We all know that a car is a useful machine to own. It gets you from place to place, day after day. You just feed it fuel, and that is about it. But then comes a day when your expensive machine starts to disobey and you are forced to invest more money to keep it rolling.
Professional automotive diagnostic scanners are the best thing when it comes to enhancing the efficiency of your beloved car. They are not hard to use, anyone who reads the instructions and gets acquainted with this device is ready to go, and they will save you a lot of time and frustration.
To make your choice a bit easier, we have reviewed some of the professional automotive diagnostic scanners.
|Model (link jumps to our review)||Image||Dimensions (inches)||Weight||Rating||Price*||Order Online|
|1. Autel Maxi Link ML619 OBD 2 Scanner Code Reader||7.3 x 10.2 x 3||1.95 pounds|
(361 Reviews reviews)
|$108.98||Buy on Amazon|
|2. Innova 3040e Diagnostic Code Reader||10.6 x 7.5 x 1.8||15.2 ounces|
(373 Reviews reviews)
|Price not available||Buy on Amazon|
|3. Launch CPR 129 OBD 2 Code Reader||5.9 x 1.2 x 2.4||1.65 pounds|
(265 Reviews reviews)
|$186.00||Buy on Amazon|
|4. BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool||2.2 x 1.9 x 1||8 ounces|
(12,389 Reviews reviews)
|$99.95||Buy on Amazon|
|5. OBD2 Scanner TT TOPDON ABS/SRS Scanner Universal||No products found.||9.8 x 5.4 x 3.2||1.5 pounds||No products found.|
(No products found. reviews)
|No products found.||No products found.|
Automotive Diagnostic Scanner is a scan tool that can give you a trouble code (or several of them), depending on the car faults. With the code, you can find out what is causing all the trouble and save yourself a trip to the mechanic every time your check engine light goes off.
OBD I is older diagnostic system but it was quite pricey and most mechanics were displeased with the lack of standardization when it comes to diagnostics of a car. If you’re interested you can learn more about these differences here.
We’ve compiled a hand-picked list of top 5 professional automotive diagnostic scanner of 2018. The list is based on our author’s objective review and combination of various opinions from users all over the world. Continue reading to see all of our reviews:
Autel is a well-known name when it comes to automotive diagnostic tools. This company is one of the leading manufacturers and distributors of professional tools used in auto diagnostics. With customers all over the world and affordable prices, this company offers expertise and security.
What sets Autel Maxi Link ML619, besides the famous manufacturer name, is the fact that its extensive vehicle coverage will surely not leave you hanging. This Autel device will work on almost any car brand or model that is made after 1996. List of car manufacturers that Autel Maxi Link ML619 works with is long but let us quickly go through it just in case you were wondering. From Citroen, Ford, Mercedes, Honda, Renault, Subaru, Land Rover, Kia, Volkswagen, Toyota, Chrysler, BMW, Fiat, Hyundai, GM, all the way to Mitsubishi, Volvo, Peugeot, Nissan, and Jaguar.
This particular device comes to us in a black and gray design, sturdy and dependable. It is made so that it can comfortably sit in your hand. With a screen and two main operative buttons, it is extremely easy to use. It connects to an OBD2 diagnostic post, as all OBD2 scanners do, that is located under the dashboard on the drivers left side.
With Autel Maxi Link ML619 you will be able to quickly diagnose all the problems and faults of your car, and perform OBD2 diagnostic tests. It provides live data reports and freeze frame data. The check light and ABS/SRS lights get turned off. You are able to read, store and playback live data stream, print data via pc, clear codes, reset monitors and warning lights.
Autel Maxi Link ML619 package contains the diagnostic scanner unit, of course, but besides that, you are provided with the main cable, USB cable, protective nylon case, 16GB micro SD card, quick reference guide and a user manual.
Even though Autel Maxi Link ML619 seems like it can do it all, this particular device has had some bad reviews and customer complaints, mostly regarding the support of the car brands, or to be more exact, the lack of it. So be sure to check if the device will work with the car you drive before you part with the money and make an actual purchase.
To sum it all up, Autel Maxi Link ML619 is a tool that does what is made to do. From basic diagnostic tests to live graph data, code diagnosis to a complete overview of the car’s system and sensors.
