Choosing a Vehicle Interface for VersaTuner

A vehicle interface (sometimes also called a cable, OBD adapter or dongle) is a device that lets your laptop or computer communicate with the control modules on the car and carry out a reflash, data log parameters and read or clear DTCs (diagnostic trouble codes). With the large variety of vehicle interfaces available on the market, choosing one can be a challenging task. This guide will help you choose a vehicle interface that works great with VersaTuner and fits your budget and requirements.

Do I need to purchase a vehicle interface?

If you order VersaTuner from our website, only the software will be provided. We do not sell vehicle interfaces and you will need to purchase one separately. If you purchase VersaTuner from our resellers, some of them will include a vehicle interface in the package. In that case, please refer to the included instructions for more details on how to set it up.

Why can't I use any OBD adapter or cable that I alread have?

Reflashing an ECU requires the use of special modes and protocols that are supported only by certain vehicle interfaces. Cheapest vehicle interfaces cannot reflash an ECU and only allow basic diagnostics, such as reading some trouble codes and logging standard parameters. Vehicle interfaces included with other tuning software are usually proprietary, have closed specifications and can only be used with that software.

Should I get a wired or wireless vehicle interface?

VersaTuner supports both USB and Bluetooth vehicle interfaces with each type offering certain advantages and disadvantages. We always recommend having a wired (USB) vehicle interface as your primary device. They offer the highest communication speed, a reliable connection and can be trusted to recover the ECU if a flash process is accidentally interrupted. On the other hand, Bluetooth vehicle interfaces are easy to set up (no drivers required) and provide the convenience of no wires hanging around the pedal area. They are slightly slower, but if all you need is to flash a prebuilt tune and record a few data logs, they will serve the purpose perfectly fine. Bear in mind that wireless connections can be prone to radio interference and you would not want the flash process to fail when your phone decides to play some music through wireless earbuds. That's why we recommend always having a USB vehicle interface handy so that it can be used as a backup. That said, many of our customers have a Bluetooth vehicle interface as their only device and have never experienced any issues.

Can I borrow a vehicle interface from a friend?

Absolutely. Personal VersaTuner licenses are not locked to the hardware interface and you can use the same vehicle interface with multiple VersaTuner instances.

Supported Vehicle Interfaces

The following vehicle interfaces work well with VersaTuner and offer full functionality. Please note that the prices may have changed since the time of writing and can be different depending on your location.

OBDLink SX

Manufacturer: ScanTool.net
Cost: $49.95 (Amazon US , OBDLink.com )
Connection: USB

  • Easy to set up (usually no drivers needed)
  • High speed reflashing and data logging (up to ~170 parameters/second)
  • Lowest cost full-featured interface
  • Recommended for most users

OBDLink EX

Manufacturer: ScanTool.net
Cost: $59.95 (Amazon US , OBDLink.com )
Connection: USB

  • Identical setup and performance (in VersaTuner) as OBDLink SX
  • Has additional features useful in other software
  • Recommended if OBDLink SX is out of stock or if you need the extra features for other software

OBDLink LX

Manufacturer: ScanTool.net
Cost: $89.95 (Amazon US , OBDLink.com )
Connection: Bluetooth

  • Easy setup (no drivers needed)
  • Medium speed reflashing and data logging (up to ~80 requests/second)
  • Recommended for wireless data logging, but can also be used for reflashing

OBDLink MX+

Manufacturer: ScanTool.net
Cost: $139.95 (Amazon US , OBDLink.com )
Connection: Bluetooth

  • Identical setup and performance (in VersaTuner) as OBDLink LX
  • Has additional features useful in other software
  • Recommended if you need the extra features for other software

Tactrix OpenPort 2.0

Manufacturer: Tactrix
Cost: $169 (Tactrix.com )
Connection: USB

  • Full speed reflashing and data logging (200 parameters/second)
  • Implements J2534 PassThru specification and can be used with other software

Any other J2534 compatible vehicle interface

VersaTuner supports most vehicle interfaces that implement the SAE J2534 PassThru specification.

Tested and confirmed vehicle interfaces are:

  • Drewtech MongoosePro and Mongoose-Plus
  • VersaLink USB vehicle interface (bundled with VersaTuner Professional)

Non-compatible interfaces (DO NOT USE, RISK OF ECU BRICKING):

  • GODIAG GD101
  • Mini VCI

If you come across other vehicle interfaces that work with VersaTuner or ones that are supposed to work, but do not, contact us and we will test them and update this article.

A quick note on illegal clones

The most popular vehicle interfaces are often illegally cloned and manufactured. If you find a vehicle interface for sale at a price significantly below the official manufacturer's price, there is a big chance it is a counterfeit product. While some of them may work fine, others may not work at all or, even worse, stop working at the worst possible moment, such as in the middle of a reflash. We always recommend buying genuine products and supporting the hardware manufacturers.