Developer: Lemur Monitors http://www.lemurmonitors.com
Requires: IOS device (iPhone, iPod, iPod Touch) running IOS 7 or newer, or an Android device (phones, tablets) running Android 4.0 or newer.
Have you ever been ripped off by an auto mechanic? Have you paid an exorbitant fee to clear your Check Engine light when all that happened was that you forgot to tighten your gas filler cap until it clicked? Would you like to know more about how your car or truck is running? Are you an amateur mechanic who wants to know more about their car’s inner workings without having to buy an expensive diagnostic computer? If so, the Lemur BlueDriver Advanced Scan Tool may just be what you’re looking for.
The Lemur BlueDriver is system comprised of a free IOS (or Android) app, and an intelligent device (the Bluetooth OBD-II sensor) that plugs into your car’s OBD-II port, most often located under your car’s dashboard, to the left of the steering column. This is the same port that is used by your auto mechanic to troubleshoot what’s gone wrong. This port is also used for devices provided by some auto insurance companies to monitor your driving habits; the safer you drive, the lower the premium, or so they claim. Many employers who own fleets of vehicles purchase devices that, like the device some insurance companies use, are used to monitor the driving habits of people (employees, contractors, etc.) who are using the company vehicle for company business; likewise, the safer you drive, the better for your career. Lemur Monitors does have a product for that, called SafeDriver, but that’s not what this device and review are all about.
Installation and setup couldn’t be easier. Plug the device into your OBD-II port, download and launch the free app, and use your Bluetooth tool to pair to the BlueDriver device. If you have any questions about the installation, setup, or operation, refer to the excellent videos, accessible from the More… menu at the bottom of your IOS device’s screen.
Again, BlueDriver system matches many of the capabilities of your mechanic’s diagnostic computer, designed to plug into the OBD-II port, but in this case, the BlueDriver device uses a built-in Bluetooth transmitter to communicate your car’s “health” to your IOS (or Android) device.
The information gathered is simply incredible. It shows your car’s build information (four screens worth on an iPhone 5S):
It tests your car’s exhaust emissions, and hundreds more parameters. You can even log parameters you select for a simple snapshot of how things are going at that moment, or log information via the Live Data function for a short or long period of time. You can select few or many of these parameters that can then be compiled into graphs and even to a printed report (you get five free reports with the purchase of the BlueDriver, and can get five additional reports for 99 cents).
Turn your IOS device on its side, and you can see your data in an attractive and easy to read graph.
Some states (California comes to mind) require annual exhaust emission testing. One of the “hardwired” functions is a “smog check.” This test extracts information from the same sensors that are used to keep your engine running properly, and within the legal limits of smog-producing compounds. The two illustrations below show the status on an iPhone screen, as well as the printed report.
Are you getting a Check Engine light for something like not tightening your fuel filler cap properly? Well, if you have done this more than once, you have already paid for your BlueDriver system, as you can clear many of those annoying codes without having to visit your car dealer or mechanic, not to mention handing them a bucket full of money for the privilege of not seeing that light on your dashboard. Of course, there could be many other reasons for the check engine light, which could indicate problems with the exhaust emission controls on your car. If you see additional problems with your exhaust emission controls, you can view it on your IOS or Android device, or generate and print a report that you can give to your mechanic to help speed the process of getting your car repaired.
If your car displays a diagnostic trouble code (DTC), you can run a repair report that includes the code definition, possible causes for the fault, and the top number of reported fixes for that trouble code, and as always, you can view it on your IOS or Android device, or print this report out and take it with you to your mechanic. This process begins with a Freeze Frame report, which reports a number of parameters at the moment a fault occurred, followed by reviewing your Repair Report.
I’ve talked about many of the excellent features of the BlueDriver system, but what really impresses me are the thirteen (at the time this was written) videos that concisely describe how to use the BlueDriver app. They are accessible from a page YouTube, and from the user guide button under the More menu in your BlueDriver app. None last more than two minutes.
If you’re a shade-tree mechanic, the operator of a small auto repair business, or simply a consumer who wants to know more about their car—especially before bringing it in for service, the Lemur Monitors BlueDriver system could be just the thing to simplify the process of finding out what’s wrong (if anything) with your car, and in many cases, can make suggestions on how to fix it. The ability to reset many of those pesky check engine codes (and by pesky, I mean things like a loose gas cap – not failure of any component of your exhaust emission system) without having to make a trip to your mechanic or auto dealer. Besides, repair to your emission system is often covered by an extended warranty.
I was so impressed with it, I gave the BlueDriver system a MyMac rating of 9 out of 10.