CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Torque app for Android?

Just curious if anyone has tried the torque app for android smartphones? It’s an app designed to work with a Bluetooth dongle that plugs into your OBD2 port and allows you to pull the trouble codes and to read the status of many of the cars systems. The app is free and the required Bluetooth dongle can be purchased for less then $20. I’d love to know if anyone has tried this and their experiences with it.

TIA

It works well and gives you a customizable screen that monitors a lot of different engine parameters. You can also use it as a (limited) scan tool to read codes. There are other similar apps as well that you can use with the dongle. It’s actually pretty cool.

Use the free app to test the dongle and see if it works well for your car. If you like that, then buy the full app and get a lot more functionality.

Agree with BustedKnuckles. The app works fine. The Pro version is much more useful and well worth the $5 it costs. It is not equivalent to the professional systems that cost several hundred dollars and will run a car through programmed diagnostic procedures, but it is amusing and useful.

The question is whether a sub-$20 bluetooth will work with it. Some low cost adapters work OK. I got one for $25 from Amazon. It happens that my model is the one that is pictured on the Torque website as a “you get what you pay for” warning. Mine works OK, but is rather slow. When you change throttle position, there is a pronounced lag before the dials on the Torque screen react. Faster adapters that are verified to work well with Torque cost $100 to $200. For that money difference, I am fine with a little lag.

Is this also availble for iOS? And is it call ‘Torque’?

edit - Nope, not iOS. Anyone have an iOS app like this they like?

So what BT to OBD2 plug is the one to get? I’ve seen several but hear mixed reviews as to which works with what OS. I have a Galaxy Note2, which runs Jellybean.

@texases there’s no comparable iOS app because apple won’t allow one. Don’t quite understand their reasoning but it is what it is

The Torque website has a list of adapters that they know for sure work with the ap. The ones they recommend are a little spendy.

On Amazon, the description for the adapter will usually say if it works with Torque. If the description says it will and it turns out not to work, you have a good excuse to return it.

@Proacfan, you’re right.
The story is that apple does not allow little guys to develop stuff like this for security purposes.
They don’t have virus concerns because they are anal about closely guarding what you can do with a device running their OS.

In software engineering terms, there’s an Application Programmer’s Interface (or API) that exposes certain functionality to a developer but what you’re allowed to do with the Bluetooth stack on an Apple is very limited and that’s done deliberately. You can only write apps that use the phone or audio functionality as a small developer, as the torque people are no doubt found out.

They heavy handedly want you to join this expensive “Made For Apple” program before they tell you how to get data through it, which is what you need for one of these OBD2 tools. Should you figure out how to work around their API, they will not let you distribute the app.

I happen to know this because we wanted to use a certain iTouch functionality at work and, when we tried to release it, Apple slapped our wrists, those IOS Nazis.
We found a work around but it is less than perfect.
No doubt the Torque people found this out and went Android. We will as well, eventually.