A code reader interfaces with the car’s diagnostic system to detect any problems the car could be having. Many people tend to say the best engine code reader is the one they use, but most of them haven’t tried other alternatives. If you have an engine code reader yourself, it will help you find your car’s mechanical issues before the mechanics. It also enables you to find the problems in a used vehicle before buying it. What’s the best engine code reader? Here’s what to consider when looking for it.
What Information Do You Want from It?
When buying an engine code reader, one of the people's concerns is whether it works for their system. Does it cover the specific systems and functions one needs? Basic scan tools have limited functionality, meaning they can only do a number of functions, and you’ll need to buy a different type of scanner to do the rest.
A cheaper diagnostic reader covers the generic functions, for instance, emissions testing, and will not state why the check engine light is on. In other words, it won’t help much. If that’s the only thing you need to check once in a while, then the diagnostic reader is what you might need. However, if you want an engine code reader that does everything, you must rethink your options.
A professional-grade engine code reader might be what you need if you intend to check everything engine-related. Even though you’ll need to cough out more money, it will be worth it if you factor in its capabilities. You must go through the list of functions listed in the manual of the engine code reader before buying it.
Another concern is compatibility. Imagine how it would feel after you order an engine code reader, and wait a few days for it to arrive, then it turns out it’s not compatible with your car. Then you’ll have to return it, wait for a refund, and get another one. Double-checking whether a code reader will work with your vehicle is important.
Most modern vehicles have an OBD2 system, while the older ones use the OBD1. Ancel products have a list of car models they support in the manual. It would help if you were keen about whether your car is supported. Take time to verify your vehicle and see if the reader will work with it.
When buying an engine code reader, the more capabilities and functions it has, the more you pay. However, it also matters with the manufacturer. Ancel, for example, understands that engine code readers can be expensive. One of the brand’s ways to ensure that the consumer saves money is by cutting down production costs.
The company developed the Ancel BD200, a car diagnostic tool and check engine code reader. The only thing you buy is the tool you plug into the ODB2 port in your car. You then connect the tool to your phone wirelessly via Bluetooth. You can use the Ancel app and get all the readings on your phone seamlessly.
The tool performs full ODB2 functions, including reading and clearing trouble codes. It also turns off the CEL whenever an engine check light turns on. It also performs O2 sensor tests, EVAP system tests, read data stream, onboard monitor test, I/M readiness, DTC search, retrieve the Vin number, and more.
The tool also has additional functions like performance tests and trip analysis. It also helps the driver improve driving safety by activating voice alerts, checking the driving time and water temperature, and performing battery tests. A professional engine code reader goes for over $200, while the Ancel BD200 costs less than $35.
If you happen to be on a tight budget, you would want to get the Ancel BD200 as it can perform most functions like the professional scanner. If you are willing to spend more, then the Ancel V6, a bidirectional scanner, would be the best option. Your main excuse here is convenience.
Type of the Engine Code Reader You Want
There are two types of engine code readers. Some come standalone with cables that you insert into the port. The other type uses a wireless connection, and you can access the data on your smartphone through a mobile app.
The Ancel BD200 is an excellent example of a wireless engine code reader. The Ancel AD310 is a good engine code reader, but it’s standalone. The AD310 is more affordable than the Ancel BD200 but with fewer functions.
Most workshops prefer standalone devices over wireless ones. Otherwise, if they use wireless devices, every technician will have to connect their phone to the reader, which will cause a lot of inconveniences. However, if you work alone in your workshop, the wireless engine code reader would be the most convenient for you.
Some standalone devices have their own batteries, while others source power from the OBD2 port. If you want to know more about a fault code, you’ll need to check on the internet since the device will show nothing more. On the other hand, the wireless one will allow you to even speak to customer service through the app.
Many workshops have realized that wireless code readers are more convenient. They also have increased functionality – a considerable advantage. A Bluetooth-enabled scanner like the BD200 has become a favorite for DIY enthusiasts. There’s also the Wi-Fi-enabled Ancel V6 which is quite a powerful tool in your hands as a tablet.
When deciding the best engine code reader, you have to factor in the benefits of having a wireless one, its many functions, and whether different technicians will use it if you run a workshop.
The biggest mistake people make is not researching something before buying. The internet has made it pretty easy to window shop before the actual shopping. You can hop from one site to another to ensure you buy the right thing. When it comes to an engine code reader, you want to get one that gives you convenience and is compatible with most cars. This guide will help you make the right decision.