly gives you is Smart Mechanic. You can get deep information about your BMW written by expert mechanics. For example:

  • Professional fault code description curated by expert BMW mechanics
  • Direct access to original plans of components, just like the ones used in the workshop
  • Detailed repair tips to know the cause of faults and fix them yourself

With this feature, you will really have more control of your BMW than ever and get independence from car mechanics.

Do your own car maintenance on your BMW 4

With the car maintenance function, you can perform basic repairs yourself that usually, mechanics can charge you (a lot) for. For example, carrying out a vehicle battery reset is very easy if you have the proper guide to follow! And with Carly, this is possible.

Usually, only a professional automotive reader that costs over $3,000 would include all of these advanced funtionalities. So the Carly OBD2 scanner is much more affordable than the professional scanners that mechanics would use.

OBD vs. OBD2

The OBD2 interface is used in modern vehicles and was introduced in Europe in 2001 and 2004 to have a uniform system for vehicles. In essence serves as an interface between the ECUs of a car and the diagnostic device. However, there is a big difference between OBD and OBD2.

Beofre, only certain diagnostic devices could access certain cars. For example, an OBD code reader from BMW only worked with BMWs, because each car brand had a different connection. However, this made it difficult for workshops to make diagnoses for several car brands.

Afterward, the OBD2 connector was actually introduced in 1996 to standardize the system. Now, with the same OBD2 reader you can access many different car brands.

How do I know if my car is OBD2 compliant?

Most OBD2 scanners are only compatible with cars built-in 2001 or later (gas/petrol) or 2004 or later (diesel).

If you have a car from 1996 or earlier, you might need a special extension to use the OBD2 reader.

In the case of the Carly OBD2 scanner, it can be used with most car brands and the majority of vehicles manufactured from 2001 onwards. So, for example, if you have a BMW and a Volkswagen that was built after 2001 and 2004 respectively, you only need one OBD2 scanner instead of two!

Where is the OBD interface located?

The OBD interface, or OBD port, is normally located under the steering wheel. However,this varies depending on the car manufacturer.

Where is the OBD2 port in my BMW 3 E90 (2005-2013)

In older cars, the OBD interface can also be found in the trunk or near the handbrake. Once you have found the port, you can easily plug the OBD2 scanner in and the connection between the vehicle and the diagnostic device will be established.

Afterwards, the error memory can be read out and the different fault codes will be displayed on your screen.

Can you drive with an OBD reader plugged in?

Yes! It is safe to keep your scanner plugged into your car’s OBD port. With other tools such as handheld scanners, you don’t have the option of leaving it plugged into your vehicle.

Which OBD reader is the best?

Value and price

The best scanner tool is the one that lets you access the most features, with accuracy, and at a great price. Some OBD2 scanners only focus on diagnostics, whereas others also include additional features such as car coding and real-time data.

Equipment and Bluetooth

Some OBD2 readers require extra equipment, such as cables or a computer to run the diagnostics software. However, the most convenient option is to get a wireless OBD2 reader that can connect to your phone over Bluetooth.

car diagnostics
Compatibility with your BMW 4 and phone

This brings us to the next point for choosing your OBD reader! Make sure that the scanner and app that you get are compatible with your mobile phone. Some diagnostic scanner apps might only be compatible with Android or Apple devices.

Additionally, make sure that your BMW 4 is also compatible with the scanner since some are only compatible with certain car brands.

Warranty of the OBD2 reader

Finally, a last point to consider is the warranty included in your purchase. It is very common for most OBD2 readers to include a very short 1 to 3-year warranty. However, OBD2 scanners are meant to last longer than that, so you should get a lifetime warranty.

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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