BlueDriver VS. OBDLink – Which Is Best One?

BlueDriver VS OBDLink
BlueDriver VS OBDLink

When it comes to fixing up your car, there are a variety of things you can do. The most basic thing to do is to take it to a mechanic. However, that is not always the affordable option. There are even ways you can yourself try and see what might be wrong with your car. 

For that purpose, most folks use either of two devices, BlueDriver or the OBDLink. But which one is actually better? BlueDriver vs OBDLink, let us see which one is more worth it.

But first, let us see what these devices are actually meant for.

BlueDriver VS. OBDLink

If you already have used an OBD scan tool already and want to buy another, you could look at something like FIXD, or SmartCar, or Automend Pro.


How to diagnose your car using the OBD-II Port?

Firstly, let us understand how these two devices work. The OBD port stands for On-Board Diagnostics, it’s an automotive term referring to a vehicle’s self-diagnostic and reporting capabilities. Essentially, the OBD systems can allow the owner of the vehicle, or the mechanic fixing it, access to the status of the automobile. This information is highly valuable and can really help in diagnosing and troubleshooting any issues with a vehicle. 

The amount of information available via the OBD port is variable, and using the correct device could allow you a greater and a more accurate understanding of the issues with a vehicle. 

In this article, we are discussing two of the most commonly found OBD devices you can use, BlueDriver vs OBDLink. 

To make sure you do not run into any issues while using your car, you simply must own a good Bluetooth OBD-II scan tool. Using these tools, you can accurately figure out what might be wrong with your car without having to take it into the workshop.

How to install a Scan Tool into your OBD-II Port?

Underneath the dashboard on the drivers side on most cars you will find the OBD-II port. The 16 pin port in the shape of a rectangle is easy to find and you will not miss it if you know what you are looking for. 

How to install OBD Scan Tool

Once you have found the port, mind you there could be more than one in your car,

  1. Plug your scan tool in.
  2. Make sure it is switched on.
  3. Use an application, if available, that allows you to monitor your OBD using scan tools. You can find plenty of applications for both Android and iOS, but do make sure the device you are using is compatible with the app. 
  4. Connect the device via Bluetooth to your mobile phone.
  5. Wait for the pairing to complete.

That is all you have to do. Installing a scan tool in your car is an easy task. Once you have everything set up, simply open the app and run tests to see if your car is functioning properly and to the best of its abilities. 


Compare BlueDriver vs. OBDLink

Difference between BlueDriver & OBDLink

While each of the scan tools are totally viable, which one you want is more of a preference. If you do not want to spend a huge amount of money and get a device that allows you to manage your car without the technical jargon, Bluedriver might be the one for you. However, if you want a fully detailed version of the specs on your car and its status, OBDLink MX is one of the best scan tools to purchase.

OBDLink also comes in different formats and models that allow you increasingly more details on how your car is running. Whereas, Bluedriver is highly compatible and offers a much easier approach to diagnosing your vehicle.

BlueDriver: What can it do?

BlueDriver Features

If you want a device that is easy to use and does not confuse you with a lot of technical information, Bluedriver is totally a viable option. It is compatible with both Android and iOS systems, plus working just as effectively when paired using Bluetooth, works with plenty of third-party applications, is quite affordable to purchase, and can provide you with the diagnostics you require to fix up your vehicle. 

It is a reliable device that is effective at reading engine status, ABS, airbags, transmission codes, and even more. It is also great at logging real-time data to help you diagnose your car with greater precision. 

One of Bluedriver’s primary features includes the ability to note down live data. It gives you access to different graphs and data logs that allow you to understand what may be wrong with your vehicle. It extracts useful information from your car and provides to you with high precision and using easily-understandable metrics. Bluedriver alerts you in case of any emergency with your vehicle components and even reminds you of any due servicing that you have to keep in mind. 

Finally, what makes it so reliable is that it scans the details of your vehicle against a huge database of other vehicles of the same model, and/or ones experiencing a similar host of issues. This makes diagnosing your vehicle that much easier and that much more efficient. 