If you are looking for a dependable quality product, this might be it. Innova Electronic Corporation provides high quality equipment for automotive diagnostics from facilities in Canada and the United States. With a sizable team of certified auto repair technicians, Innova managed to establish an extensive database for testing and diagnosing over 3 million possible faults for any car, van, and SUV or hybrid vehicle. All Innova facilities are designed to use an optimal amount of energy and stream toward an even greater decrease in energy consumption year after year.
Regarding Innova 3040e diagnostic tool, this is one of the best in its field of work. With a smooth modern look and ergonomic design, this device weighs just eight ounces. Another great feature is the LCD colored screen, with powerful backlight and clarity. This colorful interface allows you to read or erase codes and perform other tasks with ease and speed.
The vehicle model support spreads to only a few brands, but it is well rounded and secure. Reading and erasing trouble codes is available for GM, Honda, Toyota, Chrysler and Ford vehicles while other tasks such as turning off a check engine light or resetting the oil service light can be done on any car made after 1996.
Live stream data is quite important in this line of products. With Innova 3040e, you will have access to your car’s performance as you drive. The device will provide you with information such as emission values, and detailed readings that seem too much for comprehension if you aren’t a car mechanic as engine coolant and fuel trim. You can capture the readings with freeze data option and read it later with greater attention, compare to other results and so on.
This car diagnostic tool from Innova comes with an excellent customer support program. Certified technicians are available to you six days a week for any troubles or questions you may have. Additionally, customer support is multilingual, and you get a full year warranty.
Downsides are that this software is not yet compactable with windows 10. Also, customers complained that the stock cable is quite short so an extension cord might be a good idea. As mentioned before, it works with only a few selected car brands and will not support all vehicles even though they are made after the OBD 2 system kicked in.
All in all, Innova 3040e is a good pick for the money, with a strong LCD screen, quick response time, precise readings and stunning looks, this piece of equipment will be put to good use whether you are an amateur or a professional car technician.
For those who are real car enthusiasts, this magnificent device is your pick. Launch Tech UK is one of the leading competitors in car equipment and diagnostic tools. Priding themselves on genuine products, safe delivery, and hard-working customer support, Launch Tech UK is the only official importer of their products. With secure payment and a wide range of vehicle diagnostic tools, Launch Tech UK has thirteen facilities in Europe, Asia, North and South America. Trough these facilities, Launch Tech UK cooperates with 400 different distributors.
The package comes with user’s manual, USB cable, OBD 2 cable and the main device, CPR 129. Launch CPR 129 has a great look. With black and red combination this diagnostic tool leaves a great first impression. It has a 4 inch TFT LCD true color screen, a fully personalized functions menu, LED status indicator and plenty other physical features that will please everyone’s eye.
We just have to mention that this diagnostics tool covers about 40 different car brands manufactured in Europe, Asia, and the USA.
Launch CPR 129 works diagnoses on four car systems – Engine, ABS, Transmission, and Airbag. You can use it to reset functions as steering angle reset, EPB and SAS reset. Record, save and play up to eight hours of live data. Run a number of diagnostic tests, and view the results in graph format. Reads and clears trouble codes, aids ECU clear the memories of previous settings after you have replaced the sensors of the steering wheel and works with new data in order to give accurate information and instructions. Run diagnostics as you drive and check if any fault codes appear during the ride.
The software is updatable, and by purchasing this product directly from Launch Tech, you get free lifetime updates. It operates on Windows XP, 7, 8, and 10, and updating is easy. After launching the update tool on your PC, you will be asked to type in the registration code and product serial number, which can be found on the back side of your scanner.
Now, for the downsides. Customers have complained about the updates since the software CD is not included in the package, you will have to download it in order to use the device. Also, it is not compactable with Mac. Since this scanner showed great results, counterfeits appeared on the market and Launch Tech received complaints about that too.
The verdict for Launch CPR 129 is a sure win-win situation. It has plenty features, high-end design, and solid build, it is both flexible and practical, making it a must-have diagnosis tool for all.
This particular item stands out of the crowd with its design. Made in the United States by Lemur Vehicle Monitors, this Blue Driver is a little helper to every driver. It is used around the globe by car enthusiasts, professional car technicians, and everyday drivers to ensure a smooth ride and a peace of mind.
What makes Blue Driver so special is the fact that it does not require any cables to function properly. It is wireless. With Blue Driver, your only task is to plug it into the OBD2 port under your dashboard, and from that point, all the work is done via phone, tablet or pc. Blue Driver connects to your device via Bluetooth connection, so cables are, luckily, not needed.
