How do I pick a scan tool?

Your dash light goes on and you instantly wish you knew why. If there’s an auto parts store nearby you could have them use their store tool to scan your vehicle. Then what? Their store tools usually tell you the code and maybe the definition, but not much else. What about what’s fixed the vehicle before, or if another light comes on later? It might be time to get your own automotive scan tool so the next time your service engine soon, ABS light or Airbag light comes on you’ll be prepared.

But how do you pick the best scan tool for you? What are the top 10 scan tool features? The best answer is to determine what you want to do with the tool, how much data do you need and how comfortable you are with vehicle repair?

If you’re just scanning the vehicle to get the code or reset warning lights, the Actron CP9125 or CP9660 will work perfectly. Both will scan most vehicles 1996 and newer, providing the trouble code(s) that caused the warning lights to illuminate. The 9660 will provide a brief definition and read ABS codes along with providing more diagnostic information to help you pinpoint the problem.

As you move up in the Actron line the features increase greatly. Tools begin to include Airbag codes and definitions, live datastream, ability to record engine data, oil light reset and more. Additional info includes likely fixes based on vehicle year, make, model and trim level and code criteria to help you best decide how to fix your vehicle.

Whichever tool you select, remember that can serve as a resource to help restore your vehicle’s performance. Our free code lookup page will define your trouble code and you can buy all confirmed fixes for your vehicle, based on more than 26 million fixes.