OBDLink: What can it do?

OBDLink CX

Now, if you already have quite an idea about what to expect from a scan tool, or maybe you know how to fix minor issues with your car, OBDLink is a much more effective tool. It is one of the easiest to use OBD-II scanners on the market, while being incredibly descriptive and detailed in its approach. 

OBDLink is also hack-proof and is often touted as an all-in-one scan tool for your car. It offers a super quick connection with your smartphone and just as quickly offers you a detailed script of everything that could potentially be wrong with your vehicle. If you want real-time performance data on your fingertips, the OBDLink can really help you out in that regard. 

Once you have attached it to your OBD-II port, connect to your phone using Bluetooth and be offered a wide range of details and information about your car. It is considered one of the safest scan tools in the market. You can even seamlessly integrate OBDLink to a wide variety of third-party applications that have the ability to offer you additional features and versatility. However, it is not compatible with iOS OS and only works on Windows and Android devices. You get the ability to read ABS, SRS, transmission codes, but sadly you will not get access to ESP codes. 

Also, OBDLink has a feature called Freeze Frame that automatically creates a screenshot each time a code is triggered. This way you have complete control over all your repair needs. 


Comparison Between BlueDriver & OBDLink

Either device is viable for use. However, once you read these few comparisons, you might be able to make a much better decision as to which one you should purchase. Depending on your requirements from the device, and your practical know-how about vehicles in general, you should make a decision that helps your cause. 

Compatibility

When it comes to compatibility, BlueDriver is highly compatible over OBDLink. BlueDriver can run on all smartphones, tablets, and Windows laptops. Android and iOS both are supported just as well. However, BlueDriver does not integrate third-party applications, which limits the device to the features it originally comes with. 

Whereas, OBDLink is not compatible with iOS phones and can only be operated using Android and Windows based devices. OBDLink does work with a huge variety of third-party applications which means you can install one and essentially unlock additional features.

Price

Understanding the price of either product is crucial in making the right decision. BlueDriver is quite expensive due to its multiple features and higher compatibility. OBDLink is a much more affordable tool that allows users limited compatibility without cutting out on features and functionality.

Functionality

Both scan tools offer a huge line of features and functionality that can really help you fix up your car whenever needed. They are made for a similar purpose and both do an excellent job of it. 

Either device uses more or less the same kind of components and offer similar features, however, BlueDriver nicks it out by providing more than what OBDLink is capable of. BlueDriver allows you access to multiple features like Freeze Frame, Smog Check, advanced testing features like Mode 6 and Live Data. 

OBDLink does offer a functional approach towards diagnosing and fixing your car, but does leave a lot to be desired when it comes to extra features. OBDLink does provide the ability to read clear, confirmed, pending, and permanent codes that allows you an enhanced approach to solve any problems with your vehicle. OBDLink also offers the Freeze Frame feature. 

Bottom line, either device is viable. However, if you want to keep an eye out on your vehicle at a more in-depth pace, BlueDriver is a good option. If you simply want to fix your car whenever it breaks down, or know about additional software that can be paired with the scan tool for additional features, OBDLink is a much more affordable, much better option.

Repair Reporting

Now, the device has to do its job accurately and report any problems to the user immediately and without any discrepancies. BlueDriver gives you access to a reporting system that is unparalleled. It gives you the code, along with the definition, possible causes, and even tells you about the reported fixes for your particular situation allowing you to fix it yourself.

OBDLink does offer a reporting system, but naturally lacks in terms of allowing you an active method for fixing. However, this does not mean that OBDLink cannot provide such in-depth information. If you want, you can simply download a third-party application, pair it with your OBDLink, and use its features for error reporting. 

OBDLink does not naturally provide a good enough reporting system, but can achieve it by simply installing a viable and compatible application in order to boost its functionality. 

Durability and Warranty

We tested both the devices and found that either are equally durable. BlueDriver is a little more heavy-duty and therefore a little heavier, while OBDLink is smaller and lighter than BlueDriver. 

