Best Professional Automotive Diagnostic Scanner Reviews – Buying Guide Helpful (Jul. 2017)
We all love our cars for a reason; cars just make our lives simpler in terms of moving from one place to another. To most people like me, our cars are like our pets. The same way you may never want your pets to fall sick is the same way car owners would never like their cars to develop any faults. We all live a practical world and not and ideal world and so in one way or another, your car could somehow develop some faults here and there.
This is where the diagnostic scanners come in. If you desire to have a device to scan the faults, performance as well as the health of your vehicle comprehensively, then the best professional automotive diagnostic scanner is the ideal deal. In the market, there are a variety of professional diagnostic car scanners, such that deciding on the one that will give you the ultimate experience becomes quite a challenge.
Here is a review of the models which are most popular. Read on and get to know if the devices actually perform by the high expectations the manufacturer has set for them.
Factors to Look out for in a Professional Diagnostic auto Scanner
As is the norm with everything else, you can’t just buy a professional automotive diagnostic scanner without knowing what features to look out for and expect to get it right. If you do that then be prepared for disappointments. You need to have the features discussed below at your fingertips when buying a diagnostic scanner.
- Should have the capability to detect any faults in the systems of the car, for instance, the brake systems and airbags as well as resetting them. This can be indicated in the form of problem codes. The diagnostic auto scanner should have auto code reader capabilities.
- Data storage: The best diagnostic scanner should have a device that saves information from the car’s systems so that you can view it when there is a need.
- Capability to print: Having information in hard copy form is an advantage and so your scanner should send information to the printer to produce hard copies.
- Ability to show live data: An ideal scanner should display information about the performance of the car's systems on screen.
- Ease of use: A scanner that has a simple design makes it easy for you to use. Ease in installation as well as ease of viewing information on your car’s system makes it easy for you as a driver to monitor your car’s functionality.
- Affordability: There are simple professional diagnostic scanners which will only detect the problem and give you no additional information. We also have complex scanners which will show descriptions on the issue at hand. If you cannot afford to purchase your own, hiring or borrowing is also an option, either from a relative or friend or from the auto repair shop in the neighborhood.
- The feature of inspection and maintenance readiness: This is a very crucial feature especially in the US where your car has to pass emission inspection at various intervals successfully.
For What Purposes Do You Buy a Diagnostic Auto Scanner for Your Car?
When you purchase a second-hand car, no seller would be willing to tell you the shortcomings of the car, and I am so sure you would also be nervous about the ordeal you are likely to go through if you did not detect a fault before buying the car.
This is a situation where a professional diagnostic scanner comes in handy. With its aid, you will get to know the underlying faults and fix them to avoid greater problems from emerging. Trust me; this will save you some money. You can choose to fix the problem or better; you can seek professional expertise.
Owning a diagnostic car scanner is better compared to using that of the mechanics since they will always charge you every other time they run a diagnostic scan on your vehicle. The costs, when added up, will be more than what you would have paid to buy an automotive scan tool.
Functioning of a Diagnostic Scanner
For a diagnostic scanner to function effectively, you need to fix it by plugging it into your car’s data output port. Most of the cars, especially those which were manufactured from the year 1996 onwards, have a 16-pin which allows you to fix a diagnostic scanner. The ports are at a position close to the steering wheel. This lets you have control even at the comfort of the driver’s seat.
The automotive scanner will indicate whether you can confidently continue driving or whether there is any fault in any of your car’s systems. Plugging in the scanner to a computer will give you specific details on the problem your vehicle’s system could be having and an estimate of how much you will have to pay for the repairs. Fully armed with such information, you can make a decision on whether to tow your vehicle to the nearest auto shop or whether to save it for another day.
Most vehicles are advanced, such that if there is a fault with any of the systems of the car, a light flashes as a warning on the dashboard. This happens since there are computer systems which manage all the internal systems of the vehicle. The signals can appear from something as minor as a faulty gas cap to a serious issue like a faulty engine catalytic converter.
Faults a Car Diagnostic Scanner can detect
Each and every set of faults a diagnostic scanner can detect is identified by its own DTC. Here are the several problems:
These are the faults which deal with sensors of the carburetor, the exhaust as well as the intake of the engine. If a problem occurs relating to the sensor of mass air flow, the sensor of the oil temperature, the sensor of the fuel pressure as well as that of the oxygen sensor, one of these codes is used to label it.
