June 12

Buying guide – BMW OBD2 scanners

Is a BMS scan tool really necessary?

BMW cars usually incorporate a unique configuration compared to that of other brands in the OBDII serial ports. Consequently, this results in an inconsistent performance whenever you make use of non-BMW OBD2 code readers.

If you want to alleviate these issues, you need to get yourself a BMW scanner as this guarantees you reliable information.

Additionally, OBDII systems will also provide you with extra details that are only readable when making use of BMW scanners thanks to the integrated special BMS-specific software.

Therefore, whereas other ODB2 scan tools can work, they typically need the installation of special software that can read all the data being conveyed by your vehicle as well as deal with all the peculiar pin configurations.

However, this is never an issue when you are using a BMW scan tool.

Incorporated in this device are several cheap hardware pieces that allow communication between you and your car, something that is often reserved for skilled mechanics.

Moreover, some are specifically built to be used by BMW mechanics and are similarly priced to generic OBD2 scanners.

Nevertheless, there is one primary drawback of using BMW OBD2 scanners, and that is, you may need a software patch that interfaces with other non-BMW vehicles. Additional, several manufacturers expect you to pay extra to have this software installed, thereby making the overall price of your scan tool to rise.

Will using an OBD2 BMW scan tool save you money?

Owning a BMW scan tool will eventually save you a lot of money. With this device, you no longer need to regularly go to your mechanic’s shop and spend several hours to have your vehicle inspected.

Instead, you can just buy an OBD2 code reader that will allow communication between you and your car, thereby manage to get diagnostic information.

Thus, regardless of whether you opt to buy an expensive OBD scanner that allows the programming of your car or cheap device that incorporates simple functionality, you still save a lot of money eventually. So, with some basic skills acquired from and a bit of luck, you will be in a position to fix simple trouble codes without necessitating to visit a mechanic, and saving both time and money in the process.

Does an OBD2 scan tool last?

The OBDII format is universal, so despite the BMW adding some extra features into its cars, you still can make use of BMW-specific OBD2 scanners on other vehicle models and makes. Therefore, buying this device means you, your family, and friends will have a device to make use of not only now but also in days to come.

Which OBD2 scan tool is perfect for BMW?

Once you decide which OBD2 protocol best suits you, the next step is starting to locate the best OBD scan tool for BMW.

There are numerous options on the market to choose from, including the more traditional wired scanners or the newer versions that incorporate WIFI or Bluetooth features. 

Therefore, it is up to you to decide which models best suits you while not forgetting to factor in the price of the scanner, as you need to ensure you get a machine that provides you with maximum value.

Looking for the perfect BMW scanners can be quite challenging, especially when you consider the different scan tools in the market. Therefore, to make an informed decision, you first need to assess several factors that influence the quality of the code reader you are getting.

Best OBD2 scanner for BMW

Some of these diagnostic scan tools occasionally are not a perfect fit for your BMW.

See our top five OBD2 scanners for BMW. Find out how you can be in a better position to make an informed decision as to which of these scanners best suits your needs.

Here are some of the factors that you need to have in mind when looking to get a scanner that best suits your needs.

Incorporates basic functions

All BMW scanners need to have basic functions integrated into them that allow you to carry out special functions as well as deleting trouble codes. Some of these functions include liver chart data, live text data, 02 sensor testing, as well as I/M availability.

Have advanced functions integrated into it – Multi-system scan

When looking for the perfect BMW scan tool, you should search for one that is capable of diagnosing trouble codes such as transmission, engine, ABS, and airbag. Moreover, it also needs to incorporate extra features that include oil service reset, SAS, DPF, EPB, as well as coding and programming.


The functioning of BMW scan tools varies from one BMW vehicle model to another. Therefore, it should come as no surprise when a particular BMW scanner works on one model of a BMW car and fail to work on another BMW model.

For instance, the recently produced scan tools usually cannot reset, or clear codes from BMW models manufactured past 2000. Thus, you should always read your scanner’s compatibility before you invest in it to avoid wasting money on a device you most probably will not use.

Price of the BMW scanner

The cost of BMW diagnostic tools varies, and some models are relatively expensive, whereas others are very affordable.

Therefore, before you decide which scanner to buy, you need first to analyze your budget as well as how often you plan to utilize your scan tool. With these two in mind, you are in a much better position to make a prudent as to which model best suits you.

If you are planning to make use of your scan tool more often, you then need to invest in a quality one, which usually costs more, and this guarantees you better reliability as well as the usefulness for a prolonged duration. However, if you intend only to use your BMW ODD2 scanner occasionally, then you need not buy an expensive model.

By considering the four factors mentioned above, you are in a better position to choose which scan tool is suitable for your needs.

Is BMW OBD2 compliant?

Like all the other light trucks and cars sold after January 1996, BMW cars are also OBD2 compliant. Therefore, even if your car was manufactured in 1995 but sold in 1996, it is equipped with OBDII technology.

To confirm that your BMW car is OBD2 compliant, you need to inspect two factors, that is;

  • It will have an OBD2 connector.
  • Below the car’s hood is a nameplate or sticker stating “OBD II compliant”.

Does BlueDriver work with BMW?

BlueDriver is a Bluetooth enabled OBD2 scanner that comes in handy whenever your car’s check engine light pops up. With it, you can carry out your car’s diagnosis, and it is compatible with all light trucks and car models sold in Canada and the United States from 1996. This thus means it does work with BMW vehicle models.

Can AutoZone read BMW codes?

AutoZone is the largest auto parts chain in the United States, and some of the services provided is reading the codes when the check engine light on your dashboard is on. Thus, this means that AutoZone can also read any trouble codes on your BMW, and you get to be free of any worries when driving.


Having read through this article, you now know the five best OBD2 scanners for BMW. You also know of the various factors you should consider when looking for the perfect scan tool, ensuring you always have a blast when driving your BMW car.

Moreover, because diagnosing BMW cars can be relatively tricky, you need to establish the incorporated OBD2 protocol hence avoid any compatibility setback.

Subsequently, after owning these scanners, you will be able to personally inspect your vehicle any time the check engine light appears on the dashboard.

Thus, you not only get to save money but also the time as you will no longer need to take your BMW car to the mechanic frequently. Investing in these devices allows you to educate yourself on the car’s overall condition, and you also get to educate yourself on numerous issues.


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