This is of course the most common question for a new Volvo owner, and I’m going to limit this answer to 1999-2019 models supported by Vida 2014D ( Vida2014d can talk to all P1, P2 and P3 platforms, though some of the very late model engines and gearboxes are not specifically supported) – If you have a newer SPA / CMA platform Volvo you need Vdash from www.d5t5.com.
1st off, let me say there are some really good alternatives to VIDA / DiCE . Icarsoft’s hand helds are great, Autell stuff seems good and cheap and the expensive Bluetooth dongles (such as veepeak and Carly) can be really surprising! I have at least a Bluetooth dongle in all my cars for emergency resets. On p3 platforms the Bluetooth dongles are great starting point for code reading.
But nothing gets close to Vida!
What is VIDA? – The diagnostics software installed on a laptop that talks to the car.
What is DiCE? – Special cable Vida used to talk to the car (For alternatives like Mongoose and Vxdiag see below)
Where can I get the Vida software? – See the download links (feel free to have at it but keep in mind going this route we do not promise any tech support for. This is simply giving those tech savvy folks what they need. If you’re looking for help like that, head to the facebook owners group, or the forums.)
What sort of laptop do I need? – Well…
Vida 2014D is designed for Windows 7 Pro. 32 or 64bit is fine. It will not install on Windows 7 Home. Ideally a minimum of 4gb of ram and a solid state hard drive as Vida is a slow old beast.
Even when installing on Windows 7 Pro there are plenty of obstacles to getting and keeping a successful installation and all kinds of tweaks to getting it to run right. Installation failure is very common which is why we have Vida support groups on facebook and the forums website.
Vida CAN be installed on Windows 8 and Windows 10 or 11 but its really hard and plenty of issues down the line especially with the removal of internet explorer from windows 10 and 11, which Vida depends on. There are plenty of guides floating around the internet but it’s really beyond your average joe.
So, ok you only have a Windows 8,10 or 11 laptop or a Mac, what do you do? (Listed hardest to easiest)
- Dual boot your laptop with Windows 7 Pro.
- Figure out how to do a native install in windows 10 using one of the guides (such as this – not my work.)
- Use a Virtual machine to run Vida (See here – not my website!)
- Buy a windows 7 Pro laptop and install Vida.
- Use Boot&Go! bootable SSD drive. (See here)
- Buy a pre-setup laptop. (See here)
Do I need a DiCE ? is there an alternative ?
Technically any J2534 passthrough cable should work with Vida 2014D . Popular choices are of course DiCE Clones, VxDiag (VCXNano) and Mongoose pro.
For most people they will all do the same job for you in Vida 2014D. I’m actually a really big fan of the Mongoose Pro. For a quick code read, I tend to get that cable out rather than DiCE and its 200 million feet of cable. However DiCE has a lot of features that the others do not have. DiCE is a Toolkit, the others are a 10mm ratchet, but most people, just need the 10mm ratchet.
For a really detailed comparison of the cables see here
Why is Vida2014D “Sooooo much better than a Snapon code reader?”
Vida2014d isn’t Just a code reader, It has a full parts catalogue, Fault trace (where by there is guidance on the probable cause and resolution for a fault) , live data, it can perform calibrations, activate service modes, it has specifications (both mechanical and electrical) , removal and replacement procedures and is often bundled with the Electronic Wiring Diagrams and even more elements I haven’t mentioned. Not only that when looking at live data you can get a description of the data and (often) its expected readings…I.e. “what’s normal” .
Popular uses are of course forcing DPF regens, Gearbox adaption or oil counter reset. That sort of thing.
Many Volvo error codes send people on expensive wild goose chases because they do not have the context that goes with the Code. This is really popular for MAF error codes. The fault trace behind the code is almost always “The maf reading is wrong , but you need to look here and here for the cause” – ITS NEVER THE MAF! (ok it’s sometimes the MAF, but 9/10 times it’s a problem elsewhere).
If you have a supported model, for diagnostics and for reference there is no equivalent to Vida.
Can i Code in new modules and change the Car configuration and do software updates?
Short answer is no. Vida 2014d can do very little to change a cars behavior. Even things like changing the headlights to “off” when in off is only available on certain older models.
The Long answer is Yes but its a very complicated Yes. See here