Cars comprise a myriad of components and sensors that work together. Vehicle owners and mechanics require tools that enable them to monitor the car's health without taking it apart. Consequently, all vehicles manufactured after 1996 have an inbuilt diagnostic system called the Onboard Diagnostics II (OBD2).
An OBD2 scanner allows the user to communicate with a car's advanced system and diagnose any faults. Since every vehicle uses the same platform, owners and mechanics have the freedom to choose a diagnostics scanner that fits their needs. If you want to figure out the best OBD2 scanner to buy, you need to understand the three types available on the market.
The 3 Types of OBD2 Scanners
1. Standard Code Readers
Primary code readers are the most affordable and easily accessible scanners available. They perform the most basic diagnostic operations that read the Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTC) from your vehicle. These devices will often have a small screen that gives you data about the car's health and performance.
You can search the web for the meaning of the information you get from these tools. The gadget gives you an option to clear any error code that you have fixed. Also, they come in both wireless and wired options.
2. Professional OBD2 Scan Tools
Professional OBD2 scan tools are fully equipped to interface with any vehicle and perform any number of diagnostic operations. The devices will have plenty of connectors, along with Engine Control Unit programming features and adaptations.
Moreover, a professional OBD2 scan tool is capable of saving data and displaying information using graphs. Hence, you can make comparisons and judgments about various performance metrics of your vehicle. Admittedly, the expert tools have hefty price tags.
3. DIY Scanners
These tools have more advanced features than the basic models, but they are pricier. Most of these auto scanners do not come with displays, and so you need to connect them to a phone or computer via Bluetooth to get your vehicle information.
The interface with an external device gives you more options, such as viewing live data for monitoring your car. This type of OBD2 scanner gives DIY mechanics a more capable tool for taking care of their car.
5 of the Best OBD2 Scanners
1. FIXD OBD2 Professional Bluetooth Scan Tool and Code Reader for iPhone and Android
- 📱 EASY-TO-USE OBD2 APP & CAR CODE READER - The FIXD car...
- 📱 FIND OUT WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOUR CAR - Even beginners can...
- 📱 SAVE MONEY & AVOID RIP-OFFS - Walk into the repair shop...
- 📱 FIXD WORKS WITH YOUR CAR - FIXD OBD2 reader is compatible...
- 📱 KNOW WHEN IT’S TIME FOR YOUR NEXT OIL CHANGE - FIXD is the...
The FIXD OBD2 Professional Bluetooth Scan Tool is one of the best OBD2 scanners because it has a perfect balance between features and price. Since the device lacks a display, you can connect it to your car, leave it there and use the iPhone or Android app to monitor your vehicle.
If you are an amateur automobile enthusiast, this Bluetooth OBD2 scanner will give you comparative information that you can understand quickly. You can prompt this scanner to give you real-time data, check the simplified trouble codes and clear notifications.
You can add settings that will schedule and remind you of maintenance times and if some parts require checking or replacing. Plus, if your engine light turns on, you will receive a message on your phone via the app.
2. Innova 3150RS OBD2 Scanner
- RepairSolutions2 App: Get verified fixes, the exact part required...
- Code Diagnose: Read and clear engine, braking and safety codes of...
- Live Data: See essential information about your vehicle in...
- Battery & Charging System Test: Check to see whether your battery...
- Oil Light Reset / Oil Level / Oil Life: Reset your oil...
The Innova 3150RS OBD2 Scanner is a battery-powered tool that excels at informing the car owner about various aspects of their vehicle. The product runs the Repair Solutions 2 app that can accurately detect a specific problem and advise you on the parts you need to replace.
Aside from tweaking settings that help you plan for maintenance schedules, the product also provides a repair report. If you buy this scanner, you will not have to pay for any subscription services to utilize all the inbuilt features. Thus, buying the Innova 3150 can end up saving you money in the long run.
Moreover, the color display works well to help you figure out which error codes require your immediate attention. The car scanner will provide live data, ABS and SRS diagnosis, battery test reports, charging system checks and your engine oil information.
3. BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro OBD2 Scan Tool for iPhone and Android
- Read and clear your Check Engine Light and all other vehicle...
- As easy to use as a code reader with all the capabilities of an...
- Officially licensed and certified for Apple and Android devices
- The BlueDriver App and BlueDriver Sensor work exclusively with...
- BlueDriver is the Professional OBD2 Diagnostic Scan Tool trusted...
When it comes to an affordable model, the BlueDriver Bluetooth OBD2 Scan Tool gives people with tight budgets an opportunity to get a professional code reader. The tool connects to your vehicle quickly regardless of the car manufacturer. Additionally, you can use your handset to view your testing report.
