New Tools

Best Auto Diagnostic Tool Reviews

Best Auto Diagnostic Tool

We have here the best auto diagnostic tool reviews so you can get the tool you need right now. Our reviews cover the essential features as well as the pros and cons so you can make the appropriate decision. We also have other information about car diagnostics to further assist you.


Auto Diagnostic Tools: Our Top Picks

Auto Diagnostic Tool NameQualityPriceRating
BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan ToolA+$$
Innova 3040c Diagnostic Code ReaderA+$$
BAFX Products 34t5 Bluetooth OBD II Scan ToolA+$
Autel MaxiSYS MS906 Wifi Automotive Diagnostic ScannerA-$$$$
FOXWELL Nt301 Obd2 Code ScannerA++$$

What are the Benefits of an Auto Diagnostic Tool?

  • An auto diagnostic tool lets you know what is wrong with your vehicle.
  • You have access to millions of proven solutions for your vehicle’s make.
  • Even if you don’t want to personally fix your vehicle, you have information that can help a mechanic.
  • You know what the problem is and how much it will really cost to have it repaired.
  • You can save money by learning to do the repair yourself.
  • An auto diagnostic tool can give you peace of mind, as you’ll know what the car’s problem is.

How to Use an Auto Diagnostic Tool

Auto diagnostic tools today are easy to operate. The tool is a compact device equipped with a screen, while some consist of a sensor and a downloadable app for your mobile. These tools have a cable which is used to link to your car’s OBD II port, which is usually located close to the dashboard.

Once the tool is connected, follow the onscreen instructions. The tool may be able to identify your vehicle automatically or you may be required to put information there. After the car has been identified, the tool goes to work and identifies the problems.

Here is a video showing what an auto diagnostic tool can do.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9-6dkjMmQ4

What Does OBD II Mean?

In 1996, every car manufacturer was mandated to match the OBD II (on board diagnostics version II) standard. OBD II consists of standards that a car’s computer interface has to meet. Prior to 1996, repair centers had to use different types of diagnostic tools, making repair difficult.

With the OBD II standard, mechanics and vehicle owners can buy any auto diagnostic tool and use it to troubleshoot problems. All diagnostic scanners support OBD II, though the other features vary.


How Does an Auto Diagnostic Tool Work?

Vehicles made after 1996 have computer systems that oversee most of the functions, including the fuel injection, transmission, ignition, and other components. Computer sensors go back and forth sending data to various modules, ensuring optimum performance.

The more powerful the computer is, the better your car performs overall. Because the sensors are all over your vehicle, the computer system can use that to determine if there is a problem somewhere. If there is an issue, the computer will notify you via the engine light, which will flash.

This is where an auto diagnostic tool comes into play.

  • If the engine light flashes, it means the car is receiving conflicting information from the sensors. While your vehicle may still be able to function, the flashing light indicates there is a problem.
  • A car diagnostics utility can perform a quick check of the system, and it can read the problem codes the car transmits. The tool reads the problem code and provides an explanation for what it is.
  • A solution to the problem will be provided so you will know if it is a minor issue or not.
  • If it is a minor issue you can repair it yourself, but if not, at least you’ll know what to tell the mechanic.

Buyer’s Tips

  • Comprehensive Vehicle Coverage: if you’re driving a North American car 1996 or newer, it will be included in the tool’s database. However, if you’re driving an imported car, read the product description to make sure there’s coverage for Asian and European vehicles.
  • Information on the screen must be easy to read.
  • Data must be provided in real time.
  • The tool must be able to check the alternator, battery, and other functions on your car.
  • Look for support for mobile devices if you’re interested in using your smartphone to assess the problem.

The 5 Best Auto Diagnostic Tool Reviews

Auto Diagnostic Tool NameQualityPriceRating
BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan ToolA+$$
Innova 3040c Diagnostic Code ReaderA+$$
BAFX Products 34t5 Bluetooth OBD II Scan ToolA+$
Autel MaxiSYS MS906 Wifi Automotive Diagnostic ScannerA-$$$$
FOXWELL Nt301 Obd2 Code ScannerA++$$

BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool

BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool-5be9f6807be23

The BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool sensor and the companion app work for the iOS and Android, giving you the power of a high-quality hand tool. You also get repair reports from a database of more than 4.3 million fixes. These fixes have been certified by technicians, so you’ll know what the problem is when the engine light flashes.

The repair report includes reported fixes, possible causes, code definition and more. You will also find information on popular models like Toyota and Chrysler, so your car is probably included here. For the best results, you should use the BlueDriver Sensor with the app for Android or the iOS. The sensor works with every vehicle from 1996 onwards with CAN and OBD II.

