Looking for scanner

I’m looking for recommendations on a DIY scan tool. I don’t want to spend more than $500. Needs to be bi directional and do resets like Elecric E brake, TPMS, SAS, ABS bleed. I’ve been using Autoengiuity, but it needs lots of updating. Thinking of using hand held or tablet. So far I’m seeing Foxwell, Innova, and Ancel. But I don’t know if they are good or junk. Any recommendations?

Tell us what type of car you need to service. Some of the cheaper scanners cover specific families of cars. I use ObdEleven for my Audi. It covers Volkswagen-Audi Group cars.

ForScan is a great tool for Ford and Mazda cars and it is free.

So what car are you working on?


Folks here often recommend a gadget that physically plugs into the OBD port, but uses a cell phone or laptop and special software to enter commands & and display the car’s data. Curious, does anybody know if a non-subscribed smart phone will work w/that gadget? My non-subscribed smart phone will connect to most Wifi hot spots ok .

Yes it will work with OBD2 Bluetooth plug ins on an unsubscribed cell. I run several of these apps on an android tablet. Wifi connection but no cell service.

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I’m most concerned about using it for a 2020 Buick Envision and a 2019 Ford Escape. I will definitely use it randomly on a few other peoples vehicles. I’m also not afraid to spend a little more than what I need because they are just toys yo me.

Innova has been around since OBD.

I wouldn’t hesitate buying one of their scanners at that price level



So have you personally used these Innova scanner. The top one is very affordable and says it does everything I want it to except it doesn’t do an ABS bleed on the Ford. That’s not a deal breaker though. I’m just afraid of getting some product full of empty claims. This one looks good though. Innova 5610.

These use Bluetooth or sometimes Wi-Fi, so the main functionality should work. However, the app often provides links from the codes to web pages describing those codes, so you’d need an active Internet connection for that functionality to work.

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In addition, it would need web access to get the app to begin with. But I’m pretty sure most smart phones can do web if on wifi?

I’m able to access the web via my non-subscribed cell-phone’s wifi w/o much trouble . I just have to take it to a location that has wifi access. I don’t seem to have identical functionality compared to desktop computer access to the web. For example, I’m able to listen to a Best of CarTalk podcast on the phone via wifi, but I’ve never been able to successfully download a podcast mp3 file to the phone for listening later. I’m not sure if that’s just not possible, or if I don’t know how to do it.

I went ahead and ordered the Innova 5610. This should be sufficient (hopefully) for what I do. If it falls short on the Ford, FORscan is cheap and I’ll purchase that when and if needed. Thanks for the tips.

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All I can say is that, if you want to order something like a bluetooth dongle, you’d want to make sure that you can download whatever app you need or want to go with it. I have a Bluedriver which is a reasonably powerful code reader/scanner. But it’s not bidirectional. Either way, tho, if you get a Bluedriver dongle, you do need to be able to download the app.

You can also get much cheaper dongles and pair them with reasonably powerful apps (TorquePro seems to have a good rep, e.g. - but also not bidirectional AFAIK). Same principle - you have to make sure that you can download the app you want to pair with a dongle.

IDK if any of the bluetooth dongle/app pairs are capable of the bidirectional functions.

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Thank you. I have used some Bluetooth dongles. I keep one in my glovebox in case I need it for a code reader. The only dongles that I’ve researched that is bi directional are FORscan and I believe there is one for VWs also.

Some are. From my experience with it, Torque Pro is not bi directional and does not support service procedures.

The apps will list the dongles they want you to use. OBDeleven sells you the bi directional dongle as part of the service. I use a wired OBD dongle plugged into the USB port for OBD Fusion and Forscan which is bi directional.

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Neither of my cars is OBD II so I have no need for a code reader; but if I did, it would be fine w/me if all it provided was the codes and the mode-6 real time info like fuel trims. Being able to command the ABS valves for bleeding the brakes would also be useful, but I wouldn’t see the need for a diy’er code reader that did much else . Easy enough to view the code descriptions and service procedures on the the internet.

I’ve had ABS equipped cars since 1992 and never have I ever needed a scanner to exercise my ABS valves to bleed the cars. These were GM, Ford, Honda and Audi vehicles.

I really just want the codes themselves. I can also just search on the internet for the cause and effects. Usually get more good info.

There are some procedures that simply can’t be performed without a high-level bi-directional scanner

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Like replacing rear brake pads with an auto-parking brake.


You do realize that there are (or were) scan tools that work(ed) with older OBDI cars. I actually own one, and it comes with interface cables and software cartridges for GM, Ford, Chrysler, and Toyota vehicles. That’s basically all I would ever need to work on, as I don’t see myself buying anything else that age.

There is a work-around for that. Apply voltage to the caliper motor to reverse it. They are mostly simple DC motors.

May not work on all systems and I would not do that if I had a way around it.