OBDlink MX+, BlueDriver, and FIXD are some of the most common OBD2 adapters out there. But the fact that people buy them a lot doesn’t mean you should do that as well.
First, it may not work for your car, at all!
Second, it’s easy to look nice and professional nowadays. And the crowd usually likes that!
I’m not telling you that they are useless. No, they are great (ok, except for one). However, before buying one of these, you need to know the real differences, NOT just what they advertise!
So here you go, an article provides you with:
- 1 Head-to-head comparison
- 2 What they have in common
- 3 Key differences explained
- 4 Recap: which one should you buy?
|Compatible vehicles||-All with OBD2 protocol (both gas and diesel vehicles sold in US, Canada)|
- Advanced diagnostic for Ford & GM vehicle (MS-CAN and SW-CAN)
- EOBD, JOBD, and all other international variants of OBD2.
|-All with OBD2 protocol. (sold in US and Canada)|
- All diesel vehicles that are 2004 or newer.
- EOBD, JOBD, and all other international variants of OBD2.
|- All with OBD2 protocol. (sold in US and Canada)|
- All diesel vehicles that are 2008 or newer.
|Compatible apps||- OBDlink|
- Other 3rd party apps
|- BlueDriver||- FIXD|
|Compatible operating systems||- Android |
|- Android |
|- Android |
|Read/clear generic OBD-II codes||✔||✔||✔|
|Read/clear enhanced codes||✔||✔||✔|
|Enhanced live parameters||✔||✖||✖|
|Free OEM add-on ||✔||✔||✖|
|Smog test||✔||✔||✖ You have to pay for a premium subscription|
|Bluetooth version||Bluetooth v3.0 class 2||Bluetooth v2.1 class 2||Bluetooth v2.1 class 2|
90-day money-back guarantee
180-day money-back guarantee
30-day money-back guarantee
What they have in common
Read/clear generic OBD2 codes
All these 3 OBD2 adapters are able to scan your ECUs and send the engine and emission data back to your phone (or computer). They can also communicate with other modules in your car, but we’ll get to that later.
If you got any trouble code (DTC), don’t panic!
Google the codes and the internet will let you know everything about them:
- What they are
- How to fix (if it’s possible)
- How much it costs to fix (DIY or go to mechanics)
- And even where to buy necessary items
Now you can fix the car yourself and save hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars.
However, some codes are very sophisticated and require mechanics to involve. In that scenario, with a little bit of research before going to the repair shop, you will know exactly what the mechanic is talking about.
So you don’t have to worry about mechanics cheating on you!
Technically, these OBD2 adapters are mechanic’s lie detectors (I wish I had something’s like that for my kids).
Live data & freeze frame
In a lot of situations, one code could mean more than one potential issue. So you must use the live parameters to diagnose what the real problem is.
There are many parameters out there, and which ones to use depending on where your car got hurt.
Don’t worry! Google got you. Just search for the codes and you know which parameters to look at and how to read them (if it’s necessary). Most of them are not that complicated.
However, live parameters can be different among these 3 adapters. This one may read this data, but the others can’t. You can see the differences below.
Freeze frame is the snapshot of live data at the moment the DTCs are triggered. It is very valuable data for future troubleshooting.
Key differences explained
Compatible operating systems
OBDlink MX+ is more versatile on this one. It can be used on iOS, Android, and Windows. The major advantage of working on Windows is higher speed.
BlueDriver and FIXD can only work on iOS and Android.
Note: BlueDriver will not pair with of Android head units made in China.
|Android||Android 4.4+||Android 6.0+||Android 5.0+|
|iOS||iOS 10.0+||iOS 10.0+||iOS 14.3+|
|Windows||- Windows Vista SP2|
- Windows 7
- Windows 8
- Windows 8.1
- Windows 10.
While OBDLink MX+ can work with many third-party apps, BlueDriver and FIXD only work with their own apps.
Why does this matter?
Because different apps can be used for different purposes. For example, FORScan is specially designed for Ford, Mazda, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles. You can even do mode $08 (bi-directional controls) when using MX+ with OBDwiz Professional add-on.
One good thing about MX+ and BlueDriver is that they come with their own free apps – no enhanced diagnostics (OEM) add-ons fee. That means you don’t have to pay any extra money after purchasing the tool. And the two apps are quite useful and very easy to use.
