Top 3 Professional Car Diagnostic Tools Reviewed
Having engine trouble? Professional car diagnostic tools can help you get to the bottom of it and find the cause. They do this by working with the OBD (or on-board diagnostic system) of the car, working with the computer inside the car to tell you the state of various subsystems. This provides you with a full diagnostic, the same kind of service you might get from your mechanic.
Here, we’re going to look at three of the best professional car diagnostic tools that anyone can find on the market. These tools provide a full diagnostic scan, helping you find issues with build-up level in the combustion engine, ignition timing problems, fuel injector performance, engine rpm, camshaft and crankshaft positions, and much more.
Now, it’s time to look at the best professional car diagnostic tools on the market. We will see how three of the top competitors compare to one another and help you find out which is best for your needs in particular.
Here are the top 3 professional diagnostic tools:
This full code reading and diagnostic kit comes as a tablet that can be quickly connected to the car’s onboard computer. This is the most expensive kit on the market using a powerful and quick quad-core processor, powered by Lithium Polymer Batteries, and weighing about 15.5 lbs. A 7-inch touchscreen with its own backlighting makes the options and features easy to see at all times, with its own auto-brightness adjusting features to make it even more convenient. The tablet-based tool, connectors, and more all come in a handy suitcase, as well, so it’s easy to transport and carry around with you.
It can help diagnose most cars from a range of manufacturers, covering both Asian and European models, with the help of a handy AutoVIN feature that can help identify car make and model quickly. Other scanners may require you to find and enter the VIN manually, so the MaxiDAS can help cut one step out of the process entirely.
Besides reading and analysing trouble codes from the OBD system, it provides a much deeper diagnosis thanks to its advanced scanning technology. You can even create test reports and performance graphs with relative ease thanks to an intuitive user-interface that keeps your options readable and understandable. What’s more, It offers the ability to reset and fix codes. Using this tool, you can cycle the ABS system, calibrate the weight sensor, bleed the ABS pump, reset transmission CVIs and much more, helping you address many of the problems that the diagnostics tool finds.
The tool has reasonable memory capacity for saved reports and downloaded updates but can be enhanced even further thanks to the MicroSD slot that allows you to add up to 32 gigs of extra data with compatible cards. What’s more, the device connects to a Cloud-based data manager. This means that diagnostic reports, records on your specific vehicle, notes for the technician and more can be exported and uploaded, so they can be downloaded and reproduced on other devices with relative ease.
The remote support is a handy feature, too. If you experience any bugs or issues, the device itself can help you connect to the Autel team and they can remotely control your device to troubleshoot it and help correct any issues. Any bug fixes or updates that are released for the MaxiDAS are completely free for a year, helping you keep its diagnostic database up-to-date by simply connecting the device to the Wifi every time you get a prompt for an update.
If you regularly deal with vehicle diagnostics, then the Autel MaxiDAS is a sophisticated, comprehensive tool that’s both professional and easy to use. If you’re able to take the costs, it’s hard to beat in terms of quality, functionality, and service.
- Comprehensive diagnostic tool able to determine and fix multiple issues with your vehicle
- Great user interface helped by smart lighting system
- Efficient Cloud-based data management, back-up, update and report generating features
- Compatible with a large range of European and Asian car models.
- Upgrade version of Autel maxidas DS708
- Based on the Android operating system, and featuring a fast quad-core processor, provides extensive coverage of oe-level diagnostics
- Maxidas DS808K language default in English
- Cloud-based data manager saves customer and vehicle records, Scanner data and technician notes
- Covering more than 80 US, Asian and European vehicle makes, with complete vehicle system coverage for all Electronic systems,
2. Innova 3160g
This code reader and scanning tool is much cheaper than the Autel MaxiDAS, and much smaller, as well. It’s a handheld device that can easily be used in one hand, as opposed to having to be kept on your lap, with a 3.5” inch display and Bluetooth connectivity.
