Looking for the best OBD scanner for both U.S. and Japanese gas/diesel vehicles? You need an OBD2 scanner that supports JOBD protocols.
Either you and your family are driving a Toyota sedan, a Ford SUV or a GM light truck, I’ve got you covered.
First, let’s see what we have from the Editor’s Picks
- 1 Best OBD2 Scanners 2021 Comparison
- 2 What is an OBD2 JOBD scanner?
- 3 Why Is a Good OBD-II JOBD Scan Tool?
- 4 Best OBDII Scan Tools [for both U.S. and Japanese vehicles] Review
- 4.1 BAFX: OBD2 JOBD Bluetooth Code Reader (for iOS Devices)
- 4.2 BlueDriver: Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone & Android
- 4.3 FOXWELL NT301: Full OBD2 Scanner for any US and Japanese vehicle
- 4.4 ANCEL AD410: Enhanced OBD2 Code Reader for the U.S. and Japanese vehicles
- 4.5 Autel MaxiCOM MK808: Professional JOBD OBDII Scan Tool with Full-system diagnosis
- 5 LAUNCH CRP123: OBD2 JOBD scan tool with trans/ABS/airbag
- 6 What Are the Best OBD2 Scanner?
- 7 The Bottom Line
- 8 Types of OBD Scanners
- 9 The Best OBD Scanner Brands
- 10 OBD scan tools for specific vehicles
- 11 ABS, SRS, Transmission, or Bidirectional Scan Tool?
- 12 Other things to consider before buying an OBD2 scanner
- 13 The bottom line
Best OBD2 Scanners 2021 Comparison
|Editor's Pick||Best Cheap||Also Great|
Autel MaxiLink ML619
What is an OBD2 JOBD scanner?
Basically, all commercially available cars nowadays come equipped with onboard computers that monitor and collect data on the performance of a car’s various systems over time. For instance, Onboard Diagnostics 2 (OBD2) is a standardized system that computers in cars use for self-diagnostics and reporting.
So, the point of OBD2 technology is to give an industry-standard method for monitoring and checking car performance. Particularly, OBD-II systems work by monitoring sensor inputs and outputs and sending a “trouble code” if anything is out of place. Also, the OBD2 system in your car is the thing that turns on your “check engine” light when it detects something wrong or when it is time for routine maintenance. Therefore, it’s clearly an important system to keep an eye on.
To explain, OBD2 and JOBD systems monitor a large amount of data at each point in time, and an OBD2 scanner is a specialized device that is made specifically for plugging into and extracting data from OBD2 systems. Most important, an ODB2 scan tool can read and analyze diagnostic messages from the OBD2 system and helps with diagnosing car problems, among other things.
To begin with, standard OBD2 systems are equipped with a universal connection interface, which is normally found just under the steering wheel of your car. Above all, with the appropriate cables, your OBD2 JOBD code reader can plug directly into your car’s diagnostic systems no matter it is from the United States or Japanese manufacturers. Then, it reads/analyzes diagnostic messages to aid in the repair and return to service.
Why Is a Good OBD-II JOBD Scan Tool?
Firstly, having a good OBD-II JOBD scan tool can save you a lot of money on car repairs because you can fix almost any car, SUV, or light truck in your family.
Evidently, the main reason for this is that having your own way to check up on your car allows one to diagnose and potentially fix problems without having to take your vehicle into the shop. Secondly, a good tool for regular checking will help you stay ahead of future problems, which can extend the life of your vehicle.
Moreover, without an OBD-II code reader, it takes a lot of technical knowledge and skill to check your car’s different systems.
After all, the best OBD-II diagnostic tools take the technical knowledge out of diagnosing your car’s problems and relays that information in a simple to understand visual/graphical interface.
As a result, a good OBD2 code reader can be a lifesaver for emergency situations where taking your car into the shop is just not an option. For instance, say you are driving through a sparsely populated region and your check engine light comes on. Even if this happens, you can use your OBD2 code reader on the spot to diagnose and fix any problems right on the roadside.
