Are you finding it hard to choose the best scan tool for your car, needs and preferences, or you’re on the lookout for a high-tech scan tool that can get you ready for the next smog check?
If your answer is yes, there’s a lot you have to consider. Do you really need that super expensive Innova scan tool, or you are purchasing one that is below the standards you need?
With the wide range of Innova scan tools available in the market, it’s not surprising if you have any doubts and confusions about which one you should choose. Our comprehensive buying guide breaks it all down for you.
In this section, we will cover all that you need to know about buying an Innova scanning tool, before diving into the best products. Based on the information we provide below, you can consider which one is right for you.
What is an Innova Scan Tool?
When it comes to scan tools for a wide range of vehicles, the ones manufactured by Innova are one of the best today. From entry-level tools to the most expensive ones, there are a lot of Innova code readers and scan tools you can find, some of which are OBD1 or OBD2 compatible.
If you’re unfamiliar with what Onboard Diagnostics is, OBD, it might be even more difficult to find the best one. These systems allow vehicles to assess themselves, diagnose and identify different problems, and send reports to the owner or user. Cars released before 1996 are OBD1 compliant, while those released afterwards are OBD2.
After the OBD system has diagnosed the problem, the user needs to view the report, and this is where the scan tools come in. These diagnostic scanners show the reports in the form of codes.
4 Steps to Choose the Best Innova Scan Tools
Step 1: What Type of Innova Scan Tool is Suitable for You?
Firstly, consider the type of scan tool that is suitable for the kind of driver or car owner you are. Everyday car owners are more suitable to use code readers, which can check a wide range of regular diagnosis.
It will read and analyze the trouble codes on the dashboard, read DTCs, display the readiness status, locate bad O2 sensors, and turn the check engine light (CEL) or the MIL off. It can also be used to reset the monitor, read live data, recollect the VIN of a vehicle, carry out an EVAP test and prepare for a smog check.
But, if you’re a car mechanic, technician or simply an experienced DIYer, you’ll do better with a scan tool. The scan tool does more than just regular diagnosis but also offers special service functions. When it comes to the diagnosis of the standard system, the tool can be used to control the system and check the error. Enhanced codes like ABS, TPMS, SRS, SAS, Light System and Fuel System can be read.
Apart from these, you can also take care of service functions like resetting the SRS, TPS, EPB, SAS, and more. It can also be used for battery tests.
Step 2: Compatibility/Vehicle Coverage
There’s no point in purchasing an Innova scan tool if it cannot be used with your vehicle. Depending on the make, model and year of your car, you need to purchase one that is compatible with it. If you purchase the wrong one, it ends up being a waste of money and time.
Some of the scan tools are compatible with OBD1 vehicles, which are cars made before 1996. But those that are suitable for OBD2 vehicles are cars that were made after 1996. Thus, you should check the year that your car was made and look out for the scan tool that is compatible with that particular year. It’s also important for the scan tool to be suitable for mainstream vehicles.
You also have to ensure that the Innova scan tool is suitable for both domestic and foreign makes, in case you’re using an imported car. Some tools work with a majority of cars while others are missing the codes for foreign cars. For instance, some scan tools don’t work with Asian-made cars but only with American-made cars.
Finally, it must be compatible with all models, from Ford and Toyota to Honda and Jeeps and other models. While some scan tools cannot read the codes on some models, others will work with a majority of mainstream cars.
When considering these three: the make, model and year; you can then decide which of the scan tools are compatible with your needs, preferences and car type. The Innova scan tools usually include what they are compatible with in their features.
Step 3: Pricing
The next thing you have to consider is the price of the Innova scan tool. It’s important to work with your budget when purchasing the scan tool. At the same time, you should not sacrifice affordability or cheapness for quality, or this will end up being counterproductive. There are many scan tools that you can purchase without spending past your budget and will still be of high quality. Innova is known for these kinds of tools, so you can enjoy the affordability and high quality.
If you’re new to DIYing or mechanics of a car, or even new to the whole concept of OBD, it’s best to use a card reader. If you’re purchasing a high-quality card reader from Innova, you will spend between $50 and $150, so set your budget to be between this range. This is also ideal for average car owners who just like to have a scan tool at hand.
But, if you’re planning to use the Innova scan tool for more technical matters like fixing a car, you need a more expensive, high-end model. Mechanics usually look out for expensive scan tools which can provide special functions while they diagnose and fix cars. Experienced DIYers and technicians can set their budget between $150 and $300, as long as they are purchasing one manufactured by Innova.
