Best OBD2 Programming Software Review 2021 & Buyer’s Guide

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Do you want to make your trips more secure? If so, then you should be using the best software for programming obd2. Many people are unaware of what this is and why it's essential. 

This blog post will review some of the top software available to help drivers have a safe trip. We'll also go over some features that different products offer, so you can find one that fits your needs perfectly!

PRODUCT DETAILS
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TOAD Pro

  • Integrated scan tool
  • Free lifetime updates
  • Lets you customize your car's performance
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FORScan

  • Supports various types of adapters
  • Reads and clears check engine light
  • Detects vehicle network configuration
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TouchScan

  • Customizable dashboard
  • Easy to understand interface
  • Records and plays live data and real-time graphs
CarMD ProScan

The OBD2 software that CarMD ProScan offers is one of the most user-friendly Windows programs on the market. The software's most important feature lies in its consistency, stability, and development based on thorough automotive protocols and sensors know-how.

PROS

  • ProScan is easy to install and use
  • Intuitive and easy to understand user interface
  • Detailed information on your car's error codes
  • Customizable report
  • Up-to-date website for references

CONS

  • Runs only on Windows
  • Expensive monthly fees
  • Limited coverage on car make and models

What Recent Buyers Report

One customer said he bought this software because of its expansive coverage and ease of use, making it an excellent choice for anyone who wants to diagnose their car's problems without the hassle.

Why It Stands Out to Us

The programming software comes in two plans: Gold ($99) and Platinum ($149). With 250 reports generated a month for the Gold plan, this is an ideal investment for beginner-up shops. You can always upgrade or cancel your subscription as you see fit.

The company maintains an updated website that you can check for references to your car's health index.

ProScan offers a drag-and-drop template for creating customizable reports, especially helpful when customers come in regularly.

Who Will Use This Most

Not only is the ProScan helpful for a professional mechanic, but it can also help those who use their car as a source of income. Every time this tool sends someone to an automotive specialist for service, you are much closer to having your own business up and running.

Palmer Performance PCMScan

Palmer Performance's OBD2 scanning solutions help you get the most out of your vehicle. With their software, you also get a compatible scanner because PCMScan has its scanner that you need to buy separately.

PROS

  • Downloadable on iOS and Android phones
  • Clear check engine light and emissions tests
  • Displays live data and freeze frame data
  • Remote scanning using Bluetooth and WiFi
  • User-friendly interface

CONS

  • Does not support vehicle's ECU system
  • Works on Windows OS only
  • Need to buy a separate scanner

What Recent Buyers Report

Users gave the PCMScan car diagnostic software a rating of 8 out of 10 for design and features because of its flexibility in the OBD2 dashboard display. It also works with various OBD2 protocols for SAE J1850 (PWM and VPW), ISO-9141, ISO 14230 (KWP2000), and ISO 15765 (CAN) which is very helpful for a car enthusiast who owns several makes and models of cars.

Why It Stands Out to Us

PCMScan has a customizable dashboard to include tables, graphs, maps, and gauges. It has customizable charts to present up to 8 parameters in one graph, tables to show the parameters you want, and resize and reposition gauges to look like your preferred layout.

This OBD2 software currently supports over 220 OBD2 generic parameters, including oxygen sensors, engine coolant temperature, refrigerant monitoring, and vehicle speed sensor. It can display free frame data, engine fault codes, and other system tests.

Aside from these features, you can also assign priority PIDs to this diagnostic report generator to speed up vehicle diagnostics. PCMScan also has a configurable alerts system to monitor only the preferred parameters or bookmark the logged data.

This scanner could find and clear the check engine light on our car, which took a little while in some cases but still got there eventually. The one-year warranty is also helpful.

Who Will Use This Most

The Palmer Performance PCMScan is the perfect solution for those who want to keep on top of their car's issues without having any problems. PCM Scan has built-in JavaScript support for drivers and mechanics looking for an analytics package suitable for more advanced calculations.

TOAD Pro

TOAD (Total OBD and ECU Auto Diagnostics) Pro is a complete OBD and ECU diagnostic tool. Use this software to read, erase, and display trouble codes from your vehicle's engine control unit (ECU). It also allows car owners to save data logs for future analysis. TOAD is the total package because it provides codes and diagnostic capabilities for all makes and models from Acura to Jeep! You can also "hack" your vehicle with this system to perform at its best potential.

