Code Readers & Scan Tools

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Find a Code Reader and Scan Tool that perfectly fits your needs and pocket in 2020 from the reviews below.

The products listed in the reviews were tested and reviewed by Tim Miller, an automotive mechanic, and blogger in Denver, Colorado.


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Code Readers & Scan Tools

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Is a Good Scan Tool?

That is a hard question to answer, as good scanners come in a variety of prices, with some being more affordable than others. A good scanner can cost less than $100, but it can also cost well over a thousand dollars.

There are certain things that will affect how much a scan tool costs – for example, whether the scan tool has Bluetooth functionality, how many vehicles it can be used on, as well as how many additional features it has.

What is scan tool or code reader?

A scan tool is a car diagnostic device that has a number of features. It usually includes a code reader, has the ability to read and sort live data, and contains some kind of knowledge base.

A professional scan tool includes more or less the same things, the difference being that the knowledge base is a lot more extensive, and they often include some other diagnostics tool, such as a built-in scope or milimeter.

What can scan tools do?

Scan tools perform a variety of tasks, with their main function being reading and clearing codes. You can plug a scan tool into an OBD1 or OBD2 socket.

Some of the things they do include storing and playing back live data, presenting data in a graph form, reading both generic and specific for a manufacturer code, providing definitions of trouble codes, as well as providing you with troubleshooting procedures and tips.

A good can help you identify issues with your vehicle by providing you with data from different sensors. Once you test drive your vehicle, you will be able to go back to a recording from it and focus on the one you need to find out what the problem is.

What scan tool is the best?

There isn’t one answer to that, as what scan tool will be the best for a person depends on several factors, with the most important one being the brand of your vehicle and what you need your scan tool to do.

There are also some other things that you need to take into consideration – for example, if you want it to have Bluetooth functionality or if you want your scan tool to be more versatile and work on a variety of vehicles manufactured in different years.

What scan tools do mechanics use?

Every mechanic will have a scan tool that they like to use, so picking out just one or two would be hard. However, there are a few that we consider to be the best for professional use. Those are:

  • FIXD™ Professional Bluetooth OBD2 scan tool – while it’s inexpensive, it has a wide range of features that will be great for both professional and amateur use, such as information about a vehicle (specifications, recalls, etc.).
  • Launch X431 V+ Automotive Diagnostic Tool – this one is more on the pricey side, but it is definitely worth the price tag, as it, for example, has a very advanced interface and can diagnose issues with all systems.
  • Autel MaxiCOM MK808 Automotive Diagnostic Scanner – this scan tool is in-between the two we mentioned above – not only in terms of the price, but also features. It can, for example, wirelessly send information to other devices.

In the end, however, which scan tools a professional will use depends solely on their personal preferences.

Is it worth buying an OBD2 scanner?

That depends. If you do your own mechanic work, then it is definitely worth it, as it makes it easier to know what is wrong with your vehicle. Keep in mind, though, that the basic scan tools usually display only the engine codes, while the more advanced models show issues with all the systems in your car.

Do all OBD2 scanners clear codes?

Yes, all OBD2 scanners can both read and clear codes. It is very easy to do, and here is how you can do it:

  • Hook your scanner to your vehicle’s diagnostic port. It is most likely located on the driver’s side, close to the steering wheel.
  • Turn the scanner and the car on.
  • Wait until the code appears on the scanner’s screen and click the “clear” button to clear the code.

Autel MS906 : Buyers Guide & Reviews

Are you a mechanic looking for a new automotive diagnostic scanner for your repair and service shop? Want a fast and reliable scan tool with excellent vehicle coverage? Then you’ve come to the right place. The Autel MS906 automotive diagnostic scanner is a favourite among professional technicians, offering accurate readings with an easy to use …

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Autel IM608 : Buyers Guide & Reviews

If you’re looking to upgrade your Professional Automotive Programmer and Scanner, the Autel MaxiIM IM608 might be exactly what you need. It is one of the latest models available, and comes with a variety of features to suit all your requirements. As an all-in-one diagnostic tool, it’s ideal for automobile technicians and provides in depth …

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Autel Ts508 : Buyers Guide & Reviews

Whether you’re a new customer to Autel or a loyal purchaser, this review will provide a comprehensive and easily understandable outline of the Autel ts-508 in this TS508 review. As any professional will know, Autel are a leading company in the production of car diagnostic tools. Unsurprisingly, their latest offering does not let them down. …

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Ancel AD530: Buyers Guide & Reviews

Looking for a highly advanced and professional diagnostic scan tool and automotive code reader to tell you why that pesky check engine light keeps appearing? Need to find a reliable scan tool that displays easily understandable trouble codes efficiently? Seeking a scanner more than capable of performing even the most complex of diagnoses with a …

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