Finding the best cheap OBD2 scan tool available in the market today is not as easy as it might sound. For instance, some OBD scan tools are only meant for the old emission regulations despite widespread use. Finding the best cheap OBD2 scanner for your specific uses can become a real pain as a result.
Numerous OBD2 scan tools are out there in the marketplace, but selecting the best may not come easily for a novice. So, we have taken the time to highlight some of the most popular, loved, and cheap OBD scan tools on the market this year. Take a look below!
Importance, Benefits, Purchasing Deciding Factors for On Board Diagnostic 2 Scanners
Importance Of An On Board Diagnostic II Scanner
The EPA is in charge of reducing car and truck emissions. They require automobile manufacturers to build vehicles meeting emissions standards that are increasingly stiff. The OBD-II offers a universal method of inspection and diagnosis that ensures the vehicle’s performance meets OEM standards. Most people pay attention to the OBD-II signals when their “Check Engine Light” indicates there’s a problem with the vehicle. The OBD-II can quickly identify the malfunctioning component and save time and money on repairs.
People buying a used vehicle can also scan the OBD-II signals on it to get valuable, accurate information on its condition. This can help buyers to identify potential problems with a vehicle before they plunk down their hard earned cash for it. The OBD-II can help to prevent buyers from purchasing a lemon or allow them to go into the used car purchase knowing exactly what to expect from the vehicle. Good OBD-II scanners connect easily to the system in the vehicle and automatically gather important data very quickly.
Benefits Of Using OBD-II Scanners
There are many benefits to using OBD-II scanners. Anyone can use them to quickly pinpoint the cause of any problem a vehicle is having. This can save time and money when it comes to getting repairs. Some people skilled at working on automobiles can use the information from the OBD-II to do the repairs themselves. If not, they can tell their local mechanic exactly what needs to be done on their automobile. The OBD-II also greatly benefits professional mechanics as well. It takes the hassles, headaches and guesswork out of troubleshooting. They simply plug in the OBD-II scanner and within minutes they can know exactly what needs to be repaired on the vehicle.
Easy To use
Although OBD-II scanners are highly technical instruments that scan and diagnose the problems with complex, sensitive electrical and mechanical systems inside any automobile, they’re easy to use. Hand-held versions can simply be plugged into ports within the vehicle and gather vital data and display it on a screen. The information can be downloaded into a laptop computer and used to identify the problem and decide on a strategy for repairs within minutes. It’s a easy as navigating a smartphone.
Provides Crucial Information
Even if an automobile’s owner can’t repair the problem they detect with their OBD-II scanner, they can tell the mechanic exactly what’s wrong with the vehicle and know how much repairing it should cost. The mechanic cannot try to mislead the vehicle’s owner because they have the same type of OBD-II scanner the mechanic uses.
Problems Diagnostic Scanners Detect
OBD-II scanners can detect a range of problems with an automobile. Each type of problem has its own codes. There are codes for issues with the engine’s intake, carburetor sensors and exhaust and problems with the combustion cylinders. Other codes cover problems with the ignition system and engine output. Exhaust and emission control problems and electrical system problems also have their own codes.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is OBD-II?
The upgraded On-Board Diagnostics System or OBD-II is a sophisticated computer package automobile manufacturers install on vehicles built since 1996. It sends an alert when there’s a problem with the vehicle. The OBD-II is also used by facilities that offer automobile emission testing to determine if the emissions are at acceptable levels and composition.
What Do The Diagnostic Trouble Codes Signify?
Each Diagnostic Trouble Code identifies a specific fault in a specific system in the automobile. When a problem is detected by the OBD-II system, the malfunction indicator light is activated and the problem is recorded in the OBD-II system with its DTC.
How Does The OBD-II System Work?
A computer tracks and stores data on the performance of the vehicle. If a problem is detected, the ‘check engine’ light is activated by the on-board computer.
What Advantages Are There To Using The OBD-II Test?
The OBD-II system identifies the reason a vehicle fails its emissions test. The diagnostic codes it issues pinpoints where a problem exists. The OBD-II as an early warning system. It alerts owners to emissions problems while repairs are less costly. OBD II inspections are faster than previous tests.
Top 5 Cheap OBD Scan Tools
1. Autel MaxiScan MS300 CAN Diagnostic Scan Tool for OBDII Vehicles
After using the Autel MaxiScan MS300 CAN Diagnostic Scan Tool for a short time, the user is sure to notice the attractive features of this handy and cheap scan tool. It also has a simple two-button design that makes it extremely easy to pick up and use right out of the box, and it works well with all post-1996 cars, even pulling the VIN on vehicles supporting Mode 9 functionality.