PROS

  • Integrated scan tool
  • Free lifetime updates
  • Lets you customize your car's performance
  • Responsive online forum to refer for repairs and trouble codes
  • Real-time data recording and streaming

CONS

  • Steep learning curve for newbie users
  • Works with Windows operating system only

What Recent Buyers Report

Those who have tried TOAD Pro software claim that it is a fuel economy tool that turned their car into a beast for better gas mileage and performance. Drivers report that this OBD software effectively cut their fuel consumption to half.

It also increased their mileage by increasing low-end torque without jeopardizing machine performance.

They found TOAD Pro better than the more expensive auto diagnostic software they have tried for professional auto mechanics.

Why It Stands Out to Us

TOAD Pro monitors real-time data even when the car is idle. It records engine temperature, oxygen value, RPM, speed, air control, battery voltage, etc. It also saves you the trouble of buying a separate scanner tool that may be incompatible with your software since it comes with its integrated scanner.

It also has Bluetooth capability so that you can connect to your scanner from your Windows phone or laptop. It also records your fuel consumption accurately to gauge your fuel consumption and optimize it for more savings.

Toad Pro also has an actuation function that lets you test your car components to see if they work efficiently. You can also check your I/M readiness so you can test your car before going to a state emissions test.

To give you more peace of mind, you also get a one-year risk-free warranty, 17 software systems to keep you up-to-date, and free guides and repair manuals you can access online. All this means that you need only TOAD Pro to diagnose and remap your vehicle's ECU system, no matter its make or model.

Who Will Use This Most

TOAD Pro is an excellent car diagnostic software for car enthusiasts and professional mechanics who prefer Windows operating systems and do not have trouble learning new programs and technologies.

AutoEnguinity

AutoEnginuity is an invaluable tool for auto enthusiasts. It can diagnose the airbag, anti-lock brakes, and electronic instruments on your car or truck. It can also perform bi-directional active tests to identify mechanical components not functioning correctly under OBD2 standards and European vehicles compliant with EOBD standards.

PROS

  • Enhanced coverage for 58 car manufacturers
  • Automatically decodes VIN
  • Reads and clears engine trouble codes
  • Updatable and modular software
  • Easy printing of live sensor data

CONS

  • Works only with higher Windows systems
  • Requires ample storage space and a USB2 connection
  • Does not read non-OBD2 functions

What Recent Buyers Report

Car owners and mechanics who work with various car models appreciate its straightforward system. Most users have had it for years on domestic and Asian cars, though it's weak for some Asian cars like Nissan and European vehicles like Volvo.

The enhanced capabilities are beneficial, and all come with a reasonable price, though some users prefer to have more bi-directional controls.

Why It Stands Out to Us

AutoEnguinity offers the most comprehensive professional-grade enhanced coverage options for 58 carmakers. Aside from the usual trouble codes, AutoEnguinity gives you access to ABS, airbags, and more.

With these enhancements, you can on most car models' live data, bi-directional controls, and adaptive resets, which help ensure your vehicle is always at peak performance. Its system tests also allow necessary checks by monitoring vehicle data like fuel consumption for better gas mileage and enhanced car performance.

It also has configurable sensor data, which has audio alerts aside from the check engine light, prints diagnostic trouble codes, and logs in XML format for browsers and CSV format spreadsheets. It has 21 enhanced expansion interfaces for various car makes, plus an improved Renault support.

If, for any reason, during the one-year warranty period, your machine fails to work, AutoEnginuity will either replace or repair it with no cost after customers fill in a small form.

Who Will Use This Most

For a driver who wants to secure his life using proactive diagnostic software, AutoEnguinity is the perfect choice since it works with OBD, EOBD, and Asian OBDs.

TouchScan

TouchScan is the perfect software for every car owner. It uses a user-friendly interface to help you diagnose and fix your vehicle's problems. With an easy installation, touchscreens compatible devices, more features than any other diagnostic software on the market at a lower price point.

PROS

  • More than 90 parameter IDs (PIDs) for better scanning
  • Customizable dashboard
  • Easy to understand interface
  • Records and plays live data and real-time graphs
  • Calculates mileage and fuel use

CONS

  • You need to buy specific add-ons for your car
  • Works only with the newer Windows versions
  • Limited service and programming functions

What Recent Buyers Report

The software works very well, and drivers love the enhanced diagnostic trouble codes. It is also handy and reads engine codes, monitors your vehicle's readiness for emissions testing, fuel economy, and other test data.

