OBD Scan Tool Buying Guide

Diagnostic scan tools vary in coverage, functionality and capability. This page helps you choose the right scan tool for you.

On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) scan tools are a great way to access your vehicle's advanced computer to monitor and diagnose almost any parameter. From over 15,000 possible parameters on most modern cars, you can now get the right tool to access the required system and perform almost any function. 

The first thing you need to consider before buying a scan tool is what type of information you want out of the tool. Is it to monitor real-time fuel economy or performance gauges, log trip and fuel economy data or to diagnose trouble codes. If you want to diagnose trouble codes, then you also need to consider what systems you want to cover!

This guide will help you decice on best scan tool for you.


1- OBD-II Gauges & Trip Computers:

Suitable to monintor real-time engine parameters & gauges, log fuel and trip data as well as diagnoe (read & clear) generic and some manufacturer specific Engine Trouble Codes. To know if your car is compatible, please check our OBD-II compatibility list here.


A) ScanGauge Car Monitor

  • Scangauge is a powerful vehicle monitor that will help you manage all crucial information on your car. It incorporates over 15 real-time digital gauges, trip computer consisting of 5 sets of data as well as a simple scan tool whose main function is to bring alert to you of any set and pending Engine trouble codes.
  • Compatibility: OBD-II compatible cars only

Check available Smartphone Scanners > 


B) Smartphone Scanners

  • Electronic dongle devices with main function to transmit OBD-II data by WiFi or Bluetooth to smart devices which can then be used as performance real-time gauges, trip computers and engine code readers. Look and capability are different from one app to another. 
  • Compatibility: OBD-II compatible cars only

Check available Smartphone Scanners > 


C) Head Up Display (HUD)

  • Display of instrument readings in vehicles, can be seen without lowering the eyes, typically through being projected onto the windshield or visor. Suitable mainly for night driving. 
  • Compatibility: OBD-II compatible cars only

Check available Head Up Displays >  


2- OBD-I & OBD-II (All Cars) Diagnostic Scan Tools

Suitable to access vehicle’s main control systems to diagnose (read & clear) both generic and manufacturer specific trouble codes and perform more advanced diagnostics functions including service reset, actuation and coding and reprogramming. 

Diagnostics Scan Tools are categorised as follows:


A) Engine Code Readers:

Special Functions Include:

  • Text Live Data – displays data in real time via text 
  • Graph Live Data – displays data in real time via graph 
  • O2 Sensors Test – tests or measures the proportion of oxygen in the gas or liquid of a vehicle.
  • I/M (inspection and maintenance) readiness – measures emission related systems or components and may display out range values. 
  • Advanced Mode 6 – advanced mode that will monitor non-continuous systems that are not always running. Non-continuous monitors can include the evaporation system, O2 sensors, and A/C systems. 

Shop Engine Code Readers > 


B) Multi-System Scan Tools:

  • Diagnose (read & clear) diagnostic trouble codes from multiple systems such as Engine, ABS, Airbag, Transmission & More.
  • Compatibility: Depending on the scan tool. OBD-II Cars only or OBD-I & OBD-II Cars

Special Functions Include: (Scan Tool & Car Dependent)  

  • Oil Service Reset – resetting oil service light and set service intervals.  
  • Merge Graph Data - 
  • DPF Reset – Diesel particulate filter regeneration 
  • EPB Reset – Electronic part break reset 
  • SAS Reset – Steering angle sensor reset 
  • TPMS Reset – Tyre pressure monitor system reset 
  • Coding & Reprogramming  Bi-directional capability to disengage or deactivate certain systems in order to work on them. 

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3) OBD-I & OBD-II (Single Car) Diagnostic Scan Tools

  • If you're looking for a multi-system scan tool or for a scan tool that will work on specific car only but don't want to invest in an (all cars) multi system scan tools, then the single cars scan tools can be the perfect choice. 
  • Compatibility: Depending on the scan tool. OBD-II Cars only or OBD-I & OBD-II Cars

The following Scan Tools are available: