This is a great deal for car owners. Everyone with a car and smart phone should own one of the ELM327. In fact, I would go as far as to say the ELM327 should come standard with every new car. Why do I say that?
When the new sensors were being placed in new cars in the late 1990s, only the mechanics could afford the computer reading equipment to tell where the problem in your car was. Isn’t it strange that we had cars with all these sensors, but the owners were never able to make a diagnosis themselves, unless they spent a lot more money to do so.
Now, with better mobile and social technology available, people are making more use of their smart phones, which offer a wide array of applications that used to require many different kinds of high powered devices. The technology has changed drastically, and mechanics hate that the power of car diagnostics is being put more into the car owners hands.
Who really likes to pay the mechanic $100+ for a initial, phase 1 diagnostic? Nobody, of course, especially when you know that you can buy an $11 device from Walmart that does the same thing, with the use of an app on your Smartphone called, “Torque”.
But why is the ELM327 so cheap? It seems they are practically giving it away. In fact, the price difference between the $11 OBD diagnostic and the $100+ diagnostic at a car repair shop may seem incomparable. But, with the technology change, as things get cheaper, it all is very comparable. You can run the same tests as an auto mechanic does, and you shouldn’t have to pay their prices for frivolous checks.
According to Wikipedia, the original designers of the ELM327 failed to make a copy protection claim on their product. So, pirates copied the data diagnostics and then flooded the market with similar devices. Good for the customers, but not so profitable for the original designers. Perhaps they intentionally decided not to copyright it, because they weren’t as greedy for the money as many others.