Control electronics and computer chips, which have been essential components of automobiles for several decades, are just as important to the successful operation of a vehicle as any of its mechanical parts. Many of the mechanical systems found in a vehicle are managed by an increasingly complex network of electronic controls and sensors. [Citation needed] [Citation needed] This holds true regardless of whether we are discussing the engine and transmission, the safety features, the suspension, the brakes, and the emission controls, the accessories, or even the tires.
Having such a complex computer in your car is a double-edged sword because, unless you are a computer programmer, it is next to impossible to figure out what in the world is causing the dreaded “Check Engine” light to turn on. While this advanced system helps cars keep up with the rapid pace of technological advancement, having such a computer in your car is a mixed blessing. Enter an OBD2 scanner. It is essential to have this kind of car scanner in order to understand modern vehicles, as well as to maintain and repair them. DIY types or anyone who wants to know what’s happening inside their car — and possibly save a few bucks — can benefit from an OBD2 reader and a basic understanding of what to do about certain fault codes. DIY types can benefit from an OBD2 reader and a basic understanding of what to do about certain fault codes.
It is recommended that you include an OBD2 diagnostic scanner in your collection of tools; however, the process of selecting the appropriate scanner can be overwhelming. There are hundreds of different OBD2 scanner options available on the market today, and their prices can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. These scanners can be purchased in auto parts stores, discount stores, and on the outskirts of the internet. There are many that are of high quality, regardless of cost. Many are worthless and offer no genuine customer service or support.
This list is regularly updated to include a variety of OBD2 scanner tools suitable for a wide range of applications and purchasers. Continue reading for an overview of how scanners function, what they are capable of doing, our methodology for selecting them, key things to consider before purchasing, and some expert advice.
The cars can Pro offers professional-level functionality at an affordable price for consumers. This dedicated OBD2 scan tool is compatible with virtually all German, Japanese, and American-made vehicles manufactured after 1996 and sold in North America. It is able to interpret the vast majority of diagnostic trouble codes, also known as DTCs, that a vehicle may produce. It is not limited to merely scanning fundamental universal systems like the engine and emissions controls; rather, it is capable of scanning virtually every individual control module in the vehicle. This includes more recent innovations like tire-pressure monitors in newer vehicles. During a road test, it can perform a simulated smog inspection, evaluate the battery and alternator, and display live data regarding the operation of the engine, anti-lock braking, and other systems. It also displays “Freeze Frame” data, which is a snapshot of exactly what was going on in the vehicle at the time its control electronics triggered the trouble code in the first place. Faults are prioritized according to their level of severity. This automobile diagnostic tool is even able to forecast a DTC that is going to illuminate in the very near future.
Bidirectional control is a feature that distinguishes the CarScan Pro diagnostic scanner from the vast majority of OBD2 scan tools. This characteristic is also referred to as active testing. You’ll be able to test the functionality of various systems in your vehicle just like a technician at the dealership thanks to the CarScan Pro, which gives you the ability to issue commands to your vehicle. It is able to make adjustments that are permitted by the vehicle manufacturer in its control software, such as making minor adjustments to the speed at which the vehicle is idling, and it can disable certain modules in advance of mechanical repairs. One more feature that car enthusiasts who enjoy the early 1990s will appreciate is included in CarScan Pro: It is also capable of scanning OBD1 diagnostics in many vehicles manufactured before 1996 if the appropriate connection adapter is used.
This automobile scanner features a large screen that is clear and colorful, an easy-to-use user interface, quick-read LEDs that assist in the rapid classification of problems, and hotkeys that reduce the number of menus and selections that are necessary to reach the desired location. This OBD2 Bluetooth scanner is not only completely self-contained in a high-impact plastic case and comes with a detailed manual and round-the-clock support via phone and the web-based in the United States, but it also has the capability to connect wirelessly or wirelessly via Bluetooth to Apple or Android smartphones. The connection enables this car code reader to access a variety of data on the internet, such as repair tutorials, maintenance recommendations, and direct links to find parts. This functionality is made possible by the RepairSolutions2 app developed by Innova.
