MEGATech Reviews: Lemur Monitors BlueDriver Bluetooth OBD-II Scan Tool

Uh oh. The check engine light (CEL) came on again. Well, at least that’s we used to call it before it became more widely known as the malfunctional indicator lamp (MIL). I suppose that only makes sense, since the malfunction can easily extend well beyond the confines of the engine itself.

Whether you want to call it the CEL or the MIL, it can end up being a pricey endeavor making yet another trip to the auto mechanic or dealership to get it checked out and to get the code cleared. And even when the check engine light isn’t on, there could be something wrong. Thankfully, there are affordable, consumer-facing devices that can diagnose many of these car troubles and one of the most convenient is the BlueDriver by Lemur Vehicle Monitors. It uses Bluetooth!

The Easier Way to Scan Your OBD-II

MEGATech Reviews: Lemur Monitors BlueDriver Bluetooth OBD-II Scan Tool

All vehicles made since 1996 have an OBD-II system (on-board diagnostics) and it’s effectively a little computer that can report error codes generated by the car. With the CEL/MIL pops on, there’s a code attached to that. Traditionally, you’d have to go to the mechanic and they’d have a machine that interfaces with the OBD-II to diagnose your problem.

These days, the most common version is a handheld PDA-like device with a simple display. The Lemur BlueDriver is different in that it doesn’t have a display at all. Instead, it’s a little plastic dongle that simply plugs into the OBD-II interface and then you read all the information on your smartphone instead.

Every aspect of our digital lifestyle is getting smarter with smartphones, smart TVs, and smart appliances. The automotive world is much the same, giving us easy access to Bluetooth-enabled tire pressure monitoring systems and even this Bluetooth-based OBD-II scanning tool.

Setup and Configuration

MEGATech Reviews: Lemur Monitors BlueDriver Bluetooth OBD-II Scan Tool

When you open up the little box for the Lemur Monitors BlueDriver, all you find is the little black device itself. There’s no printed user manual, because the instructions are loaded in the smartphone app. This way, they can update the information as needed too. There’s even a QR code printed on a sticker on the BlueDriver, making it easy for you to find, download and install the app.

Setting up the BlueDriver is remarkably easy. The hardest part is finding the OBD-II port in your car. In some vehicles, you’ll find it underneath the steering column or behind the center console. In other vehicles, it may be in the passenger side footwell. A quick Google search will help you in that regard, if you don’t know where to look.

MEGATech Reviews: Lemur Monitors BlueDriver Bluetooth OBD-II Scan Tool

All you do is plug the BlueDriver into the OBD-II port, ensuring that the blue indicator light turns on. It does not click in place. While your mileage (no pun intended) may vary, I found the connection between the BlueDriver and my OBD-II port to be a little loose. I really had to hold it there.

Once you’ve done that, you simply pair the BlueDriver to your smartphone via Bluetooth and open up the associated app. You can then enter your car’s VIN (vehicle identification number) or you can enter the information manually for the year, make and model. Then, you’re all set.

BlueDriver App for Android

For the purposes of this review, I used the BlueDriver app as downloaded from the Google Play Store. It’s also available through the Amazon Appstore, plus the iTunes Store for iDevices. The three versions should be functionally identical.

MEGATech Reviews: Lemur Monitors BlueDriver Bluetooth OBD-II Scan Tool

The app is broken up into three main sections and you’ll be spending most of your time in the first one: scan tool. It is here that you can quickly pull up the OBD-II error codes (CEL/MIL codes), which also provide you with some really quick ideas about what might be causing the problem in the first place. That said, you may need to do a little further investigation online, but it’s a great start. You can also clear the code, keeping in mind that it could come back if you don’t fix the underlying problem.

There’s also a function called freeze frame that displays pertinent data about your car at that exact moment, the engine load value, intake manifold pressure, engine RPM, absolute throttle position, and more. Bringing this, along with the generated repair report, could be very handy if you do need a mechanic’s help. And while individual legislation may vary, the smog check function gives you a best guess about whether you’ll pass your local emissions test.

The second section provides live data about your car and this is the same data that is shown in the freeze frame. And the third section (“more”) is for all the supplementary stuff, like the user manual, settings and company contact information. The Lemur Monitors website contains several sample reports to give you a sense of what to expect.

MEGATechie Diagnostic Wizard or MEGATechie Confused Gearhead?

MEGATech Reviews: Lemur Monitors BlueDriver Bluetooth OBD-II Scan Tool

The BlueDriver OBD-II scan tool from Lemur Vehicle Monitors is for a particular kind of user. If you’re a professional auto technician who already has access to all the professional equipment, you probably don’t need this. If you don’t know the difference between gas and oil, you won’t understand this either.

Instead, if you’re the kind of person who knows at least a little something about vehicle maintenance and car diagnostics, the BlueDriver can indeed be a very handy tool. You can check and clear those CEL/MIL codes yourself, you can read through some of the possible causes of those trouble codes, and you can dig deep into all the live data and other diagnostic tools.

The required smartphone app is functional and reasonably intuitive. As I understand it, while Lemur once sold this device for less, it charged you for each incremental tool inside the app. Now, you can pick up the whole package with all the tools already unlocked for a retail price of $99.95 online. That is a little on the high side, considering that a generic OBD-II Bluetooth module can be found for far less, pairing with the $4.95 Torque app instead. If you are looking for a more cohesive package that just works out of the box, then the BlueDriver may be for you.

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