Best OBD2 scanner for BMW




If you own a BMW, you need to have a reliable OBD2 that allows you to keep checking out your car’s overall health and whether all its features are working as expected. Furthermore, you also need to know that most OBD2 scanners claim to incorporate special features hence work on all vehicles, but this is not always the case. Some of these diagnostic scan tools occasionally are not a perfect fit for your BMW. Therefore, in this article, you will be taken through five of the best OBD2 scanner for BMW. Consequently, thanks to this detailed review, you will be in a better position to make an informed decision as to which of these scanners best suits your needs.


Creator C310+

This scanner is usually considered to be one of the best OBD2 scanners for BMW due to its ability to offer you reliable results consistently. Nevertheless, this scanner does not incorporate bidirectional capabilities; hence all you can do using it is reading and clearing basic codes such as ABS light, SRS light, check engine light, DCS, among others. Furthermore, it also enables you to see plenty of diagnostic data that your vehicle’s OBD-II system delivers. This scan tool receives free software updates via a USB cable for BMW vehicles manufactured after 1997, therefore, making this code reader very practical. However, for BMW models produced before 2000, you need to buy a 20 pin adaptor to make use of this scanner.

It features a 2.8-inch LCD screen that allows you to read the live data from your car quickly. Moreover, whereas this scanner does not come integrated with a lot of features, it is worth considering if you are searching for an OBD2 scanner that is affordable while still delivering acceptable performance. With this scan tool, you will no longer need to continually go to the mechanic as you can always use it to read the trouble codes. Thus, you need not look any further if you want an affordable code reader.

Pros



  • Understanding how to make use of this scanner is straightforward
  • It offers you excellent value as it is affordable while still delivering decent performance for BMW cars.
  • You can read live sensor data from vehicle components such as the steering angle sensor as well as the speed sensors.
  • It comes with comprehensive error descriptions
  • Its menu is very detailed.
  • This scan tool receives free software updates
  • Erasing codes using this code reader is very easy.


Cons



  • It occasionally works slowly.
  • The interface and manual of this scanner can be reasonably confusing.
  • Supports a limited number of models.
  • It sometimes produces random communication blunders.


FOXWELL NT510 Full-system BMW Diagnostic Tool

This OBD2 scan tool is highly recommended by mechanics and professionals alike for its powerful multi-system capabilities as well as the ability to work both with OBDII and OBDI. On top of the basic features, this scanner also incorporates self-learning software that adapts to your vehicle. Therefore, thanks to this, you can easily reset service indicators, DTC codes as well as various other functions without having to pay a hefty price both in terms of analyzation costs and labor.

Whereas the design of this BMW scanner is specifically meant for professionals, its interface is still accessible regardless of whether you have no or little experience using scan tools. With this OBD2 scanner, you will be able to carry out essential functions, and this is further aided by its compatibility to OBD2 and OBD1 cars. Furthermore, it reads codes from BMW models from 1996 and incorporates special diagnostics limited to car models newer 2015. This scan tool also has a powerful system diagnostic function, thereby allowing you to detect issues accurately and quickly. Thus, with this device, you can read live data as well as erase trouble codes since it comes equipped with numerous DTCs among its basic functions.

It also includes several advanced functions like adaptation coding, actuation as well as programming, and its software can support up to five cars hence making it reasonably dependable. You also get numerous lots of software to choose from that you can easily upload to the gadget, and this usually depends on the price. Additionally, other advanced features included in this BMW scanner include manufacturer-specific error code and data stream viewer. Therefore, this is the perfect scan tool if you are looking to diagnose car issue not only on a BMW but also on Rolls-Royce and MINI cars. There also are additional features in this scanner, such as Brake Deactivation as well as battery registration, thereby easing all your maintenance headaches.

Whereas this diagnostic tool’s interface is practical and straightforward, it does not provide you with adequate details compared to those which work with your phone. This, in practical terms, may not be a real issue, but it does make it harder for you to read more advanced graphs, plus it also does not support programming or coding. Subsequently, if you need to change your vehicle’s settings, you have no other option but to get a professional vehicle scanner or go to a dealer.

Foxwell NT510 has a design that is handheld; thus, you can ideally use your other hand to perform other duties.

Pros



  • It comes with a one-year warranty.
  • Using this diagnostic tool is easy and straightforward.
  • This scan tool is affordable, thus offers you great value.
  • It is multilingual.
  • It has clear display graphs that make your work easier.


Cons



  • Coding is not supported by this diagnostic tool.
  • The software update is only free for 18 months.
  • The graphs are not easily readable.


Carista OBD2 Bluetooth BMW Scanner

The Carista OBD2 Bluetooth BMW Scanner is the perfect choice if you are searching for a device that incorporates a reliable Bluetooth connection. It also works with other car brands, including Audi, Lexus, Mini, Scion, Toyota, and Volkswagen, proving that this device is without a doubt convenient. Therefore, it enables you to mess around with various settings you never knew existed hence making your driving experience less frustrating.