The Innova Car Scan Pro OBD2 tool, when taken as a whole, provides exceptional features on top of a strong foundation of functionality and support. It includes everything an auto enthusiast is likely to require at a price that is thousands of dollars less than that of professional OBD2 scan tools designed for dealerships.
BlueDriver establishes a connection to a vehicle’s OBD2 port and then connects to the BlueDriver app on a user’s smartphone through Bluetooth. This diagnostic scanner provides nearly all of the features that are accessible in higher-end dedicated devices at a price that is comparable to that of a fundamental dedicated corded OBD2 scanner.
BlueDriver, much like other so-called Bluetooth dongles, is able to read error codes and provide a description of the issue that is simple to comprehend, as opposed to providing an alphanumeric designation that requires you to look it up. Naturally, it is able to clear codes and show data from the Freeze Frame (a snapshot of what was happening in the vehicle when the fault code was triggered). The Bluetooth scanner is capable of simulating a smog check and displaying real-time operational data from the vehicle’s engine and chassis as the vehicle is driven. It can save or print reports describing problems, potential causes, and possible fixes.
BlueDriver stands out from the crowd of Bluetooth OBD2 scanners thanks to the fact that it offers these potential fixes. This dongle establishes a connection to Identifix, a database utilized by auto repair shops that contain millions of potential solutions and do not require a subscription, and ranks the possible issues that may have triggered the error code in the first place. It also provides a ranking of the possible repairs. In terms of saving time and possibly even money, we believe that this is a more effective first step than searching online for possible causes and solutions to the problem.
The graphics on the mobile app are simple, clean, and easy to process, and the package includes support from a US-based team that can be reached by phone, email, or live chat. When considering the cost of the scanner in conjunction with its capabilities and features, the BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro OBD2 scanner might be the best deal you can find.
This stunning OBD scanner was manufactured by the most successful automotive supplier in the world, which also happens to be one of the most well-established brands in the field of automotive electrics and diagnostics. If there is an OBD2 code reader that works on any given vehicle built in Asia, Europe, or North America within the last 25 years, this is it. Therefore, if you are looking for the best OBD scanner for vehicles manufactured by Audi, Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Lexus, Subaru, or Volkswagen, you should look no further than this particular model.
The ADS 625 is a handheld scanner kit that consists of a 10-inch tablet protected by a thick rubber case. However, this is just the beginning of the handheld scanner kit. A separate wireless Vehicle Connection Interface, about the size of a compact smartphone, that can also communicate with a personal computer, as well as a docking and charging station, are both included in the package. There is a built-in light and voltmeter on the OBD connection cable, and there is also an AC adapter in case you forget to put the ADS 625 back in the docking station.
This code reader enables full bidirectional control, which is the highest level of manipulation and calibration that can be achieved within the software controls of a manufacturer. It provides full-color OE wiring diagrams, locations of components and modules, fixes that have been confirmed, maintenance procedures, service bulletins, and access to Bosch Repair Source, which is a comprehensive service and repair information library. It has a front and rear camera with a resolution of 5 megapixels so that you can share photos or include them in vehicle scan reports. In addition to that, it features an analyzer for vehicle noise, vibration, and harshness, as well as a web browser that provides complete internet access. Last but not least, it comes with a lifetime warranty provided that you keep a diagnostic subscription active throughout the duration of the warranty.
You can put this diagnostic tool on your wish list if you think the cost is reasonable but it may still be too expensive for use with shade trees.
Roadshow hosted by J.P. Vettraino
FIXD is a scan tool with a twist that can be purchased at a reasonable price by anybody who has an interest in the care and maintenance of motor vehicles. This compact wireless OBD2 scanner dongle is designed to remain in the OBD2 port of a vehicle at all times, and it sends push notifications to the OBD app that corresponds to that app on an iOS or Android smartphone. It provides helpful comparison information and assists do-it-yourself novices in gaining a better understanding of how to properly care for vehicles.
