General Motors is one of the most well-known car makers in the industry. Under the brand of GM are Cadillac, Buick, GMC, Chevrolet, and Hummer vehicles. A GM scan tool can be a better buy than a multi-purpose car diagnostic tool for home garages. By focusing on a single brand of vehicle, they give you more features for less money.
Speaking of money, most people see a return on their investment the first time their scan tool saves them a trip to the mechanic.
We’ve picked out the 7 best GM automotive diagnostic scanners you’ll find in 2022 and reviewed them below. Read on to learn which one offers the features you need, and how they stack up against their competition.
- 1 How We Evaluated Each GM Scan Tool
- 2 Comparison Chart: Our Top 3 GM Scan Tools
- 3 Reviews: The 7 Best GM Scan Tools of 2022
- 3.1 1. FIXD™ Obd2 Scan Tool – Editor’s Pick
- 3.2 2. INNOVA 3123 OBD1 Code Reader
- 3.3 3. iCarsoft i900 OBD2 Diagnostic Tool
- 3.4 4. BlueDriver LSB2 OBDII Scan Tool
- 3.5 5. Bafx Products Bluetooth OBDII Code Reader
- 3.6 6. FOXWELL NT301 OBDII Scanner
- 3.7 7. LAUNCH CRP129X OBD2 Automotive Scanner
- 4 GM Scan Tools: Our Final Thoughts
- 5 Related Reading:
How We Evaluated Each GM Scan Tool
To make sure our reviews are as accurate and helpful as possible, we use a fixed set of criteria to test each scan tool. Each GM scan tool in this review was evaluated against the following criteria:
Compatibility – Each scan tool in this review is compatible with GM vehicles, so you can feel confident that you’ll get an applicable, reliable reading from any tool on this list.
Features – Scanners range in features from limited functions to more advanced features like full system diagnostics and ECU reprogramming. We make sure to call out which tools are more basic and which offer more robust functionality.
Ease of Use – User-friendly tools always have an edge in our reviews, so both DIY and professional repairmen can easily utilize any scanner we recommend.
Overall value – We consider overall cost and compare it with other tools to ensure you get the most for your money.
Comparison Chart: Our Top 3 GM Scan Tools
4.4 / 5
4.3 / 5
4.1 / 5
|Product Dimensions||1.5" x 0.5" x 1.8"||10" x 2" x 6"||24" x 14.2" x 6"|
|Read & Clear Codes||✔️||✔️||✔️|
|Diagnose ABS/SRS/Transmission||✔️||ABS only||✔️|
|Update/Software Compatibility||Iphone & Android||N/A||Windows|
|Vehicle Compatibility||GMs 1982 and later||GMs 1982-1995||GMs 1996 and later|
Reviews: The 7 Best GM Scan Tools of 2022
Not every scan tool has the same capabilities. In the following reviews, we break down the features, strengths, and weaknesses of each scan tool so you find the best fit for your needs.
In this review, we talk about the following GM scan tools:
- FIXD™ Obd2 Scan Tool – Editor’s Pick
- INNOVA 3123 OBD1 Code Reader
- iCarsoft i900 OBD2 Diagnostic Tool
- BlueDriver LSB2 OBDII Scan Tool
- Bafx Products Bluetooth OBD2 Code Reader
- FOXWELL NT301 OBDII Scanner
- LAUNCH CRP129X OBD2 Automotive Scanner
1. FIXD™ Obd2 Scan Tool – Editor’s Pick
The FIXD™ is geared toward experienced home mechanics who own GM cars and trucks. GM-specific professionals will love it, too, both for its wide model year compatibility and its full range of features. It doesn’t shrink when it comes to service functions, which is why we’d call the FIXD™ the best GM OBDII scan tool for under $200.
FIXD™ redesigned their Scanner in response to customer feedback, and in our opinion, it shows. It diagnoses almost twice as fast as previous models and is well-designed both inside and out. We like that it’s small enough to fit in a pocket but still has a readable screen and rugged casing.
Service functions on the FIXD™ scanner include ABS bleeding, DPF regeneration, relearning the throttle body, and new battery registration. Combined with the all-system diagnosis and 5 reset functions, this makes it one of the most comprehensive scan tools in the price range. It even allows bi-directional testing—something few GM scanners in this price range can boast.
