OBDeleven: a great VAG-COM alternative
I’ve been blogging about Audis for over 10 years now – and two of my best performing blog posts have always been about VAG-COM mods (like my B6/B7 guide and TTRS guide)…there are so many awesome features you can unlock in these cars if you have the right tools.
The challenge, of course, that a proper VAG-COM cable runs $300-400 bucks, and frankly it’s not very easy to use.
I’ve known plenty of people who opted to just take their car to a local independent Audi/VW shop and pay their hourly rate (anywhere from $100-200/hour) for the shop to perform the coding updates for them rather than deal with spending that much money on a cable and trying to figure out on their own…
So when Voltas IT, the makers of the OBDeleven tool, reached out to me, I was certainly intrigued.
What is it?
The OBDeleven is a $100 dongle that plugs into your vehicles OBD2 port.
It can scan your car for fault codes (e.g. check engine lights, but also things that wouldn’t show a CEL but should still be addressed), perform coding and adaptation changs, and even has “one click” mods to do the majority of the things I had DIYs for on my blog.
For $100 this is the cheapest way to get VAG-COM mods done, and best of all you can reuse it on other cars, and the form factor is so much nicer than a traditional cable.
You can see some of the available mods in the screenshot above, and funny enough that “Rain Lights” image is actually of my old B7 A4 with oCarbon trim and is a photo I took – how crazy is that?
Regardless I noticed most of the mods you’d want to do like disable TPMS, change the navigation screen, auto up/down windows, changing the length of the coming home feature, and more.
Other mods can be unlocked in the PRO version but you’ll need to change the coding/values yourself, much like a VAG-COM cable.
How does it work?
It couldn’t be easier to use – simply pop the dongle in the OBD2 port, install the app on your Android or iOS phone, and then setup an account and password. It connects via Bluetooth so there is no need to connect an annoying cable or wires.
I plan to leave in my glovebox so that it’s always with me, whereas a traditional VAG-COM cable I’d need to carry a laptop with me at all times to utilize, something I have zero interest in doing…
This way, whether I’m on a hundred mile canyon cruise or merely going to the grocery store I can quickly identify a fault code, clear it, or determine if I need to stop driving for fear of engine damage.
Better yet, it has other handy features like monitoring battery life, emailing & storing logs so you have a history of fault codes, and much more.
If you do find any fault codes, the app gives you a great explanation of what it is, along with the fault code, so you can go to Google and search for others with similar problems and how to fix them.
For instance, the fault code above was due to my Euro RS4 steering wheel swap not being configured correctly, something that I was able to uncover in a Google search and remedy fairly easily.
You can even customize the photo and information on your car, so I plan to provide an export of all my logs to a future owner one day should I go to sell it.
What could be better?
My only gripe is that sometimes the phone locks before the scan completes and you have to start over, but something pretty easy to avoid if you just keep your phone active (and probably more of a complaint about the iPhone rather than the OBDeleven tool).
The other feature they plan to add soon is to have gauges so you can view things like oil temp and other performance data on your phone, which will be a nice feature to have for spirited driving.
Who is it for?
OBDeleven is supported by nearly every modern Audi/VW as well as Seat and Skodas with an OBD2 port, so it’s really for anyone who owns a VAG car and wants to take care of it.
Consider picking one of these up, or gifting one to a friend, if you want to have the ability to scan & clear codes anywhere you go, or you want to change the codes to unlock hidden features, retrofit a part, or just store information on your cars error code history.
This product will definitely be my default recommendation for people who want to do VAG-COM mods but either don’t want to spend the money or are intimidated by doing the coding themselves – it couldn’t be easier with OBDeleven.
A big thanks to Voltas IT for sending me a free product to review, but at the same time this is a no-brainer for $100 and something I’d buy with my own cash if I needed a second one.
If you’re interested in buying one, you can buy directly through OBDeleven.com or head to their Amazon Store where you can get it shipped on Amazon Prime in 1-2 days.
I have this and it’s great for my Audi and iroc z
I’ve been thinking about picking one for some time now, and this will probably cause me to go ahead and order it. I have been a big fan/supporter of VAG-Com for 15 years, but recently when we took deliver of my wife’s 2019 Q5, I found out that my $450 registered/official VAG-Com will not work with it, as I have to spend another $300 to upgrade to a new unit….and even if I upgrade, I can only use that VAG-Com on a total of 10 VINs before it reaches the limit and forces me to buy the pro version (which is $600). I”m out of money for VAG-Com at the moment, so I’ll try this device.
Ugh, that’s so annoying. For whatever reason I’ve been staying with the same era of Audi/VW for a while and using my old school ROSS-TECH cable the whole time…but even with both options on hand, the OBDeleven is much easier to use so will probably be my default unless I need to either make a lot of changes at once or have a really unusual issue. I’m an Apple guy so having to use a very old PC everytime I want to use the ROSSTECH is prohibitive on its own – I think that computer takes a good 10-15 min just to boot up, lol.
I owned a 2007 Audi A4 2.0T Quattro, I recently replaced the wiper stalk because the original didn’t have the reset to control the instrument cluster. I installed it but it’s not functioning, wipers work but can’t access the cluster menu from the wiper stalk. I bought obd11 because I think it’s a program issue? I’ve searched online for answers but to difficult to find any information. I called the Audi dealership they want me to bring the car for service but that’s too costly. Can you help or guide me to the right the direction?
Nick, do you have an opinion on whether you should go with the Pro version ($109 at ECS) or the standard version? I have 3 Audis and a few local Audi friends, so I won’t be using it to the degree that a shop would use it, but for a few extra bucks, it might be worth it?
Nick, do you know if OBDEleven allows me to register the battery information into the Audi electronics when I replace the battery in my 2010 Audi Q5? VCDS has that function, a Battery coding function, that you enter the battery maker and Amp Hour info so the charging electronics is reset to the new battery condition. Does OBD11 have that function. for the iOS version?
I’m not sure, but if you contact them they should be able to confirm!