OBD diagnostic scan tools let you identify malfunctions in your vehicle from the comfort of your own garage, saving you a trip to the mechanic. Not only does this save you money in the long run, it gives you peace of mind that your vehicle is running like it should.
Some scan tools are all-purpose, designed to work with any vehicle. The advantage of a Subaru scan tool is that it’s built to work with your specific vehicle, making it more likely to support your car’s specific protocols and systems. In addition, these scan tools save you some money, since more comprehensive professional options tend to cost hundreds of dollars.
Subaru Scan Tools: What Are Your Options?
There are two main design formats for Subaru scan tools: hand held scanners and OBD2 scanners.
Hand-held scanners have the diagnostic software built right in. You interact with your vehicle using the provided screen. This is convenient for anywhere diagnosis, even when you’re outside of WiFi range.
OBD2 scanners, on the other hand, only communicate with your engine, and don’t provide the user interface for you. Instead, you’ll need to download diagnostic software on your phone or tablet. The main advantage of this is these adapters give you more functions for less money. On the other hand, you’ll need a WiFi connection to use them, and you have to do the legwork to get your own app.
For Subarus, you can find both hand-held scanners and wireless adapters built to work perfectly with the manufacturer’s protocols and systems.
How We Evaluated Each Subaru Scan Tool
We’ve picked out our 5 favorite Subaru scan tools and reviewed them below. We evaluated each tool based on a set of 5 criteria that we feel make up the most useful components of a Subaru scan tool.
This criteria includes:
- Subaru-specific capabilities– We evaluated each scan tool based on its ability to provide accurate, comprehensive information and diagnostics for Subaru vehicles.
- Special features– Not every scan tool is created equal. We considered the key features of each tool and ranked them based on overall utility.
- User-friendliness– For home mechanics, user-friendliness is an invaluable quality of any tool. We tested each scan tool for ease of use and convenience.
- Compatibility– This list is specially curated for Subaru owners. Every scan tool on this list is a fantastic option for anyone who drives a Subaru vehicle.
- Overall value– Finally, we considered price and overall value when ranking each scan tool, so you get the most bang for your buck.
Best Subaru Scan Tool Reviews
Now, let’s get into the reviews. Here, we’ve got our 5 favorite Subaru scan tools on the market, each with a wide variety of functionalities, compatibilities, and more.
We tested and ranked the following scan tools:
- FIXD Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool
- Foxwell NT201 Auto OBD2 Scanner
- Bafx Products Wireless WiFi OBD2 Diagnostic Tool for iOS Devices
- Foseal Improved Version Car WiFi OBD2 Scanning Tool
- LAUNCH OBDII Scanner CRP129E
1. FIXD™ Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone & Android
FIXD™ is the best scan tool for Subaru owners who aren’t car experts but want insights into their engine health. This compact adapter plugs into your OBD2 port and communicates via Bluetooth with your phone or tablet. It’s a convenient way to diagnose problems in your vehicle.
The FIXD™ app can be installed on any Apple or Android device. It has a customizable interface with multiple display functions for the data. Since FIXD™ works with your phone, it’s easy to save and send data, or access technical service bulletins.
As far as diagnostic functions, they’re fairly comprehensive. You’ll get full access to OBD features like reading and clearing codes, running smog checks, or seeing Mode 6 test results from on-board monitors. Subaru vehicles are supported for enhanced diagnostics, too, so you can check non-OBD2 systems like the airbags and anti-lock brakes.
We also love the Repair Reports function. This doesn’t just show you code definitions, like many other scan tools, but actually suggests fixes tailored to your vehicle from ASE certified mechanics. That takes the guesswork out of home repairs, making FIXD™ a real money saver.
- Full support for OBD2 diagnosis
- Enhanced fault codes for Subaru (transmission, ABS, SRS diagnosis)
- Repair Reports function
- Works with both Android and iOS devices
- Live tracking of data
- Won’t drain your battery if left plugged in
- Compact, unobtrusive design
- Real-time cost estimations
- Less than $100
- Up to 50% discount available at the official website.
- Sells out regularly.
Verdict: FIXD™ is a convenient way to diagnose problems in your Subaru, with multi-system diagnosis and repair suggestions straight from certified mechanics.
