Best OBD Scanners 2018 – Reviews and Buyer’s Guide

OBD Scanners

For those of you who do not know what OBD stands for, this acronym comes from On Board Diagnostics. Therefore, it is easy to guess what an OBD scanner can do for your car. This device was created with the main purpose to alert you whenever something is going wrong with your car.

The OBD scanners are excellent devices used all around the world especially by those who are on the road most of the times or need to drive for long distances.

Since they were invented, they have proved to be extremely efficient in saving people’s lives by alerting them on time that their car needs to be fixed.

If you are the type of person who is not that much into mechanics, you do not have to worry that you will not be able to handle this tool. One of its greatest benefits is that it is very easy to install and understand. What is more, I have heard many friends who thought that buying an OBD scanner it might be very expensive. This is not true at all!

Today’s OBD scanners are very cheap and efficient, being able to able to communicate with the latest cars’ models and tell you everything you need to know about each function. When someone asks me how an OBD scanner works I always present them as the device that digs into your car’s brain.

**Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

What Benefits Does An OBD Scanner Bring?

OBD Scanners

There are many scan tools on the market, all promising high efficiency and fast diagnose for your car. Depending on how advanced they are their prices range from $50 up to a couple of thousands.

From my point of view, irrespective of how much the OBD scanner will cost you, these devices advantages are mainly the following:

  • The most important benefit it can bring you is that this device is able to warn you if something is going wrong with your car. This can bring many other benefits on the long road.
    On one hand it will keep you safe because you know when you should take your car to the mechanics to fix it. On the other hand, if you know from the beginning what problem your car has, you can fix the problem immediately instead of continuing using the car and risk to damage it even more.
  • The OBD scanners are portable devices. This means that you can use them anywhere and at any moment. This is one excellent feature that these devices have as your car might break down in a place where you do not have access to a car service.
    If you have an OBD scanner in your car, you are able to find what is going on and try to find a solution.
  • Even it may seem expensive at the beginning an OBD scanner actually saves you money. One thing that happened to me many times was when I took the car to the mechanic blind folded.
    Unfortunately, I encountered many mechanics who took advantage of me not knowing what was happening to my car and charged me for many other works that were not even necessary.
    What is more, if you have your own OBD scanner you will not have to pay an extra fee to the car repair shop to test your car with their scanner.
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    Unfortunately, I encountered many mechanics who took advantage of me not knowing what was happening to my car and charged me for many other works that were not even necessary. What is more, if you have your own OBD scanner you will not have to pay an extra fee to the car repair shop to test your car with their scanner.
  • An OBD scanner will always offer you an up-to-date and efficient data about your car’s condition. Therefore, as soon as you discover the problem, you will be able to take action fast.
  • If you do not have yet a car, but you intend to buy one, an OBD scanner will be extremely helpful. Let’s imagine that you are going to buy a second hand car. An OBD scanner will help you scan it before you buy it and so make sure that you are investing your money in a car that is in a good condition.

How Does An OBD Scanner Work?

OBD Scanners

For those who think that using an OBD scanner is difficult, I am sure that I am going to demolish this perception with my article. If you still do not know, all the cars manufactured after 1996, have a 16-pin plug connector.

Therefore, when you want to know what is going on with your car, all you need to do is just sit on your driver’s seat and plug in the OBD scanner. You will find the place where you can plug in near the steering wheel. As soon as you connect it, your scanner will analyze your car and tell whether it is safe to drive or not.

If your scanner detects a problem and you want to find more details about it, then you can connect it to a computer. There are many apps available online that can be used for your scanner and can give detailed information.

What Problems Does An OBD Scanner Discover?

OBD Scanners

When you buy an OBD scanner, you want to identify the problems that might appear in your car. Generally, the OBD scanners are able to discover the following main problems:

  • If your car faces any problems related to the engine’s combustion system, the OBD scanner can detect them. For example, if you have problems with your exhaust, carburetor, fuel pressure, oil temperature or air intake, you will find them with the OBD scanner.
  • If you face problems with your fuel injectors, turbocharger, injection pumps or any other problems related to the engine’s combustion system, the OBD scanner will help you.
  • When something goes wrong with your electrical something, then an OBD scanner is perfect to identify the problem.
  • When your engine is overheating, the OBD scanner is there to help you find the problem.
  • The OBD scanner can identify many other problems like the malfunction in the crankshaft, ignition oil or the timing chain.

