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The 11 best cheap OBD-II scanners in 2022

OBD (onboard diagnostic) scanners interact with the computer in your car to read error codes, monitor engine data, and conduct emission tests. OBD scanner ports are available in most vehicles released after 1996. These scanner ports are usually located under the vehicle’s steering wheel column. The best cheap OBD scanner will help you perform diagnostics reliably while sticking to your budget.

Any time your car’s computer registers an error in your car, the check engine light will come on. Once you plug an OBD scanner into the dedicated 16-pin connector for it, it can help you to detect the specific issue.

Onboard diagnostic scanners have evolved from the original OBD scanners to modern OBD-II scanners. OBD-II scanners have several advantages over the original OBD scanner, such as scanner standardization. So, a single OBD-II scanner can work for any vehicle, thanks to this standardization. You can compare this to how almost every new smartphone and tablet uses the standard USB-C port for charging and data transfer. So, you won’t need to buy a new OBD-II scanner every time you buy a new vehicle.

OBD-II scanners also have the added advantage of not requiring you to connect the scanner to a separate power source. The new connector ports have a pin that provides power for the scanner directly from the car’s battery.

If you have a check engine light on and connect an OBD-II scanner to your computer, the scanner will raise the error code. Older OBD-II scanners require you to check up the scanner code online or in a car manual to translate the code. But modern OB2 scanners will often translate the error codes for you, so you don’t have to check them online. Some will even link you up to a database that will give you additional information and tips on vehicular repairs for the error code.

You don’t have to be a mechanic to own an OBD-II scanner. You can own this diagnostic tool at home to diagnose your car fault codes and resolve them independently. This will save you a lot of money.

You can also own an OBD-II scanner to confirm the mileage of a used car before you buy it. Some nefarious people tamper with a car’s odometer and roll it back. An OBD scanner can help you to avoid cars with fraudulent odometer readings. OBD-II scanners also help to clear error codes that persist even when there is no issue with your car.

An OBD scanner is no longer a luxury item that only mechanics or rich people can afford. There are a lot of cheap OBD-II scanners in the market that will do a great job of reading vehicle systems and telling you what is wrong. With the information gleaned from these cheap scanners, you can fix the problem with your car yourself.

Here are the best cheap OBD scanners you can purchase for your vehicle.

Innova 3100j Scanner

Innova 3100j Scanner

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The Innova 3100j scanner is an entry-level scan tool that can quickly reveal all check engine light codes. Costing less than $100, it is perfect for any consumer that needs a cheap car code reader for their vehicle. It will reveal engine, airbag, ABS, and SRS system faults.

The Innova 3100j diagnostic scanner comes with three AA batteries which are used to power it. The Innova 3100j also has a freeze frame data function that captures immediate engine data and information. This helps with data accuracy when dealing with intermittent car problems.

Known for its wide range of car scanners, the Innova company has mobile and desktop apps that pair with the Innova 3100j. The software can also help you to update the scanner as necessary. Yes, that’s right. This cheap scanner comes with updates to improve the overall experience and make it compatible with newer vehicle models.

The scan tool doesn’t come with a user manual in the package. So, you’ll have to download the online manual to figure out how to use the OBD-II scanner.

Innova 3100j Scanner / Car Code Reader with Live Data Price:$95.00 Buy Now Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission

Mucar OBD2 Scanner 2022

Mucar OBD2 Scanner 2022

Mucar OBD2 best cheap OBD scannersca
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Released in 2022, the Mucar OBD2 Scanner 2022 model is a cheap OBD-II scanner that conducts full body scans. It comes with a built-in 5″ HD screen that displays information nicely. So, you don’t need to pair it with a smartphone app. This device runs on Android 7.0 operating system, with 1 GB RAM and 16 GB internal memory. It also supports an external memory card. It comes with 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.1. The long-lasting battery lasts for 15 hours on a single charge.

The Mucar OBD2 scanner diagnoses engine, throttle, SAS, oil, powertrain, fuel system, light system, and EPD issues. It can even conduct a battery voltage test for your car’s battery. You can also use the live time graphing function to monitor your car battery usage in real-time.

The car diagnostic tool can also help you to calibrate your SAS steering angle and throttle body adaptation. It can also reset your electronic parking brake, regenerate your DPF, and provide an oil light reset.

The one-click VIN button automatically identifies your vehicle’s VIN and its make, model, and other vehicle information. The information is presented on the screen in a nice image format with graphs available for certain data.

Furthermore, the Mucar OBD2 scanner has advanced functions like freeze frame data, data record and playback, report printing, external data sharing, etc. You can update the software easily with a one-button tap once you connect the device to the internet. Mucar has promised lifetime updates for the 2022 Mucar OBD2 scanner. The software updates will bring improved functionality.