Upon receiving a request from you, FIXD will perform an active scan of the diagnostic system of a vehicle, report any error codes in plain English, and clear them (permanently, if they’re reporting something as simple as a loose gas cap). FIXD is only capable of providing a limited amount of real-time data on the operation of the vehicle. Moreover, if the “Check Engine” light comes on, FIXD will automatically send a notification to your phone. This will allow you to find out what the error code is reporting and begin planning what steps to take next. FIXD also provides scheduled maintenance reminders for the particular make and model, in accordance with the recommendations of the manufacturer, and advises when it may be time to check worn items such as batteries, tires, and wiper blades. FIXD is available for iOS and Android.
After that, the company will make an attempt to sell you a monthly subscription to its FIXD Premium service, which begins at $8.99 per month. The Premium plan includes access to the Identifix database, which contains cost and repair estimates, as well as unlimited calls to a hotline that is staffed by ASE-certified mechanics. These individuals are able to offer guidance on how to complete a project themselves or offer a second viewpoint on an estimate provided by a service shop.
Even if you don’t upgrade your subscription, FIXD will still keep you informed about what’s going on inside your OBD2 vehicle and give you a trusted gauge to help you evaluate what a professional mechanic might be trying to tell you about it.
The more expensive OBD2 scanners made by Innova served as inspiration for the design of the car can Advisor OBD2 scanner. For the price of $100, you get a dedicated scan tool that has a lot of value packed into it for the price of a better Bluetooth or smartphone device.
The car can Advisor code reader is capable of performing all of the fundamental diagnostic tasks, including reading, interpreting, and erasing check engine light trouble codes; conducting battery tests and smog test evaluations; providing system diagnostics for ABS codes on the majority of vehicles; and capturing Freeze Frame data, which records what was occurring at the time an error code was triggered. When a vehicle is running, it displays a variety of Live Data, such as RPM, fluid temperatures, and data regarding the fuel injection system, all of which can assist in the diagnostic process.
The patented all-in-one screen on this OBD2 scanner is not only large but also very easy to read for the price. Everything is contained within a substantial and durable case. Access to the internet-connected Repair Solutions 2 app is included, in addition to the same level of support and comprehensive manual that are included with Innova’s more expensive scanners.
For a reasonable price, CarScan Advisor provides users with a dedicated OBD2 scanner that is dependable and simple to learn how to use. It is a good choice for hobbyists who buy and sell cars frequently, as well as for individuals whom friends seek out when they are in the market for a used vehicle. It is an excellent option for owners who intend to keep higher-mileage vehicles on the road indefinitely.
A company that is well-known throughout the world for manufacturing professional automotive diagnostic equipment and products that are in direct competition with those produced by Bosch is responsible for the construction of the MaxiDiag MD808 code reader. However, Autel also produces a line of OBD2 scan tools geared toward consumers, and the MaxiDiag MD808 is one of the products that stand out as a favorite among our staff.
The MD808 is comparable to our best overall pick, the Innova CarScan Pro, in that it offers features normally reserved for professionals at a price more appropriate for average consumers. This includes the reading of all essential OBD2 codes, the clearing and analyzing of features, and bidirectional control, which enables you to target which systems will be analyzed and disable or enable certain features built into the control programs of car builders.
The MD808 OBD2 scanner comes in a package that has a more rectangular shape, which some individuals may find more appealing. Additionally, the scanner’s hard plastic case is surrounded by a thick rubber grip that adds an additional layer of impact protection. The screen on this device is also narrower than the one on the CarScan Pro, and there are fewer keys overall. In order to operate, an additional layer of menus might be necessary.
Despite this, the MaxiDiag MD808 scan tool is a solid investment that won’t let you down. It includes everything that a car enthusiast could possibly require. It comes from a reputable company that has a long and successful history and is well-known for providing excellent customer service.
This compact OBD2 scanner adheres to industry standards in that it utilizes a cable to establish a connection to the OBD2 port of a vehicle. The Ancel BD310 provides the fundamental capabilities that should be present in any scan tool using only four buttons and a straightforward menu. Additionally, it comes with a convenient dash-vent attachment that allows for an easy and secure display while driving. Additionally, it is able to present a variety of live operating data, including temperatures, fuel use, spark advance, and other information while the vehicle is under load.