Best OBDII Scan Tools [for both U.S. and Japanese vehicles] Review
Undeniably, without an OBD2 scanner, you may have to take your car into the shop to figure out what is wrong with it. However, this can take a large amount of time and money that you may not have. On the other hand, though, a good OBD2 scanner can help you distinguish between a broken catalytic converter or a blown gasket, all in-home and without getting your hands dirty.
The list of the best OBD2 scanners below will help guide you in finding the right tools to diagnose any problems with your cars, SUVs, or light trucks no matter they are the U.S. or Japanese original.
BAFX: OBD2 JOBD Bluetooth Code Reader (for iOS Devices)
The BAFX OBD2 Light Code Reader is a universal OBD2 code-reader designed with simplicity in mind. As a result, this small code reader measures only 5.6 x 3.1 x 2 inches and weighs 3.2 oz., and it is compatible with all US consumer cars manufactured after 1996. Not to mention, it also comes with a 2-year manufacturer warranty.
The utility of the BAFX is its smartphone compatibility, primarily. That is to say, the OBD2 code-reader can connect to your smart device via WIFI and relay important information regarding your car’ diagnostics. Therefore, you can read and clear diagnostic codes and self-diagnosis problems directly from your smart device.
Due to its simplicity and ease of use, the BAFX OBD2 Light Code Reader is a good purchase for those who do not know much about car maintenance, but still, want a method for diagnosing simple car problems. While it is not as powerful as the OBD2 scan tools you might find at your local dealer, the BAFX gives a great mix of simplicity/functionality all for a very affordable price.
- Smart device compatible
- Easy to set up
- Small and portable
- Works on all US manufactured cars after 1996
- Warranty replacement is reported to be prompt and easy
- Requires third-party app purchase ($10-$30)
- Cannot clear the anti-lock braking system (ABS) or airbags.
- In-app purchases for specific manufacturer specs
BlueDriver: Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone & Android
In essence, the BlueDriverOBD-II Scan Tool is a smartphone-compatible code reader and diagnostic tool for Android and iOS devices. Firstly, the small black cod-reader measures 2.2 x 1.9 x 1 inches and weighs a little over 2 oz. Plus, it works for all cars with an OBS-II port.
One of the most powerful BluetoothOBD-II code readers, the Blue Driver is simple to use the device with many of the capabilities of an expensive handheld scan tool. Essentially, the Enhanced diagnostics give you complete access to information normally used only by professional mechanics, including airbag sensors, anti-lock brakes, and climate control.
Perfect for the DIY car enthusiast, the BlueDriver continually provides free updates for new ODB-II specifications and manufacturer codes. Above all, the Bluetooth compatibility means that you can integrate the BlueDriver on all your devices.
- Advanced diagnostic tools for DIY maintenance
- Android & iOS compatible
- Free software updates
- Free app download
- More expensive
- Only compatible with the licensed app
- Users report slow data rates
FOXWELL NT301: Full OBD2 Scanner for any US and Japanese vehicle
The FOXWELL NT30 Professional OBD2 Scanner offers enhanced diagnostic tools in an easy to operate format. To start, the FOXWELL NT301 is compatible with all cars equipped with OBD-II sensors and contains manufacturer-specific codes for a number of US brands.
Firstly, the FOXWELL includes a one-click button for reading/clearing error codes and checking I/M readiness. Plus, the screen displays diagnostic information in graph format so you can monitor your engine performance over time, and you can also access your vehicle’s VIN info.
Also, if you want powerful diagnostic tools at an affordable price, the FOXWELL NT301 is for you. Notably, the ability to save diagnostic data lets you compare car performance before and after maintenance, which will help optimize engine efficiency. Not to mention, it even is the printer compatible if you want physical copies of diagnostic data.
- Enhanced diagnostic tools on many US manufacturers
- Regular software updates with new specs and error codes
- Multiple language support
- Only updates with Windows
- Screen resolution can be murky
- Software driver install can be frustrating
ANCEL AD410: Enhanced OBD2 Code Reader for the U.S. and Japanese vehicles
The ANCEL AD410 Enhanced OBD2 Code Reader is a nice handheld code reader for those who do a lot of their own work on cars. To clarify, the PDA sized orange and black code reader measures 9 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches and weighs 11.2 oz. Also, the ANCEL is compatible with all US manufactured cars model year 1996 and newer and supports all OBD-II protocols.