This diagnostic tool is compatible with a large range of US, European, and Asian models from 1996 onwards, including cars, hybrids, SUVs, and light trucks. Not only can it be used to read problem codes from the OBD system, but it’s also able to diagnose and help fix issues with ABS, SRS, to reset oil and battery maintenance, and even to test the charging system of the vehicle.
The Bluetooth functionality is one of the best features of this device, allowing you to stream data and trouble codes to other devices completely live, meaning it can be used with some of the best apps on the market that can help you identify problem codes and get more details on what’s wrong with your vehicle.
Despite the relatively small screen, the display is high-quality and intuitive, meaning that it’s not too difficult to find the feature you want and you won’t be fussing with accidental presses of the wrong thing. It presents more than error codes alone, with live data graphic that can help you see more details on performance than the average scanner usually allows you to do.
Innova has a reputation for creating some of the most comprehensive diagnostic tools on the market, and their database of vehicles and problems codes is always updating. As soon as you buy this device, you’re entitled to free software updates for the foreseeable. Combined with the fact this device is programmed to work with multiple OBD system protocols means that it’s effective at scanning a huge range of vehicles.
The device also comes with a free year-long trial of Innova’s Repair Solutions software package. This software helps provide even more information on what’s wrong with the vehicle, so you can use the problem codes provided by the tool to get more information on the issue and exactly what you can do about it. Providing information like average costs and step-by-step instructions for a range of repairs, it’s a good tool to use alongside the Innova.
While it might not have quite as many advanced features as more expensive kits like the Autel reviewed above, it provides a lot more information and functionality than your average scanner or problem code finder. With the added Bluetooth functionality that allows it to connect to a range of devices and apps, it’s easy to recommend the Innova 3160g to the average car owner who wants to more readily identify what is wrong with their vehicle.
- Quick, efficient scanning and problem code production
- Streams problem codes and vehicle data to other devices thanks to Bluetooth connectivity
- Compatible with a huge range of vehicles
- Free software and database updates for all time
- Clear, sharp screen quality and intuitive user interface
- Highly portable and easy to use
- Read and clear check engine lights on any foreign or domestic 1996 and newer OBD2 car, light truck, SUV, and hybrids
- Read and erase ABS & SRS trouble codes on most OBD2 domestic, Asian and European vehicles
- Reset oil light on popular OBD2 vehicles
- Reset battery maintenance light & Initialization
- Stream and record real-time live data to review at a later time via tool screen or windows computer
Only slightly more expensive than the Innova scanner, the FOXWELL code scanner is another handheld device. With a large 3.4” inch display, it’s compatible with a large range of European, Asian, and US makes and models. What’s more, it’s a standalone scanner so you don’t need to connect it to any external devices to get all of the information and features that it’s capable of providing.
Besides reading manufacturer protocols and scanning for problem codes, this device is also able to more effectively diagnose other subsystems of the car more effectively than the average generic scanner, including braking and parking systems, your ABS, transmission, airbag, and the air conditioning systems. It can provide live data graphs as well as reports so you can see the performance of your car in real-time to help you identify how the issues detected are affecting your vehicle.
Unlike other diagnostic devices, FOXWELL does not force you to pay up or re-subscribe for software updates after a certain period of time. You have a lifetime of free updates, helping you keep the device functional as well as keeping its database up-to-date with the latest vehicle and code information. The only drawback is that to update it, you have to manually remove the SD card and insert it into a smartphone, tablet, or computer to download the update directly onto it.
For a professional tool, the FOXWELL NT624 PRO is built to be easily used by beginners, as well. This is helped not only by the high-quality, clear, backlit display, but also the large buttons and a user interface that keeps your options concise while presenting all the information you need to know.
Unlike the Autel, it can’t program the car, but it can read and reset codes for the engine, turn off dashboard lights, and is compatible with a huge range of manufacturer protocols, meaning it’s compatible with more vehicles than the average OBD device. Add to that the extremely compact design and it’s easy to simply carry with you or store in the glove compartment of your car, to use a quick and efficient diagnostics tool whenever you need to.
