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Carista Is The Best $20 Tool For Your Toyota Prius

When it comes to finding DIY scantools for your Prius, there are hundreds of options. I recently purchased the Carista OBD2 Adapter and I love it. Here is why.

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When it comes to OBD tools, good luck. Most people that want to get one jump on Amazon, may or may not look at reviews, find what is affordable and buy it.

This is the worst advice. Here is the thing, how are you as a consumer supposed to know what tool is right for you and your Prius? Unless you buy, use, and log data for how well they work, it can be hit or miss with what you get. I wanted to know the same things as many Prius owners do, so I did some research. Here is what I found out.

Most Connectors Are Rebranded Junk

Just hop on Amazon and type in bluetooth OBD2 adapter/connector. You will see the same picture of the same connector with loads of different names. They are all the same one. If you are wanting to just pick one that will connect with your car and you do not care about quality or functionality, pick one up. I personally am a little more skeptical, here is why.

cheapCheap OBD2 interface Toyota Prius

The Adapters Have Different Processing Capabilities

Each one of these adapters has different internals. If you want a list of what ones have different capabilities check out this story where a guy breaks into them and physically looks at the internal circuit boards with processors. They all vary widely. The main difference in being some have better hardware than others, but since they all look the same, you cannot really tell what you are getting unless you crack it open and look.

I think this really stinks that you just cannot get a straight answer when choosing one. That is where Carista comes in.

The Best For The Money Bluetooth Adapter For Toyota Prius

The reason I chose using the Carista Adapter, is that the reviews were so good on it. People loved the connection speed, the feel of the device, (not that it really matters) the packaging, the overall look, and the functionality of the device.

carista white box logo OBD2 adapterCarista white box logo OBD2 adapter

Many people also reported they felt that having the device really helped them understand what was going on with their Prius even if they were not sure what the codes meant, but just knowing that they could ask someone on the Prius group and provide data has been worth it.

The Carista App also allows users to turn on and off certain functions of the Prius as well, including that annoying beep you hear when backing up. You can change door lock settings, as well as a few other things. To get the full benefits of the Carista adapter and the app, you would want to pay the subscription fee of $20. This will get you more out of the app if you are a mechanic or even a DIY car repair enthusiast.

The Dr. Prius App And Carista

Many Prius owners have been using an app with their Carista called Dr. Prius. This app which is also a paid subscription of either $13 for a single use, or $30 for multiple users, allows you to see what is going on with your traction battery. It will also give you fault codes.

toyota prius traction battery dataToyota Prius traction battery data

The thing that is really cool is Dr. Prius has software that is built in that will allow you to have a diagnostic health check on he HV battery itself, you will have to have a paid subscription though. I look at it as a great tool to have to let you know the state of health in your traction battery, and that really is worth it.


Just beware of what you are buying when you are looking to get an OBD2 adapter for your Prius. Here is the link (again) to the one I bought off Amazon. I will do a more indepth review once I gather more data, and can use the subscription to the maximum potential. So for now, the cost and the quality make this adapter a total win in my book

I hope you enjoyed reading about OBD2 adapters and found this article useful. Be sure to check out my favorite 3rd gen accessory right now which is the Nimbus Phone Mount, found on Amazon.

Check out my other story Why the first generation Prius is better than either generation Nissan Leaf.

See you in the next story where I am discussing how to use understand Toyota Prius battery health using Dr. Prius App.

Also Watch New tech means more MPG from your Toyota Prius and Click to Subscribe to Torque News Youtube Channel for Daily Toyota Prius and Automotive News.

Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He is an automotive technology instructor at Columbia Basin College. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter is also an Adjunct Instructor of automotive technology at Columbia Basin College. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter.

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Russell (not verified)    September 11, 2019 - 9:05PM

I agree with Craig. I can monitor every detail of my Prius using a one time fee app for my phone and there is no annual fee. I think this is a sales pitch which should never be allowed when lower priced equally as good software is available.