You also get a 5-year after-sale warranty, so be rest assured that you are buying a high-quality scanner that will last you for several years.

With the 2022 Mucar OBD2 scanner, you are getting so much value for an OBD-II scanner that costs less than $200. You will hardly find so many premium features in an OBD-II scanner that is this cheap. This scanner is perfect for you whether you own a repair shop or whether you are a simple car owner.

Mucar OBD2 Scanner,2022 Newest VO6 OE-Level All Systems with 28 Reset Car Diagnostic Bidirectio… Price:$378.99 Buy Now Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission

BAFX Products Bluetooth OBDII Scanner

BAFX Products Bluetooth OBDII Scanner

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Costing just $25.99, the BAFX Products Bluetooth OBDII scanner is one of the cheapest PBD2 scanners that you can buy on the market. The BAFX Products Bluetooth OBDII scanner works with all consumer cars and trucks that are sold in the USA after 1996. It is a simple plug-and-play device that you plug into your car’s OBD-II scanner port before connecting it to your smartphone via Bluetooth. Then, you download the smartphone diagnostic app companion. It also works with third-party apps. The device works for only Android devices. It comes with Bluetooth 5.0 technology but can also work with older Bluetooth devices.

Once you connect the Bluetooth scanner to your Android device, you can start scanning your car for diagnostic trouble codes. You can read these error codes and clear them after fixing the issues. It reads fuel flow, air temperature, fuel rail pressure, O2 sensor, engine load, and other sensor information. It can also check your vehicle emission system to ensure that you pass smog and emission tests. Sadly, this cheap scanner does not read ABS, SRS, or oil change information. Nevertheless, it offers great functionality for its price.

The BAFX Products Bluetooth OBDII scanner has additional features like freeze frame data, live data, and map-based sensor tracking. The map-based sensor feature tracks your vehicle readings against a map of your driving route for better analysis. You also get graph sensor data on the Android phone app. It reads at an impressive speed and it is ELM327 compliant. This means that the scanner can access various professional programmer command set for advanced diagnostics.

In general, the BAFX Products Bluetooth OBDII scanner is a good scanner that offers great features at an unbeatable, cheap price. Get this scanner if you need something that is very cheap and yet provides several functions.

Wireless Bluetooth Diagnostic OBD2 Scanner Car Code Reader and Scan Tool for All 1996 & Newer V… List Price:$25.99 Price:$22.56 You Save:$3.43 (13%) Buy Now Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission

MOTOPOWER MP69033 Car OBD2 Scanner

MOTOPOWER MP69033 Car OBD2 Scanner

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The MOTOPOWER MP69033 Car OBD2 Scanner is an impressive car diagnostic tool that costs just $25. It has a 128 by 64 pixels operational screen. The six-button layout is easy to operate, and it comes with a lengthy 2.5′ cable. It is compatible with most US, European, and Asian cars. It is available in six different languages.

The MOTOPOWER MP69033 Car OBD2 Scanner does the basics well and can diagnose most check engine light codes appropriately. It can read real-time engine data like engine speed, vehicle speed, engine coolant temperature, and load value. It also has the error clearing and freeze frame function.

This is impressive, but it can’t read ABS, SRS Airbag, and oil service light codes. It comes with a two-year warranty. Vehicle owners that need something with a little more functionality can get the newer but slightly more expensive MOTOPOWER MP69035.

MOTOPOWER MP69033 Car OBD2 Scanner Code Reader Engine Fault Code Reader Scanner CAN Diagnostic… List Price:$26.99 Price:$25.00 You Save:$1.99 (7%) Buy Now Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission

Foxwell NT301 OBD2 Scanner

Foxwell NT301 OBD2 Scanner

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The FOXWELL NT301 Plus OBD2 scanner is a diagnostic scanner that comes with additional battery testing functions. It has a 2.8-inch screen and large, easy-to-use buttons. The three colored LED buttons at the top improve the user interface experience. It also has a port for connecting it to computers via a USB cable. This is useful for downloading updates and any diagnostic report.

The FOXWELL NT301 Plus OBD2 scanner has red and black crocodile clips that you connect to your car battery for testing and reading car battery information. The battery health tester will show you the conditions of your car battery. It measures battery voltage, measured value, state of charge, cranking amps, internal resistance, and state of health. You can also use it to check the charging current and speed when charging the battery. It also detects bad battery cells and other battery faults.

