By Mike Allen
Sooner or later, everyone who owns a car has it happen: The dreaded Check Engine light comes on. Non-cognoscenti know only that they’ll need to take the car to a garage, maybe even to the dealer, to scan the computer for trouble codes. There are affordable code scanners and full-out scan tools around – but if you’ve got an iPhone, iPad or even an iPod Touch, there’s a simpler, inexpensive solution. First, download the free goLink iPhone app, then buy the company’s R75 cable and plug it into your car’s OBD II port, which is usually under the dash. Once it’s hooked up, you can check the trouble codes, browse through a bunch of engine parameters while some faithful minion drives you around and turn off that pesky light. Use it to diagnose and . x something as simple as a loose fuel . ller cap and you can recoup the cost of the cable by eliminating just one service call. But wait, there’s more! The cable also works with CARbonga (Speedemissions; R36 in the App Store), which checks all the car’s safety systems and lets you monitor fuel economy and carbon footprint as you drive.
Want more? Download DashCommand (Palmer Engineering; R355 in the App Store), which gives you a set of virtual gauges, displays revs, power output and torque and uses the iPhone’s accelerometer to provide a graphic representation of your acceleration, braking and cornering while hot-lapping a racetrack.
GoLink has just replaced the 100 grand or so of scan tools – and all the equipment I lug around to test cars – with an iPhone and a cable. I hate it. I love it.