Everything You Need to Know About the Carista Adapter

Whether you’re a seasoned DIYer or just looking to get your feet wet, modern cars pose something of a challenge. Namely, they’re complicated. Simple analog systems have given way to complex digital networks operating on thousands of lines of code, and evolutionary advances in technology have managed to muddle the process of changing even the simplest of items – like brakes, for example. Luckily, there are tools capable of restoring the balance. Tools like the Carista OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter and accompanying Carista app.

OBD-II – or On-Board Diagnostics II – is a universal system found across all car makes and models built for North America since the mid-’90s, standardizing the way that vehicles diagnose and report potential issues. A handy feature, to be sure, but it also requires special equipment to actually read and interpret the codes. The Carista adapter and app allow you to do just that, and then some.

How the Carista Adapter Works

Plug the Carista adapter into your car’s onboard diagnostic port and you can use your smartphone as a scanner, reading fault codes, performing routine service tasks, and even customizing certain features.

Plug the Carista adapter into your car’s onboard diagnostic port and you can use your smartphone as a scanner, reading fault codes, performing routine service tasks, and even customizing certain features – like, say, whether your car honks and rolls up all the windows when you press the lock button on your key fob.

That’s not all, either. This video from the company highlights another nifty feature that can be activated (or deactivated) on select vehicles through the OBD-II interface: automatically dipping the passenger side mirror when you put your car in reverse. If you’ve never parallel parked with this before, you’re missing out. So long, curb rash.

Supported Vehicles

The Carista adapter and Carista app already carry extensive support for late-model Volkswagens and Audis, along with plenty of models from MINI, Toyota, Scion, and Lexus, and certain BMWs.

The company’s adapter and app already carry extensive support for late-model Volkswagens and Audis, along with plenty of models from MINI, Toyota, Scion, and Lexus, and certain BMWs. And the developers are constantly adding support for additional vehicles.

Wondering whether Carista currently supports your car? Click here to visit their website for a full list of vehicle makes and models, along with what features are supported – whether it’s basic diagnostics and service, advanced diagnostics, or advanced diagnostics with customization. No matter what you drive, it’s worth a look, as the app can deliver at least basic diagnostics on a massive number of cars from 1996 or later.

What the Carista Adapter Can Do

The Carista adapter and Carista app offer next level diagnostic features for your car.

For those of you who may be wondering, What can I do with this thing besides make my car honk when I lock it? The answer is: a lot. You can trace the cause of your Check Engine Light back to a spent ignition coil or faulty O2 sensor and reset it, or make sure your car is ready to ace its next emissions test.

Depending on the level of support for your vehicle, the advanced diagnostics allow you to check fault codes for other systems as well, like the transmission, anti-lock brakes and airbags, look up detailed ECU info, including the part number and version, open your vehicle’s electronic parking brake for service so you can change the rear brake pad without a costly trip to the mechanic – even view the number of times Launch Control has been used. (Volkswagen diesel owners might find the app especially useful for its ability to force Diesel Particulate Filter regeneration and display your current AdBlue Diesel Exhaust Fluid level.)

Best of all? Carista has decided to give our readers 20% off the price of its OBD2 Bluetooth Adapter, available on Amazon US, CA, UK and Shopify. Just use the promo code CARISTA20 at checkout.

The Carista adapter comes with a free one-month trial of the advanced, paid version of the Carista app.

The adapter comes with a free one-month trial of the advanced, paid version of the Carista app, but it also supports a multitude of other OBD-II apps on the market, including Dash, OBD Fusion or, for you track day junkies, RaceChrono. Click here for a full list of Carista supported apps.

For more info on the Carista adapter and to check whether your car is supported, click here.

This article originally appeared on AutoGuide.com.