If you purchase an expensive model when you only need it for everyday car functions, it’ll end up being a waste of money. Also, if you buy a cheap model for more advanced, technical functions, there will be a lot of limits to what you can do.
Apart from the three main considerations explained above, there are other minor factors you should consider if you want to better enjoy your Innova scan tool. These can add special functions to the scan tool, make it easier or more convenient for you to use, and even come with different software.
For one, you can purchase a device with a screen, usually between 2.8 inches and 3.5 inches. Some of the screens are also backlit and have all-in-one features, making it easier for you to view many types of data at a time. This includes the diagnoses codes and their different definitions, and this is especially useful for car owners.
Another important feature that you can look out for when choosing Innova scan tools is its software updates. While some tools come with lifetime software updates, others even go far and allow you to update them easily on your personal computer or mobile device.
If you don’t speak English or work with non-English speakers, different Innova scan tools come with multilingual options. They present the codes to you in mostly English, French and Spanish.
Finally, the portability of the Innova scan tool is important. Since it’s meant to be a handy tool, you should look out for those that are easy to carry, hold and have a lightweight design.
When you take all of these factors into consideration and follow the steps from start to finish, you can choose the right kind of Innova scan tool that meets your needs and suits your preferences. Now that we have covered how you can best choose the tool you want, we can dive into the best four Innova scan tools so you can decide which is the best among them.
|INNOVA CarScan Pro 5210||Innova 3100j||Innova 3150RS||Innova 3120e||Innova 3130 RS||Innova 3160RS|
|Read & Clear Codes||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Freeze Frame Data||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|O2 sensor Test||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Evap System Test||✔|
|Retrieve Generic Codes, Manufacturer Specific Code, Pending Codes||✔|
|Turn Off Check Engine Light||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔||✔|
|Read live PCM DataStream||✔||✔||✔|
|Support CAN (Controller Area Network)|
|Suspension and Steering Systems|
|Battery Maintenance (BMS)||✔||✔|
|Electronic Throttle Position Reset||✔|
|Fuel Injector Coding|
Best Innova Code Reader – Under $200
1. Innova 3150RS – Best Overall
Firstly, we have the Innova 3150RS, a card reader ideal for newbies, DIYers and home mechanics. It is mostly used by everyday car owners and is an OBD2 scanner, making it ideal for cars created after 1996. The card reader comes fitted with a RepairSolutions2 app which makes it easier to operate and maintain your car.
The app allows you to get verified fixes, the knowledge needed to fix your vehicle and even unlimited health reports. The Innova 3150RS also offers live data that shows you important information on your car in real-time. It also offers the standard function of reading and clearing codes.
It allows you to reset your oil, check your battery and alternator, and other aspects of your car that allow you to view essential information to maintain your vehicle.
- Ideal for everyday car owners.
- It is compatible with RepairSolutions2.
- It offers live data and real-time information.
- It includes unlimited health reports.
- Does not have enough features for experienced mechanics.
- Complicated user interface.
2. INNOVA CarScan Pro 5210 – Best Budget
The next on our list is the Innova CarScan Pro 5210, ideal for any DIYer or car owner that is working with a tight budget. It is ideal for ordinary car owners and comes with settings to scan, read, and reset engine lights. It is also good with checking ABS Brakes codes, settings ideal for any home mechanic.
The card reader also comes with the RepairSolutions2 software which is an application downloadable on different mobile devices. It gives you verified fixes and allows you to find and buy the part you need for the repair. It schedules maintenance and gives technical bulletins.
It also features live data if you want better and correct diagnoses, and determine whether the car should be brought to a technician or not. The CarScan Pro 5210 can check your smog results and emission status using LEDs. It is ideal for OBD2 vehicles.
- Highly affordable.
- Can check smog results.
- It is compatible with domestic, European and Asian vehicles.
- It includes battery and charging system tests.
- Only allows for one VIN.
- It is difficult to navigate the user interface.
3. Innova 3100j – Best for Home Mechanics
Also, an ideal choice for ordinary car owners and home mechanics, the Innova 3100j is battery-powered and reveals the causes behind the check engine lights on all OBD2 vehicles. It can also erase ABS and SRS light trouble codes after reading them, and an oil reset feature offering step-by-step procedures.
The Innova 3100j also allows for battery and alternator tests which can check the charging system of the vehicle. It features a Freeze Frame feature that you can use to check certain engine conditions like the engine coolant temperature, or fuel trim.
