Look online for a OBD2 code reader and you’re going to get a list of hundreds of thousands of options. There are a lot of great solutions on display today, and you may be lost as to how to pick the right one. If you are not sure what scanner is going to be best for your overall needs, then you will no doubt want to look into a few steps to help you along the way.
The following will give you a break down of why these matter, and how to pick the right one for you. If you’re on the fence, this could very well change how you move forward overall.
A Change In The 1990s
Since 1996, every major car today has a diagnostic element in them. There are five basic signals that you will find within this arena, but overall, every car has an element in them that is standard. While scanners, software, and different elements may change, the standards of testing are in place, and it’s something that you will find to be a good thing. Consumers and mechanics love this overall, because it’s easy to diagnose and fix cars overall.
Any major issue can be caught early with scanners, and that could lead to more efficient repairs, and driving overall. With that in mind, consider the following breakdown of how to pick a good reader, and why it’s important to stay up to date overall.
Why Use A Scanner?
You may be asking yourself why you should use a scanner. Why use one if you can just go to a mechanic? Seriously, think about that for a moment. Why get a home scanner if you can just go to an auto-body shop and get a helping hand. Plus, the dashboard of your car is going to tell you whether or not something is wrong too, right? This all poses some interesting issues and could very well lead some to not purchase a OBD2 option at all.
The reason why people should purchase this is because it helps you diagnose and possibly fix issues. Some problems don’t need a professional to clear things up. You may have a light out, you may need more fluid, you may need an oil change, and some other minor things. Scanners can help you figure out if an issue is small or if it is large enough to call in a professional. Whatever the case may be, you’re going to get peace of mind knowing whether or not you’re dealing with something extremely difficult to manage, or something that requires a bit of attention overall.
What To Look For In A Scanner
When you’re looking for a good OBD2 code reader, you’ll want to focus on some factors. You need to look for a solution that is not only easy to carry, but is designed well. There are some cheap readers out there, and you could fall for some low prices. With that in mind, you’ll want to look into options that are compatible with your car, are easy to use, and have expandable memory.
Aside from that, you’ll want to look for options that come with cables, have a warranty, and are easy to work with your laptop, mobile device and more. There’s a long array of features that should not be missed out on, including the following:
- Large screens
- Easy to carry
- Good value
- Wireless connections
- Extended Warranty
- Store data
- Upgradeable software
- Alternative Power options
The above is just a quick list of options that you should consider as you look into scanners today. Of course, you may find something that fills more than the basics above, which is a good thing.
Basic or Higher End?
Moving forward with looking into the best OBD2 reader, make sure that you assess what your overall needs are. Many times, people spend too much money on these, and find out that they don’t really need all of the bells and whistles. Of course, you should get something that is going to work, but don’t go overboard here. You may not need all of the functions and elements that come with higher end solutions, and if that’s the case, don’t go with an expensive option. Entry level readers can be less than $100, so make sure that you check that out overall.
A basic code reader may not come with a lot of bells and whistles. Determine ahead of time if you are going to actually use all the features that come with the reader that you’re looking into. Just because it has a lot of options, doesn’t mean that you’re going to need to use them or even work with them. That’s something that you should balance as move forward.
As you look into the various options, make sure that you consider whether or not you can upgrade your reader. Software changes all the time, cars get new updates, and lots of new information gets passed through various components. If you’re going to spend money on a scanner, why not get an option that is going to be able to upgrade over time. You want to be able to get an upgrade with relative ease. There are some that require you to pay a subscription fee, others require small fees down the line, and much more.
What Brands To Look For
Overall, at this point you have enough information to pick a solution. However, you still may be stumped as to where to look. If that’s the case, consider a few of the brands that are getting a lot of attention in regards to readers. Some of the most common today include Actron, Autel USA, BAFX, Innova, Launch Tech, Lemur Monitors, and ScanTool. These are companies that have invested heavily in producing great readers that will no doubt push diagnostics forward.
At the end of the day, take your time looking online for the right option. Don’t just spend a ton of money, look for reviews, consider questions and answers, brands, and more. That will show whether or not the right reader for you is amidst one of the brands mentioned above.