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OBD2 scanner for your BMW M5 – Easy Guide and How It Works.


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If you want to get more control over your BMW M5 and save more money on maintenance you’ve made it to the right place. We’ll introduce you to a small yet powerful tool that every car owner needs: an OBD2 code reader for BMW!

With an OBD2 scanner, 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:


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  • Customize your car through car coding
  • Read real-time data
  • Prevent costly repairs by performing diagnostics
  • Carry out your own basic service
  • Detect vehicle fraud

The best part is that you can get your OBD2 scanner for your BMW M5 for an affordable price and avoid relying on workshops at all times! Now let’s dive into it to understand what is an OBD2 scanner and all you can do with it.

What is an OBD2 scanner?

Carly OBD reader

OBD stands for onboard diagnostics. An OBD2 scanner (also called a diagnostic scanner or OBD reader is a vehicle diagnostic device that can be used to read the car’s memory and data that is stored on your vehicle systems.

Basically, an OBD reader allows you to establish a connection between your BMW M5 and a mobile application or diagnostic software. Once the connection is established, if you are using a mobile application, you can easily access all of your car’s data from your mobile phone!

In addition, if you do not own an OBD2 scanner for your BMW M5, you can carry out diagnostics for your vehicle at a service shop for a fee.

diagnostic tool

Worksops usually use a handheld device, advanced scanners, or OBD cables with a computer. However, these tools are 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 features than just diagnostics

Now that you have an overview of what are OBD2 scanners, we will show you what you can do with it and how it can help you get more control over your vehicle.

How does an OBD2 scanner for your BMW M5 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 M5.

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 error codes are bad. But it is quite normal that cars have error codes.

Furthermore, there are error codes that vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but having them present is normal. There’s 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 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 often you can easily save money on car maintenance and repairs.

How can I read my BMW M5 error codes with an OBD2 scanner?

error codes can be easily read out using an OBD reader and its corresponding app. The faults will then be displayed on your phone 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 can save thousands of dollars per year on vehicle maintenance and repairs.

What can an OBD reader tell you about your BMW M5?

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

The most common data that OBD2 scanner let you read are:

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

There are some dedicated scanners 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 OBD2 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 fault codes related to other critical systems of your BMW M5 such as ABS, airbag, transmissions, and more!

Additionally, other OBD2 readers let you do more than just reading out data. For example, you can customize 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 OBD2 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 M5

For example, the ‘used car check’ feature is always helpful if you want to buy a used vehicle 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 vehicle, avoiding negative surprises.

Try car coding on your BMW M5
obd2 scanner for bmw

Moreover, with the car coding feature, you can personalize your vehicle 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 M5

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

  • Professional error code description written by expert BMW mechanics
  • Direct access to original plans of components, just like the ones used in the workshop
  • Detailed repair tips to find the cause of issues and fix them yourself

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

Do your own car maintenance on your BMW M5

With the car maintenance feature, you can carry basic repairs yourself that tipically, 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 scanner that costs over $3,000 would include all of these advanced features. So the Carly OBD2 scanner is much more affordable than the professional scanners that mechanics use.

OBD vs. OBD2

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

Beofre, only certain diagnostic devices could be used for 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.

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

How do I know if my car is OBD2 compliant?

Most OBD2 scanners can only be used with vehicles 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 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 diagnostic port, is tipically located under the steering wheel. However,this varies from manufacturer to manufacturer.

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

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 reader 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 errors 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 for price

The best scanner tool will let you access the most features, with accuracy, and at a great price. Some readers only focus on diagnostics, whereas others also include additional functionalities such as car coding and real-time data.

Equipment and Bluetooth

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

car diagnostics
Compatibility with your BMW M5 and phone

This brings us to the next point for choosing your OBD2 scanner! 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 M5 is also compatible with the scanner since some are only compatible with limited car brands.

Warranty of the OBD2 reader

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 scanners are meant to last longer, 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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