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Which Obd Ii Scanner To Buy

Owning one of the best OBD-II scanners is essential in the current economic climate. Cost of living has risen dramatically in recent months, and the last thing you need is bill from the mechanic. Fortunately a good OBD-II scanner can diagnose your problems, and help you figure out whether you need to visit a professional.

which obd ii scanner to buy

On-board diagnostic (OBD) scanners plug directly into your car's access port, and give you a glimpse at what's going on in your car's computer. A good scanner can identify if your problem is trivial matter that takes a few minutes to fix, or if it's more serious. Saving you unnecessary trips to a mechanic, and stopping unscrupulous types from taking you for a ride.

OBD-II/EOBD scanners work on almost all passenger vehicles sold in the United States since 1996, in Canada since 1998, in the European Union since 2004, and in Australia, Mexico and New Zealand since 2006. (Here's how to find your car's OBD-II port (opens in new tab) on North American cars, and here's how to find your OBD-II/EOBD port worldwide (opens in new tab).)

Not all the best OBD-II scanners are created equal. There are two general types of devices, handhelds and wireless scanners, with fairly self-explanatory names. Whichever type you choose, there are several high-performance OBD-II scanners that cost less than $200. The best OBD-II scanners is no longer an unaffordable luxury, but something you need to have in your car.

The Innova 6100P is the kind of OBD-II scanner that can make any amateur mechanic feel like a professional. That's certainly how we felt during our testing, anyway. This crossover device can function as both a handheld unit, while also connecting to the Innova app, and offering up a great variety of diagnostic and predictive abilities.

The $140 Innova 6100P has all the features you would want from an amateur mechanic's OBD-II scanner. Its 2.8-inch color screen displays everything from live data to fault codes to a pre-inspection I/M readiness check. It even predicts when components might fail and what repairs and parts your car may need at any given time.

If you're looking for a Bluetooth OBD-II module that is capable and free of set-up drama, the Innova CarScan Mobile 1000 is the scanner for you. In fact we'd go so far as to say it's the most useful Bluetooth scanner we've tested, and the easiest to set up. Simply plug it in and load up Innova's pair of companion apps to get things going.

Like other Innova scanners, the CarScan Mobile 1000 is able to perform a large number of diagnostic functions, as well as the ability to describe the necessary parts and repairs you might not. What's more it's predictive software can give you an idea of which components might fail and when. If that wasn't enough the app also functions as a set of automotive gauges, with a variety of presentation options.

Despite that, the Topdon ArtiDiag500 is one of the most capable consumer-grade OBD-II scanners we've seen. It can monitor the brakes, airbags and battery, run an I/M pre-inspection test and also display and graph live car data. The Android-based unit has its own rechargeable battery and can update its own software, two things you don't often see on handheld scanners.

The Bosch OBD 1300 diagnostic scanner stands out by including cables to connect with pre-1996 Chrysler, Ford, GM and Toyota cars. It can get heavy once the 6-foot extension cable is attached, but the OBD 1300's small size hides its powerful range of abilities.

Unlike many handheld diagnostic scanners, the Bosch OBD 1300 doesn't get power from your car's OBD-II port. Instead, it uses AA batteries or your car's cigarette lighter to power its large color screen, which shows graphing data clearly.

The scanner's database holds details on 26 million repair suggestions. It can check the anti-lock brakes and air bags on most cars released from 1996 to 2013, monitor the charging system and battery and run a pre-inspection emissions test. You'll need to get the instruction manual from Bosch's website.

Foxwell's NT614 Elite diagnostic scanner squeezes a large color screen into a small, rugged horizontal case. It's powerful and can probe many car problems, but we wish it had a touchscreen and could run on battery power.

Two unique features stand out. Like a gaming keyboard, the Topdon ArtiDiag500 has programmable keys that can be set up to do different things with different makes of cars. It also has a microSD card slot for data storage. It may be the OBD-II scanner to have if you do a lot of work on cars from different manufacturers.

The ThinkCar ThinkDiag TKD01 is among the largest Bluetooth-based OBD-II automotive diagnostic scanners. It can show you extended fault codes or turn off the oil-change light, but be wary of the annual app-subscription plan.

The app can turn off the oil-change light, check tire pressure, airbags and brakes, and predict which systems will go south soon. However, it doesn't tell you which replacement parts or repairs might be needed.