FIXD claims their app to be “free to download, free to use”. Yep, it’s not wrong, except for one thing:
If you do not upgrade to the premium version, the only thing you can do is to read and clear codes. That’s it!
“Nah, it’s just a few bucks, I don’t care as long as it works”. Nope! You’re very wrong. You must pay a monthly (or yearly) subscription fee to maintain the premium version. Which is insane!!!
If you want to use these adapters, make sure your car is OBD2 compliant (1996 or newer model).
All 3 devices claim to have a wide range of car compatibility, but let’s see how much these “wide” are.
|OBD2 compliant vehicles |
(sold in US and Canada)
|EOBD, JOBD, other variants of OBD2||✔||✔||--|
|Diesel vehicles||✔||✔ |
(2004 or newer)
(2008 or newer)
OBDLink MX+ can be compatible with more vehicles than the others. If your car is a non-US vehicle, click here to verify if MX+ works for you.
On the other hand, if you have an OBD2 diesel vehicle, BlueDriver may not be the best option. Yes, some diesel pickup trucks (2004 or newer model) may pair with it, but many of their customers report problems using BlueDriver on a diesel vehicle.
If you plan to fix a diesel car or truck, contact BlueDriver customer services to clarify if it works. Or just don’t take the risk and go for MX+.
Note: BlueDriver is not compatible with Ford 7.3L Powerstroke diesels.
FIXD is obviously an underdog in this contest! It’s not compatible with EOBD, JOBD, and other variants of OBD2. However, this device can work with diesel vehicles 2008 or newer.
Enhanced OEM diagnoses
“Enhanced OEM diagnoses” involves manufacturer-specific data that generic OBD2 does not offer. It can be split into two groups:
- Enhanced trouble codes: mentioned above (e.g., ABS, SRS, TCU, BCM)
- Enhanced parameters: (e.g., transmission temperature, battery temperature, wheel speed, tire pressure)
As I mentioned, all these 3 products can read generic OBD2 codes (what kind of OBD2 adapter doesn’t?). Besides, let’s see what they can do with enhanced OEM diagnostic.
|Read/clear enhanced trouble codes||✔ Advanced support for Ford and GM vehicle|
✖ Work with less vehicles than Bluedriver
|✔ Work with more vehicles than the others|
✖ Limited support for Ford and GM vehicles
|✖ Very limited support|
If you want to check the trans temp or something related to the enhanced parameter. MX+ is the best option.
However, MX+ does not support enhanced parameters for all cars. Check here to verify if it works for yours.
Supported vehicles for enhanced trouble codes
Let me get this straight: if the OBD adapter does not support your car for reading/clearing generic codes, it will not support enhanced code!
So what is enhanced trouble codes?
Enhanced or manufacturer-specific trouble codes (OEM DTCs) cover all non-engine related systems, including:
- ABS – anti-lock braking system
- SRS – airbags
- TCU – transmission control unit
- BCM – body control module
- And more
The table below is the list of supported vehicles for reading/clearing enhanced codes.
|- GM: |
|- Mazda||- Mazda||- Toyota|
|- Toyota: |
|- Honda: (sold in North America, 2005 & newer)|
|- Honda (sold in North America, 2003 & newer):|
|- Hyundai (2013 & newer):|
|- Hyundai: (2011 & newer)|
|- Opel||- Chrysler|
|- Mercedes (2005 & newer):|
|- BMW (sold in North America, 2005 & newer):|
|- Volkswagen (sold in North America): |
|- Mitsubishi (2008 & newer)|
|- Subaru(sold in the US)|
As you can see, BlueDriver clearly takes the throne in this contest. It offers a much wider range of supported vehicles than the other two.
OBDLink MX+ lies between the two. However, MX+ has advanced support for Ford and GM vehicles, which BlueDriver doesn’t. So if you have Ford or GM cars, MX+ is a better option!
FIXD, on the other hand, has little to no information about that on their websites. So I tried to find it on Amazon.com, and all I can find is a general list you can see above. So if you want to read enhanced codes with FIXD, contact their customer services to verify if it can do the job.
Like every object in this universe, these devices need a power source to operate.
In this case, the power source is obviously your car’s battery. The problem does not come when the OBD2 adapter works. Because you need to turn the engine on to make it work and the battery will be charged continuously.