Firstly, the ANCEL contains a built-in OBD-II lookup library, and the LCD screen displays error code definitions in real-time. Moreover, the graphical UI is intuitive and has the main menu for switching between functions. Basically, this means that it doesn’t require any setup to use and the manufacturer also offers lifetime free software upgrades to fix bugs or add new parameters.
Overall, the ANCEL is a really good OBD2 code reader for car enthusiasts who want a bit more functionality. Because it can display real-time data from the ECU and oxygen sensors, it is useful for troubleshooting related to engine efficiency and vehicle emissions.
- Built-in lookup library displays error code definitions in real-time
- Language settings include English, French, German, Russian, and more.
- LCD display is bright and easy to read
- Graphical UI is intuitive
- Comes with free software upgrades for life
- LCD screen may be too small for some
- Software updates require Windows
Autel MaxiCOM MK808: Professional JOBD OBDII Scan Tool with Full-system diagnosis
First of all, the multifunctional Autel MaxiCOM MK 808 OBD-II Full-system diagnostic tool gives professional quality tools that are compatible with all OBD2 designed cars. Another key point, the MaxiCOM comes with a wide variety of tools for all OBD2 protocols, as well. The tablet-inspired design measures 15 x 13 x 4.5 inches, weighs just under 6 pounds, and the kit comes with the tablet, an OBS-II connector cable, and a DC power adaptor for charging.
In addition, the 7-inch touch screen offers ease of menu navigation and a large screen to read diagnostic data. Plus, the Autel MaxiCOM is compatible with all US manufactured cars post-1996 and EU manufactured cars model year 2000 or newer, and all OBD-II protocols are available.
For these reasons, the vast amount of diagnostic tools make the Autel MaxiCOM an ideal tool for car owners who want a professional OBD-II scan tool. In short, free and regular software updates ensure that your code-library stays up to date and that your diagnostic procedures are optimized for the make and model.
- 7-inch touchscreen is easy to read and use
- Superior diagnostic functions
- 12 months of free updates
- Expensive. Price is balanced with functionality
- Tablet requires separate charging.
- Tablet can get hot while running
LAUNCH CRP123: OBD2 JOBD scan tool with trans/ABS/airbag
The LAUNCH CRP123 is a powerful diagnostic tool that gives a great mix of advanced features and affordability. Interestingly, the flat tablet-like device measures 9.2 x 8 x 1.8 inches and has a 3.5-inch display screen in the center. Conveniently, it is specified to work with most mainstream vehicles in America, Europe, and Asia.
To start, the sophisticated onboard tools cover the gamut of the full 10 diagnostic modes and can report on data regarding O2 levels, emissions, ECU performance, and more. On top of it all, the LAUNCH can store, replay and export data streams to help with analysis.
Additionally, the manufacturer provides a 3-year warranty for repairs or replacement and is supported by free software updates from a dedicated team of engineers. Furthermore, the LAUNCH can send you diagnostic data directly to a PC for printing, as well.
- Great mix of price/features
- Easy to hold and operate
- Covers all OBDS-II protocols
- 3-year warranty included with purchase
- Smaller screen (3.5”) can be harder to read.
- Bulky design is awkward to hold
- Update process is complex and potentially frustrating
Launch CRP129: ABS SRS OBD scan tool with EPB SAS oil reset
Similar to the CRP123, the Launch CRP129 is a good mix of power and functionality for an affordable price. Primarily, the comprehensive diagnostic tools include all OBD2 protocols and are compatible with over 40 US-based and over 2,000 European based brands. Accordingly, the CRP129 is slightly smaller than the CRP123, measuring 5.9 x 1.2 x 2.4 inches and weighing 1.65 pounds.
Additionally, the small tool is useful for DIY diagnostics and compiles live data on engine performance, emissions, O2 levels, etc. Most importantly, it requires no setup to operate; you can just plug it in and get started. Further, a strong onboard processor allows for fast diagnostics with real-time graphing and freeze-frame capabilities.