Ancel's BD310 is just as good as a handheld scanner with a screen as it is when connected to a phone or tablet via Bluetooth. It can also augment the car's cockpit with a supplemental display of key engine parameters. Think of it as freedom-of-scanning choice.

Unlike most OBD-II scanners, Autel's AutoLink AL539 can check electrical connections with a built-in multimeter to uncover electrical shorts or burned-out cables. The device's lithium-ion battery powers it for checking fuses, the alternator's voltage or the gas gauge. Just note that the multimeter doesn't work when the AL539 is connected as an OBD scanner.

The price for this is a handheld scanner that can feel bulky and heavy. Its soft rubber bumpers and rugged design mean you don't have to baby the SK860, and it comes with a 58-inch cord and bright, 2.8-inch color display.

Its eight-button navigation scheme and icon-based interface are easier to use than budget scanners. The SK850 has a one-button I/M pre-inspection readiness check along with a green (no-fault codes), yellow (intermittent problems) and red (permanent-problem codes) LED scheme.

What you won't get are the manufacturer-specific codes and routines available on OBD-II scanners that costs many times more than the EDiag YA-101. This scanner has a color screen and a fairly intuitive interface, but it doesn't graph data and can't turn off the oil-change light. Nor can it suggest repairs or replacement parts.

The EDiag YA-101's 32-inch cable isn't enough to reach the engine bay. If you want to get under the hood while the scanner is plugged in, you'll need an extension cable. Nonetheless, this is a great way to get started with using OBD-II devices, and you'll get a lot of bang for the buck with this cheap but reliable scanner.

Handheld OBD-II scanners come with their own screen and cable to plug into the car's OBD port. Wireless OBD2II scanners plug into the port, but then connect via Bluetooth to a smartphone or tablet to display their findings.

Whichever type you choose, there are several high-performance OBD-II scanners that cost less than $200. A couple are less than $30. What's important to remember is that the best OBD-II scanners provide the right mix of size, weight and the ability to read your car's fault codes and live data. The most important criteria are:

There's a gas tank full of criteria used to determine which OBD scanner is the best one for you. The most important is whether you want one that connects with your phone or tablet's screen over Bluetooth or a handheld unit with its own display and cable.

Then, how about screen size for a handheld scanner? Get the biggest, brightest and easiest display to read that is icon based for easy changes. If you're clumsy, look at rugged scanners with rubber bumpers to absorb the shock of being dropped.

Finally, the price for these sophisticated devices is right on par with professional-level scanners that are available for under $100. That's barely an hour's labor for a qualified mechanic, making it a win-win purchase.

To test the best OBD2 scanners, I used my 2014 Audi A4 Allroad vehicle while it was in the garage or on the road over a period of several weeks. After connecting each scanner to my car's OBD-II port, I made sure they could report the car's vehicle identification number (VIN).

For the wireless scanners, I connected to my Apple iPad Pro, Microsoft Surface or Samsung Galaxy S9+ phone via a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection. The handheld scanners only needed to be plugged into the OBD-II port, which provides power.

Next, I measured the cord's length on the handheld scanners and the wireless range on the others. With the car running, I monitored the engine and other vital systems, and then disconnected the engine's oil temperature sensor.

Then I hit the road to see if the scanner could display operating data such as engine speed, timing and coolant temperature. I paid attention to whether the device reported the data as numbers, graphs or auto-style gauges.

In other words, if you need to do a Tire Pressure Monitoring System reset, the ThinkOBD 100 will not be of much help. For the specialized functions you will need a more advanced OBD-II scanner, like the ThinkDiag or the ThinkScan 660.

The ThinkDiag is one of the mid-tier models in the ThinkCar lineup. Unlike the ThinkOBD 100, the ThinkDiag is a dongle + app OBD-II scanner, which means you will need to use a smartphone or a tablet to access all the diagnostic information.

For instance, if you own a Lexus, you can purchase the Toyota/Lexus manufacturer subscription and the ThinkDiag will become a personalized OBD-II diagnostic scanner that looks for generic faults as well as other abnormalities that Lexus scans for in its vehicles.

In the market for a pre-owned vehicle? Bring your OBD-II scanner along when you go car-shopping. You can easily do a quick scan of the vehicle to see if there are any hidden problems that are not specified in the specs sheets. 041b061a72


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