It will diagnose and clear most car vehicle error codes. Also, this comes with a live monitoring feature for reading live data from the car sensors when running. It can read O2 sensor information and conduct smog tests. The dedicated I/M button at the center of the button configuration will conduct immediate emission tests.

This cheap scanner costs $109 and carries out various diagnostic functions perfectly. It is a budget offering from FOXWELL, unlike expensive models like the $600 2022 FOXWELL Scanner Bluetooth NT809BT.

FOXWELL NT301 OBD2 Scanner Live Data Professional Mechanic OBDII Diagnostic Code Reader Tool fo… List Price:$79.99 Price:$69.99 You Save:$10.00 (13%) Buy Now Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission

Innova CarScan Advisor 5210

Innova CarScan Advisor 5210

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With a cost of $100, the Innova CarScan Advisor 5210 is a cheap but capable diagnostic scanner. This scan tool can fix and clear most check engine light indicators. You need to download the RepairSolutions2 app on iOS and Android devices to use this car code reader. You can use the RepairSolutions2 app for other functions like creating, editing, and viewing maintenance schedules, purchasing vehicle parts, and accessing Innova’s database.

The Innova CarScan Advisor 5210 can check emission status and anti-lock brake light warnings. It also has a live data function for monitoring real-time oil temperature, vehicle speed, and tire RPM. Moreover, it can check and monitor battery health.

The Innova CarScan Advisor 5210 works for almost all domestic and foreign vehicles. It is definitely a notable entry in any list of the best cheap OBD scanner tools that you can use for your own car or in a repair shop for multiple vehicles.

INNOVA 5210 - Newest 2022 OBD2 Diagnostic Code Scanner - Read/Erase ABS Codes, Reset Oil Lights… List Price:$139.99 Price:$99.99 You Save:$40.00 (29%) Buy Now Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission

BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro OBDII Scan Tool

BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro OBDII Scan Tool

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The BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro OBDII Scan Tool is a Bluetooth scanner that can be paired with an iPhone or Android phone. It can read and clear all kinds of engine codes including SRS airbag, ABS, and TPMS. It also offers live data function for monitoring vehicle health in real-time. You can also conduct emission tests and analyze engine operation. It’s quite easy to use and versatile.

Image source: BlueDriver

The BlueDriver smartphone app will show you professional tips and confirmed fixes for each diagnostic trouble code. The intuitive user interface of the mobile app can be tweaked and configured with various colors and displays. It also allows you to export live data as a file that can be saved and shared with others.

BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone & Android Price:$119.95 Buy Now Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission

Autel AL539 OBD2 Scanner

Autel AL539 OBD2 Scanner

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The Autel AL539 OBD2 Scanner is a scan tool that can check engine codes, stream live data, freeze frame data and conduct component and emission tests. The scanner has LED lights and a small speaker for audio-visual feedback. You can also connect it to a PC for printing and DTC definitions. Once you read a car fault code and resolve it, you can clear the error with this scanner.

The Autel AL539 OBD2 Scanner can conduct O2 sensor tests and fast I/M emission tests, thanks to the dedicated I/M button. It can also read vehicle information and provide VIN, CIN, and CVN information.

This comes with red and black probes for battery and electrical tests. It can test the battery when starting the car and when it is charging for accurate battery information. The included multimeter feature can detect car circuitry faults and conduct vehicle current, continuity, and voltage tests. If your car model is prone to having electrical faults, the Autel AL539 OBD2 Scanner is a fine scanner choice for you.

Autel AL539 OBD2 Scanner Code Reader Electrical Test Tool with AVOmeter Function (Upgraded Vers… List Price:$89.00 Price:$79.00 You Save:$10.00 (11%) Buy Now Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission

Panlong Bluetooth OBDII Car Diagnostic Scanner for Android

Panlong Bluetooth OBDII Car Diagnostic Scanner for Android

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With an astonishingly low price of $15.99, this is the cheapest scanner featured in this article and the superstar of our best cheap OBD scanner list. The Panlong Bluetooth OBDII Car Diagnostic Scanner is a budget car scanner that can scan all kinds of vehicle fault codes. The scanner is compatible with various car models from the USA, Asia, and the EU.

You plug the scanner into your car, turn on your car engine, then connect it to your Android phone via Bluetooth. You’ll be able to read and diagnose your car’s systems codes using any of the supported Android apps. But the Torque app is the most recommended app by the manufacturer. The app connects to the internet for code definitions and tells you what is wrong with your car in layman’s terms. The Torque mobile device app has a beautiful user interface and presents both simple and advanced data in an easy-to-understand format.

