Recommend 5 cheap BMW OBD2 readers:
Autel AP200 code scanner
Reviews in details…
1.Will a $60 OBD2 reader work with your BMW? Autel MaxiAp AP200 Bluetooth OBD2 scanner review:
Autel AP200 code scanner was easy to set up and it’s really easy to use. It scans tons of modules and gets lots of live data in charts that you can easily manipulate the range, C or F, display type, etc.
Example: to change the trans fluid on this car (I don’t believe that any automotive fluid is really “lifetime”) you have to complete the final fill at a certain operating temp range – this tool will give you real time data.
Turbo spool RPM’s
Engine oil temp
Wheel speed sensors (these can cause all sorts of issues with these cars – if you have a bad one you can easily see because all 4 are shown at the same time on the same screen as you drive).
It can even tell you what door is open – I guess this is helpful if you’re having door contact sensor issues.
I’ve spent a grand total of 10 minutes with this tool but so far it’s an incredible value for a majority of users that need live data and manufacturer specific codes. Even if you aren’t a home mechanic it’s useful to pull codes when the light goes on (or iDrive warning pop up) and do some internet research (there’s a button next to the code readout that searches Google for you) and educate yourself so the mechanic doesn’t just completely hammer you with lies.
WELL DONE AUTEL – this product was a long time coming and you guys nailed the value proposition. I’d have paid twice this amount for adaptations and programming but I understand you have to protect your pro level $1000+ scanners. But if you’re listening my wallet is at the ready.
I’ll update this review as I learn more about the tool. But so far I love it.
Autel AP200 limitation: no bidirectional control or actuator test it
Compared to diagnostics units in the $300+ category (or the BMW diagnostics suite), the Autel AP200 is quite limited – so it doesn’t do all of the tests that a mechanic would want by any means. It is the bargain-priced error-reading tool with a few good functions for people who need to program a new key, put in a new battery or replace their own brake pads.
Autel MaxiAp AP200 BMW scanner price: 60usd
I am not going to tell you that this is the absolute best scanner for your BMW, but it is the cheapest I have found that actually works, and has some good features.
2.Pretty BMW specialized equipment: Inpa, ISTA / P etc
Autel AP200 scanner Cons / limitation: This unit appears to provide exact matches for all of the BMW error codes, so I expect it will give you valvetronic errors too. unfortunately if you want more than just the valvetronic error messages then this unit will not be right for you. You will need some pretty BMW specialized equipment (I.E ISTA /P)
To access everything in your BMW you would need to have a laptop with the full BMW dealer diagnostics software (INPA, DIS, SSS, NCS EXPERT etc).
Image 2: BMW inpa cable ($17.99)
Ista D and Inpa tog tether will do more than anything else.
Ista D is what BMW used in there dealerships for years.
Inpa is there Engineering development tool.
You can do any type of coding with Inpa well beyond the canned
routines you get with things like Carly.
Ista D is like having a shop manual with guided trouble shooting. It also has schematics and mechanical diagrams
its something like 50 gigs of space on a disk.
The catch is you have to know your way around a PC and it you have Apple products you have to run these programs inside a Virtual
machine. It will also require effort to set up and learn to steer either of these.
Image 3: best BMW ICOM Next with Wifi ($359).
3.golo easydiag x431 for BMW diagnosis
The Easydiag x431 does bi-directional actuator testing by the look of it, so it is a much more professional tool. But it is also more than 4x as expensive as Autel MaxiAP AP200, so it is not really a direct competitor.
Image 4: Launch Easydiag 3.0 Plus with BMW software + another one car software ($199 and no stock now)
4.Foxwell NT530 BMW scanner reviews
Foxwell NT530 BMW scanner loaded with the BMW software ($169) (Software for other makes are available for download at $60) is the ONLY low-cost tool I’ve ever seen that support multiple OEMs.
The BMW software for the NT530 is EXCELLENT, and provides access to not only the engine computer, but virtually ALL computers on the car – Engine, transmission, brakes, ABS, Traction Control, Air Bags, Audio, Navigation, Climate Control, Locks, Alarm, etc. Mine has already paid for itself many times over in the ~9 months I’ve owned it.
Foxwell NT530 BMW function list:
Foxwell NT530 Mini function list:
Foxwell NT530 Rolls-Royce function list: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1ayhAptKQ1RXWsbuP_SIiBCDIoTMZElOjKYxeCZinFtQ/edit?usp=sharing
5.BMW Creator c110 reviews
I bought BMW Creator c110 for around $45, and it works perfect. But I think it’s gonna work only with E series, for the F series need a different one. I was using mine on E46, E38, E39, E53 and E60, read all the faults, made my life a lot easier, when fixing my cars. Anything that works, and saves yours money, it’s worth it.
Image of BMW Creator c110 ($44.9)
A 15quid Generic Bluetooth OBDII module and 5quid (or so) Torque app works fine with my F30 BMW! Plus does live gauges and track recording telemetry. Although it does only connect to engine ECU.
The Torque app does a lot of good things for sure, but unfortunately they haven’t cracked all of the BMW codes and sensors yet – so it misses too much to be used for diagnostics.
To be upgrading…