Ventsi from Carista (not verified)    September 13, 2019 - 1:47AM

Thanks for the review Peter. Be sure to reach out to us in case you need any additional information about the Carista OBD2 adapter.

I just want to point out that the yearly Carista app subscription is actually $40, and not $20. You do get a free 1-month trial of all pro functionalities with the Carista adapter.

Russel, we actually specialize in diagnostics, customizations and service tools (TPMS registration, ABS inspection mode, etc.). For live data monitoring, we encourage you to look into other apps/solutions. The Carista OBD2 adapter actually works with numerous partner apps, so there is a good chance it works with the one you are using.

Raymond E Perron (not verified)    January 24, 2020 - 10:35AM

So... I followed your advice Peter and purchased the Carista OBD only to find out that my 2007 Prius is not supported. You talk about 1st Gen Prius and show lots of pics of 2007 Prius which led me to believe you were promoting a unit that would help me understand my Prius. Sorry I fell for your promotion without checking deeper. Oh well, you got your kickback, now just think of me when you drink your late☹️ Ray

Reply to Raymond (not verified)    January 24, 2020 - 11:22AM

Hey Ray! That product does work for 2007z I have used it on 2007 many times. I will think of you when I drink my hot cocoa but I’m not out promoting it. I’m just telling people what I have used that works. It does work.

frederick h svenson (not verified)    April 18, 2020 - 8:36AM

the one you have pictured in your story is a actually a very good adapter it work great on all vehicles using the torque pro app which is free or paid have used it over 6 years and it works well on 2001 Prius and will even clear the dreaded triangle.

JD (not verified)    April 23, 2020 - 5:22PM

Ray is correct. Carista OBD is fairly useless for a 2007 Prius. I tried it with Dr. Prius and Carista apps. 2007 is not supported and unable to customize anything, which is 80% the reason I bought it. Only good for current codes, emission check and battery test. Be mighty kind of you Peter to warn us of this fact before we throw away $33.

PS Doff (not verified)    December 27, 2021 - 7:17AM

There's a misconception in this article. OBD2 adapters do not contain processors. All processing is done by an external device such as a cell phone.
What the adapter does provide is a communication interface with the cars OBD system and a communication interface with an external computer via serial bus Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. It is not different in principle from the dongles used to connect wireless keyboards to computers.

Even a high quality adapter does not guarantee complete communication or reliable just believe information because that is performed by a computer program. There are many inexpensive computer programs that will do basic reporting there are fewer comprehensive programs that will do reporting of anything but the engine and possibly the transmission and some models. P
More comprehensive software packages cost more time, money, and effort to create and their developers expect to be compensated.

The problem with cheap adapters is that their circuitry is not completely ELM 327 compatible.but designed to circumvent the IP and licensing associated with ELM327. These are imperfect imitations.

The ELM 327 chipset is capable of bi-directional communication limited only by the capabilities of the software and the processor in the phone tablet or computer that utilizes it. Similar circuitry is used in professional diagnostic scanners however they may not use the same protocols for communicating with their adapters as the consumer Bluetooth and Wi-Fi adapters do.

MrMechanic (not verified)    February 3, 2023 - 8:25PM

I bought the $9 PanLong from AliExpress 8 years ago and have used it to diagnose for repairs on well over 500 vehicles. Prius, Chevy, Ford, BMW, etc. Seriously any OBDII port I've come across. I've even used it to re-program the ECU and remove the annoying back up beep on Prius gen2's with ELM327 command protocols.

I mostly use it to check if the seller of a vehicle has recently reset the Warning lights or Check Engine light. it's a guarantee there is something wrong if they have especially if you ask about recent issues and they say "it runs perfect, no problems"
lol, 90% of people selling their cars are trying to rip someone else off to unload their problems and I love being able to call them out on it and really lowball them if I still feel comfortable with the purchase and feel like I have an idea of what to expect anyway.

Just need it to be ELM327 compatible and you should be able to read/write to any OBDII port with whatever software you want or even from a terminal with AT commands.