Best Professional Automotive Diagnostic Scanner | Top 5 Best Obd2 Scanner Reviews
In our day and age, cars, trucks and SUVs are all equipped with on-board computers that coordinate the entire processes and dictate everything that is happening under the hood. These computers are in charge of determining what function or feature does what, what action each component is doing, and more importantly, determine when a component has malfunctioned.
This is where automotive diagnostic scanners come in, promising to diagnose whenever a malfunction appears and to come up with the best solution to solve the problem that has caused the malfunction.
With so many odb2 scanners available on the market, it is only logical to assume that you want to choose the best professional automotive diagnostic scanner available out there. A good automotive scan tool is perfect not just for mechanics, but for every car owner who knows the basics of car troubleshooting.
Car diagnostics tools or odb2 (on board diagnostic level 2) scanners are electronic tools used to diagnose, interface with and more than often reprogram vehicle control modules. In simple terms, these devices refer to a vehicle’s self-diagnostic and reporting capability, offering the real-time status of various vehicle subsystems.
A Short History of Automotive Diagnostics Scanning Tools
On-board diagnostics, or obd2 scanners, is an advanced system that relies on computers and sensors that are available in your car to display vital information on how your vehicle is operating. In its earliest days, this system took the form of tachometers, cooling system gauges, oil pressure gauges and fuel level indicators.
All of these systems were used to assess a vehicle’s basic condition. Nowadays, OBD systems can tell you about everything from crankshaft and camshaft position to manifold pressure to ignition misfires.
Computerized ODB systems, or obd2 scanners, started to become important when Volkswagen decided to use them back in 1969. These early ODB versions were pretty basic and would only use an illuminated indicator whenever a malfunction would occur. However, they were not able to provide any useful diagnostic information and could not determine the actual nature of the problem.
Just after more than a decade, back in 1980, GM began to innovate with a computerized assembly line diagnostic link (or ALDL) that was able to read error codes. These new OBD2 systems and scanners use a digital communication port that relies a series diagnostic trouble codes, which identify the problem so it can be found and fixed quickly.
After another 11 years of waiting, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) decided to institute new rules and regulations that required every new automobile to have an OBD1 system in place. Although these initial systems weren’t standardized, things soon began to change.
Back in that time, every vehicle manufacturer and dealer used their own link protocol and connectors. However, since 1994 when the Society of Automotive Engineers decided to introduce a standardized connector, every vehicle needed to use an OBD2 instead of a random OBD system. The European Union followed by and in 1998 introduced standardized OBD2 regulations.
Top 5 Best OBD2 Scanner Reviews 2016 -2017
Now that you are accustomed with the history of OBD2 scanners, it is time to discover which are the best professional automotive diagnostic scanners you should use to diagnose your car’s issues. After looking at the 5 top OBD2 scanners available on the market at the moment, we will share with you some information on how to use one of these scanners.
With that said, here are the top 5 highest rated car diagnostic tools in 2017:
1. BlueDriver OBD2 Bluetooth Scan Tool
This is considered by many to be the best professional automotive diagnostic scanner on the market. The BlueDriver OBD2 Bluetooth Scan Tool comes with a wide range of useful features, including the ability to read and clear error codes, prepare repair reports and conduct a smog check that looks at your vehicle’s emissions to determine if there are any leakages or malfunctions. All of the checkups made with this scanning tool are sent to your mobile device via Bluetooth.
The diagnostic capabilities of the BlueDriver OBD2 seem nothing but endless. It is extremely good at deciphering error codes and determine if malfunctions exist. For example, it can check your car’s engine light, and based on the assessed results it provides you with viable solutions to the problem.
For instance, the BlueDriver was used back in 2012 on a Nissan Pathfinder that had the check engine light on. The scanner found that the problem was a fuel canister leak. What was quite amazing about this diagnosis is that it came with five different probable causes and an unbelievable number of thirteen common fixes to the problem. Once all the error codes have been read, you can clear them all at a touch of a button.
BlueDriver OBD2 Bluetooth Scan Tool is perfect for drivers who maintain their own cars and love to troubleshoot their vehicles at any times during the day and night. This car scanner allows you to diagnose any problems real time and fix it in no time at all. Moreover, it allows you to see which problems are more persistent than others and prioritize your tasks in order to solve those stringent issues.
With this tool, you can read vital vehicle information such as your vehicle’s VIN number, engine data, assembly location, and fuel consumption, just to name a few. If you want to go into detail, the BlueDriver OBD2 won’t disappoint either. This automotive scan tool can even give you your engine’s coolant temperature and provide you with other deep insights needed to assess your vehicle’s status.
Another great feature of the BlueDriver OBD2 Bluetooth Scan Tool is its ability to check your car’s emissions levels. This check is similar to the tests your car will run when it is subject to an official emission test.
Hence, you can detect any problems before going to an emission test.However, it is not all smooth sailing for BlueDriver. There are still several bugs that need to be solved, especially with the Bluetooth connectivity which is quite faulty sometimes.
Sometimes the Bluetooth simply decides to stop working, and no matter what you do it only comes back when it feels like it. Sometimes using this device is like playing the lottery. There is no doubt that this is quite disappointing, as one of the BlueDriver OBD2 scanner’s main selling points is that it is equipped with Bluetooth connectivity.