- Cost effectiveness: Considering the numerous features and interfaces this tool has, it is almost unbelievable how affordable the Autel MaxiScan MS300 CAN Diagnostic Scan Tool for OBDII Vehicles is. Some specialty stores will feature further discounts, making it seem practically free. This is by far the most affordable and simple option.
- Wide usage: This cheap OBD2 scanner has a high degree of universality in its function and will service the vast majority of cars, making it amazingly beneficial to any user. With this tool, you can consolidate other scan tools you might have into one handy device, saving yourself money, time, and trouble in the process.
2. BAFX Products® – Bluetooth OBD2 Scan Tool – For check engine light & diagnostics – Android ONLY
Boasting an array of unique characteristics, this scan tool has a variety of benefits, including the ease of using Bluetooth to transform your current device into a scan tool (though it is unfortunately not compatible with iOS devices).
- Cost effective: Few of the OBD2 scan tools I have encountered in my long career have been this affordable — and this is in spite of its numerous functions and features. Unlike most of its competitors, the BAFX OBD2 scan tool gives you your money’s worth without sacrificing functionality.
- Reliability: I can tell you for sure that if you are in the United States, then you can rely on this OBD2 scan tool to work on your car regardless of the brand. In this regard, this scan tool can provide relief to those who have given up hope of finding a compatible OBD2 scan tool. Moreover, its wide coding will deliver exactly what you need: a clean scan for your car.
3. ScanTool 425801 OBDLink SX USB: OBD Adapter/Diagnostic Scanner for Windows
Similar to the previous model on this list, the ScanTool 425801 OBDLink SX USB: OBD Adapter/Diagnostic Scanner for Windows takes your existing device and turns it into a multi-purpose scanner for your car. Some people will prefer the previous model for the Bluetooth, but if you want the reliability of a hard-wired connection, this USB model will appeal to you for several reasons (though again, this model is also not iOS compatible):
- Fuel Economy- This cheap scan tool contains a specialized feature that instructs the driver on various fuel-saving mechanisms. The trickle-down effects of these techniques will save the user a lot of hard-earned cash over the long term. In addition, its wide compatibility allows this one cheap OBD2 scan tool to do the work of many others.
- Convenience- This OBD2 scan tool is enabled with several features that make it especially intuitive and user-friendly. For instance, the live data feed system gives real-time updates, while the screen display gives the technician tips on which part to handle.
4. Autel AutoLink AL319 OBD II & CAN Scan Tool
Any comprehensive Autel AL319 review would be remiss not to mention the clear screen display (not a touch screen, sadly) that enables it to communicate with vehicles without using a PC as an intermediary. I tested it on an ‘05 Ford Focus in my garage to turn off a malfunctioning indicator light, and it worked like a charm! It also supports functionality with larger CAN vehicles and buses. To sum up, Autel AutoLink is great for beginners in light of its price. Though it supports slightly fewer vehicles than the more robust Autel DS708, it is nearly 10 times cheaper.
That said, there are still a few other features that strengthen its advantages over comparable models at its price point:
- Works on ALL 1996 and newer vehicles (OBD II and CAN) — domestic and import;
- Multilingual menu and DTC definitions — English, Spanish and French;
- Can be updated and upgraded over the internet.
5. Autel AL519 Color Screen OBDII/CAN Scan Tool
I found this great scan tool last year and have been singing its praises ever since. We had been having problems servicing our Japanese models for some months, causing considerable annoyance and agony amongst our technicians. Walking from one shop to the next looking for what seemed an elusive solution was starting to get the better of me.
Finally, I came across the Autel AL519 Color Screen OBDII/CAN Scan Tool when conducting my usual searches. After reading several reviews, I was convinced that we had found our remedy at last. And true to my hunch, this scan tool never disappointed! Made by the Autel Group, whose portfolio of scan tools and reputation for quality has been growing by the day, this machine surely qualifies to be among the top rated car diagnostic scan tools. Featuring the highest functionality and compatibility on this list, it is, as you might expect, also the most expensive of the options in this wrap-up. However, if you have an atypical model or service a wide variety of cars, then this could be the comprehensive tool you’ve been searching for.
A tool’s features are what will ultimately separate the wheat from the chaff. The above list contains some of the best cheap OBD2 scanner tools that won’t break your budget. Depending on what you need, your OBD scan tool can be a magic key or just a hunk of plastic, regardless of the price.
Shopping for what suits your needs is the ultimate secret.