A best car diagnostic tool unlocks the potential of DIY maintenance, and it’s an essential purchase for any self-confident vehicle owner. They can range from inexpensive, rudimentary devices that read and clear check engine lights to comprehensive professional-grade scanners that are designed primarily for use by experienced mechanics.
The best consumer-priced scan tools do things that used to be reserved for $5,000 pro-grade scanners. They can evaluate the condition of a battery or alternator, evaluate a vehicle’s fuel efficiency, run simulated smog tests and perform various maintenance functions like oil resets, steering angle calibration and TPMS resets. Some can even program keys or perform more advanced procedures, such as reprogramming an engine control module or transmitting commands to individual sensors and actuators.
Beyond the Check Engine Light: Maximizing Efficiency with the Best Car Diagnostic Tools
Gear Team testers found the Motopower MP69033 was one of the most straightforward scanners to use. Though it lacks some of the more advanced features of more expensive models, this affordable option works quickly and has a large display that outperformed all hardwired scanners in our test. Reviewers who want a simpler, more basic option and those with limited experience with vehicle maintenance are happy with this choice.
This scanner is a more affordable version of the Autel MK808S, and it works with almost as many vehicles. It reads all engine, PCM, TCM, and ABS codes and displays live data while you troubleshoot. It can also perform 28 different service functions, including reprogramming the engine control unit and sending commands to other modules. It’s compatible with both domestic and foreign cars and offers free, lifetime updates. It’s backed by a 1-year warranty that gives you peace of mind in case of an issue with the device.