Best OBD Scanners In 2017

There are many cases when an OBD scanner does not work as the manufacturers state. It is not the case for the Innova 3160 Diagnostic Scan Tool. What I like most about this scanner is its display that is able to give you 25 pieces of information once at a time.

Moreover, this device is very easy to use and read and it is able to generate accurate scan results very fast. What is more, it works with any vehicle produced after 1996 whether we are talking about cars, trucks, SUVs or hybrids. This scanner is able to do its work on any model and dimension.

  • Excellent when it comes to scanning the car and delivering accurate information
  • Easy to use and install
  • Read & Erase Check Engine Light OBD2 Trouble Codes with Battery Backup
  • Users need to check online for some trouble codes to understand them better
  • Sometimes the SRS is not very clear
  • Not very durable

Via Amazon.com

When you want a device that you can trust, then you should go for the Scan Tool 426101. Its accuracy cannot be question and it is able to offer valuable information when your car is in trouble. One thing that many users like about this scanner is its security features.

For example, the Auto-Shutoff feature is just great because it makes the device to turn off when the car is also turned off.

Therefore, it is safe to leave it plugged in because it will not drain your car’s battery. The Torque app is also great because it is able to inform you when your car’s engine is at its operating temperature.

Furthermore, it can be connected to your smart phone, PC or tablet as long as they operate on Android or Windows. Thus, you will be able to obtain even more detailed information about your car.

  • Fast and reliable, being able to provide accurate and useful information
  • Comes with a free Android app and Windows software
  • Has also some security features
  • Shutoff feature that will not drain your battery if you leave it plugged in
  • It is not compatible with iOs devices
  • Very basic for many users
  • Low durability

Via Amazon.com

As we are now living in a world ruled by technology, then it is obvious that the OBD scanners thought of launching a device that can is able to connect via Bluetooth to your Iphone, Ipad and Android.

What is more, the effort to connect the scanner to your smart phone or table is effortless. Once you have established the connection, you will get instant access to a variety of information.

Therefore, apart from informing you about several metrics, it also allows you to reset the warning codes. While I do not recommend resetting the warning codes before you fix the problem, sometimes the situation might not be so dangerous and it is easier to reset the warning code and fix the problem later.

One excellent feature of this OBD scanner is the ability to run a detailed check if your car is working fine and will thus help you find out if you will pass the emissions test.

  • Works with Android and Apple devices
  • Will connect to your smart phone or tablet via Bluetooth
  • Easy to install and use
  • Provides comprehensive repair reports
  • You have to pay extra money for the software apps
  • Fairly basic functions
  • It may indicate false problems

Via Amazon.com

This is a great example of a cheap device that is able to do its work very well. Some of its main advantages are easy-to-read, colored display and light weight.

When you use this scanning device, you will be able to get detailed information about what is going on with your car and thus be able to fix the problem efficiently and in a timely manner. You will receive valuable information about acceleration, RPMs and many other related problems.

Moreover, when you want to renew your car’s insurance, you will need to pass the smog test. This OBD scanner will give you enough information that will help you pass successfully this test.

  • Provides the necessary information about your car
  • Easy-to-read and understand car display
  • Excellent price
  • Low-quality materials that are not very durable
  • You will need to register the product to get updated information
  • It might not be compatible for all vehicles

Via Amazon.com

If you want an OBD scanner that is able to impress you in terms of usability, then you should try this model. I have changed three cars already and I used this scanner on each of them. I was surprised to see that it offered me accurate information on each of the models I was driving.

What is more, thanks to the Torque app you will be able to connect the OBD scanner to your Android device and receive all the details you need to fix your car’s problems.

Even though it is a tiny device, its efficiency is incredible and it never failed to give me trouble codes which were easy to read and understand.

Moreover, in case you need a scanner that is able to give information on the acceleration or RPM speed, then you will not regret that you have bought this device.

  • Works exactly as it was presented by the manufacturers
  • Easy installation
  • Can be used on different car models
  • Affordable
  • Not compatible with iOs devices
  • If you want to use it outside the US, the compatibility of the device is not guaranteed
  • You cannot use it to adjust turbo boost or change shift points

Conclusion

If you want to prevent your car from breaking down when you are in a journey or while you are driving together with your family, then I strongly recommend buying an OBD scanner.

What is more, if you look at this investment on the long term, you will realize that the cost that you pay to buy it is a lot smaller than that you will pay when you will have to fix your car in case something happens.

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