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How to Choose the best car diagnostic tool

How to Choose the best car diagnostic tool.

When choosing the best car diagnostic tool for your needs, you need to decide what you need from the tool. The choices available now are vast when compared to the tools that were  available only a few years ago.

Not so long ago the only tools that were being sold were basic OBD2 scanners that only communicated with engine over OBD2 or EOBD, which were generally 2001 on petrol 2004 on diesel cars and vans from about 2007.

This type of OBD2 diagnostic tool only talked to the engine emission side of things,  some could communicate with automatic gearbox modules albeit at a very basic level. These tools could only display basic generic fault codes, you needed to look up the meaning with an included list of codes, which might have been right or wrong. If you had a problem with the engine going into reduced power or limp home mode, the basic obd2 tools would allow you to clear the fault and you could continue with your journey as normal until the fault occurred again which required the fault code clearing again.

easy 320 pro grade obd2 scan tool

Vident ieasy320 pro grade obd2 EOBD and CAN  fault code reader and live data display tool

The diagnostic tools nowdays are a lot more sophisticated, with most tools now able to talk to more systems such as engine, ABS, SRS and Transmission. They usually read and clear fault codes and display manufacturer specific code definitions on the screen, display live data stream, freeze frame data, some even offer bi-directional testing and component configurations. Service reset, Electric Parking brake open and close.

The Vident iSmart 800 Professional Bluetooth Tablet based Full diagnostic system with coding, programming on multi make cars, vans and 4x4's  to 2017-2018-2019. £699.00 inc VAT and UK delivery is our best priced full workshop ready diagnostic system

Vident ismart professional vehicle diagnostic system

With the latest car diagnostic tools now including features and functions that were only a few years ago available with tools costing many thousands of pounds. These tools will allow the user to replace control modules, configure vehicles, calibrate components, adapt new parts to engine such as EGR valves, Air Flow Meters, Diesel particulate filters, and pressure sensors are some.

Some cars now have systems that need to be told when service parts are replaced in the car, examples of these are: air filters, engine oil, brake fluid, brake pads. and spark plugs.

example of suspension configuration on Land Rover available on Vident ilink400 single make scan tool

Single Make Multi System Scan Tools

There are now affordable tools, both PC based and stand alone, hand held diagnostic systems that can do pretty much all the car owner would need. these start at less than £130.00 and can diagnose and aid repair on all vehicle systems, reset service and code new parts, reset adaptions on a single manufacturer with an option to add more manufacturers 

The handheld options for these type of tools are available from Vident and Foxwell. The PC based options for this type of tool are available from Maxiecu. There are other single manufacturer tools also available for Fiat group vehicles from Multiecuscan and OBDteseter that are aimed at professional users but are still an affordable option for the serious Do it yourself car owner.

​Vident's version of the tool is the iLink400 single make multi system scan tool with broad manufacturer coverage for European, Asian and USA vehicles. These tools can handle up to 5 different manufacturers in one diagnostic tool.

Foxwell single make scan tools are the NT520 range. Similar coverage to the ilink400 with the same 5 manufacturer limit per  tool.

Four system Multi Manufacturer Diagnostic Tools

For the user that don't need or want to have the more advanced functions or full vehicle coverage, then the four system versions of hand held scanners would be an ideal option. Covering the engine, ABS, Airbags and automatic transmission, these tools dont have the depth of coverage the single make scan tools have but they have the added advantage of global manufacturer coverage, these tools will cover nearly all car manufacturers from Europe, USA and Asia. They will also reset service indicators, service electric parking brakes and battery maintenance and registration.

The Vident option for this 4 system tool is the iLink440 with Engine, ABS, SRS, Transmission diagnostic coverage, service functions are: service reset, Electric parking brake release, and Battery maintenance. 

The Foxwell option in the NT614 with the same diagnostic coverage and service functions as the iLink440.

Foxwell tools are supplied with free lifetime updates, Vident are supplied with Three year free software updates


Scantool Direct can supply a diagnostic system to suit your needs or vehicle.

Why not give us a call on 02891 310043  if you need advice on choosing the best car diagnostic tool for your needs.


Product enquiries: 02891 310 043