The best car scanning tools are one of the best investments you can make, whether you have a professional mechanic, a car enthusiast who enjoys working on their vehicles, or someone who wants to avoid high diagnostic costs at your local dealer.
The best car scan tool doesn’t have to be expensive and can often be justified after just one use. You can diagnose various systems and functions of your car.
These functions include the airbag, engine, emissions, suspension, anti-lock braking system and several other parts, using an OBD (on-board diagnostics) code reader.
The current generation of OBD2 scanners is more affordable and capable than you might expect, whether you’re tired of hauling your car to the local parts store or want a tool that can give you more information.
We’ll cover everything you need to know to choose the best auto scan tools for your car in this in-depth guide to the best ones available:
The Autel MK808 is the ideal scanning tool for you if you are looking for one that can meet all your scanning needs.
In addition, 85 car makes and models are compatible with it, reading all engine, PCM, TCM, ABS and other codes. It also offers several useful features that show current data as you troubleshoot.
In addition, this Autel scanner provides thorough reports that inform you about the most likely cause of a problem.
It contains more than 25 maintenance buttons that make car repair easier. These features include oil resets, injector coding, bleeding, battery logging, and many others.
While this Autel scanner costs more than average for a tool used for home scanning, it offers more than makeup for a higher price.
Also included with the Autel MaxiCOM MK808 are a 1-year warranty and 24-hour customer service.
However, it costs less than $125 for annual updates so you can add new vehicles and get the latest troubleshooting instructions. But you can still use the same things you’ve been using all year without buying these updates.
Launch CRP129E OBD2 scan tool is also one of the best Automotive Scan tools on the market. It’s a cheaper variant of the Autel scanner we looked at earlier.
While it has many of the same capabilities, it is less compatible with a wider variety of cars. But that doesn’t mean it’s a deficiency. It supports over 57 different car manufacturers and over 10,000 different vehicle types.
In addition, it includes simultaneous live data tracking for up to 10 separate data sources. It has plenty of service options including oil reset tools, TPMS resets, battery voltage testing and steering angle calibration.
The Launch CRP129E offers free lifetime updates and supports nine different languages. Plus, after purchasing this scanner, you won’t have to spend any more money to keep it functioning with the most recent cars that arrive at the company.
Of course, this scanner can read the codes from the engine, TCM, PCM, ABS and any other system of your car. What sets this scanner apart from others is the comprehensive 5-year warranty that comes with it.
While the full features, free lifetime upgrades, and lower initial cost are wonderful, this is the last scanning gadget to buy.
This scanner from Bosch is an excellent choice if you want to save some money but still get a lot of functionality out of your scan tool.
With its compatibility with over 50 different car makes and models, this Bosch scanner can help you diagnose problems in almost any vehicle on the road today.
It is so versatile that it can read codes from your vehicle’s ABS, ECT, ECU and other systems. And because it’s designed to work with both OBDII and OBD1 protocols, you don’t have to worry about whether your vehicle uses one or the other.
You will see that this Bosch scanner has a large LCD display with detailed information about what is happening in your vehicle.
It also monitors your vehicle’s speed, RPM, fuel level, coolant temperature and more. This tool can perform diagnostic checks, check tire pressure, reset idle speed, calibrate the steering wheel and test the brakes.
All these functions are available through the user-friendly menu system. In addition, the Bosch scanner allows you to view your vehicle’s performance history graphs.
These graphs show how your vehicle’s performance has changed over time. This will help you determine when something has gone wrong with your car.
4. Actron CP9690 Elite OBD2 Car Scanner
Although we focused on OBD2 scanners for these studies, we know that older cars can carry codes. Before 1996 OBD1 was the norm and standardized OBD2 codes were required.
Both OBD1 codes for GM, Ford, Chrysler and Toyota vehicles are read by this scanner. From there, the codes of all newer OBD2 cars are read.
While this scanner may seem simple, don’t be fooled about its capabilities. In addition, this scan tool can display real-time data from more than 300 different sensors and inputs throughout your car, just like the better looking scan tools.
Plus, you can freeze frame data to take the extra time to collect all the data you need to effectively troubleshoot a car.
Next on our list of the best Automotive scan tools is the Blue Driver Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool. Why shouldn’t your scan tool follow the rest of the world and use mobile devices?
Although this OBD2 scanner may not look like much at first glance, when combined with its mobile app, it turns into a complete car diagnostic tool that can help you repair any vehicle.
Plus, it works flawlessly on both Apple and Android smartphones and tablets, but you’re out of luck if you have an old-fashioned device that can’t run the program.
This in-depth scan tool gives you your engine code and links you to a comprehensive database that automatically creates repair reports so you can repair your car.
Plus, they’re free to program, easy data storage and screenshot capabilities, and interaction capabilities are all provided by the BlueDriver.
6. ANCEL FX2000 Vehicle OBD2 Scanner:
The next best car scan tool on our list is the ANCEL FX2000 Vehicle ODB2 scanner. This tool is a little different from the others on our list.
It is a self-contained unit that plugs directly into your vehicle’s computer port. A USB cable is included, which makes it easier to connect it to your smartphone or tablet.
In addition to reading your vehicle’s codes, this scan tool also provides many other functions such as reading fuel injection settings, checking coolant levels, checking airbag status, and checking battery voltage.
Not only do you get a great discount on the scan tool up front, but they don’t ruin you later with free lifetime updates.
The Ancel FX2000 can only read basic engine codes for some cars made after 1996. However, it can still read codes for any vehicle with an OBD2 system. In addition, you cannot use live data streaming or other advanced features.
Our latest best car scan tool is the Autel MaxiScan pro OBD2 scan tool. It is one of the most popular OBD2 scanners available today. This scan tool has been around since 2002 and its popularity continues to grow.
This scan tool has a large LCD screen, making it easy to view and interpret the information displayed. Plus, it has a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery, so you can work without worrying about the power going out.
This scan tool gives you access to over 100 million lines of code, including over 50,000 error codes. In addition, this scan tool allows you to monitor multiple vehicles at the same time.
If you want to save money, the AutoMeter OBD 2 Scan Tool (Blue) is the way to go. This scan tool can read your vehicle’s codes, check coolant levels, check airbag status, and even check your battery voltage.
All these features make this scan tool one of the best automotive tools available today. This scan gives you access to over 100 million lines of code, including over 50,000 error codes, and allows you to monitor up to 5 vehicles simultaneously.
It also has a large screen, making it easy to view and interpret the data displayed.
Last on our list of the best automotive scan tools are the OBDeleven Pro Diagnostic scan tools. The OBDeleven Pro should be at the top of your selection for a scan tool if you drive an Audi, VW or other VAG (Volkswagen Auto Group) vehicle.
Regardless of your level of experience, using this Bluetooth-enabled scanner is superficial, despite its many advanced features.
This scan tool offers a wide range of features and is compatible with Android smartphones. In addition, the OBDeleven allows users to perform various diagnostic tests and access a wide range of vehicle DTCs.
In addition, the OBDeleven Pro will benefit tech-savvy consumers in validating repairs and relearning some automated vehicle functions.
Finally, we’ve rounded up the best auto-scan tools currently available. We hope our list helps you find the perfect auto scan tool for your needs.