Although it does not feature live data or bi-directional functions, it comes with a history feature that stores information on the last three vehicles you have scanned. It can be used for cars, SUVs, light trucks and hybrids.
- It comes with the freeze-frame feature.
- Can be used with a wide range of vehicle types.
- It is powered by a battery.
- It keeps data on the last three vehicles scanned.
- It does not include live data.
- It is not well equipped for technicians and mechanics.
Best Innova Code Reader – Over $200
1. Innova 3120e – Best Standard for OBD1/OBD2
For mechanics and technicians who need one scan tool for a wide range of purposes, the Innova 3120e is a perfect choice. It is a scan tool ideal for OBD2 vehicles but also comes with OBD1 coverage. Thus, you can use it on all cars, regardless of the year. It features an all-in-one screen with up to 25 information on your car and multilingual services.
It offers the basic check engine light services where it reveals the cause and can be used with domestic or foreign cars, light trucks, SUVs, Hybrids and other cars. It is compatible with models including GM, Ford, Chrysler, Honda, and Toyota.
The Innova 3120e vehicle comes with the oil reset feature and can retrieve transmission DTCs and OEM-enhanced codes.
- It can be used in OBD1 and OBD2 vehicles.
- The user interface is easy to navigate, with an all-in-one screen.
- It has multilingual options.
- It is ideal for experienced technicians.
- It does not work with several OBD1 models.
- There are no real-time sensors or data.
2. Innova 3130RS – Best for Hybrids
Experienced DIYers and mechanics can benefit from the different specs that the Innova 3130RS. This is the best Innova scan on our list for hybrid vehicles. Thus, it can diagnose charging systems and battery issues on hybrid vehicles, and read hybrid battery cell voltage.
The scanning device is compatible with the signature RepairSolutions2 application offered by Innova. It makes it easy for you to maintain your car and diagnose the problem while using your mobile device. The device can carry out an all-system network scan on all types of vehicle models, including domestic, European and Asian vehicles.
It offers BMS which ensures your vehicle is always properly programmed to accept new batteries. It also allows for live data on your vehicle.
- It can diagnose issues with hybrid vehicles.
- It comes with a battery reset and initialization.
- It can diagnose many new models.
- It is compatible with the RepairSolutions2 app.
- It is not easy to navigate the user interface.
- The device is not protected, and can easily be damaged when bumped around.
3. Innova 3160RS – Best High-end Scanner
If you’re looking for a scanning device on the sophisticated end, the Innova 3160RS is an ideal choice. It comes with all the topnotch features that any mechanic, DIYer and technician will need when diagnosing problems on their vehicle. The device can scan powertrain, engine, SRS and ABS modules, read and clear ECU modules and more.
The Innova 3160RS does not only offer ABS Brake Bleeding but can also diagnose all issues related to the hybrid battery cell voltage. Its TPMS read allows it to diagnose sensor data and tire pressures.
It is compatible with the RepairSolutions2 app, which means you can easily maintain your vehicle right from your phone.
- It works with all types of vehicles, including hybrid.
- It offers ABS Brake bleeding.
- It can verify the transmission temperature in real-time.
- You can purchase OBD1 adapters separately.
- It does not read some foreign cars, like German cars.
- It is tricky to operate for beginners.
How to register my Innova scan tool?
If your Innova scan tool comes with the RepairSolutions2 app, it’s straightforward to register it and start performing checks on your car. Firstly, connect the Innova scan tool to the DLC of your car, and turn on the ignition.
After the tool has connected to your car, collect data. Then, you can register your information on the app.
How to use my Innova OBD2 scan tool?
Using the OBD2 scan tool is straightforward, although beginners might have a hard time with it. Firstly, plug in the scanner with the data link connector under the control panel in your vehicle. Once it’s plugged in, the scan tool will function.
You have to turn your ignition off after this and wait while the tool boots. You will then input your car’s information and the scan tool will analyze and diagnose the problem. After it does this, it will display the problem codes.
When choosing the best Innova scan tools, you simply have to consider your needs, technical level, vehicle and other features mentioned in this guide. What is the best Innova scan tool for you?
If you’re looking for something more on the cheap side, the Innova CarScan Pro 5210 is a perfect choice. But, technicians looking out for high-end products, can go for the Innova 3160RS device. Each device will match your specific needs.
You can check out any of these Innova scan tools now, and purchase the right one for your vehicle.