Pros

  • Officially licensed and certified for the iOS and Android
  • Easy to use
  • Works for a variety of vehicles

Cons

  • Focus is more on American cars than imported models

Check Price on Amazon


Innova 3040c Diagnostic Code Reader

Innova 3040c Diagnostic Code Reader-5be9f681e5875

The Innova 3040c Diagnostic Code Reader lets you use hotkeys for quicker access, and the screen makes it easy to read information. The 3040c is also easy enough for new DIY drivers while having features to match the needs of mechanics.

A button press lets you read and erase the check engine light codes, and it works on light trucks, SUVs, and cars, so there’s a good chance your vehicle is included here. The 3040c also lets you check a vehicle’s alternator and battery to help with your diagnostics.

You can also use this device to check for anti-braking problems on 1996 and newer models including those from GM, Ford, Honda and Toyota. Data is streamed live so you get precise results.

Pros

  • Works on all 1996+ models foreign and domestic
  • Data is displayed in real-time
  • Provides accurate fixes

Cons

  • Has more details for American cars than Asian and European models

Check Price on Amazon


BAFX Products 34t5 Bluetooth OBD II Scan Tool

BAFX Products 34t5 Bluetooth OBD II Scan Tool-5be9f683bc3ef

The BAFX Products 34t5 Bluetooth OBD II Scan Tool is compatible with every vehicle made in the US from 1996 onwards, so if you’re driving a US car, it’s likely to be supported. It is easy to connect with a Windows PC or Android mobile device. Once it’s set up, you’ll be able to read the diagnostic trouble codes and apply the solution.

The 34t5 provides information on the manufacturer and generic codes, so it’s easy to find the fix you’re looking for. Sensor data is transmitted in real time over your mobile and covers a wide range of troubleshooting fixes. The 34t5 has Bluetooth support for increased flexibility, and you get support for O2 readings, RPM, EOT and you can even use this for pre-emissions testing.

Pros

  • Easy to set up
  • Sensor information is presented in real time
  • Compatible with Android devices

Cons

  • Not compatible with iOS devices

Check Price on Amazon


Autel MaxiSYS MS906 Wifi Automotive Diagnostic Scanner

Autel MaxiSYS MS906 Wifi Automotive Diagnostic Scanner-5be9f6852c096

The Autel MaxiSYS MS906 Wifi Automotive Diagnostic Scanner is a high-end diagnostic scanner powered by a 1.3 GHz quad-core Exynos 5260 6-core processor for rapid performance. It has an 8-inch 1024 x 768 LED screen for easy reading.

It has support for 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi so you can use it to access the web, and its battery is rechargeable, so you can use it nonstop for 8 hours. It covers over 80 vehicles makes from the US, Asia, and Europe.

The MS906 provides support for codes, matching, adaptation, ECU information, active test and live data. The intuitive interface, however, makes it easy to sort the information and get the fix your vehicle needs. With the MS906, the Smart AutoVIN system makes vehicle identification easy, and system updates are done automatically when there’s Wi-Fi.

Pros

  • Extensive coverage
  • Very reliable performance
  • High-resolution display available

Cons

  • English language support only

Check Price on Amazon


FOXWELL Nt301 Obd2 Code Scanner

FOXWELL Nt301 Obd2 Code Scanner-5be9f686d7153

The FOXWELL Nt301 Obd2 Code Scanner easily reads the fault codes in engines and finds the appropriate solution. It has a comprehensive DTC definitions library for quick access to the solution. The Nt301 also has auto VIN decoding and acquisition, making it easier to read the codes.

The Nt301 has support for 2001 Asian and EU based cars as well as 1996+ vehicles. It also has support for CAN and OBD II/Eobd vehicles. With its 2.8” color screen, reading information is easy.

Vehicle sensors data is displayed in both graph and text format so you can concentrate on specific problems. With web access, you’ll always have access to the newest fixes and it even has a speaker built in that lets you monitor your vehicle’s emission.

Pros

  • Quickly reads and erases DTC information
  • Lifetime free software updates
  • Charges from vehicle OBD interface so no battery required

Cons

  • PC connection should be easier

Check Price on Amazon


Our Top Choice for Diagnostics

GarageChief choice for the top auto diagnostics scanner is the BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool, as it has the features and functionality you need without breaking your budget. It has extensive support for domestic and foreign vehicles, and its compatibility with the iOS and Android shows its flexibility.

Code readers must find the right balance between comprehensiveness and ease of use. The BlueDriver meets those requirements, making it suitable for both new and experienced drivers. What the BlueDriver does is give you the power of a code reader in your handheld, which is really convenient. There are fancier auto diagnostic tools, but this is the most practical.