2. Foxwell NT201 Auto OBD2 Scanner
For those who want an affordable hand-held Subaru diagnostic scanner, the Foxwell NT201 provides the basic functions you need at an excellent price. It’s a portable scan tool with a user-friendly interface that’s perfect for conducting OBD2 diagnostics.
The Foxwell NT201 supports all 10 modes of the OBD2 system. Its convenient one-click I/M readiness function is great when you’re preparing for an emission test. We also appreciate its Mode 6 and Mode 8 operation, letting you easily identify the source of trouble and error codes. For on-board system monitoring, it supports 10 monitors, including the fuel system and EVAP system.
You can read all codes, even permanent and pending, using the Foxwell NT201. The DTC lookup function is helpful when a trouble code does come up, saving you time in researching its meaning. Live data readings are accurate, and you get the option to view it either numerically or graphically. The same goes for freeze frame readings, too.
From a design standpoint, our only complaint against the Foxwell NT201 is that the screen’s a bit small, at 2.4”. Having said that, this helps make the scan tool super portable and easy to take with you on the road. For convenient OBD diagnostics, the Foxwell NT201 is the best Subaru scan tool at the price.
- Full 10 modes of OBD2
- Reads all codes, including pending and permanent
- Easy and fast to navigate
- Plug-and-play with no batteries required
- One-click I/M readiness
- Free lifetime updates
- Won’t diagnose non-OBD2 systems
- Screen is a bit small
- No reset or service functions
Verdict: The Foxwell NT201 is a user-friendly hand-held scan tool for OBD2 diagnostics. While its functions are more limited than other scanners, it’s still an excellent value for the price.
3. Bafx Products Wireless WiFi OBD2 Diagnostic Tool for iOS Devices
Similar to the FIXD™ above, BAFX OBD2 Scanner is a wireless adapter that turns your iOS device into a powerful diagnostic tool. Unlike FIXD™, BAFX doesn’t come with its own software. Instead, you’ll need to choose your own app. This is an advantage for some, since you can pick the option you like best, but it also adds an extra step (and, often, extra costs).
How easy the BAFX OBD2 scanner is to use from a navigation standpoint will depend on your app. Physically, all you have to do is plug it in and pair it to your device. Its data processing rate is pretty fast, and it supports real-time data tracking and graphing.
For OBD2, BAFX is comprehensive. You can check on-board monitors, see emissions data, and read or clear any codes your ECU has triggered. For diagnosis, it works best with OBDFusion, Torque, and FORScan. With other apps, you’ll want to check their functions and compatibility, but it’s usually reliable.
The only major drawback of BAFX is that it doesn’t go beyond OBD2. Some users report being able to read transmission codes with it, but you shouldn’t count on it to do that for all vehicles. Still, it’s the best scan tool for Subaru if you want an affordable way to turn off your check engine light.
- Great value
- Can access all OBD2 modes, including Mode 6
- Compatible with a wide range of diagnostic apps
- Works with all OBD2-compliant vehicles
- Fast data processing rate
- Reliable connection with all OBD2 protocols
- Diagnostic software not included
- Not compatible with Windows devices
- Will not diagnose non-OBD2 systems
Verdict: BAFX Wifi OBD2 Scanner has a wide app compatibility for Android and iOS devices. With a high data processing rate, it’s an efficient way to run emissions tests and turn off your check engine light.
4. Foseal Improved Version Car WiFi OBD2 Scanning Tool
The Foseal OBD2 Scanner is even more affordable than the BAFX scanner above. It’s also compatible with a lot of diagnostic apps, including some free ones, so you can diagnose your vehicle for less. Even better, it can work with any device, whether your operating system is Windows, iOS, or Android.
We like the real-time sensor data functions of the Foseal OBD2 scanner. You can quickly and easily check the fuel trim data, coolant temperature, RPMs, and more. As far as code reading, it can read and clear permanent and pending codes as well as active DTCs.
You can use the Foseal OBD2 Scanner with most OBD2 compliant vehicles, which includes all Subarus made after 1996. The only exception to this is that it won’t work with many diesel engines, so you’ll want to check with Foseal first before buying it for a diesel Forester or Outback.
As you might expect for the price, the functions of the Foseal OBD2 Scanner are limited. It’s great for checking your emissions or clearing the check engine light, but don’t expect it to work for enhanced diagnostics. Still, it’s well-built, connects reliably, and is a great option for Subaru owners who want basic OBD2 diagnostics.