- Smaller and easier to handle than the CRP123
- Excellent price/quality ratio
- Complete 10 mode OBD2 checker
- Free updates and tech support
- Update process can be buggy and frustrating
- Not as powerful as other comprehensive scan tools
- Some users report freezing or graphical glitches on startup
Vgate iCar Bluetooth 4.0: JOBD OBD2 Fault Code Reader for iOS/Android
The Vgate iCar Bluetooth Fault Code Reader provides almost any Bluetooth enabled device the hardware needed to read and clear diagnostic codes from your OBD2 system. Specifically, the Vgate measure 2.5 x 2.5 x 1 inches and weighs just under 2 oz. Also, it is compatible with most cars made in the past 20 years, which is a huge plus.
Similarly, the Vgate’s utility comes in its smartphone connectivity, for the most part. To clarify, the Vgate is compatible with both iOS and Android devices and comes with a set of instructions for setting up the device on your smart device. Above all, the auto-sleep/auto-wake function turns the device off when not in use which protects your battery from being drained.
Another key point, the Vgate is a good bet for people who want a single code reader that is compatible with all of their devices because it works with both iOS and Android devices. So, no matter what OS you run you can use it. Not to mention, it is small and nondescript, and the auto-sleep/auto-wake function means you can plug it in and forget about it, without worrying about your car battery.
- Compatible with iOS and Android, no need to be tied to one device
- Power saver feature saves car battery life
- 3-light LED display clearly indicates when the code reader is connected, idle, or running.
- 2-year warranty at purchase
- Requires third-party app purchase
- In-app purchases for some manufacturer specific codes
- Some users report connectivity issues with their phones
- Multitude of third-party software can cause compatibility issues
OBDLink LX: Bluetooth OBD-II JOBD Code Reader for Windows and Android
The OBDLink LX is a Bluetooth OBS-II code reader that is compatible with Windows devices, primarily. Therefore, the small device can be plugged right into your OBD-II port and can be left in without fear of draining your battery.
First of all, the OBDLink is compatible with all US manufactured cars past 1996, except hybrid and electric vehicles. Given that, the device comes with a 90-day money back guarantee and 3-year manufacturer warranty. Markedly, the OBDLink comes with free android app software. So, you don’t have to buy any third-party apps.
Generally, the OBDLink is good for those who need an easy way to check their car’s health that doesn’t require any technical knowledge. In short, the app interface is smooth, easy to navigate, and works on all Android devices.
- Smartphone compatibility
- Power saver feature does not drain the battery
- Security features prevent unauthorized access to data
- Free app software
- Not iOS compatible
- More expensive than other Bluetooth code readers.
- Slow performance on the app
Autel AL519: JOBD OBDll Scanner with Mode 6
The Autel AL519 OBD2 scan supports all OBD2 protocols and works on all US vehicles manufactured after 1996. The rectangular casing measure 7.8 x 4.2 x 1.5 inches and weighs a little over 1 ½ pound. Due to the size, checking/clearing codes is easy with the large screen and responsive buttons. And, the freeze-frame capabilities plot engine performance over time.
Another key point is a one-click interface, which automatically performs I/M readiness checks. Plus, brightly colored LED clearly display the results of emissions checks. In other words, you can read, store, and replay data. And, the device comes with multi-language functionality, which is a huge advantage.
- Sturdy design is tough and easy to hold
- One-click interface for I/M readiness checks
- Printer compatible
- Included connector cord is somewhat flimsy
- Software driver install on computer uses CD
What Are the Best OBD2 Scanner?
The answer to the ideal OBD2 scan tool will ultimately depend on your interests. However, here are a few recommendations to set a baseline, to begin with.
To sum up, with respect to simple Bluetooth compatible code-readers, you can’t beat the BAFX OBD Reader. Without doubt, the smartphone compatibility really takes the bulk of the technical know-how out of diagnosing car troubles and is very affordable. The two-year manufacturer warrant is also a nice addition to make buying stress-free. However, the sole drawback is the required third-party app purchase to interface with the device.
