The best OBD2 scanners can turn off that ‘check engine’ light and help you avoid costly repairs.
Having one of the best Auto Scanner on hand can be critical when your car’s “check engine” light comes on. By tapping into the car’s control computer, an onboard diagnostics scanner can be a huge help. It can tell you the difference between a faulty $30 gas cap and a bad catalytic converter costing many times more.
OBD2 scanners also can provide insight into the deeper recesses of the vehicle’s engine, transmission and other vital components. Whether you’re going to visit your dealer’s auto service center or a third-party repair shop, you should be armed with us much information as possible so you don’t get taken advantage of.
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With this knowledge, those who are handy can often do many of the repairs themselves. Those who are not so handy are no longer at the mercy of disreputable repair shops looking to inflate the bill as much as possible.
We’ve tested dozens of OBD2 scanners and rated them based on features, size, warranty, setup, ease of use and – above all – value. These scanners can diagnose thousands of car problems, and they work on vehicles made since 1996. But all scanners are not created equal, with two general types of devices:
* Handheld OBD2 scanners come with their own screen and cable to plug into the car’s OBD port.
* Wireless OBD2 scanners connect via Bluetooth to a phone or tablet.
The good news is that whichever device type you choose, there are several high-performance OBD2 scanners that cost less than $100. In other words, having one of these devices is no longer a luxury you can’t afford, but something you need to have in your car.
What are the best OBD2 scanners?
Overall, the best OBD2 scanner is the Innova CarScan Pro 5210. It offers a relatively big color display and delivers a ton of useful data. The Innova provides code definitions to help you easily identify car problems, and the Repair Solutions2 app helps you get verified fixes and will give you the exact parts you need, recall info and more.
Ancel’s BD310 is another great Car Diagnostic Tool. It does double duty by providing a small but efficient cabled handheld scanner for nosing around under the hood that also can wirelessly receive OBD data to serve as an auxiliary gauge inside the cabin to display key engine parameters. It’s also quite affordable.