In this electronically and digitally advanced age, cars, trucks and SUV’s have computers that dictate what goes on. These computers are in charge of determining what function does what, what each component is doing, and just as importantly when a component has malfunctioned.
Especially with foreign vehicles such as from Germany, one could almost say that the vehicle is full of sensors. When these sensors go awry, vehicle functionality is affected causing problems that can at times turn fatal for the vehicle.
Not too long ago, On Board Diagnostic-II (OBD-II) scanners were the tools that were too costly and mostly inaccessible in shops. But today, OBD-II scanners are much cheaper than ever. They can properly communicate with your vehicle and tell you each function LIVE!
Some of today’s best OBD-II scanners do not cost you thousands of dollars. You can have a properly working scanner tool which will enable you to dig deep into your vehicle’s brain. You can dig into the computer to see if there’s misfiring due to worn spark plugs, bad sensors, and much more. In order to help you figure out which car scanner to get, we have put together characteristics of 2 best-rated car scanning tools.
BlueDriver OBD-II Bluetooth Professional Diagnostic System
Lemur Monitors’ BlueDriver OBD-II scan tool is a generic car scanning and fault diagnosing tool which lets you check your car’s engine performance, examine error codes, turn off a check engine light, and even get an idea if your car will pass its smog check.
Affordable OBD-II scan tools have been around for a while, but BlueDriver allows for deeper data and more portability. Instead of an integrated scan tool with a small monochrome LCD, like the majority of models available, BlueDriver consists of an OBD-II dongle connecting to a smartphone through Bluetooth. The BlueDriver app allows for a large number of features and takes advantage of a smartphone’s computing power and connectivity.
BlueDriver’s black plastic casing measures 2.25-inches long and 1.75-inches wide, large enough to accommodate the OBD-II plug on one end. This dongle will plug into a car’s OBD-II port, which is usually placed under the dashboard on the driver’s side.
The free BlueDriver app runs on iOS and Android devices. The home screen includes icons for the main functions, while a strip along the bottom offers a shortcut, labeled Live, to view the data stream from your engine. A secondary menu screen includes icons for the BlueDriver manual, customer service, and ordering the BlueDriver dongle.
- Live Data – The device is capable of giving live data of the vehicle while the engine is running. It is also able to capture and share the live data supported by the vehicle. The data is available in the form of graphs, gauge as well as data log.
- Smog Check – The device is also able to check for the fact that whether the vehicle is ready for a local smog test or not. The smog test is basically testing for the emissions exhausted by the vehicle.
- Freeze Frame Data – Freeze frame data is basically the snapshot of the vehicle when the freeze frame code was stored. The device has the ability to save the snapshot of freeze frame code thereby making it available for later use.
- Read and Clear Codes – The device reads and clears Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs). It also gives detail about the pending check engine codes which are required to be eliminated for smooth functionality of the vehicle. The device is also able to give detailed information for GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota and BMW Mini by giving enhanced codes relating to ABS, SRS airbags, and transmission among other things.
- Repair Reports – Repair reports are generated by the device for specific vehicles. The reports contain code definition, information about the possible cause or causes of the problem, and other reported fixes. Repair reports support all makes and models but are only available to users located in the US or Canada.
- Mode 6 – Mode 6 is an added feature in the device which conducts advanced tests like checking misfire counts for ‘onboard diagnostic system monitors.’
As BlueDriver is focused on automotive repair, it does not offer any fuel economy information or driving coach, like the automatic driving monitor. Instead, it will give people who want to tackle their own engine maintenance a means of tracking trouble. Some of the data acquired go deep, but that can give novices an entry to learning much more about how modern engines operate.
Innova 3040c Diagnostic System
Innova 3040c is a handy car diagnosis tool which has been introduced less than a year ago in the market. It can not only read the error codes, like ABS and engine light codes but also erase them.
It relays 20 types of readings and other information including oxygen, temperature and RPM readings on its 2.8-inch color screen. Some other diagnostic tools provided with it also help in diagnosing the problem in the alternator, battery, malfunctioning of fuel trim and temperature of engine coolant etc. It can be updated automatically through your Apple computer or any other computer via USB. This is an awesome tool for you if you maintain your car yourself. It can store the readings of three cars at a time. If you want to register some other vehicle on it then you need not delete previous information as it will automatically overwrite it.
- Generic Tester – The device is a generic scanner which is able to scan almost all the models of vehicles after 1996.
- Read and Erase Check Engine Light – This smart device has the ability to read the fault due to which the check engine light turns on and is also able to erase the fault through the tester.
- LCD Screen Display – It has an 8-inch color LCD screen which displays all the information on it.
- Live Data Streaming – Live data is also available on the screen on the device. It is able to display 20 types of readings at a time on the 2.8-inch LCD screen. It also gives you an option to connect to the internet for professional diagnostic analysis.
- Battery and Alternator Tester – It is also able to analyze and test the performance of the battery of the car as well as the charging system of the vehicle which is primarily the alternator.
Though the price tag of this auto diagnostic tool is just $82.98 still you should buy it carefully. It is not compatible with the vehicles of certain companies such as Volkswagen.
Innova 3040 OBD2 scan tool is a professional scanner at the entry level which saves money and time. Thus, it is dual featured. First, it is an easy to use scanner best fit for car lovers who want to save money by doing the diagnosis on their cars themselves. Secondly, it provides quick professional data for skilled technicians working in busy workshops where speed is essential.
Therefore, as a scanner with a price tag of under $100 it surely pays off. In particular, there are not many scan tools at this price range that will give you live data reading and freeze-frame utility.