Why It Stands Out to Us

TouchScan has compatibility built-in with any scan tool that is based on the ELM 327 command set. TouchScan works with USB, Serial, Bluetooth, and WiFi devices to verify whether your vehicle's engine light comes on or not.

You can check the free version of the diagnostic software during the 14-day trial period if it works for you before you commit to a paid version. Aside from diagnostic trouble codes, TouchScan also checks if your car is ready for emissions testing.

You can also enhance TouchScan with OBDwiz to activate advanced graphing and data mapping, onboard tests, sensor calibration, and custom sensors. It also includes improved PIDs for GM and Ford Vehicles. Still, you can also buy add-ons for your specific cars (Ford, Mazda, Toyota, Nissan, and FCA) that include enhanced parameters, codes, and parameters.

TouchScan is also now available on Google Play as OBD Fusion (Car Diagnostics), so you can use your mobile devices to check your car's freeze-frame information, etc.

Who Will Use This Most

TouchScan is best for Ford, Mazda, GM, Toyota, Nissan, and FCA car owners who want to keep things simple. You can purchase the enhanced PIDs to top up your software's generic PIDs.

 OBD Auto Doctor

Drivers can download this OBD software to their laptops (Windows, Mac, or Linux) or iOS and Android devices. You can download the free version to try it first and see how it works for you.

PROS

  • Supports gasoline and diesel OBD2-compliant cars
  • Available in 12 different languages
  • Freeze-frame data and diagnostic trouble codes
  • Live sensor data presented in downloadable CSV format
  • Conducts onboard monitoring tests

CONS

  • Not programmable
  • Does not read non OBD2 trouble codes

What Recent Buyers Report

Someone in the car industry thought that if the users pay for everything OBD Auto Doctor does, they'd be spending a fortune. However, with this relatively straightforward system, they save hundreds of dollars per year.

The recent updates also work perfectly for almost every car, and it works with a cheap OBD2 scan tool, has live sensor data, and has an easy-to-use interface.

Why It Stands Out to Us

The OBD Auto Doctor has an in-use performance monitoring tab on its dashboard to monitor the complex components and conditions. It can check out the ECU information of your vehicle, including the vehicle information number (VIN), calibration ID (CALID), and the calibration verification numbers (CVN), so you won't need to input those numbers manually.

Another dashboard feature is the diagnostics tab that presents the confirmed diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs), pending DTCs, permanent DTCs, freeze frame data, and the DTC database that you can check to understand your codes. You can save all this data to a text file which you can archive or share with others.

You can also reset the fault codes, clear the check engine light, and conduct readiness monitoring with this OBD software.

Who Will Use This Most

If you're an advanced user, you will love the console view of OBD Auto Doctor software to troubleshoot custom commands directly to the vehicle. This OBD diagnostic software also helps small repair shops with the efficiency and accuracy of their diagnostics.

FORScan

Forscan is an OBD2 software that works for Lincoln, Ford, Mazda, and Mercury vehicles. You can download it to your iOS or Android devices or get a more advanced version for your Windows PC.

PROS

  • Supports various types of adapters
  • Reads and clears check engine light
  • Detects vehicle network configuration
  • Compatible with mobile devices
  • Real-time data streaming

CONS

  • Supports a limited number of vehicles
  • Supports limited platforms
  • Selective on clone adapters

What Recent Buyers Report

It's an excellent money-saving car diagnostic software, according to one user. He saved more than $600 on programmed keys alone, plus he can use it for several years for diagnostics and monitoring for his Ford Lariat and Ford Explorer. Another Ford user downloaded the free software to his laptop, then reset his gas tank to optimize fuel economy.

Why It Stands Out to Us

Because Forscan works on four specific car manufacturers, it is easier to find the codes and understand them using an offline code reference you get with each purchase.

Forscan is free to download but to generate a license for extended features. You must sign up for the brand forum. You can get the Forscan OBD scan tool for Windows or mobile devices at Amazon.

You can program a Ford car with a keyfob that you can have made with local locksmiths using the Forscan software. This feature is available in the 2018 version, so anyone can access this feature if you lost your Ford, Lincoln, Mazda, and Mercury cars.

Who Will Use This Most

If you're a casual car user who is okay with a single car or if your family uses Lincoln, Ford, Mazda, or Mercury vehicles, then Forscan OBD software works perfectly with you.

FORScan

Forscan is an OBD2 software that works for Lincoln, Ford, Mazda, and Mercury vehicles. You can download it to your iOS or Android devices or get a more advanced version for your Windows PC.