- Total diagnostic system with full OBDII modes
- Supports OBDI and EOBD
- Performs ABS bleed and DPF regeneration
- 5 reset functions
- 40% faster than past Foxwell models
- Supports bi-directional testing
- Compact, rugged design
- Higher price
- Some service functions not available on all vehicles (notably ABS bleed)
The FIXD™ Elite can diagnose and repair any GM vehicle, from older OBD1 systems to the newest 2022-2023 models. With full diagnostic and service features, it’s an excellent choice for experienced enthusiasts and professionals alike.Learn More
2. INNOVA 3123 OBD1 Code Reader
On the other end of the spectrum for both price and functionality is the Innova 3123 OBD1 code reader. It’s designed to work specifically with GM vehicles that use OBDI protocols—in other words, those made in the ‘80s and early ‘90s. While its features are more limited, its price can’t be beat. It’s the only GM scanner you’ll find for twenty bucks.
The Innova 3123 is super-portable. Since it only reads OBDI it doesn’t need a huge screen, saving you both space and money. Using it is easy, too. Just plug it in to the motor following the instructions in the manual and you’ll be ready to go.
Another helpful feature of the Innova 3123 is that it comes with a booklet of all the code definitions. This is a handy extra, saving you the hassle of seeking out the codes elsewhere. With a cost this low, you have no excuse not to buy the Innova 3123 to diagnose your older-model GM car or truck.
- Great value
- Accesses trouble codes for both the engine and anti-lock brakes
- Simple, straightforward design
- Comes with a booklet explaining fault code definition
- Runs on AA batteries (no drain on your vehicle’s battery)
- Not compatible with vehicles made after 1995
- Reads codes only (no service functions)
If you own an older GM car or truck, the Innova 3123 is an affordable way to diagnose engine and ABS issues.Learn More
3. iCarsoft i900 OBD2 Diagnostic Tool
Here’s another great option if you want an OBD2 scanner for all-system diagnosis. The iCarsoft i900 reads codes from the 4 major systems, providing you more information about your car’s health than most GM code readers. It’s also fully OBD2 compliant, supporting important functions like freeze frame data and EVAP system tests.
Design-wise, the iCarsoft i900 is compact, fitting in the palm of your hand. Our only complaint is with the housing material. The plastic feels a bit flimsy—certainly not as rugged as the pricier scan tools on the list.
Having said that, the iCarsoft i900 is generally quite easy to use. The color screen is large enough to be clearly legible and the menu navigation doesn’t take long to learn. It’s also great that updates are included free for life. With the iCarsoft i900, you can diagnose engine problems quickly and accurately.
- Full OBDII modes and diagnostics
- Lightweight, portable design
- Reads codes from ABS, SRS, and transmission
- Lifetime free updates
- Supports 5 most common OBDII protocols
- Non-OBD II functions not available for all model years
- Casing is a bit flimsier than other options
The iCarsoft i900 offers 4-system diagnosis as well as full OBDII modes. While it has some model year limitations, it’s overall a convenient way to diagnose issues in your home garage.Learn More
4. BlueDriver LSB2 OBDII Scan Tool
The BlueDriver system has two components. First, there’s an adapter that uses Bluetooth to communicate wirelessly with your phone or tablet. It also comes with the BlueDriver app for viewing and interpreting the data from the adapter. Both components come included with your purchase.
This has some benefits compared to hand held scanners. BlueDriver can be left plugged in for continuous monitoring. It also updates automatically, and you can save and send data through your phone or tablet.
The functionality of BlueDriver is on par with most mid-level GM scan tools. Enhanced codes are available for GMs made 2005 and later, including reading codes from the transmission, airbags, and anti-lock brakes. We also love the Repair Reports feature, which gives users suggested repairs tailored to their vehicle from certified mechanics.
- Can be left plugged in for continuous monitoring
- Shows error codes and freeze frame data
- Conducts smog checks and EVAP system tests
- Reads enhanced codes, including airbag, ABS, and transmission
- Repair Reports feature provides verified, vehicle-specific repair suggestions
- Adapter can’t be used with other diagnostic apps
- Some functions require paid upgrade
- Enhanced codes only available on GMs 2005 and later
BlueDriver is a GM OBDII scanner designed for the modern world, allowing you to diagnose your car through your phone.Learn More
5. Bafx Products Bluetooth OBDII Code Reader
Looking for a cheap, portable way to diagnose your vehicle? The Bafx Products Wireless OBDII scanner is your answer. It costs just over twenty bucks, weighs less than a pound, and can read codes from any GM made after 1996.
