Home Reviews The PERFECT Home Diagnostic Tool? Carly OBD Reader Review Part 1 –...

The PERFECT Home Diagnostic Tool? Carly OBD Reader Review Part 1 – Code Scan


*Disclaimer: This is paid promotion*

*Use discount code ‘CarObsession’ to get 10% off until the end of February 2021 – please use this link: bit.ly/2XZZ9UF*

“Leo”, my Mk2 SEAT Leon Cupra has had a few electrical issues as of late, the main one being an airbag warning light, which has come on a few times, despite a wiring repair carried out last year. So, what better time to test Carly, the OBD reader, which I was sent to review?

What is Carly?

Carly is an OBD reader made by a company called, erm, Carly, in Germany. Although it’s a product that’s more popular with BMW owners, Carly is compatible with other brands, hence why I decided to give it a go on my SEAT.Carly OBD Reader
The company states that the product can also be used with VW, Skoda, Audi, Porsche, Mercedes, Toyota, Renault, and most other brands, so if you car has got an OBD2 port and is 2001 or newer, you should get some functionality out of the product.

Why should I buy Carly?

DIY OBD readers aren’t exactly hard to find, and there is a good choice, so why should you buy Carly? Well, it’s not a device that can just do code scanning; it can also carry out coding, used car checks, live data checks, and you can reset your service light. In fact, Carly has a handy little graphic on their website to show the differences.

Carly OBD Reader

Put your money where you OBD port is

Ok, so Carly’s device sounds pretty bulletproof in theory, but how much is it? Prices are subject to change, and they can vary per country. Currently in the UK the device is £64.90 and there is also a subscription cost, although it’s not mandatory. It is beneficial, though, as it does of course unlock more features. If you want a subscription that covers just one brand, it’s £2.42 per month and £6.17 per month to cover all brands.

Given the fact I felt I didn’t need the subscription for all brands, I selected the one just for SEAT. There was a pleasant surprise, though, because SEAT is part of the VAG, I also get access to VW, Skoda and Audi. You’ll need the app to work alongside the device, but that is free of charge and available to download from the App Store, or Google Play.

Go time

With the app installed and the device in the palm of my hand, it was time to get to work. Connecting Carly to the car was a simple three step process, which took no time at all. First you will need to plug the device in your car’s OBD port, which is usually located under the dash near the steering wheel.

Carly OBD Reader

Step two is simply turn you car’s engine on, and the third is to make sure your phone’s bluetooth is on. So far, so simple. In a matter of a few moments, the device was connected to my car and ready to rock and roll. Once at the landing page, you’ll have a few options to choose from, depending on what task you want to carry out.

Carly OBD Reader

For the purpose of this review, I carried out the device’s bread and butter function – a code scan. The scan was easy and pain-free to carry out, with results just seconds away. I was presented with five fault codes in total, one of which was of course for the airbag warning light. The app gives you option to clear the codes should you wish to do so, but the app records the history of them in case you need to refer back to them. This only applies if you have a subscription, though.

Carly OBD Reader

Initial verdict

It’s early days, and I’m yet to explore the full features of Carly, but so far, so good. The simplicity of the app is very positive and the lack of faff makes DIY diagnostics easy. At this stage there’s very little I can honestly grumble about. Having said that, I would like the option to be able to pay monthly instead of having to pay the year’s subscription upfront.

More reports to follow…

*Use discount code ‘CarObsession’ to get 10% off until the end of February 2021 – please use this link: bit.ly/2XZZ9UF*


  1. You really shouldn’t be promoting these people

    Do not get sucked in to buying unit, its rubbish unless you pay them an annual license fee.

    I bought the adaptor and paid for one years fee, despite claiming that you could reset the oil change counter it doesn’t, it takes you to a web page that suggests you buy a stand alone unit. I figured that I’d chalk it up to experience and threw the thing away.

    Imagine my surprise when 1 year later (having not used the unit for nearly a year) I was charged again for the software £73.99, I opened a support ticket and despite replying to their reply they just keeping sending me the same text time after time. Absolute rubbish support.

    To clarify at no time when I made the purchase (of the software) was I made aware that this was a recurring charge.

    Don’t get caught out by extremely dubious business practice from these people, there are much better and cheaper and more honnest options out there.

    • I got caught on the same problem. Damn.
      Most companies offer refund if the debit first goes out. not this company, they dont give a damn.

  2. Thank you for your comments.
    I’m reviewing the options for obd2 readers and I confess I felt a bit hectic when I read about the subscription.
    I felt suspicious just about the scam you just described.
    Again thank you

  3. Carly sucks. They auto charge your payment method for a so-called subscription then ‘hide’ behind small print they say was delivered and will not issue a refund. Foxwell scanner for BMW 335d performed the fuel system purge after filter change that Carly did not support. DONT BUY FROM CARLY.

  4. i wanted to buy today this carly thing, but i got a little bit suspicious when i read :By placing the order, I declare my consent to the GTC, the Data Privacy Policy, and the terms of cancellation. I expressly agree to the performance of the contract prior to the end of the cancellation period. I am aware that the right of cancellation will expire upon the start of the performance of the contract. I am aware that licenses such as the features and smart mechanic will be billed annually. The contract and the provision of the full version of the application will begin on the closing of the transaction…..
    it is clearly something dodgy out there.. thanks for the review, i changed my mind completely

    did you find something similar to this online? if yes, send me a link please

  5. Don’t be fooled – total con. Annual Subscription with zero value for money. Bimmercode would be cheaper to get a bit better functionality and no annual sub. No test period, and NO CANCELLATIONS. If their product was as good as they say it is, they would offer a refund if not suitable or trial basis. Does not code all modules (despite them saying it will, until you buy it) – if you need a new module fitted, this won’t code to your car. Don’t be their next victim…..

  6. I bought a Carley after watching it being used on LegitStreetCars thinking I could dump my VDCS and other scanners BUT…
    I have the following vehicles:
    Mercedes A Class, CLK, SLK, M Class
    Audit TT
    Chrysler Grand Voyager
    This product did not work satisfactorily for any of these vehicles. I raised 7 tickets through their inept system and not one of the issues was resolved.
    In the end they gave me a 25 Pound refund on the 110Pounds I spent – so I told them I wanted nothing further to do this this product and bought a iCarsoft CR Max which actually does what it says.
    Now I get a paypal deduction for 129Pounds because although I said I wanted nothing further to do with them it requires PayPal cancellation.

    Awful company with poor service.


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