With this in mind, a decent mid-grade device for diagnostic needs is the BlueDriver Pro OBD-III scan tool. Like the BAFX, the BlueDriver is smartphone compatible and easy to set up and use for the technically inexperienced. That is to say, the BlueDriver offers a wider range of functions than the BAFX, and also does not require a third-party app purchase. In short, it is more expensive, but the extra cost is worth the features.
Lastly, if you are looking for an affordable comprehensive OBD2 diagnostic tool, then you cannot go wrong with the Autel MaxiLink. In short, it offers a great mixture of simplicity and functionality, all at a great price-to-quality ratio. Hence, the advanced diagnostic tools can be used for some non-OBD2 features and have extensive vehicle coverage. Similarly, the powerful graphing tool and constant software support make sure that you will always be prepared to do some diagnostic work.
The Bottom Line
Overall, picking the right OBD2 scanner involves choosing the right mix of simplicity, functionality, quality, and price. Surely, novices and those new to car maintenance would most likely benefit best from a simpler code reader that handles basic functions without getting too deep in the nitty-gritty technical details. On the other hand, those more experienced and knowledgeable about cars may opt for a more sophisticated diagnostic tool, so it can give precise details on system performance. Notwithstanding, this review of the 20 best OBD2 scanners of 2019 will help guide your purchase.
An OBD scanner is a tool that allows you to read the trouble codes on your car’s On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) system. It’s a tool that you plug into your car’s OBD interface to read the information from your car’s OBD system.
There are different types of cars for different OBD systems. Depending on your car, it will either have an OBD1 or OBD2 system. OBD1 was originally created to monitor basic car emissions and systems in the early 1990s.
Starting in 1991 OBD1 was the California standard but several models started implementing OBD1 in the 80s. OBD2 is an upgraded, standardized OBD system that was required to be used by all car manufacturers starting in the 1996 model year.
OBD scanners work by communicating with the computer system in your car to read any trouble or error codes that the diagnostic system displays. These trouble codes are triggered when the computer in your car detects that something is not functioning properly. To use an OBD scanner, you simply plug it into your OBD interface on your car, turn your key to power the scanner, and scan for any error codes in your diagnostic system.
To use an OBD scanner, you simply plug it into your OBD interface on your car, turn your key to power the scanner, and scan for any error codes in your diagnostic system.
Types of OBD Scanners
OBD1 Vs. OBD2 Scanner
As mentioned before, OBD1 and OBD2 are different types of diagnostic systems that essentially monitor the same functions in your car. OBD1 was used on car models between the late 1980s and 1995
This system was not standardized, so it varied between car manufactures, which means that it’s slightly different in each car. After 1995 however, OBD2 was implemented and required to be the same on all cars.
If your car was manufactured between 1980 and 1995, you’ll need an OBD1 scanner. If it was made in the 1996 model year or later, it will use an OBD2 scanner. Most people will need an OBD2 scanner so that’s what we’ll be covering in this article.
3 types of OBD2 scanner
There are 3 different types of OBD2 scanners: code readers, DIY scanners, and diagnostic tools. There are a few differences between them that you should be aware of before you decide which is best for you
Code readers are the most basic type of OBD2 scanner. They are low-cost and they simply read the Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) that are on your OBD2.
These codes are made up of a letter followed by four digits. To find out what the code means, you can look it up online.
DIY scanners are more advanced and offer you a more in-depth look at your car’s diagnostics. Some DIY scanners are traditional, corded scanners that you plug into your OBD2 interface.
Other DIY versions involve an adapter that you plug into the interface and then send information directly to an app on your phone. DIY scanners can read basic DTC codes as well as provide more detailed information like fuel usage, average speed, etc.
Diagnostic tools are more advanced OBD2 scanners, typically used by professional mechanics and serious car enthusiasts. They can read, graph and save a large variety of data from your vehicle.
They can monitor pretty much anything you would ever want in your vehicles diagnostic system and are pretty much universal to any vehicle. Although they are much more sophisticated, they also come with a much higher cost. Depending on your needs, this might be the best OBD2 scanner for you.