All this makes the FOXWELL NT624 a great device for pros who want a much more efficient diagnostics tool but also for learning technicians and car DIYers. It’s not the most comprehensive tool on the market, but offers a lot more functionality than the average scanner, and the standalone nature of it means that you don’t have to fuss with other devices in order to learn exactly what’s wrong with your car.
- Lifetime free updates
- Scans for problem codes, as well as more information on several different subsystems
- Compatible with the majority of vehicles with an OBD system
- Clear display, large buttons, and beginner-friendly user interface
- 🌲 【WIDE VEHICLE COVERAGE】FOXWELL NT624 code scanner for automobiles is compatible with almost all OBDII cars, SUVs, minivans, light-duty trucks sold worldwide. Ability to quickly read and clear all system fault codes in 61 manufacturers for European, Asian, and Domestic vehicles 1996- present.
- 🌲 【ALL SYSTEMS DIAGNOSTIC】This car computer diagnostic tester for all cars identifies the vehicle you are testing rapidly and accurately on the basis of its VIN number. One button Auto Scan reads codes in Engine, Transmission, ABS, SRS (air bag),Electronic Parking Brake, EPS, heating/air conditioning control, etc. Shows live vehicle sensors data in text and graph format and allows you to focus on any suspicious or symptom-specific data.
- 🌲 【FULL OBD II FUNCTION】It supports all OBD2 protocols and all 10 test modes including read error codes, clear codes, live data, O2 monitor test, on-board monitor test vehicle information and enhanced ODB2 Mode 10.
- 🌲 【SPECIAL FUNCTION】Such as Oil Service reset, EPB service, ABS light reset. Impressive 480*272 TFT backlit color display, Clearly arranged beypad, menu-driven oprtation and shortcuts together make the NT624 autodiagnostic scanner extremely faster and easier.
- 🌲 【LIFETIME INTERNET FREE UPDATE】With internet access, you can always have the latest bug fixes, new vehicles, newly added parameters and functionality at your fingertips. Please note: Erase Codes does not fix the problem that caused the fault! DTCs should only be erased after correcting the condition(s) that caused them.
More Information about Car Diagnostic Tools
These diagnostic tools are plugged into the car’s onboard computer, often found near the knees, just under the dash. Once the ignition is turned, the computer is booted. Some scanners run on their own power supply, while others are powered directly the car battery. When they’re plugged in, you can start the diagnostic process.
There’s some difference between OBD-connection diagnostic tools and what are most often called “scanners” on the market, too. Scanners help you find the code provided by the onboard computer, from which point you can use several smartphone apps to search up the code and find out the issue. A professional car diagnostic tool will give you a lot more detail on the condition of your vehicle.
What to look for in a Professonal Diagnostic Tool
When looking for a professional car diagnostic tool, here are a few features or qualities you want to look for in particular:
- Compatibility: Ensuring that you’re buying a tool that works with the specific vehicles you’re looking to diagnose is essential. Depending on region, make, year, and more, different cars have different OBD systems, so buy your diagnostic tool accordingly.
- User interface: How effectively and efficiently does the system display all the information that you need to know? Is it easy to read the results of your diagnostic test or are you going to need to look to other resources or professionals to help?
- Data handling: These are digital tools, which means they need to be able to handle data well. Quick downloads and data backup mean that you can keep the diagnostic tool updated and quickly save any diagnostic data that you need to later rely on or show to your mechanic. Having the digital memory space to save all that data is important, too.
Pro Automotive Diagnostic Tool Video
Here is a YouTube video showing how to use a car diagnostic tool:
If you want a truly professional tool that offers all the functionality that a mechanic could need, then the Autel diagnostic kit is the right solution for you. It’s a premium device, even though it comes at a premium price. While it’s a little heavier than the others, the sheer added functionality and the Cloud-based data management system makes it a truly professional tool. If you’re looking to spend a little less, then both the FOXWELL and the Innova are good for your money.