The Best Car Health Monitor does more than simply read engine codes. These convenient car diagnostic tools can alert you when a problem happens and save you money at the mechanic. Most will pay for themselves quickly, making them an excellent investment for your garage.
Smart car health monitors plug into the OBD2 port on your vehicle and communicate with an app installed on your phone, tablet, or computer.
Unlike cabled OBD2 scan tools, which only give you information when you run a diagnostic, smart car health monitors provide constant monitoring. They alert you to the issues as soon as they come up and track essential maintenance and performance data to avoid future problems.
Compared to other diagnostic tools, car health monitors have a lot of benefits:
- They’re user-friendly. Professional diagnostic equipment can be complicated. If you’re not a car expert, this can make it hard to use them effectively and correctly. Car health monitors are designed for drivers, not mechanics, and tend to be easier to use for a novice.
- They provide continuous monitoring. Hand-held scanners can only run tests when they’re connected to your vehicle. Car health monitors can be plugged in full-time, so you know the second a problem happens. Many also offer features like mileage tracking and maintenance reminders.
- Updates are instant (and easy). Since car health monitors use Bluetooth, all updates download automatically, which means you’ll always get accurate, up-to-date diagnoses.
Best car health monitor
|Editor's Picks||Product||Our Rating|
|Best Budget Buy||FIXD||8.5/10|
|Best Value||OBDLink MX+||8.5/10|
|Also Great||Nonda ZUS||7.5/10|
The BlueDriver Bluetooth sensor is an active car health monitor designed to pair with the BlueDriver app. This saves you time searching for a compatible app, though it also prevents you from using vehicle-specific software.
The BlueDriver Car Health Monitor’s enhanced diagnostics are available for 35 vehicle brands—the most of any car health monitor on the list. You can diagnose everything from airbags to climate control. Basic OBDII diagnostics are available for all vehicles, too.
From a usability standpoint, BlueDriver is the best car health monitor for drivers with little repair experience. It provides definitions of codes and potential fixes specific to your vehicle. If you need advanced functions, you can get them with an upgrade to the app.
- It does OBDII diagnostics on any vehicle made after 1996.
- The enhanced diagnostics is available on more vehicles.
- The repair reports provide vehicle-specific fixes.
- Updates are free and easy.
- Simple navigation, even for non-experts.
- It’s only compatible with the BlueDriver app.
- Access to some features requires a paid upgrade.
The BlueDriver Bluetooth Car Health Monitor offers advanced diagnostics for more vehicles than other Bluetooth adapters. It’s a more expensive option, though, and getting access to some features requires a paid upgrade.
The FIXD car health monitor is designed to pair with the FIXD app that is relatively easy to set up. While there is a monthly subscription for FIXD premium, the free version of the app offers all the diagnostic power most drivers need.
In terms of diagnostics, FIXD covers the basics. You can run all OBDII diagnostic functions, including smog tests and reading engine codes. Enhanced Codes for non-OBDII systems are available for vehicles made by Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota.
FIXD goes beyond diagnostics, though, and that’s why it’s the best active car health monitor for DIY mechanics. The Maintenance Timeline tracks your mileage and reminds you when it’s time for preventative service. With continuous monitoring, you’ll know about problems as soon as they happen.
- It’s easy to use.
- It supports all OBD2 protocols.
- There’s no need to search for a compatible app.
- It provides helpful maintenance reminders.
- It can continuously monitor with no battery drain.
- It’s not usable with electric or diesel vehicles.
The FIXD OBD-II Active Car Health Monitor is the best option if you want continuous monitoring with maintenance reports. It also provides vehicle-specific repair suggestions from certified mechanics, making it ideal for DIY-ers.
3. BAFX Products
The BAFX Products Bluetooth Car Health Monitor is an excellent value for the money. It works for any OBDII-compliant vehicle and will give you the same accurate diagnostic information as any hand-held diagnostic scanner.
Now the BAFX Car Health Monitor is just the adapter. You’ll need to pair it with a diagnostic app of your choice. The good news is it works with most apps, including popular options like Torque Pro and FORScan.