The BD310 scan tool becomes a hybrid device when it is paired with a smartphone using Bluetooth, at which point the user can switch between operating the device with Ancel’s app for either iOS or Android. Your smartphone’s ability to render graphics enables the BD to provide you with even more data, which can be viewed in a variety of formats, including gauges and graphs. It also has the ability to record familiar trip-computer functions such as the average speed, the amount of time, and the amount of fuel consumed. In a single piece of hardware, it combines the benefits that are exclusive to OBD2 scanners that are stand-alone and Bluetooth dongles.
Ancel is responsible for the production of a diverse range of automotive diagnostic equipment. The company’s BD310 OBD2 scanner has a tonne of helpful features and comes at an extremely affordable price.
Anself offers a peculiar assortment of hundreds of products, including telescopic back scratchers, inexpensive condenser microphones, 60-watt solar panels, and yoga balls sourced directly from China, amongst other things. One of them is the OBD2 to USB cable that it has.
Does it sound risky? Perhaps it is, but in exchange for your fourteen dollars, you will receive the following: A cable, an instruction manual, and a CD containing software that can transform your Windows laptop into an OBD2 scanner is included in the package. You can pick up chunks of useful information from the manual, despite the fact that it is not always easy to understand. At the very least, you should be able to use the cable to run more familiar applications like Torque Pro for PC on your laptop. This could potentially provide the majority of the functions that are expected from an OBD2 scan tool in addition to other capabilities.
The point can be made in two ways. To begin, products such as the Anself OBD2 to USB cable illustrate how the market for OBD2 scanners can sometimes resemble the Wild West. You have the option of purchasing a well-known brand in order to minimize risk, spend more money, and most likely obtain satisfactory results (including, with the right brands, good support). You could also take a chance and test out some of the extremely low-cost options that are available on the internet.
We are fairly confident that you would be able to get the Anself OBD2 to USB cable to work in order to read a significant number of the trouble codes that a vehicle’s check engine light generates, clear those codes, and perhaps even learn a little bit more about what’s going on inside the vehicle. There is a good chance that the results of failing won’t be catastrophic. It’s possible that the worst thing that can happen is that you just give up and take your car to the nearest auto parts store so they can read the code for free. Again.
Is the possible increase in value worth $14? Do you feel like you’ve been lucky today?
Analysis of the top OBD2 scanners available in the year 2023
The best OBD2 scanner on the market in general
CarScan Pro 5610
Everything that a serious do-it-yourselfer or car enthusiast is likely to require, including professional features, an easy interface, a genuine manual, and good support.
The most advanced Bluetooth OBD2 scanner for smartphones
Free OBD2 Scanner App for iOS and Android Devices
The same features as other dedicated scanners cost significantly more, including the ability to rank potential fixes, great smartphone graphics, and active support.
If money is no object or if you are a paid professional, this is the OBD2 scanner you should get.
Diagnostic Scanner ADS 625 Model 3920
Everything can be done with an OBD2 scanner. Included in this package are a PC interface dock, front and rear cameras, an NVH analyzer, a volt meter, wiring diagrams, the Bosch repair library, and an internet browser.
The most reliable OBD2 Bluetooth dongle that can be left installed at all times
App for iPhone and Android that can read car sensors and perform diagnostics
Solid basic scanner functions; when the check engine light flashes, it will send push notifications to your phone and explain the problem.
The most capable low-cost dedicated OBD2 scanner available
CarScan Advisor 5210 (model number)
Adapts its design from the all-around best scanner while remaining significantly more affordable. Strong base, user-friendly interface, substantial screen, and reliable support.
The finest candy-bar-styled high-end consumer-class OBD2 scanner currently available
MaxiDiag MD808 Pro
The same professional-grade features and functionality as the best overall product, but in a more compact and rectangular package. The screen is more constricted, and navigating it requires a little more effort.
The most advanced OBD2 scanner hybrid
BD310 is a Bluetooth and handheld OBD2 scanner with built-in antennas.
A simple and compact dedicated scanner that features a one-of-a-kind dash mount for Live Data. Bluetooth allows for connection to a phone app, which provides access to enhanced graphics and a larger database.
The best OBD2 scanner option is still available after exhausting all other possibilities
OBD2 Scanner Cable that Connects to Windows via USB
Included in the package is a software disc that, once installed, can transform your laptop into an OBD2 scanner. Should be able to read the codes and turn off the idiot lights.