When it comes to warranty, OBDLink provides an extensive one. Firstly, you need to understand that OBDLink is one of the leading devices for diagnosing vehicles. Which means they provide a longer warranty period. Also, a 90-day money back guarantee is also offered by OBDLink. 

In comparison, BlueDriver only offers a 1-year warranty and no money back guarantee on their device. 


Comparing BlueDriver vs OBDLink: Advanced Features

Comparing BlueDriver vs OBDLink

There are a lot of things an OBD scan tool can do for you. Not only does it provide an active method to keep track of your vehicle status, but can also tell you how to fix problems and give you an in-depth understanding of what is working in your car and what is not.

Let us see which one is better, BlueDriver vs OBDLink.

Enhanced OEM Diagnostics

Scan tools are only viable if they provide data that can be easily read and is useful to the user. Enhanced OEM Diagnostics refers to specific information that scan tools can provide which allows the user a more in-depth understanding of how their vehicle is functioning.

Enhanced OEM Diagnostics consists of two categories, Enhanced Trouble Codes, and Enhanced Parameters. Each provides the user with a wider range of diagnostic details that can be used to properly diagnose the problems with a vehicle. Enhanced Trouble Codes include ABS, airbag controls, HVAC and such. Whereas Enhanced Parameters include transmission temperature, tire pressure, wheel speed and such. 

Talking about BlueDriver vs OBDLink, OBDLink has a wider range of Enhanced OEM Diagnostics support, whereas BlueDriver only works as a generic scan tool. BlueDriver can read a few of these OEM codes, it does not work in a manner or potential OBDLink can.

Since BlueDriver also lacks the necessary hardware pins (pins 1,3, and 11), it is also unable to access GM and Ford manufacturer-specific networks. OBDLink is great in this regard and is highly recommended for people who want a more in-depth knowledge about their vehicle’s OEM diagnostics report. 

BlueDriver hardware pins

OBD App Support

Both devices are compatible with smartphones, however, the older versions of the OBDLink does not support iOS operating systems. You can easily get the OBDLink MX+, an upgraded version of OBDLink that works seamlessly with both Android and iOS systems. 

Thanks to its open architecture however, OBDLink supports a huge amount of third-party applications that can add on to the already existing capabilities of the scan tool. BlueDriver comes with its own application, however, is not compatible with others on the market. You are essentially stuck with the features you get right from the get-go.

Greatly expanding on its utility, the app support for the OBDLink allows you to perform very specific tasks. These include record lap times, display custom digital gauges, unlock enhanced performance, change vehicle settings, and even remotely start the engine if you want. Clearly you can do a lot with the extended app support OBDLink offers. 

Sampling Rate

An important characteristic of an OBD scan tool, it measures the number of samples captured per second. Now, obviously, a higher sampling rate means more data, which means a much accurately represented parameter. To capture fast-changing signals and to monitor multiple parameters at once, a higher sampling rate is beneficial. 

During testing, the benchmark set by OBDLink was way beyond what BlueDriver could even achieve. OBDLink and its successors, OBDLink MX and MX+, were over 5 to 10 times faster and responding to and accepting data from a vehicle. 

Battery Drain Protection

Now, this was one of the major issues with the early models of OBD scanners. When left plugged in and the engine turned off, OBD scanners often ran out of battery which then required them to be charged up for further use. This however, is not the case anymore. With an active sleep mode that most scan tools come with now, you can leave them plugged in and their battery discharge is almost non-existent when not in use. 

Our tests revealed that BlueDriver takes almost 3 times as long as the OBDLink to enter a low power consumption mode, or sleep mode for short. This means, BlueDriver consumes way more power than the OBDLink and even runs the risk of completely exhausting your car battery. OBDLink is a much more stable device that goes to sleep in under 10 minutes of inactivity. 

The battery drain on BlueDriver is so extreme, that we have a few customer reviews lined up to explain the same.