These codes are of the second set. They show problems related to the combustion cylinders of the engine. The malfunction could be affecting the fuel injector, injection pump, position sensors, throttle or the combustion cylinders.
These are the third set of codes which detect issues relating to the ignition system as well as the engine output system. The common problems are associated with the ignition coils, timing chain, camshaft or the crankshaft.
These codes are in the fourth set, and they are concerned majorly with the exhaust system as well as control of the emissions. This includes faults such as the presence of water vapor within the catalytic converter, too much pressure than normal in the exhaust system and faulty control systems of the control systems. Overheating is also denoted by these codes.
This fifth set focuses on faults of the electrical system, for instance: a faulty fuse box, control system, cruise control, and the power steering.
Reviews of the Five Best Rated Professional Automotive Diagnostic Scanners 2016 -2017
Last update on 2017-08-15 at 22:09 PST - Details
* Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.
1. BlueDriver OBD2 Bluetooth Scan Tool
This device’s performance is epic. In addition to letting you read the DCTs and clear them, it will allow you to graph and log the data from the engine parameters. It will show you a list of possible causes of the fault and the variety of actions available at your disposal to help solve the problem.
This will give you confidence as you address the problem if you are afraid to make the inferences of the problem on your own. Also, for an experienced mechanic, it helps a great deal because he will not have to troubleshoot the likely causes of the problem.
This particular feature makes the device quite reliable to car owners as well as for mechanics. If you own a BMW car then unfortunately this device will let you down as it won’t work. It is also not compatible with Windows devices.
- Works well with Android as well as iOS tablets and handsets
- Saves data to a CSV file
- Shows advanced results for the faults detected in your vehicle, for instance by showing possible causes of certain faults as well as possible solutions to the faults
- Has enhanced codes which are specific for various faults in various systems of your vehicle
- Shows whether your vehicle is prepared for emission test or any other local smog
- Has a gauge whose purpose is to single out a data source
- The manufacturer from North America has a good reputation
- The BlueDriver scanner functions appropriately with Android phones as well as Android devices, and Apple iOS
- BlueDriver scanner has advanced codes which are distinct for the various systems of your vehicle. The advanced codes will help you to save on cash since you can get a report on how to fix the fault, or you can email the problem to the technician to get aid.
- Relatively cheap, considering its features and functional capabilities
- User-friendly since it is easy to utilize
- Can be unreliable especially when the Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connections are weak
- Not compatible with the BMW
- Does not support Windows devices
2. Veepeak OBD2 Scanner Automotive Diagnostic Scan Tool Code Reader
This automotive scan tool will easily give you quick access to diagnose problems with your car’s engine. It is compatible with all OBD2 compliant vehicles as well as light trucks. Despite its small size, it can still get you as much information as the big and costly car scanners. This device will perform the same job as those costly scanners at a very cheap price.
It can also be used in a broad range of vehicles meaning that you can buy one and use in all your cars if you have many cars in your garage. This Veepeak Scanner needs to batteries to operate and therefore you don’t need to worry about buying batteries after sometime. All you will be needed to do is just plugging it in and there you go.
The only let down with this diagnostic scanner is that it heats up quite faster and is not yet compartible with any iOS devices. This means that if you don’t have an android or Windows device then you might find it hard to use this device.
- The automotive scan tool will help you fix some faults before you decide to consult the mechanic as it can clearly read and at the same time clear manufacturer’s specific as well as generic Diagnostic Trouble Codes(DTCs) and at the same time switches off the check engine light
- The device is cost effective as it works in the same way as other costly car scanners
- The automotive scan tool is easy to use as it only has a single stand-alone unit which does not need an additional device like a computer, an Android or a Windows device to operate effectively
- The manufacturer offers a one-month money back guarantee
- Will help you save up on cash as it will detect some problems you can fix by yourself
- Ease of use as it comes in a one stand-unit which barely relies on other devices to operate
- Cost efficient and performs the same way as other expensive scanners
- Wide coverage on vehicles of many types
- Does not rely on batteries to power it as it has an OBD 2 cable attached to it
- Heats up over a very short period of time
3. BAFX Products 34t5 Bluetooth OBD11
This scanner is suitable for all vehicles, both light and heavy. Compared to its competitors, it shows better compatibility with all cars as it works well on all protocols. It can send automobile data if you link it via Bluetooth to your Android device. It will give you service for a longer time as it is durable. It can read more statistics compared to ordinary scanning devices.