OBD2 car scanners 101
Although the phrase “onboard diagnostics” may sound intimidating, the concept behind it is actually quite straightforward. It began in the 1990s when the United States government issued a mandate requiring that all vehicles beginning with the 1996 model year be equipped with a standard self-diagnostic system called OBD2 (which stands for onboard diagnostics, generation 2). The primary purpose of this mandate was to monitor emissions control systems. Since then, OBD2 has become increasingly sophisticated, and it now monitors an increasing number of systems; however, the procedure itself has not changed. When OBD2 detects a problem, it generates a fault or diagnostic trouble code and then illuminates a warning light on the instrument panel of the vehicle (often that ubiquitous check engine light).
Find out more about the best radar detectors for 2023 here.
The primary function of an ODB2 scan tool is to read and report on those error codes. It connects to the diagnostic block of the vehicle, which is also referred to as the OBD2 port. This port is a female connector in the shape of a trapezoid, and its location is specified in the owner’s manual. It is typically found under the dashboard or near the steering column. After that, it performs a scan of the OBD2 system in order to locate any faults or error codes.
In point of fact, those designations are codes, which are five-place alphanumeric identifiers. The error code P0420, for instance, indicates that the catalytic converter is not functioning as it should. The most basic OBD2 scanners still only report the error code; in order to understand what the P0420 error means, you will need to consult a reference manual or go online. However, in the year 2020, if you have the right OBD2 scanner, which will still be reasonably priced, it will tell you what the code definition is in English (or multiple languages), and you won’t need to look it up.
When you have an OBD2 scanner, navigating the complex world of onboard diagnostics is much simpler.
Even though the code should be able to be cleared by any OBD2 scanner, the check engine light will probably start blinking again within a few miles if the underlying issue that was generating the code has not been resolved. Experts estimate that there are upwards of 5,000 different codes currently in use, with that number continuing to grow. Roughly sixty percent of those check engine codes are what are known as generic or universal codes, which means they apply to every make and model of vehicle. Regardless of the vehicle brand or model, the code P0420 indicates that the catalytic converter is not functioning as it should. After that, there are several thousand more codes that are unique to the particular brand of vehicle (such as Chevy, Ford, or Toyota and only Chevy, Ford, or Toyota). A better OBD2 code reader will not only read the generic codes, but it will also read the manufacturer codes and explain those codes in English.
The information contained in your OBD2 system can be used for a great deal more if you have a good OBD2 scanner. Most will verify the vehicle identification number (VIN) and show you a “freeze frame,” which is a rundown of key data points in the vehicle at the precise moment the check engine light was activated, in order to assist you in determining what the source of the problem may be. The majority will be able to transmit “Live Data,” which refers to a potentially extensive list of data points including temperatures of fluids, engine speed and load, fuel injection and spark rate, sensor operation, and other information while the vehicle is operating. It is comparable to the complete set of gauges that the majority of car model types do not currently have, in addition to being an additional helpful diagnostic tool.
Many OBD2 scanners will perform a simulated smog test, checking the same things that a service shop will check before it signs off on a smog certificate. These scanners will also provide you with an idea of whether or not the vehicle will pass the real test in its current state. The battery, alternator, and anti-lock braking system (ABS) can all be analyzed with certain OBD2 scan tools. They will either save or print reports that contain possible causes as well as potential repairs. The most advanced ones are able to issue commands to a vehicle’s individual control modules and can even switch those modules on and off. They give you the ability to calibrate the tire pressure monitor system, also known as TPMS, and make precise adjustments that the control software of the vehicle allows the manufacturer to make.
A reliable OBD2 scan tool will enable you to evaluate the battery, alternator, and anti-lock brakes (ABS) system of a vehicle.
Although OBD2 scanners are now more affordable than ever, competition in the industry has made the supply side of the market more volatile than ever. Those who have gone through the process of searching for a mattress with great care will comprehend. There are a few major players who have established themselves, a number of newcomers, and a vast expanse of noise. Even the most reputable companies produce essentially identical scanners under different model names and with only minute cosmetic adjustments in order to sell their products through a wider variety of retail outlets (sometimes at different prices). It can be difficult to differentiate between things at times.