A Code Reader, a DIY Scanner, or a Professional Diagnostic Tool?
For the average car user, a Code Reader or DIY Scanner is going to be sufficient for your needs. Which OBD2 scanner you decide will depend on how much detail and information you want to get from your car.
If you just want to read your car’s OBD2 trouble codes, a Code Scanner will be perfect for you.
If you want some more detailed information and monitoring, a DIY Scanner is the best option. It allows you to get a deeper look into your car’s performance and can even help maintain your car’s health over the long term.
For professionals and hard-core car enthusiasts, who want to know every little detail about their vehicle’s operating systems, you’ll want a Diagnostic Tool. They deliver much more data and have the ability to graph and save information for multiple vehicles.
The Best OBD Scanner Brands
There are several different OBD scanner companies out there. They all have slightly different models and offer different tools for all price ranges. Some of the best brands are Autel, Actron, Ancel, Bluedriver, Foxwell, Innova, and Launch.
Autel is a worldwide leader in the diagnostic tools manufacturing and supply industries. They have been committed to providing high-quality diagnostic tools for many years and are a very well known brand in the OBD2 scanner world.
Actron is another very popular brand they provide OBD2 tools that are compatible with all vehicles that are OBD2 compliant.
Ancel is committed to creating high quality, affordable OBD products and tools worldwide paired with great customer service.
BlueDriver is another very popular brand that creates professional diagnostic tools at affordable prices. Their OBD2 app is especially popular.
Foxwell creates great OBD2 diagnostic tools at a professional level. They are definitely a leader in the automotive diagnostic industry.
Innova is another industry leader that offers high-quality products, innovative diagnostics, and exceptional customer service. They have been in the industry for over 15 years. Launch focuses on creating innovative, cost-effective solutions and diagnostic tools.
OBD scan tools for specific vehicles
BMW scan tool
There are many great OBD2 scan tools to help diagnose all of your BMW concerns. These tools are specifically designed to monitor your BMW’s specific systems and trouble codes. The FOXWELL NT510 BMW Diagnostic Tool and the MAOZUA V7.7 Creator C310+ BMW Code Reader are both great BMW scan tools.
The FOXWELL NT510 BMW Diagnostic Tool and the MAOZUA V7.7 Creator C310+ BMW Code Reader are both great BMW scan tools.
AUDI scan tool
While there are many scan tools that work with any vehicle, some are more suited to certain models than others. Audi scan tools can monitor the specific functions of Audi engines, transmissions, and can read live data.
The Xtool Vag401 Live Data Audi Scanner and
FORD scan tool
Getting a brand-specific scanner for your vehicle can help you perform better diagnostics and get accurate information. For Ford vehicles, you may want to consider a specific Ford scan tool to help monitor all of the proper systems and get the best data.
The INNOVA 3145 Ford Digital OBD1 Code Reader and the
VW scan tool
VW cars are very special cars that sometimes have special features on them. To make sure you can read and monitor all of its functions and features, you’ll want to make sure you get the right VW scan tool for your car.
XTOOL U281 and MAXSCAN VAG409.1 are good options for VW cars.
TOYOTA scan tool
Toyota is another popular top brand in the automotive industry. If you have a Toyota, getting a brand-specific scan tool will help you monitor your car’s unique systems and codes.
Autel MaxiLink ML619 CAN Toyota Diagnostic Tool and Foseal WIFI OBD2 Toyota Scan Tool for iOS & Android are both very good options.
GM scan tool
There are many GM scan tools available to help you diagnose any car troubles you may have. GM scan tools range from basic code readers to advanced professional diagnostic tools.
A GM scan tool will help you understand exactly what’s going on with your car. The Foxwell NT510 GM diagnostic tool and the iCarsoft i900 General Motors Diagnostic tool are good choices for Ford owners.
Heavy-duty truck scan tools
A heavy-duty truck may have slightly different diagnostic systems than regular cars, it’s a good idea to get an OBD scan tool that is specifically for them. These tools can give you more information about the engine, the diesel system, and emissions. The LAUNCH CReader HD Plus OBD2 Scanner for Diesel Trucks is a great choice.
