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You know you’ve been neglectful. You know you don’t care as much as you should. Or as much as you used to. You have the best of intentions, but you’re a busy human and you just don’t have the time you wish you did. And after all, everything is going just fine, isn’t it? There doesn’t seem to be a problem at all… But do you really only want to have this conversation when something is so bad that it ruins your day?

No, it’s time for you to have a frank conversation with your vehicle. Oh I know you’ve been patting it on the dash or wheel, maybe whispering to it in traffic, and occasionally yelling in anger. But that is all surface level. Like Dr. Phil says, you need to dig deeper. Modern cars are putting out enough information every second to fill a book, but do you listen? No. Instead, you just wait for some dumb light to come on your dashboard then ask yourself what in the world that picture of an engine with a lightning bolt means.

Underneath your steering wheel is a sort of computer periphery plug called a OBDII port. The name is not important, so forget that I just told you that. Instead, just find the piece of plastic that looks like a giant VGA cable receptacle. That’s your car’s mouth. It is screaming all kinds of facts and error codes and diagnostics there every second, and you just keep ignoring like the selfish punk your aunt Terry always though you were.

But no more! While these ODBII scanners used to be exorbitantly expensive, cumbersome to use, and reserved only for the dorkiest of car lovers, there are now a plethora of simple plug and app combos that cost under a hundred dollars and have much more functionality than those old scanners. One of our favorites is the BlueDriver, which allows you to see exactly why your engine light is on, check your emissions, see your MPG and engine load, and more. While there are several different ways you can buy just a bluetooth scanner and then a standalone app to read it, the BlueDriver is one of the few full-package solutions. This no only guarantees functionality and a no-stress install, but the UI is downright better and more thought out than many of the solo paid apps.

Whether you pick up the BlueDriver or some of the standalone apps and scanners, its time to stop being in the dark about how your car is performing. Woulnd’t you rather know your vehicle is feeling under the weather before it leaves you stranded on the side of the road and calling for a tow? Of course you would. But that only happens with two way communication. So get a scanner, and get talking…

Adam Kaslikowski
About the Author

Co-founder and CEO of FactoryTwoFour. I enjoy writing about all factors of this lifestyle of ours. If I'm not writing or running F24, you can generally find me in the garage tinkering on a vintage car or motorcycle. If you need anything from me, try bribing with Randy's Donuts first.

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