A good OBD2 scanner can pay for itself in a relatively short amount of time depending on where you live and what kind of vehicle you drive, even if it’s just through the savings in gas money and time that come from not having to make trips to the local auto parts store to get a free code read. OBD2 code readers do not have to be prohibitively expensive for a person to benefit from having one in their tool kit; however, it is highly recommended that they do.
The process that led to the creation of our list
On the list of the best OBD2 scanners, which can be found above, you’ll find everything from the least expensive way to check engine trouble codes on your vehicle to outstanding devices designed for car enthusiasts to full-professional mega scan tools that are probably priced too high. We looked at reports from various testing facilities and combed through customer ratings on various shopping websites. We interrogated (harassed) industry professionals, such as Luke Daley at Innova and Jim Fish at BlueDriver, and combined their insights with our own personal experiences.
Take into consideration the following suggestions before settling on an OBD2 code reader. Check out our expert advice below before you go ahead and click the “Confirm Order” button.
The best OBD2 scanner currently available is the Bosch ADS 625 Diagnostic Scan Tool, which can be purchased for a reasonable price.
Before you go out and buy an OBD2 scanner, there are two things you should be aware of.
- The primary reason for it is: What are your intentions with regard to using an OBD2 scan tool? You don’t need to spend a lot of money if all you want to do is find out what the check engine idiot light in the dash is telling you or if you want to independently evaluate what a repair shop is reporting and possibly turn the light off if it’s lit for something like a loose gas cap or a replaced EGR valve. You can get where you want to go, reliably and repeatedly, for somewhere in the range of $60 to $80. Even after the issue has been resolved, a fundamental OBD2 scanner will continue to be a useful tool if you or someone you know is interested in purchasing an affordable used vehicle.
On the other hand, if you are an automotive enthusiast, someone who does a lot of do-it-yourself projects, or a friend who people who aren’t into cars come to for advice, then it is most definitely worth spending more money. A wider range of manufacturer and model coverage is possible with more expensive scanners. An OBD2 code reader that is equipped with the appropriate features will assist you in gaining a deeper understanding of a vehicle’s control systems, diagnosing issues, and deciding which repairs are necessary. A more capable one can assist you in analyzing vehicle performance, increasing efficiency, and gaining a deeper comprehension of how a vehicle operates.
These days, consumer-priced scanners are capable of doing things that just a couple of years ago required a professional-grade scanner costing $5,000 to accomplish. The very best ones are of a quality that allows you to use them as a basis for getting started in the lucrative business of auto repair. However, sooner or later, you will most likely find that you require one of those high-priced professional-grade models.
If you only read and clear error codes occasionally, there is no need to spend a lot of money on an OBD2 scan tool. You can get away with reading and clearing the codes using a regular manual.
- Determine which type is right for you: There are essentially two different types of OBD2 scanners, and their prices range widely. The dedicated hand-held scan tool is a self-contained device that performs its function by plugging into the OBD2 port of the vehicle via a cable (which should ideally be long enough to reach from the interior of the vehicle to the engine bay). It is equipped with its own display screen, buttons, software, and computer chip.
The second variety is a Bluetooth OBD2 scanner, also referred to as a Bluetooth dongle by those in the industry. This type of adapter is typically a fairly small plastic device that plugs into the OBD2 port and then connects to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. It may also be referred to as an OBD2 adapter. It is responsible for wirelessly transmitting data from the OBD2 system of the vehicle to the phone, where the data is then processed and presented by the control app that was provided by the dongle manufacturer. When it comes to a Bluetooth OBD2 scanner, the software provided by the manufacturer is of the utmost importance.
If it wasn’t already clear, the most significant benefit of the Bluetooth device is its more affordable price. Why should you pay for a screen when your smartphone already has one? Your smartphone already has a computer chip. These components on your phone are used by a Bluetooth OBD2 code reader dongle. Both the screen and the chip on your phone are probably of a much higher quality than what is required for this task.
