The Droid Lawyer does not have good luck with automobiles. We replaced our air conditioning condenser before last year’s Great Adventure, and had to replace it once again before we returned to Oklahoma. Now, “Eddie Van Halen” needs a new transmission. I really wish I lived somewhere like NYC or Chicago where I could commute by metro transit or cab, and totally ditch my money hogging vehicles.

Given our family’s tragic luck with vehicles, I wasn’t too surprised when the dreaded check engine light appeared on my Toyota Avalon.

Fortunately, at the end of January I snagged an OBD2 scanning tool on Amazon.

OBD2 Diagnostic Tool

If you don’t know what this is, you’ll typically find one by going to your local auto parts store. Usually the scan service is free, so you might flinch at paying $23.99 on this device.

But when my light came on, I was able to get the diagnostic code using the Dash (free) app.

Dash Engine Diagnostic

The error ended up being related to a loose gas cap, which took 10 seconds to repair. Having my own OBD2 device also means I can reset the code, just in case there’s something more serious that’s really setting off the error codes.

Connecting the OBD2 device

My OBD2 device remains connected to the diagnostic port in my car. I can also easily switch to another vehicle for a diagnostic evaluation.

Even though Google Play has a number of diagnostic apps, I primarily use two: Dash and Torque Pro.

Dash – Drive Smart

Dash is more like a tracking app than a diagnostic program. Dash concentrates more on maintaining your vehicle’s peak performance, rather than diagnosing issues.

Dash Drive Summary

Dash uses a tracking system to “score” your drives and track vehicle performance.

Dash is a great option for all-around vehicle tracking, especially if you don’t want to spend any money. One of the biggest downfalls is that Dash doesn’t allow you to easily reset your vehicle’s error codes.

Get this app on Google Play

Torque Pro

At $4.95, Torque Pro will probably set a lot of people off, but Torque Pro is my choice for folks wanting more details about their vehicle.

Perhaps the biggest downfall of Torque is the layout. Customizing the layout is not easy — can I say impossible?


Okay, maybe not impossible, but close. The problem is that the middle screen (shown in the picture) is the only screen with dials, yet the 3 previous screens are empty.

You can rearrange the display by long-pressing on the screen and adding a display.

Add Torque Display

Unfortunately, if you misplace the dial or display, it’s pulling teeth to move to another screen; frustratingly difficult to say the least.

Torque definitely offers the most options, including a way to output recorded information to an XML or CSV file. Admittedly, you can obsess a little too much over improving the vehicle’s performance. Plus, you can easily reset your error code with a simple button press.

Get this app on Google Play

Jeff Taylor

I'm just an ordinary guy living an extraordinary life. I'm also an attorney and I blog about Android for lawyers. You can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, or Google+.


Gary Vogt · August 20, 2016 at 7:41 pm

I purchased the “Remote Ex for Nissan” plug-in but it did not come with any instructions on how to use it!

    Jeff Taylor · September 3, 2016 at 5:59 am

    I’d contact the developer and discuss the issue.

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