Another negative aspect of the BlueDriver is that it is not compatible with Windows phones. This is a product that should be compatible with all types of phones, and excluding Windows phones leaves a huge gap in the marketing process and sends a clear word of caution to potential customers.
Ultimately, this obd2 scanner might not work with all vehicles equipped with OBD2. Despite the manufacturer’s claim that it should work with all vehicles made after 1996, BlueDriver is not compatible with certain vehicles. Make sure you check its compatibility before acquiring it.
All in all, the BlueDriver OBD2 Bluetooth Scan Tool is an useful aide to your car diagnostics needs. If your car is compatible with it, its price tag of under $100 should not prevent you from buying it and from leveraging its vast range of features.
- Licensed by Apple and Android devices
- Huge database of over 4.3 million fixes from mechanics
- Check your emission levels prior to the emission test
- Good choice for compatible vehicles
- Not compatible with Windows phones
- Issues with Bluetooth connectivity
- High price tag
2. Innova 3040d Diagnostic Code Reader
This is another exceptional vehicle diagnostic scan tool that promises to exceed the wildest expectations in terms of reliability and utility. Even if this model is quite new on the market, having been available for less than a year to vehicle users, this handy little tool has a huge potential.
You can use the Innova 3040C diagnostic scan tool to check anything from engine lights to ABS codes, RPM, oxygen and engine temperature. It can also diagnose alternator or battery problems and read information involving engine coolant temperature and fuel trim. All of these readings are displayed on a handy 2.8” large TFT color screen that can easily display more than 20 pieces of information at a time.
One great aspect about the Innova 3040C is that you don’t have to worry about compatibility. This system is compatible with any mobile device and laptop.
However, it still has its own share of drawbacks. For starters, it is not compatible with Volkswagen cars. Moreover, it doesn’t work with certain cars built outside of North America. This means that if your vehicle was not built in US or Canada, the likelihood of this scanner working with your vehicle is quite low.
Overall, this modern scanner outshines its competition by offering a wide range of readings and by solving all the compatibility issues that are so prevalent for BlueDriver OBD2 or other OBD2 scanners. At just under $100, this is a great investment in your car’s health.
- Exceptional features
- High quality materials
- Large TFT screen
- Works just for vehicles built in NA and Asia
- Quite new on the market
3. Autel MaxiSYS MS906
The Autel MaxiSYS MS906 Wifi Automotive Diagnostic Scanner is a state-of-the-art system that takes your scanning to the next level. This automotive and diagnostic advanced system allows you to scan your vehicle for dozens of problems. You can use it on over 80 manufacturers, both foreign and domestic.
Autel MaxiSYS MS906 allows you to do much more than simply scan and diagnose for problems. You can use it to reprogram keys, reset several systems and even reprogram certain ECU settings. Being equipped with a gorgeous 8.0” LED touch screen, this device displays all errors and solutions in 1024x768p resolution. This leaves no doubt as to what you are reading and makes it easy for you to understand what you are dealing with.
Thanks to the built-in wifi, you can easily connect it to the internet and download updates. It comes with 32GB of memory, so you can store as much diagnostics information as needed. To make things even more interesting, this device comes with its own embedded battery, so you don’t need to drain your vehicle’s battery to use it.
Autel MaxiSYS MS906 is undoubtedly the most professional automotive diagnostic scanner and it’s used by many mechanics worldwide. We recommend it as the perfect automotive diagnostic tool.
- Built-in wi-fi- 32GB of memory included
- Embedded battery- Gorgeous 8.0” LED touch screen
- The most professional automotive diagnostic scanner
4. BAFX Products 34t5 Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool
BAFX Product OBD2 scanner is by far the most affordable auto scanner available on the market in 2017. At only under $50, this might seem the ideal choice for inexperienced users.
However, what makes this product quite unique is that it is powerful enough to be used even by mechanics. Despite doing just reading and despite being designed just for OBD2 systems, BAFX Product is a brilliant car diagnostics system that scans for a wide range of issues, including sensor codes and emission tests.
- Quite inexpensive
- Designed for just OBD2 systems
5. Donop Professional U480
The U480 from Donop rounds up the list by offering highly accurate readings. This device is used mainly for US and Asian-built vehicles. As it doesn’t need batteries to function, this simple diagnostics tool is a must-have OBD2 scanner for any vehicle owner from North America and Asia.
- Quite simple
- Very inexpensive
- Works just for cars made in US and Asia
How to Use an OBD2 Scanner
Now you have some knowledge on what automotive diagnostic scanners are the best out there. However, you also need to know how to use one of these devices. The good news is that using an auto code reader is quite simple and doesn’t require any mechanical knowledge.
OBD2 scanners are not built to fix problems, but to identify them and assess potential risks. Once problems have been pinpointed, a mechanic can fix them without having to waste precious time trying to figure out what is wrong with your car.
To use one of these modern devices, simply connect it to your vehicle’s data link connector (this is a triangular 16-pin connector similar to the old printer ports). Enter your vehicle information into the scanner, boot it up and then start searching for potential issues. Browse through the scanner’s menu and play with it in order to further understand how it works and to discover all of its features.
Buy the best professional automotive diagnostic scanner for your needs. Once you ensure that it is compatible with your car, do not hesitate to invest in your favorite obd2 scanner and discover how to stay on top of any emerging problems that might affect your vehicle.