The problem comes when the adapters sleep!
If you leave it plugged in for weeks and don’t use the car. The device will draw current from your battery, little by little, day and night. Until the battery is dead.
If you don’t drive your car quite often, this table means a lot to you.
|Operating current||62 mA||65 mA||80 mA|
|Sleep mode current|
(lower = better)
|2 mA||19 mA||40 mA|
|Sleep delay||10 minutes||15 minutes||15 minutes|
|Drain battery time||4+ weeks||1-2 weeks||2-3 days|
BlueDriver and FIXD take 5 minutes longer than MX+ to enter the sleep mode. Why are these 5 minutes so important?
Because in this delay time, your car isn’t working, but these devices still draw power as much as they are operating! This can significantly contribute to battery drain.
OBDLink MX+ consumes the least energy among the three. For BlueDriver and FIXD, you might want to unplug them after using if the vehicle won’t be started for a while.
One of the main factors that contribute to battery consumption is the Bluetooth connection. While MX+ uses Bluetooth 3.0, BlueDriver and FIXD use the 2.1 version. The lower version will consume more power and deliver lower speed (in this case, I noticed the speed difference is not significant).
However, BlueDriver is going to upgrade to Bluetooth LE (low energy), which hopefully will end the battery drain problem. But when?
The manufacturer said “shortly”. But I have no idea how long “shortly” is. I’ll give you an update when they do.
Price and cost
What is the difference between price and cost?
Well, price is how much you pay when you buy something. But cost takes into account:
- Hidden fee
- Real value it brings you over the long term
With that in mind, FIXD is the product with the lowest price but the highest cost. It offers very limited features compared to the other two. Besides, when you download the FIXD app, it keeps asking you to upgrade to the premium version, which requires you to pay monthly!
But if you just want to fix the check engine light, there is no need to pay more money (for the premium version or for more expensive adapters). In your case, FIXD itself is actually a better deal and MX+ or BlueDriver are a little overkill.
OBDLink MX+ and BlueDriver have the same price. However, from my experience, MX+ is relatively better and has a lower cost. It offers more features, two years longer warranty, and consumes less power than BlueDriver. If both MX+ and BlueDriver support your car for enhanced diagnostic, go for MX+!
However, BlueDriver supports much more vehicles for reading enhanced codes. So in many cars, it will pull some codes out, but MX+ won’t. In that case, BlueDriver is not a bad choice.
Recap: which one should you buy?
If you just want the best
Among the three products, OBDLink MX+ is my favorite.
Don’t get me wrong. I like the BlueDriver! But there are a few irritating things about it that make me prefer the MX+.
First, MX+ has up to 3 years warranty, which is great. You don’t have to worry about buying a product being defective after one month of usage.
Second, MX+ supports full enhanced diagnoses for Ford and GM vehicles, which BlueDriver doesn’t.
BlueDriver also does not support enhanced live parameters. So if you want to monitor transmission temperature, MX+ is the way to go.
Finally, MX+ sleep mode consumes almost no energy from your battery. You can leave it plugged in for weeks without using the car. Moreover, the encrypted Bluetooth connection and the “pairing” button will prevent any strangers’ access to your car while you leave the MX+ plugged in.
If “the best” can’t pull enhanced codes from your vehicles
If you have Chrysler/Mercedes/BMW cars and you want to read enhanced codes, MX+ is NOT a good choice. BlueDriver is! For the list of BlueDriver supported vehicles for enhanced codes, see the table above. Bluedriver’s developers still keep updating the list. So if you work on many cars, BlueDriver is actually your best choice!
With a free app for both Android and iOS, this product can pull off all the basic to slightly advanced tasks for any car enthusiast.
Just remember to unplug it when you don’t use your car for 1 or 2 weeks.
If you want an affordable option to fix check engine light
I know, it’s too much when I call this a scam. But you get the point – it’s not worth your money to pay a subscription fee for its full features!
However, FIXD is not a bad option if you just use it to fix your car’s check engine light. Compared to the other two, its price is a lot more affordable.
FIXD supports enhanced codes reading for very limited numbers of vehicles. In case you need an adapter that can communicate with other modules, try to contact customer services to verify if FIXD can do that for your car.
Other than that, don’t expect this adapter to do much if you don’t pay the subscription fee. And always remember to unplug this device when you don’t use it.