As far as features, the BAFX Products Car Health Monitor is limited to OBDII systems. While it won’t check your airbags or tire pressure, it can provide freeze frame data, read engine codes, and run smog tests. For the basics on a budget, it’s the best car health monitor.
- It’s best in value.
- It clears the check engine light.
- It tests oxygen sensors and the EVAP system.
- It offers broad compatibility for all OBD2 protocols.
- It works with most 3rd party diagnostic apps.
- It’s not compatible with iOS devices.
- It doesn’t diagnose non-OBDII systems (ABS, SRS, etc.)
The BAFX Products Bluetooth Car Health Monitor is the most affordable way to run basic OBDII diagnostics on any vehicle.
The OBDLink MX+ is the most versatile car health monitor on the list. It supports proprietary networks other scan tools don’t, including those from Ford and GM, which gives you access to manufacturer-specific codes, as well as systems not supported by OBDII.
You can read codes, live data, and freeze frame data from any OBDII-compatible vehicle with the OBDLink MX+. Also, enhanced OEM support is offered for 11 popular manufacturers, including Toyota, GM, Honda, and Ford. This lets you see trouble codes and live parameters from systems like the airbags, tires, and climate control.
Exactly which features OBDLink MX+ offers depends on which app you use. It’s capable of a lot, though, including remote starting, remote locking, and fuel economy monitoring. For the most features, it’s the best car health monitor of 2021.
- It’s compatible with Windows, iOS, and Android devices.
- It works with a variety of diagnostic apps.
- It allows diagnosis of non-OBD2 systems (ABS, SRS, TPMS, etc.)
- It supports proprietary Ford MS-CAN and GM-LAN networks.
- The scanner reads pending, stored, and manufacturer-specific codes.
- It is hacker-proof with strong encryption.
- It is the most expensive option.
- The non-OBDII features are not available for all vehicles.
The OBDLink MX+ is a versatile scan tool compatible with a wide range of vehicles and diagnostic apps. While it costs more than other car monitors, it provides access to non-OBD2 diagnostics for more vehicles.
5. Nonda ZUS
Finally, let’s look at the Nonda ZUS Smart Vehicle Health Monitor. It’s the most affordable car health monitor with a dedicated app, making it an excellent option for home mechanics on a budget.
Once you plug in the Nonda ZUS, you’ll get access to continuous updates and real-time alerts of all engine issues. The app includes a look-up feature to define any trouble codes that trigger. While it can’t read codes from non-OBDII systems, it has broad compatibility for reading engine codes.
The extra features on the Nonda ZUS are impressive, too. Its parking reminders are especially helpful. It’ll remind you where you’ve parked and tell you if it’s time to pay the meter. These convenient features are the icing on the cake, making this one of the best car health monitors of 2021.
- It is compatible with any OBDII-equipped vehicle.
- It’s quick and easy to set-up.
- It offers continuous monitoring with real-time alerts.
- The app is free with no paid upgrades.
- It includes parking location and meter timer reminders.
- It’s not compatible with Windows devices.
- It only diagnoses OBDII systems (no transmission, SRS, ABS, etc.)
The Nonda ZUS Smart Vehicle Monitor is an affordable way to get a car health monitor with a dedicated app. It’s also easy to set up and provides helpful extra features like mileage logging and a parking location reminder.
The final thoughts
Picking the best car health monitor comes down to figuring out what diagnostics you need. If you just need to read codes, a simple interface like the Nonda ZUS will be more user-friendly. For more detailed information about electronic systems, the OBDLink MX+ is your best choice.
If you’re on a budget, you can get more features for less money buying a car health monitor that works with third-party apps. Many of these are free and offer more robust functions than the FIXD, BlueDriver, or Nonda app.
Vehicle compatibility will only be a concern if you want to diagnose non-OBDII systems, like the airbag or climate control. We hope the break-down of the features and options on these five best car health monitors helps you pick the right one for your vehicle!