The company has compiled a comprehensive database of various problems and corresponding solutions. Thus, the BlueDriver is unsurpassed when it comes to giving you relevant fault codes and advising you on how to fix them through the advanced diagnostics feature.
4. Autel MaxiDiag MD808 Pro OBD2 Scanner
- MD808 PRO is upgrade version of MD802, covers more cars and more...
- Read and clear trouble codes, control and test BMS/Oil Reset/...
- Support oil service reset, battery registration and reset Diesel...
- Reset steering angle sensor (SAS) functionality, Turn off ECU...
- Relearn parking brake pad after replacement, Perform O2 monitor,...
The Autel MaxiDiag MD808 scan tool that places significant emphasis on providing users with a comprehensive gadget. The color display makes it easy to read and clear the errors. Plus, the touch screen will allow you to navigate through the simple interface.
Whether you want to check the ABS or ECU of your automobile, this gadget combines plenty of features available on high-end models. If you are a novice, the AUtel MaxiDiag will help you understand the various engine fault codes and other notifications.
5. ANCEL BD310 2in 1 Diagnostic OBD2 Scanner
- EXCLUSIVE DESIGN: The BD310 has two kinds of working mode,...
- HANDHELD MODE: With the handheld mode, it has the ability to read...
- BLUETOOTH WIRELESS MODE: When you transfer it to Bluetooth...
- MORE FEATURES: Provides advanced diagnostics, customization...
- READS CLEARS CODES: Reads and clears codes on most 1996 and newer...
The exclusive design of the ANCEL BD310 Diagnostic Scanner allows you to choose between the Bluetooth or handheld modes when using the gadget. Despite the compact size, the product can still scan numerous aspects such as ABS codes and inform you when the check engine light comes on.
The handheld mode includes a variety of features like live data monitoring, freeze frame and EVAP system tests. On the other hand, the Bluetooth wireless mode transforms your phone into an all-around information center. And, you can read and clear any notification through the app.
Things to Consider When Buying the Best OBD2 Scanner
1. Intended use
Before you start looking for the best OBD2 scanners, you need to figure out your needs. Although capped in functionality, a standard code reader can still provide any user with basic information about the car has. They work by giving you a code that you can use to determine the problem your vehicle is experiencing.
Alternatively, a more advanced scanner can interface with most automobiles because of the wide range of compatibility. Also, they come packed with features that increase your diagnostic capabilities. The additional functions include the following.
- Detecting and resetting ABS, airbags and other car systems.
- They provide definitions of the error codes so that you do not have to Google them.
- You can print the diagnostic reports.
- They allow you to view real-time information.
- You can save your data and retrieve the VIN number of your care.
Car enthusiasts will have different needs from a vehicle owner who wants to keep a close eye on their automobile. Your intended use for the device should help you in making a useful purchase. After all, you should know when to schedule a visit to the mechanic if you see the check engine light.
2. Upgrade support
If you buy a cheap OBD2 scanner tool for your car, you may need to get another model when you get a newer vehicle. Most manufacturers do not support their low-cost devices in terms of updates.
On the other hand, other companies charge clients for upgrading their software and hardware components so that they can interface with modern cars. Check with the manufacturer for the update support for the device you want.
3. Vehicle compatibility
Although OBD2 is in all vehicles these days, it is challenging for consumers to purchase simple scanners that can interface with their car. Look through the reviews of the tool you want to buy and check if there are specific mentions of your car's make and model. Alternatively, you can check with the manufacturer so that you do not get a device that you cannot use.
If you are a car owner, you might not need to spend much to get the diagnostic capabilities you require. However, people with automotive repair shops will need to figure out the price of a scanner that is capable of delivering a wide range of services on many different kinds of vehicles.
As such, it is beneficial to determine the cost of upgrading your unit and purchasing components and adapters for interfacing with newer vehicles. The right choice can save you money in the long run.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best OBD2 Scanner
1. What is the best OBD2 scanner?
The best OBD2 scanner is the FIXD OBD2 Professional Bluetooth Scan Tool and Code Reader for iPhone and Android. The gadget puts professional scanners in the hands of its users at an affordable price. Additionally, the company provides plenty of information to customers that they can use to avoid getting ripped off by shady mechanics.
2. Are all OBD2 scanners the same?
OBD2 scanners offer similar functionality to users, interfacing with the vehicle's computer system across the board. However, some gadgets may not be compatible with specific vehicle models. So, make sure to do your research before going to an auto parts store.
3. Is it worth buying an OBD2 scanner?
Buying the best OBD2 scanner will help you with determining your car's problems before going to a mechanic. You can avoid unnecessary expenses whenever you see your check engine light since it may not require fixing. Plus, some OBD2 scanners provide you with expert sensor data and access to professional mechanics to give you cost estimates for repairing the vehicle.