  • “It caused such a bad battery drain, that my new 6-month old battery had to be replaced”
  • “I didn’t need to use my car for 7/8 days and when I did need to use it, the battery was dead”
  • “The device, contrary to what BlueDriver says, does put a ghost load on your battery.”
  • “I thought I could just leave it in the port, since it said so on its website FAQ, but it did drain my battery, so there is some parasitic drain”
  • “Warning! This device is not compatible with my 2017 Mazda CX-5. It kills the battery.”
  • “Wish it had a switch to power off and on. Constantly pulls from the battery now if left attached.”

Over-Voltage Protection

Scan tools that plug into the OBD port also have to be designed to withstand a vehicle’s volatile electrical system. A common problem that occurs within the electrical system of a vehicle is known as load dump. During this apparent load dump, there is a huge voltage spike that can potentially fry up any external device connected to the vehicle. 

It is a common occurrence and mainly affects the OBD scanners. For that, devices are now equipped with an over-voltage protection that protects the device as well as the car battery. 

Our testing and careful simulation of such an event showed that OBDLink was equipped to survive whereas BlueDriver was rendered unusable. The unit completely shut off and we were simply not able to revive it even after trying out multiple things. Needless to say, OBDLink survived yet another test without really giving up. BlueDriver’s capacitor even exploded once we set a continuous 90V charge to it, while OBDLink suffered no such fate and worked perfectly well post our testing. 


Comparison Summary: BlueDriver vs. OBDLink

ParameterOBDLinkBlueDriver
Enhanced OEM diagnosticsDTCs and thousands of OEM parameters, access to GM and Ford proprietary networksDTCs only; no access to GM or Ford proprietary networks
OBD app supportDozens of compatible appsOnly a single app
Sampling RateUp to 100 samples per secondUp to 10 samples per second
Battery drain protectionExcellentInadequate – sleep current too high
Overvoltage protectionSurvives continuous 90 volts with no damageNo overvoltage protections
Warranty3 years1 year

Pros and Cons of BlueDriver vs. OBDLink

BlueDriver Scan Tool Pros & Cons

OBDLink Scan Tool Pros & Cons

Final Verdict

While each of the scan tools are totally viable, which one you want is more of a preference. If you do not want to spend a huge amount of money and get a device that allows you to manage your car without the technical jargon, Bluedriver might be the one for you. However, if you want a fully detailed version of the specs on your car and its status, OBDLink MX is one of the best scan tools to purchase.

OBDLink also comes in different formats and models that allow you increasingly more details on how your car is running. Whereas, Bluedriver is highly compatible and offers a much easier approach to diagnosing your vehicle.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Does the vehicle engine need to be on to use OBD scan tools?

No, the engine does not need to be running to make use of OBD scan tools. However, the ignition must be on. Essentially, your battery must be running to get some useful insight from OBD scan tools. Depending on individual functionality, an OBD scan tool can provide more information if the car is running or in motion.

2. Does BlueDriver have Repair Reporting?

Yes, intrinsically, BlueDriver comes with a Repair Reporting system which allows you to accurately make adjustments and fixes on your own using an effective approach displayed by the device.

3. Can you reset vehicle mileage and odometers using OBD scan tools?

No, you cannot do that. Modification of vehicle odometers is forbidden under the current auto-industry standards, therefore, neither device supports that feature. 

4. Where is better BlueDriver vs OBDLink?

Depending on your needs, you could choose either. Both of them are potentially great devices that can allow you a greater understanding of your vehicle. However, if you want an easier approach, OBDLink is for you, whereas, if you already have some understanding of how the insides of a vehicle work, BlueDriver is just as much a viable option. 

5. Can I use both scan tools at once?

You can potentially use both scan tools at once. However, you would need to make sure that your car provides you with multiple OBD ports. If you do, you can use both in conjunction with each other. Install two different apps on your phone and get an incredible amount of information. 

6. Can I use these scan tools with other apps?

As discussed, OBDLink works on an open framework which allows you to connect it to other third-party applications without any hassle. However, BlueDriver is closed-source, which means it only works with the application it comes with. 

By Logan Wright

Logan is a technical journalist at TheViralTech. He always brings useful products here and reviews all of them then shares his experience with the products in the form of unbiased opinions.

Leave a comment