OBD2 Bluetooth adapters for iOS, Android, Windows Devices
With the increasing use of smartphones, OBD2 scan tools have evolved to be able to deliver information straight to your cell phone with the help of a Bluetooth OBD2 adapter.
These are scan tools that plug into your car’s OBD interface and use Bluetooth technology to communicate all of the information to your device.
These adapters are a great low-cost option when compared to other scan tools. Also, they allow you to easily read the information instead of having to use a confusing scanner.
After you download an OBD scan tool app, most of which are free or have a small cost, you can easily perform as many diagnostics as you could with other scanner devices.
Some adapters and apps are only compatible with iOS or Android systems. If you have an Android device, you want to make sure that the OBD scan app you get is available for Android and vice versa with iOS.
For example, the BlueDriver app is a great free diagnostic tool for both iOS and Android. These are some of the best OBD2 scanner tools because they are easy to use and cost-effective.
The main question most people ask is if these Bluetooth adapters are as good as regular scanners. And the answer is yes, they are very good tools that can give you as much in-depth diagnostics as other wired scanners.
ABS, SRS, Transmission, or Bidirectional Scan Tool?
If you just want to monitor a specific part of your car, such as the ABS breaks or read the engine codes there are tools for that tool. ABS scan tools can read your car’s ABS system and give you information about the warning codes.
You can also get a specific SRS scan tool that monitors your airbag system. There are many tools that combine ABS and SRS into one scan tool.
There are also basic engine code readers to tell you what trouble codes are causing your check engine light to come one. This is handy if you only need to check the engine and nothing else or if you are a professional that needs to check a lot of engines. Transmission scan tools are also great if you just need to read the transmission error codes.
Finally, bidirectional scan tools are able to send and receive data between both your car and the tools. This is helpful because they can perform more advanced diagnostics and read and program your systems.
Buying the specific scan tool for a certain system can help save you money if you don’t need to spend a bunch of money on a complete diagnostic tool.
Other things to consider before buying an OBD2 scanner
The price of the OBD2 scanner you decide could vary drastically depending on which tool you need and ultimately want to buy. A basic Code Reader tool can be anywhere from under $100 to a few hundred dollars.
DIY scan tools usually cost around $10-$50 for the Bluetooth adapter and then the app is either free or has a minimal cost. Most paid apps are under $10, but some free apps have in-app purchases for more diagnostics that cost anywhere between $5-$50.
Professional diagnostic scan tools cost $300+ so if you want professional capabilities to be ready to spend big bucks.
Most OBD scan tools offer updates for their system, which is continually being improved. You’ll want to check if the scan tool you decide on has updates available, and if so if they are free or paid and for how long.
Most scan tools come with some kind of guarantee, but some are better than others. Typically, basic scanners have a 1-year warranty, but the best warranty is usually 3-years. That’s the industry standard.
Another factor to consider is the service that you’ll be receiving after the sale. Some brands offer additional tech support, communication, and even a refund policy.
+ Tech Support – You may need additional help using the scan tool or fixing any issues. Especially if you’re new to using OBD2 scan tools, having additional tech support could be a great help.
+ Communication – It’s also a good idea to check to see if it will be easy to communicate with the manufacturer or seller after you purchase the device. Do they have a customer service phone number or email address? Some companies even have a chat feature to let you chat directly with a specialist.
+ Refund policy – Some companies offer refund policies but not all of them so make sure to check on that before you purchase. Usually, they will have a 30-day money-back guarantee as to their refund policy, so make sure you keep that in mind.
The bottom line
The bottom line is that there are many OBD2 scanners available on the market today. But finding the best OBD2 scanner for you and your vehicle doesn’t have to be difficult.
Use this guide to help make sure that you get the right OBD scan tool to fit your budget, how much diagnostics you want to perform, and what type of scan tool you want to get.
In today’s touch and go world, it is unquestionably important to make sure your vehicle is in proper working conditions at all times. Conversely, without the right equipment and know-how, it can be hard to figure out how your car is performing. But, there are a wide variety of simple tools available to check your car’s performance and to do it from the comfort of your own home.