With Blue Driver, you can get enhanced diagnostics on all Volkswagen, Audi, Bentley, Toyota, Lexus, BMW, Nissan, Chrysler, Ford, GM and Honda brands. Blue Driver’s list of feature is excessive in length but let us mention some of the features that Blue Driver offers. Their repair database contains over 4,5 million fixes for trouble codes. You can obviously read, clear and save codes, but besides that, you can access the complete system of your car and get all the info that you need. It offers live data readings as mass air flow and fuel pressure while allowing you to export those live data information as a file. You can set up a maintenance schedule at a certain mileage or time period such as after six months or for example 5.000 miles. You can see all of the vehicle specifications like a model, trim level, body type, manufacturer, production seq. number, engine and fuel type, driveline type, vehicle type and class, brake system, restraint system.
So what would be the downsides of such an overwhelming device? For now, it does not support Windows phones. It gives fact readings, but Bluetooth connection drops rather easily. One of the things customers complained the most about is the fact that when your device goes into sleep mode or locks screen, all data is zeroed out, which is quite annoying, especially if you are tracking live data. There were also mentioned troubles when connecting to VW Golf and Volvos, so if you own one of those be sure to check the compatibility before making a purchase.
In conclusion, Blue Driver is an efficient tool, and it provides help when it is most wanted. It is wire free and compact. Despite some of the shortcomings its features and low price sets it among the top choices when it comes to automotive diagnostic tools.
No products found.
Ranked #5 by the editor
Amazon rating: No products found.
(based on No products found. reviews)
Next item on our list is TT Topdon. It is manufactured by Topdon, an up and coming company that works in diagnostic tools for automobiles, their design, development, and distribution worldwide. They are relatively new but are climbing up the charts with significant speed. Topdon tries to provide their customers with reliable products, focusing on their biggest strengths and passions – innovation, persistence, and quality. They strive for excellence and try to make new tools, launching one after the other with everyone being stronger, smarter and faster.
TT Topdon is not at all complicated, and a first timer can use it with ease. Connecting to your car is as it usually goes, via USB cable into the 16 pin data link that is located under the dashboard.
Package content is pretty much the same as the rest. It contains the main device, USB cable, user’s manual, tf card, and a tf card reader. List of its features is extensive. TT Topdon allows you to track live data in order to make sure that the vehicle is in tip-top condition, fuel system status, engine temperature, rpm and such. You can determine the cause of the terrifying “check engine light” and shut it down with a press of a button. It supports ABS and SRS configuration on almost 30 car brands, made after 2006, including Nissan, Toyota, Peugeot, Mazda, Seat, Skoda, VW, Chrysler, GM, Benz, Ford, Citroen, Mini, Porsche, Kia, Infiniti, Acura, BMW, and much more. TT Topdon also gives you the chance to use the device in Spanish, French, and English.
The design of TT Topdon is compact and elegant. It is made to be fully functional in one hand, all black with light blue edges. The software is also Topdons work of art, user-friendly and simple. It has seven buttons on the front side for navigation and a 2.8” TFT screen.
Some customers complained about the small screen being too poorly lit, some that customer support on the manufactures website is not as effective and responsive as it should be. Lastly, as it commonly happens with devices of this type, it doesn’t support all car brands that are listed in the supported list.
To conclude, TT Topdon is a valuable device to have for a good price. If you are running diagnostics on your car or strolling around car lots in search for a new ride, TT Topdon will be the assistant you need on your side.
The automotive industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. With USA, Japan, China, and Germany leading the way in numbers, they lead with technology and development of the car as we know it. A so-called smart car is made to work inside optimal conditions and maximum efficiency. With lower fuel consumption, fewer engine errors, better on board systems to keep its owner as pleased as he can be.
How do these diagnostic scanners work? Basically, a diagnostic scanner is an electronic tool that is used to diagnose or even reprogram some of the preset car modules.
They are pretty easy to use. Usually, these devices have a screen where you receive the trouble codes or just run a quick system check. They are connected with a cable or wirelessly to the cars OBD II port (onboard diagnostic, we’ll get into that a bit later) that is typically located under the dashboard on the left side of the driver’s seat.
The scan tool is connected to the cars DLC which is short for data link connector, and it gives you a trouble code or several of them, depending on the cars faults. Most of the information you’ll further need can be found on the internet. With the code, you can find out what is causing all the trouble and save yourself a trip to the mechanic every time your check engine light goes off.