The Panlong Bluetooth OBDII Car Diagnostic Scanner has a wide range of functionality despite its low price. It reads and clears all kinds of error codes from various types of vehicles. It also measures coolant temperature and takes emission tests. On top of these, it reads real-time data from your car, such as speed, fuel pressure, RPM, and more.

If you want the cheapest available scanner with basic functions, look no further than the Panlong Bluetooth OBDII Car Diagnostic Scanner. You get a 12-month warranty with this product. There is also a wired version of the Panlong OBDII Car diagnostic scanner for those that don’t use Android phones.

Panlong OBD2 Scanner Bluetooth OBDII Diagnostic Tool Car Code Reader Turn Off Check Engine Ligh… List Price:$17.99 Price:$12.99 You Save:$5.00 (28%) Buy Now Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission

OBDLink LX OBD2 Bluetooth Scanner

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OBDLink LX OBD2 Bluetooth Scanner is a superfast scan tool compatible with Windows and Android operating systems. It is a small-sized OBD-II scanner that you can conveniently place beneath your steering wheel rack. You can leave it connected to the OBD-II scanner port while driving and it will serve as a trip computer, logging important data for further vehicle analysis.

The scanner has an automatic start and sleep function that preserves your car battery. It goes to sleep immediately after you turn off your car engine and it wakes up immediately after you crank the engine, unlock the door, or connect to its Bluetooth. So, you won’t end up with a dead car battery because of an OBD-II scanner that was left connected and working 24/7.

The OBDLink LX OBD2 Bluetooth Scanner can read any diagnostic trouble code. After reading the code and sorting the issue, you can use the scanner to clear the code. It can also check emission levels and prepare your car for emission tests.

The manufacturer claims it is three times faster than other OBD-II scanners in the market. It comes with the OBDLink app that allows you to read data and useful information. It also lets you backup the data, upload it, and share it with others. You can even customize the live dashboard on the app to display certain information that you want to be featured. You can use the app on a Windows computer or on your smartphone. It also works with third-party OBD-II scanner apps like Torque, Dash, and DashCommand.

The OBDLink LX OBD2 Bluetooth Scanner has additional features like hacker-proof protection by using 128-bit encryption technology. It also has overvoltage protection. You also get free firmware updates for life and a 3-year manufacturer warranty. The only major disadvantage of this scanner is that iPhone users can’t use it. It’s still such a great option that it made our best cheap OBD scanner list.

OBDLink LX OBD2 Bluetooth Scanner for Android and Windows Price:$89.95 Buy Now Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission

ANCEL AD410 OBD II Scanner

ANCEL AD410 OBD II Scanner

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The ANCEL AD410 OBD II Scanner is a budget scan tool that costs less than $60. It works on most vehicles sold in the USA, while also supporting about eight languages and requiring no charger or battery as it connects directly to your car’s data link connector for power. It has a 2.4″ LCD screen that displays information legibly to users. The intuitive user interface is easy to understand and use. The buttons are minimal, so you won’t get confused.

The ANCEL AD410 OBD II Scanner reads various kinds of engine codes and shows you the code definitions for quick fault detection. It also helps to turn off the check engine light after fixing all detected issues.

It reads information from 02 sensors and conducts EVAP control test. The O2 sensor test will ensure your vehicle’s engine has the right air and fuel mixture. The EVAP control test starts a leak test and ensures the integrity of your vehicle’s fuel tank system. The O2 sensor test helps to troubleshoot vehicle emission and fuel efficiency.

There is also a review and print option that you can use to save diagnostic reports and print them when necessary. You also get lifetime update support from ANCEL. The software update will improve functionality and add new cars to the scanner library. Updates are easily downloaded from ANCEL’s website and are easy to install.

The ANCEL AD410 OBD II Scanner is a cheap, easy-to-use scan tool you will have no problem with. You don’t have to read the user manual before using the car scanner. That’s how easy it is to use.

ANCEL AD410 Enhanced OBD II Vehicle Code Reader Automotive OBD2 Scanner Auto Check Engine Light… List Price:$59.99 Price:$49.99 You Save:$10.00 (17%) Buy Now Available from Amazon, BGR may receive a commission

For more information, Read the Complete Guide of Common OBD-II Diagnostic Trouble Codes

FAQ

What is the cheapest OBD-II Scanner?

The cheapest OBD-II scanner in this article is the Panlong Bluetooth OBDII Car Diagnostic Scanner which costs just $16. This cheap scanner can read all kinds of diagnostic trouble codes to tell you what is wrong with your vehicle. You can also use it to clear your car’s check engine light indicator. It can also read your real-time data from your car for live diagnostic. So, this cheap scanner and others in this article will do almost everything you need regardless of their low price tags.

