If you want to get more control over your BMW M4 and save money on maintenance fees 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 reader!
With an OBD reader, you will finally know at all times what is going on with your car. And depending on the OBD2 scanner that you get, you can even:
- Personalize your BMW through car coding
- Read real-time data
- Avoid expensive repair fees by performing your own car health check
- Do your own basic maintenance
- Detect vehicle scams
The best part is that you can get your OBD2 scanner for your BMW M4 for an affordable price and avoid relying on mechanic workshops at all times! Let’s get started and show you what is an OBD2 scanner and what you can do with it.
What is an OBD2 scanner?
OBD refers to onboard diagnostics. An OBD2 scanner (also called a diagnostic scanner or OBD reader is a car diagnostic device that can be used to read out faults and data that is recorded on your car’s systems.
Basically, an OBD reader allows you to make a connection between your BMW M4 and a mobile application or diagnostic software. Once the connection is established, if you are using a mobile app, you can quickly and easily access all of your vehicle’s data from your mobile!
In addition, if you do not own an OBD2 scanner for your BMW M4, you can do diagnostics for your vehicle at a auto repair shop for a fee.
They usually use a handheld device, advanced scanners, or OBD cables with a computer. However, these tools are more complex to use and are expensive.
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 use
- No additional diagnostic equipment (ex. computer software, cables)
- Provides more functionalities than just diagnostics
Now that you have an overview of what are OBD2 scanners, let’s 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 M4 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 M4.
So with an OBD reader, 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 faults are bad. But it is quite normal that cars have errors.
Furthermore, there are 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 complications.
The most severe ones are engine codes since the engine is one of the main systems of a car and repairs are usually expensive. For example, of a trouble code related to the engine is the check engine light. However, if you carry out your own car diagnostics on a monthly basis you can easily save money on car maintenance and repairs.
How can I read my BMW M4 error codes with an OBD2 scanner?
errors can be easily read out using an OBD reader and its corresponding app. The errors will then be displayed on your phone and you will be able to clear them as well.
In the case of the Carly app, you can also see 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 can end up saving thousands of dollars per year on car repairs.
What can an OBD reader tell you about your BMW M4?
With an OBD scanner, you can read out a lot of data. However, the type of data and information depends on the OBD reader 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 readers that only provide this data related to the engine. This feature is usually called “OBD level diagnostics”. So for example, you can only read out engine-related codes such as the check engine light.
However, there are other OBD scanners 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 can read faults related to other critical systems of your BMW M4 such as ABS, airbag, transmissions, and more!
Moreover, other OBD 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 readers.
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 professional or expensive scanner.
Perform a used car check on your BMW M4
For example, the ‘used car check’ feature is always helpful if you want to get a used BMW and want to check if you are not being scammed with mileage fraud. So, with Carly, you can really look under the hood and get a better feeling for the condition of the car, avoiding negative surprises.
Try car coding on your BMW M4
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 M4
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 error 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 errors 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 M4
With the car maintenance feature, you can perform basic repairs yourself that usually, mechanics can charge you (a lot) for. For example, carrying out a battery reset is very easy if you have the proper guide to follow! And with Carly, this is possible.
Tipically, only a professional automotive scanner that costs over $3,000 would include all of these advanced funtionalities. So the Carly OBD2 scanner is much more affordable than the professional readers that mechanics use.
OBD vs. OBD2
The OBD2 interface is used in newer vehicles and was introduced in Europe in 2001 and 2004 to have a uniform system for cars. It basically serves as an interface between the ECUs of a car and the diagnostic device. However, there is a big difference between OBD and OBD2.
Previously, only certain diagnostic devices could were compatible with certain cars. For example, an OBD code reader from BMW only worked with BMWs, because each car brand had a different connection. But this made it difficult for workshops to make diagnoses for several car brands.
Later, the OBD2 connector was actually introduced in 1996 to standardize the system. Now, with the same OBD2 scanner you can access many car brands.
How do I know if my car is OBD2 compliant?
Most OBD2 scanners can only be used with cars built-in 2001 or later (gas/petrol) or 2004 or later (diesel).
If you have a vehicle from 1996 or earlier, you will need a special extension to use the OBD2 reader.
In the case of the Carly OBD2 reader, it can be used with most car brands and the majority of vehicles manufactured from 2001 onwards. So, for example, if you own a BMW and a VW in your garage that was built after 2001 and 2004 respectively, you only need one OBD2 reader instead of two!
Where is the OBD interface located?
The OBD interface, or diagnostic port, is tipically located under the steering wheel. Butthis varies depending on the car manufacturer.
In older vehicles, the OBD port 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.
After that, 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 leave 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 readers only focus on diagnostics, whereas others also include additional features such as car coding and real-time data.
Equipment and Bluetooth
Some OBD2 scanners 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 scanner that can connect to your phone over Bluetooth.
Compatibility with your BMW M4 and phone
This brings us to the next point for choosing your OBD reader! Make sure that the reader 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 M4 is also compatible with the scanner since some are only compatible with limited car brands.
Warranty of the OBD2 scanner
Finally, the last point to consider is the warranty included in your purchase. It’s common for most OBD2 scanners to include a short 1 to 3-year warranty. However, OBD2 readers are meant to last longer than that, so you should ensure to get a lifetime warranty.