The scanner has a compact design which makes it easy to install and to use. It is compatible with Android phones and tablets as well as Windows devices. The device gives a total pre-test for the emission system of your car.
One thing you will surely love about this particular diagnostic scanner is how fast it detects and indicates the faults in your car. We all love solving problems faster, right?
- This scanner device is appropriate for detecting diagnosis codes for faults in your car as well as indicating their meanings
- Compatible with Android and Windows devices with an additional app which you can pay for, or better, you can get it for free
- Reliable as it offers a wide range of functions, compared to its competitors
- Durable and can give you service for as long as your car stays
- Detects problems faster and so it will give you feedback which is better, and quickly so that you can act on it fast enough
- A fast detector and indicator of the faults your vehicle could be having. This will, in turn, help you to take fast action to prevent the situation from getting beyond what is manageable
- Easily compatible with Torque, the free app
- Ease of use as it is easy to set up and you can connect it to your device Android or Windows via Bluetooth
- There is no need to remove the scanner as it utilises low voltage energy
- Durability of the device
- Not compatible with Macintosh computer systems
- The device barely supports iOS devices as well as iPhones
- Utilizes Bluetooth devices only
4. Donop Professional U480
This is an ideal device for every other car owner. It easily diagnoses the problems in your car as well as their causes. It detects faults in the systems which are electronically controlled. You only need to connect it to your car using the diagnostic socket.
By reading the codes which indicate various problems you can easily identify and locate the causes of faults with the aid of a user manual which has been attached to the device. If you don’t want those scanners that need rocket science for someone to read and understand the results, the Donop U480 is such a diagnostic scanner.
What’s more, this device does not depend on battery power and so there will no cases of failing to get results because the batteries do not have power.
- Clearly shoows manufacturer and generic trouble codes indicating diagnosed faults
- The unit is stand-alone as its operation is not dependent on a computer or laptop for it to operate
- Automatically turns off the check engine light
- Easy to read as it displays the results clearly
- Compatible with OBD compliant vehicles. These ones are all vehicles that have been sold in the United States since 1996
- Supports Controller Area Network(CAN) as well as the OBD-2 protocols
- Quite accurate and reliable on its fault indicators as well as their causes
- Easy to use as it has one plug in
- It is a self-sufficient unit, and so you need to an additional device for it to function appropriately
- It is small and has a compact design which makes is portable and makes it perform a continuous DTC scan
- The device does not rely on batteries for power. Instead, it uses a detachable OBD 2 cable
- The post sale services offered by the manufacturers are not appealing to the customers
5. KOBRA Wireless OBD2 Car Code Reader Scan Tool
This automatic scan tool is the best-selling Wi-Fi car scanner. The manufacturer of the auto scanner had a good intention to help you save up some money by easing for you the process of diagnosing the fault that could be messing up your vehicle’s system.
We live a technological world and almost everyone has a mobile electric gadget like Android, Windows and iOS devices and this scanner is compatible with all of these devices.
It makes it easy to sort out some errors which do not need a mechanic’s attention. They are compatible with Android, Windows and iOS devices through a Wi-Fi connection. The KOBRA wireless OBD2 can be used in a variety of cars and this makes it easy to borrow one from a fellow motorist if you forgot to carry yours in case a car fault.
- Quite an effective and reliable OBD scanner. It has a variety of codes, probably more than 3000 which indicate various faults in your vehicle
- Compatible with all iOS, Android and Windows devices through a Wi-Fi connection
- Can work effectively with free apps while for others you have to pay for them
- The manufacturer offers a one year warranty for the device, and they also offer appealing customer service
- There is an upgraded version of the code reader scan tool with Wi-Fi OBD2 which is a scanner perfect to check the engine code reader
- Available at a pocket-friendly price
- Compatible with a wide range of cars with different models
- Compatible with Android, Windows and iOS devices
- User-friendly due to ease of use
- Difficult to connect and it also keeps disconnecting often
- After a very short time, the code reader gets heated up
From our review, the Donop professional U048 is the ideal automotive diagnostic scanner. It's compact and small size make it compatible and easy to use. Also, the fact that the device barely needs an external device for it to operate makes it ideal for every other car owner, considering the fact that not all car owners or mechanics have android, iOS or Windows devices.
It is a very reliable device which you can count on to give you accurate results on problems in your vehicle as well as the available solutions to the fault. You can also try out the other professional diagnostic scanners, gauge their performance and pick out the one that serves you best. Give us your feedback on which product you choose and the reason why.