PROS

  • Supports various types of adapters
  • Reads and clears check engine light
  • Detects vehicle network configuration
  • Compatible with mobile devices
  • Real-time data streaming

CONS

  • Supports a limited number of vehicles
  • Supports limited platforms
  • Selective on clone adapters

What Recent Buyers Report

It's an excellent money-saving car diagnostic software, according to one user. He saved more than $600 on programmed keys alone, plus he can use it for several years for diagnostics and monitoring for his Ford Lariat and Ford Explorer. Another Ford user downloaded the free software to his laptop, then reset his gas tank to optimize fuel economy.

Why It Stands Out to Us

Because Forscan works on four specific car manufacturers, it is easier to find the codes and understand them using an offline code reference you get with each purchase.

Forscan is free to download but to generate a license for extended features. You must sign up for the brand forum. You can get the Forscan OBD scan tool for Windows or mobile devices at Amazon.

You can program a Ford car with a keyfob that you can have made with local locksmiths using the Forscan software. This feature is available in the 2018 version, so anyone can access this feature if you lost your Ford, Lincoln, Mazda, and Mercury cars.

Who Will Use This Most

If you're a casual car user who is okay with a single car or if your family uses Lincoln, Ford, Mazda, or Mercury vehicles, then Forscan OBD software works perfectly with you.

Easy OBD II

Easy OBD II Premium Software is a user-friendly software program available for just over twenty bucks on their website. It also offers a free trial, so you know whether this product works before making any purchases. The software is an excellent tool to monitor vehicle data at its price point, including manufacturer-specific and pending codes.

PROS

  • Improved user interface
  • Fully equipped trial version
  • Customizable data dashboard
  • Free upgrades
  • Enhanced error detection

CONS

  • No text descriptions for manufacturer-specific and other generic codes
  • Does not support all PIDs on all vehicles
  • Works on a specific brand of scan tools

What Recent Buyers Report

Easy OBD II is a bit confusing to work with if you're a newbie, but it's very doable. Customers like most about this software are the full-featured trial version, so you can check if it fits your vehicle before buying the paid version.

Why It Stands Out to Us

One of the most standout features of Easy OBD II is the fast communication between the software and the scan tools. You won't get refunds, but the company offers a 1-year email support service for the paid version of the app at a low additional cost.

It supports ScanTool adapters only, but since the hardware is an excellent one, you'll have no problems using it. Aside from the regular reading and clearing of error codes, you also get enhanced error detection for your cars, PDF reporting, and improved data logging with CSV file formatting.

Your dashboard will also show regular dashboard information like RPM, speed, load, fuel economy, gas exhaust temperature, coolant temperature, and battery voltage.

Who Will Use This Most

We don't recommend this software to professional mechanics and car enthusiasts, but if you're an automotive DIYer, you'll love every bit of this software.

EngineCheck

FDMLib is OBD2 programming software that reports car parts such as fuel efficiency and makes suggestions for repairs.

PROS

  • Read trouble codes in seconds
  • Record and playback all sensor data
  • Live data graph for modern vehicles
  • Shows fuel system status
  • Free updates

CONS

  • Limited functionality
  • Only reads OBD2 and EOBD modules and sensors

What Recent Buyers Report

The OBD software is an excellent software to use, mainly for EOBD cars. Best of all, the updates are free and periodic, so users know their database is updated.

Why It Stands Out to Us

EngineCheck is a program that collects sensor data from your car engine and helps you understand what problems exist with the vehicle. It will read and display the engine fault codes within your car.

This package is best for use with car models compatible with the OBDII specification. The software has a built-in DTC database and an on-screen display that organizes and explains data from active sensors. Users can also save recordings from monitoring sensor states in detail or watch past recordings to compare simultaneous measurements.

The obd2 programming software provides drivers with a variety of information, including trouble codes and data. It's also updated to accommodate advances in technology.

Who Will Use This Most

This OBD software is best for drivers and technicians looking to diagnose and fix their EOBD cars.

Car Scanner ELM OBD2

Car Scanner ELM OBD2 is a comprehensive app that you can use on any device. With versions for Windows, Android, and iOS, it's compatible with most cars. The free version has lots of features, so there's no reason not to try this out.