What is the best OBD-II Scanner for the price?

The cheapest OBD-II scanner in this article is the Panlong Bluetooth OBDII Car Diagnostic Scanner which costs just $16. This cheap scanner can read all kinds of diagnostic trouble codes to tell you what is wrong with your vehicle. You can also use it to clear your car’s check engine light indicator. It can also read your real-time data from your car for live diagnostic. So, this cheap scanner and others in this article will do almost everything you need regardless of their low price tags.

Which OBD scanner is the best?

Many experts recommend the Autel AL539 OBD2 Scanner and the Launch CRP129E Scan Tool. You can’t go wrong with either of those two. But there are other OBD-II car scanners that have lovely, unique features.

How much does an OBD scanner cost?

OBD-II scanners cost as little as $15 and go all the way up to $4,500 for the most premium, feature-packed scanner. If you are a regular car owner, an OBD-II scanner that costs less than $200 will serve you just fine. But if you own a vehicle repair shop, you might need something more expensive and professional with advanced functions.

Are OBD scanners worth it?

Yes, OBD scanners are worth it. OBD scanners make it possible to diagnose your car issues within a few minutes. No more tinkering and haphazard guesses to detect car issues and fix vehicle faults. They also help you to monitor your car and carry out necessary servicing and replacements before major issues happen.
OBD scanners will also save you a lot of money. There are lots of mechanics that defraud their clients and make them pay more than what is necessary for repairs. They give them false info about car issues and make them replace parts that are still fine. An OBD-II scanner will show you important information, thus allowing you to make basic fixes and simple replacements. It also gives you a better understanding of your car so you can take care of it better and communicate effectively with mechanics.

Are cheap OBD-II scanners any good?

Yes, many cheap OBD-II code readers are good and effective. They will scan your car’s engine codes and help you interpret specific codes. They will save you a lot of money by saving you from having to visit a mechanic for every car trouble. Some cheap OBD-II scanners also have additional functions like reading live data, freezing data, advanced graphs, and report generation and downloading.
So, you can buy any of the best cheap OBD or OBD-II scanners listed here, such as the Ancel AD410 OBD II Scanner and Panlong Bluetooth OBDII Car Diagnostic Scanner. They work just as fine as expensive scanners, and you don’t need to break the bank to get them.

What’s the difference between OBD and OBD-II?

OBD-II scanners have various improvements over the old OBD scanners. OBD-II scanners fit into cars using a 16-pin port beneath the steering wheel and have similar codes. This standardization makes it possible to use the same OBD-II scanner for any car. This is unlike the old days when you needed to find a specific OBD-II scanner to read your manufacturer-specific codes.
Modern OB2 scanners have additional functions like Bluetooth capability for smartphone connection and tire pressure monitors reset. In addition, some of them come with large display screens with large storage space and RAM.

Can I use my phone as an OBD-II Scanner?

Your phone can’t serve as a standalone OBD-II scanner. It must be paired with an OBD-II scanner like the Panlong Bluetooth OBDII Car Diagnostic Scanner, the Innova CarScan Advisor 5210, and the BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro OBDII Scan Tool. You can install OBD-II scanner apps on your smartphone to help you get a code definition. But the scanner apps must be connected to an OBD-II scanner for it to work.

How can I get my OBD-II code without a scanner?

Getting your OBD-II code without a scanner is possible, but only extremely skilled technicians can do this successfully. And it is not worth the hassle. You can simply get a cheap OBD-II scanner and read your OBD-II code easily.
But if you still need to get your OBD-II code without a scanner, you can get it using various methods. You can use a paper clip and a jumper wire to create a close circuit on two terminals in the OBD-II diagnostic connector port. Once you turn on the engine, the check engine light will flash or pulse intermittently. The pauses and flashes represent specific digits. You can then look up the code online to see the issue.
There are also some new vehicles whose odometer displays the diagnostic trouble codes when you start the engine. You can switch on and off the ignition multiple times and quickly write down the trouble code.
All the above methods are stressful. There is nothing like plugging in a cheap car code reader to the car and accessing the fault codes within a few minutes.

Where can I read car codes for free?

Some auto part stores can read car codes for free. Also, if your car is under warranty, it is possible to get your car trouble codes read for free. But this will involve trips to auto part stores or dealers. You can purchase a cheap OBD scanner and read the car codes yourself. Once you read the trouble codes, you can find out what caused the error code and the check engine light problem.

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Toby Grey contributes as a How To expert for BGR. Typing away like a keyboard super hero, he covers just about anything you can think of. If Toby isn't writing, he's probably reading a book or playing video games.