If you want to have greater control over your BMW X3 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 driver needs: an OBD reader!
With an OBD2 scanner, 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:
- Customize your BMW through car coding
- Read real-time data
- Prevent expensive repair fees by performing your own diagnostics
- conduct your own maintenance
- Detect car fraud
The best part is that you can get your OBD2 scanner for your BMW X3 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?
OBD stands for onboard diagnostics. An OBD2 scanner (also called a diagnostic scanner or scan tool is a vehicle 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 build a connection between your BMW X3 and a mobile app 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 smartphone!
Moreover, if you do not own an OBD scanner for your BMW X3, you can do diagnostics for your vehicle at a workshop 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 best 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 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 X3 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 X3.
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 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 critical 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 X3 error codes with an OBD2 scanner?
errors can be easily read out using an OBD reader and its corresponding app. The fault codes will then be displayed on your smartphone screen and you will be able to clear them as well.
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 car repairs.
What can an OBD reader tell you about your BMW X3?
With an OBD reader, you can read out a lot of data. However, the type of data depends on the OBD reader and mobile app that you are using.
The most common data that OBD2 scanner let you read are:
– Diagnostics (faults) 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 be able to read engine-related codes such as the check engine light.
On the other hand, there are other OBD readers that let your read data for every system of your car, and not just about the engine. This functionality is called “Manufacturer-level diagnostics”. So for example, you can read error codes related to other critical systems of your BMW X3 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 OBD readers. 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 X3
For example, the ‘used car check’ feature is always helpful if you want to purchase 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 X3
Moreover, with the car coding feature, you can customize BMW 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 X3
Another extremely useful 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 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 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 X3
With the car maintenance function, you can carry out 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.
Tipically, 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 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 standard 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.
Previously, 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. But 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 readers 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 might need a special extension to use the OBD2 reader.
In the case of the Carly OBD2 reader, it can be utilized 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 from manufacturer to manufacturer.
In older cars, 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 faults will be displayed on your screen.
Can you drive with an OBD reader plugged in?
Absolutely! 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 car.
Which OBD reader is the best?
Value and 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 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 scanner that can connect to your phone over Bluetooth.
Compatibility with your BMW X3 and phone
The next point for choosing your OBD reader! Make sure that the scanner and app that you get are compatible with your phone. Some diagnostic scanner apps might only be compatible with Android or Apple devices.
Additionally, ensure that your BMW X3 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 that is included in your purchase. It’s common for most OBD2 readers to include a very short 1 to 3-year warranty. However, OBD2 scanners are meant to last longer, so you should get a lifetime warranty.