Weekend wrenchers rejoice: there’s finally a CarPlay-compatible OBD scanner app available for iPhone users. It’s called OnTrack. For years we’ve been restricted to using a phone mount to diagnose cars on the road and especially plagued with non-functional and annoying to use apps that make us reconsider even using cheap OBD dongles. But if this app works out, it could be the best thing to happen to the discerning wrenching and modifying enthusiast.
First off–I haven’t tried it in a live situation yet. But just downloading it to my phone, the app loads quickly, runs smoothly, and is refreshingly free of advertisements. If you’ve ever dealt with Bluetooth OBD apps, you know that most of them don’t even get the basics right and run like garbage. Somehow, most of the developers for OBD apps do a basic job to get it generally working, but don’t optimize and refine the program to work better. Even the most popular OBD apps like Torque Pro don’t offer CarPlay compatibility, and a quick browse through the app store shows that zero other OBD apps offer CarPlay compatibility. And if they do, they aren’t advertising it.
What’s useful about CarPlay compatibility is that it broadens the use case for the OBD scanner. Instead of just being a static diagnostic tool in the garage, it can become a road testing tool, a datalogging tool, or a way to precisely monitor engine health during high-performance driving situations. Most cars don’t have a numeric coolant and oil temperature readout, while the sensors are onboard. An OBD app allows you to see that live data without the normie-soothing filters that cause coolant temperature gauges to be less than accurate.
I’ll give the app a whirl on my Civic Type R and report back.
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