The first thing you’ll probably notice about the Bafx OBDII code reader is that, like the BlueDriver above, it doesn’t have a screen. Instead, it communicates with Android or Windows devices through Bluetooth. Unlike BlueDriver, it doesn’t come with an app. You’ll need to choose and download your own 3rd-party app to use this adapter.
The Bafx OBDII code reader works seamlessly with both free and paid OBDII apps. Once you have your app chosen and installed, using the Bafx code scanner is incredibly easy. Just plug it in and go—the adapter does the rest.
Along with code reading, the Bafx Products code reader supports a few other OBDII functions. You can retrieve freeze frame data and run a smog check to make sure you’ll pass your emissions test.
- Very affordable
- Reads codes and shows freeze frame data
- Performs smog checks
- On-board Bluetooth for convenient, wireless operation
- Supports all OBD2 protocols, including CAN networks
- Not compatible with iOS devices
- Requires 3rd party app to operate
- No service functions or non-OBD II diagnostics
The Bafx Products OBDII Diagnostic Car Scanner is the most affordable GM OBDII scanner. While its functions are more limited than other options, it’s a money-saving way for vehicle owners to find out what’s causing that pesky check engine light.Learn More
6. FOXWELL NT301 OBDII Scanner
Here’s another option from Foxwell that’s a bit more affordable. The Foxwell NT301 uses a similar interface to the NT510 Elite above, but with more streamlined features and for less than half the price.
The Foxwell NT301 reads all codes, including pending and manufacturer-specific codes. In addition, it shows live data streams in both text and graphical formats and freeze frame data. You can also use it to run an I/M readiness test or check on-board monitors.
This is definitely a scan tool made for home garages. Professionals will find the Foxwell NT301 too simplistic, as it lacks reset and service functions. For code reading, though, it’s easy to use and scans quickly.
- Includes I/M readiness and O2 sensor test options
- Affordable way to conduct OBDII diagnostics
- Free lifetime upgrades included
- Graphs and logs live data
- Convenient hotkeys for most used functions
- Doesn’t read codes from the transmission, airbags, or brakes
- Requires Windows device to update
The Foxwell NT301 is an affordable hand-held scanner for those who need basic OBDII diagnostics on their GM.Learn More
7. LAUNCH CRP129X OBD2 Automotive Scanner
Mechanics and serious enthusiasts need more than just a code reader for their diagnosis and repairs. That’s where the Launch CRP129X comes into play. This diagnostic tool goes beyond OBDII, with 4-system diagnosis and 5 helpful reset functions.
The Launch CRP129X can read and clear OBDII codes, as well as codes related to the transmission, anti-lock brakes, and airbags. In addition, it can test and monitor your battery voltage, a big help in diagnosing electrical issues. Since it supports all 10 modes of OBDII you can also run smog tests, oxygen sensor tests, and view live or freeze frame data.
As for reset functions, the Launch CRP129X includes the 5 most common: oil light reset, EPB, SRS, throttle body, and TPMS. It can also perform ABS bleeding. That’s all the service functions a home mechanic needs, and lets it work even for automotive professionals.
We found the Launch CRP129X convenient to use overall. The on-board Wi-Fi eliminates the need to connect it to a computer for updates, so there are fewer compatibility concerns. The color touchscreen is easy to read and intuitive to navigate, and it can send all reports to other devices through email. This isn’t the cheapest GM scanner you’ll find but it’s nonetheless an excellent value for the price.
- Supports all 10 modes of OBDII
- Easy to read 5” touch screen
- 4-system diagnosis (engine, ABS, SRS, and transmission)
- Includes 5 reset functions
- Broad compatibility
- Supports one-click updates through Wi-Fi
- Most expensive option
- Cord is on the shorter side for some users
The Launch CRP129X is the best GM diagnostic tool for those who need comprehensive diagnostic and reset functions. While it’s a bit pricier than the other scan tools on the list, the expense is worth it for the functionality.Learn More
GM Scan Tools: Our Final Thoughts
If money is no object, you should buy the FIXD™ Scanner. Its range of reset and service functions, combined with the 4-system diagnosis, means it’s the most thorough tool on the list.
Having said that, the Foxwell NT510 Elite is a close second, especially if you’re looking for bi-directional control. Those on a budget should consider the Foxwell NT310, which has the same reliable performance in a simpler package.
Whichever one you go with, a GM scan tool is definitely worth the investment. Many mechanics charge $50 or more for a simple diagnostic, even if it ends up being a quick repair like replacing the gas cap. Consider your budget and the extent of the repairs you plan to do at home. That should guide you to the perfect GM scan tool for your needs!