So, at its simplest form, the check engine light, also know as MIL (Malfunction Indicator Light) turns on when somethnig is not as it should be. That’s the cars way of communicating with you in its own blinking way, and if it is on, the car is in need of repair. Best way to fing out what is the matter is to run a diagnostics test because it will pinpoint the problem.
The check engine light may be pointing to a simple problem that’s not burdensome, for example a loose gas cap. But perhaps, it could be the indication of a problem of greater consequence that could deprive your engine components. This light indicates that some of the sensors in the cars system is giving unexpected and faulty data to the computer. Finding out why your check engine light is on now can save you money and nervs in the long run.
With a diagnostic scanner, you can determine what the problem at hand is. So every time the car turns on a check engine light you can run a diagnostics test and see on your data reader what the issue is. Each number in the trouble code gives a clue about the cars fault. These trouble codes can be found on the internet, but usually, buyers get some sort of a booklet or instruction manual containing the code meanings when purchasing a device like this. Be aware there are thousands of trouble codes, for example, P0301 refers to the powertrain; P0171 would be a vacuum leak code, P0420 a problem with the catalytic converter and so on.
For starters let’s address the abbreviation OBD. As mentioned before, it stands for on-board diagnostics that allows the owner of the vehicle or a car technician to see the status of various systems that run inside the car.
The fundamental of all OBD systems is essentially the ECU (Electronic Control Unit) that works by using the information given by individual sensors. The present-day vehicle can handle hundreds of parameters, which can all be ascertained using the DLC (Diagnostic Link Connector) just by connecting your scan tool.
1. OBD I:
OBD I is the first of its kind. This system was developed in the 1980s. As these systems made before the late 1990’s didn’t have a lot in common, it was difficult running diagnostics on them as each car model demanded a specific scan tool that corresponds to the car model and year of the production of the vehicle. Even the trouble codes that OBD I scanner gave weren’t standardized, so if a certain code was assigned to a certain problem in a Volkswagen, it doesn’t mean that the same code points to the same problem in, for example, a Toyota.
Because such tools are quite pricey, people, but most mechanics were displeased with the lack of standardization when it comes to diagnostics of a car. It wasn’t until the end of the 1990’s that this system was abandoned for its successor, the OBD II.
2. OBD II:
With the 2000’s just around the corner, the Society of Automotive Engineers and International Standardization Organization issued a set of standards that put all cars under the same, so to say, diagnostic roof. Cars made after 1996 have sophisticated onboard computers that are in large, same from manufacturer to manufacturer giving the mechanics to detect and find troubles on different models with one diagnostics scanner in real time.
OBD II is the vehicle’s self-diagnostic system, an updated and standardized version of OBD I, it monitors mileage, emission, speed and other valuable data. It is upgradable and usable on different platforms such as tablets, smartphones, and laptops. OBD II scanners can be connected by Bluetooth or via USB, and it really is a greatly useful tool for car owners as is for auto mechanics.
A car that will forever be intact and work without any trouble doesn’t exist. However, using or better, owning a diagnostic scanner is without a doubt helpful. Having a device that can access the cars computer, give you all the information about the car’s system and its faults in real time, is more than handy. A car scanner will prove very valuable just because you will not have to take your car to the mechanic for simple problems that can be resolved right on your driveway or parking lot. Over time this tool will pay off for sure. Benefits of owning a diagnostic scanner are vast but let’s mention some of them.
Before you decide on buying a device like this, be aware that it will not do magic and fix problems by themselves. It doesn’t tell you how to fix it but simply provides information which you can further use to discover what seems to be the problem. What decides whether the scanner will work or not is the type of your car’s interface, not the model or brand. What do you need from a diagnostic scanner? Here are some features to guide you.
From this article, we have concluded that no matter which of our four top automotive diagnostic scanners you choose, each one will do what it is meant to. Whether it’s a budget pick or a pricier version, your car will be endlessly grateful. After reading more about auto diagnostic scanners, you will be able to choose one for yourself and make your life a lot easier. All of these devices can be seen in a professional car repair shops and also in cars of everyday people who just want to be more in touch with their transportation vehicle. It is up to you to decide what you want, what do you need, and how much are you willing to pay for it.
We hope this article brought you closer to jour decision, now all that is left to do is to wish you happy and successful shopping.
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