Incorporated in its design is a small physical sized adapter as well as a clear interface that you can pair to an app, thereby meaning you can easily connect it to any vehicle and then diagnose the issue. With this device, you can reset the ABS, airbag, and other dashboard lights, and its affordable price helps you save money on diagnosing your BMW car at the mechanic. It does this by retrieving information from the onboard diagnostic computer of your vehicle and subsequently conveys it via Bluetooth to a linked app. Furthermore, it fully supports the OBD2 protocol meaning it reads and then reset all the trouble codes present in the car engine irrespective of the model or make. Nevertheless, this does not apply when dealing with cars manufactured before 1996, as well as several other vehicles manufactured in foreign territories.

If you are looking to diagnose oil lights, airbags lights, and any other dashboard light, this BMW OBD2 scanner requires to access the manufacturer-specific protocol. Moreover, its adapter, along with the official Carista software makes full use of the OBD2 ports present in your car. Thus, you can adjust the vehicle settings on several vehicle models.

The Carista app works both on Android and iOS smartphones, meaning this diagnostic tool works well with most tablets and phones. Once you connect it to either your tablet or phone, the information is displayed on its screen, and as using the app is simple and straightforward, you will experience no issue interpreting the results. Additionally, there are two versions of the Carista app, that is, the free version and the paid version. However, to fully make use of the app’s ability to reset the dashboard lights and clear codes, therefore, to fix your car, you need to buy the app’s paid version.

Because this software’s interface is clear, simple, and clean, you will never experience any issue using it and also understanding the outcome. Therefore, hiring a software engineer or a mechanic will be a thing of the past. Its software works with the factory settings on most modern cars, thereby allowing you to adjust how the mirrors, buzzers, beeps, locks, and lights work.

Pros



  • It provides you with dashboard customization.
  • Works perfectly well with third-party apps like Torque.
  • Features a speedometer that displays real speed, gas consumption as well as Chrono speed.
  • You get one free month subscription.
  • You also get torque steering compensation that enables you to control traction when traveling at high speeds.


Cons



  • You have to pay for advanced features after the free one-month subscription expires.


VXDIAG Multi-Professional BMW Scan Tool 12 in 1

This professional OBD2 BMW scanner incorporates some of the best features while still being easy to use, and you can directly connect it to your car. With it, you get access to all the numerous attributes of your BMW car, but in some cases, you may need to purchase additional software patches. Therefore, if you want full access to the computer systems in your vehicle, look no further as this is the best pick.

Using the BMW software designed for car engineers, you can retrieve both advanced and user-friendly systems including advanced diagnostics, programming modules, coding as well as access to functions that are usually hidden from other scan tools.

Whereas this OBD2 BMW scanner does not provide you with information, it still is highly regarded by most users due to its remarkable performance. Instead, you can access the data using your bigger screen on your tablet, smartphone, or laptop. It thus makes it easier for you to control advanced software using your touchscreen, keyboard, or mouse as well as read complex graphs. Therefore, it is no surprise that this diagnostic tool is a lot simpler to utilize compared to other standalone and small OBD2 scanners.

If you are an advanced enthusiast or a professional, this BMW scan tool is the best choice.

Pros



  • It is complete in comparison to standalone, handheld OBD2 scanners.
  • This scan tool works with tablets, phones, and computers, thus allowing you to read through a bigger screen, meaning you can easily read complex graphs as well as control advanced software.
  • It provides you with complete and professional access to the computer system of your BMW car.
  • You can carry out program modules, advanced diagnostics as well as access to hidden features using this scanner.
  • If allows you access to BMW engineer software hence allowing you access to advanced systems.


Cons



  • It requires a lot of work to set it up correctly.
  • This is not the easiest OBD2 scanner since setting it up is also very tricky.


iCarsoft i910 Multi-System MINI/BMW Scan Tool

This diagnostic tool enables you to tread SRS, ABS as well as transmission and engine codes. It also assists you in detecting the various trouble codes causing an issue; so, you can make use of it to read and clear the warning lights. Therefore, you can use it to read the problems in both the ABS and airbag systems as well as clear the light once the problem has been resolved, on BMW models that have been manufactured between 1997 to 2019.

This BMW OBD2 scanner also supports key immobilizing, meaning the engine cannot be switched on if you do not have the ley. You can also examine the tire pressure control using the TPMS feature and adjust steering sensors with the iCarsoft i910. Finally, you can also do basic features, including CEL, ML, I2 sensor test, and Evap test.

Pros



  • It incorporates a buzzer alarm feature.
  • It has a rapid refresh rate.
  • This OBD2 scanner diagnoses both SRS and ABS faults with incredible accuracy.
  • It receives free internet updates
  • It shows ECU information


Cons



  • The instruction manual is quite shallow.
  • Computer reprogramming is not supported.


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.


Buying guide to BMW OBD2 scanners

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. 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.

Compatibility

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.


Conclusion

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.

About the Author Chris Wilson

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