PROS

  • Wide vehicle compatibility
  • Easy-to-understand user interface
  • Configurable
  • Free software has more functions and features than its competitors
  • Frequent updates

CONS

  • Limited PIDs
  • Sensor support dependent on car make
  • Limitations on speed and voltage measurement

What Recent Buyers Report

Car Scanner ELM OBD2 is a beautiful tool, according to some users. It's an affordable and easy way to perform diagnostics on your vehicle without having to pay hundreds of dollars at the mechanic shop. This app will only get more valuable over time with frequent free updates – you can depend on it!

Why It Stands Out to Us

Car-Scanner ELM OBD2 is compatible with most devices and operating systems, including versions for Android (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.ovz.carscanner), iOS (https://itunes.apple.com/app/car-scanner-elm-obd2/id1259933623?mt=8,) and Windows devices. It is also compatible with a wide variety of vehicles.

It is an excellent app with many configuration options and allows you to use it on as many devices as you want when subscribed to the Pro version.

For anyone looking for a cheap and easy way to perform OBD2 diagnostics, Car Scanner ELM OBD2 is the perfect fit. This software designer updates it frequently so that it becomes more efficient over time.

The dashboard in your car probably contains a speedometer, tachometer, fuel gauge, and coolant temperature gauge. 

Who Will Use This Most

Car Scanner ELM OBD2 is a great OBD2 software for Windows, Mac, and Android users.

OBD2 Programming Software Buying Guide

• Compatibility

Your OBD programming software must be compatible with your car and its model. Some software works best for EOBD vehicles, while others are more brand-specific. Always check your car's OBD2 compliance by checking the sticker under the hood of your vehicle.

Also, it is best to consider the fuel that your car uses, especially if dealing with EOBD cars.

• User's Technical Knowledge

Are you a newbie or a professional car mechanic? Consider your ability to deal with the software before deciding on getting advanced software. A basic version is usually enough, especially if working on a single make.

• Purpose

Again, consider your purpose for buying the software. A professional mechanic may require software that works on various car makes and models with other useful features like creating a report for the customer.

On the other hand, a DIY mechanic will only need software that works on one car make or model and some simple features. If you are not a geek, the interface should be straightforward enough for anyone to use it.

OBD2 Programming Software FAQ

1. Can you remap with OBD2?

Three objectives come to mind when we remap a vehicle, especially when fuel saving is the priority. The first was improving low-end torque for more immediate throttle response and less input from you and improved cruising speeds with ease while fully laden or on gradients.

Secondly, remapping makes your car run at higher RPMs without giving up too much power output. This increase in low-quality feedback doesn't need to interfere with how smooth the ride feels overall. Lastly, to alter the fuel-air mixture for improved economy and fewer emissions.

2. What is OBD tuning?

OBD tuning, chip tuning, and ECU remapping are interchangeable terms, but mostly it means tuning your engine ECU to make it more efficient. The ECUs usually don't know what their limits are. So the best way of making them work better is by reducing non-essential features that use power or increasing particular parameters.

Some of the frequently tuned features of your car are its horsepower, torque, throttle, fuel, and other similar features.

3. How can I fix my car with my phone?

Yes, you can quickly fix your car with your phone if you have a compatible OBD2 scanner and scanning app on your phone. All you need to do is connect your phone to the OBD scanner and start scanning.

To find a compatible OBD2 scanner and mobile app, check your car manufacturer's website. After you have downloaded and installed the app on your phone, all you need to do is plug in the OBD scanner, then let the scanner do its magic.

Once you find out your car's issues, you can address them accordingly or bring it to a mechanic if the problem is more complicated.

4. Do OBD tuning chips work?

A performance tuner can make a world of difference when it comes to how your vehicle performs. Thanks to real-time monitoring features, most tuners allow users an unprecedented level of control over what's happening under the hood during tuning sessions.

They can also monitor things like exhaust gases, air intake, and engine timing. They may offer multiple states to optimize. After an OBD tuning, your fuel consumption can go down up to 20% of your current gas mileage. 

Performance chips for your car can help you get the best fuel mileage and power while driving. Once there, some performance chips allow you to fine-tune settings you want even more control over how it runs on the racetrack.

5. How do I check my car for problems with my computer?

First, your computer must have an installed OBD2 scanner software to check your car.

Connect the laptop to the car. Connect OBD-II cable from laptop to diagnostic port in the footwell, under the steering wheel.

Make sure to click the "Scan" button on the control interface, if required. You can find the diagnostic information alongside detected engine codes.

Conclusion

We hope that this blog post has been helpful in your search to find the best OBD2 software for programming. It can be stressful enough when you're getting ready for a long trip, so take some time and do it right! 

Do you have any questions? Let us know in the comments.