- Wide functionality for live data tracking
- Read and clear all engine codes like DTCs
- Supports emission testing and I/M readiness
- Works with Windows, Android, and iOS devices
- Compatible with most diagnostic apps
- Lowest cost
- Will need to purchase diagnostic software separately
- Doesn’t work with diesel engines
Verdict: The least expensive option on the list, the Foseal OBDII Scan Tool is a reliable code reader for use with any operating system.
5. LAUNCH OBDII Scanner CRP129E
If you’re willing to spend a bit more for comprehensive features, the Launch CRP129E is the best Subaru scan tool for automotive professionals and advanced DIY mechanics. Since it can communicate through WiFi, it’s also easy to save and send diagnostic reports, or to update your system.
The 4-system diagnosis on the Launch CRP129E lets you read and clear codes from the engine, transmission, airbags, or anti-lock brakes. In addition, it supports real-time battery voltage testing. You’ll also get solid performance on any OBD2 test. For the live data stream, you can both graph and record the data, and can monitor as many as 10 PIDs at one time. The Launch CRP129E is also an excellent choice for checking emissions and viewing freeze-frame data.
What’s really impressive about the Launch CRP129E, though, is its range of reset functions. This device lets you reset the oil light, tire pressure data, and throttle body position. You’ll also get access to your electronic parking brake system, with bi-directional control of the brake pads, as well as the steering angle system.
While the wealth of features can make the Launch CRP129E more difficult to navigate for less experienced users, its interface is intuitive. The 5-inch touchscreen is a nice size for viewing data. It has a rugged rubberized housing, too, so it’ll last you a good long time.
- Supports all 10 modes of OBD2
- 4-system diagnosis
- Can record up to 10 monitors simultaneously
- 5 reset functions, including TPMS and throttle body reset
- Real-time battery monitoring
- Lifetime free updates through WiFi
- Higher cost
- Does require batteries to operate
Verdict: The Launch CRP129E adds reset and calibration functions to the diagnostic power offered by other scan tools. Its user-friendly interface and comprehensive features give you the power to make most repairs in your home garage.
Best Subaru Scan Tools Comparison Chart
4.6 / 5
4.5 / 5
4.5 / 5
|Dimensions||1.5″ x 0.5″ x 1.8″||4.7 x 3 x 0.8 inches||4.3 x 3.2 x 1.4 inches|
|Item Weight||0.96oz||10.4 ounces||3.2 ounces|
|Read & Clear Codes||✔️||✔️||✔️|
|Freeze Frame Data||✔️||✔️||✔️|
|Live Data Stream||✔️||✔️||✔️|
Any one of these scan tools will reliably work with the majority of Subarus (with the non-diesel exception of the Foseal OBD2 scanner). The only compatibility you’ll have to worry about is which kind of device you use if you want to go the wireless route. Some products will work with any operating system, while others are limited to Android and iOS.
Beyond that, choosing the best Subaru scan tool is a matter of figuring out which features you need. If you’re only interested in reading and clearing codes, an affordable option like the Foxwell NT201, BAFX OBD2 Scanner, or Foseal OBD2 Scanner will do what you need for cheap.
For those who want to diagnose non-OBD2 systems, you’ll need to spend a bit more. Having said that, something like FIXD™ still isn’t much of an investment. You’ll get access to your climate control, airbags, anti-lock brakes, and transmission system for right around a hundred bucks. While the Launch CRP129E costs the most, it’s the only scan tool on the list that lets you turn off the oil light or reset your TPMS data.
The truth is any one of these scan tools is a great choice for a Subaru driver. Use the reviews above to help you pick the one that’s perfect for your garage!
Subaru Scan Tools FAQs:
What Scan Tool Does Subaru Use?
Subarus are compatible with many scan tools, though our favorite is the FIXD™ Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool for its comprehensive Subaru diagnostic functions and overall user-friendliness.
Does Subaru Have OBD2?
Yes, since 1996 all Subaru vehicles have been OBD2 compatible. Most companies stopped manufacturing OBD1 vehicles after 1996.
Can You Use Your Phone As A Scan Tool?
Yes, many scan tools can connect to smartphones through bluetooth, so you can receive vehicle information and diagnostics directly to your phone.