If the typical cost advantage of a Bluetooth OBD2 scanner seems like something that should be obvious to you, then you should think about the more nuanced issues. If you use the code reader frequently to diagnose problems with the check engine light or for extended periods of time, speed and simplicity are factors that are important to consider. Dedicated scanners are more efficient to use in important respects. You will never need to worry about the quality of the Bluetooth connection, the charge on your phone, or the strength of your Wi-Fi or cellular signal when you have a self-contained scanner (the typical Bluetooth OBD2 scanner relies on access to internet databases). While you are using it, you won’t have any incoming calls or notifications that disrupt your flow of work. A quality dedicated scanner is more resistant to damage caused by drops and other impacts than a smartphone, which are likely unavoidable. What could happen if your $1,000 phone were to fall into the engine bay and land on the transaxle case, or if it became wedged between a manifold and the engine block? A significant number of Bluetooth scanners will try to upsell you on an upgrade subscription, and certain apps will display advertisements.
A Bluetooth dongle for a smartphone is not as effective as a dedicated OBD2 scanner when it comes to scanning data from vehicles.
Because a good, dedicated OBD2 scan tool can be purchased for less than one hundred dollars, the decision is not as straightforward as it might at first appear to be. It most likely has something to do with the first thing you need to know before purchasing an OBD2 scanner, which is the primary reason you want to do so. And perhaps how frequently you intend to make use of it.
The vast majority of OBD2 scanners currently available on the market are compatible with the vast majority of automobiles manufactured after the model year 1996. This presumption of universal applicability, however, does not hold true in every case for a variety of obscure reasons (a few companies still build scanners for specific makes). It’s best to err on the side of caution, but the websites of most reputable manufacturers of scan tools feature application checkers. Once you have a good idea of the kind of scanner you want, check to see if it is compatible with the kinds of vehicles you intend to use on a regular basis. And if you intend to purchase a scanner that is Bluetooth-based, there is yet another potentially embarrassing mistake you could make. The control applications for the OBD2 dongle require a particular operating system on the mobile device, tablet, or personal computer that is going to be used to run the application. Some manufacturers only have apps available for Android or Apple devices, not for other operating systems, and certainly not for Windows-based hardware. Check to see if there is an app that is compatible with the device you are using.
One more cautionary note should be made regarding this matter. There are OBD2 scanners on the market, and some of them have features or commands that may not be compatible with all makes and models of vehicles. This is largely a result of the manner in which automobile manufacturers construct the control architecture or operating software for their vehicles. Some companies are simply pickier than others about who gets to see what and what they’ll let people see of their products. This is especially the case with scanners that allow bidirectional control or adjustments within the control software of the vehicle. As a general rule of thumb, the automakers in the United States typically provide the most access. Most restrictions are placed on higher-end European brands. Again, you might pick up some useful information by using the application checker on the websites of various manufacturers. You should also take a look at the user manual for the OBD2 scanner, which can frequently be found online.
An OBD2 scanner is a useful tool that can assist with diagnosing potential issues with a vehicle and facilitating the process of getting the vehicle repaired.
An OBD2 scanner’s primary function is to assist with diagnosing potential issues with a vehicle and then assisting with making necessary repairs to that vehicle. Once the repairs have been completed, it has the ability to reset certain parameters. Scanners with a greater capacity are able to make precise adjustments to certain vehicle systems. An OBD2 scanner is not a flash programmer, which is a device that can actually rewrite the control code that the carmaker has programmed into the vehicle in order to achieve different transmission shift points or more horsepower from the engine. Flash programmers are a thing, but they are an entirely different animal and typically specialize in programming for a single auto brand.
Last but not least, when it comes to OBD2 scanners, you should never undervalue the importance of receiving good product support. Even the most self-assured do-it-yourselfers are going to have questions about what the code reader could be telling them or about something that doesn’t appear to be functioning as it should be. In addition to the limitations mentioned in the list, the manufacturers of our best scanners should be able to provide responses to your questions in a timely manner and within a reasonable amount of time.
Software updates are included as part of the product support package. Maintaining up-to-date software for your OBD2 scanner is essential, as reputable manufacturers release new versions on a regular basis (at least once a year). The updates can typically be installed quickly and easily, either from a personal computer or wirelessly over the air.