Scanning automotive error codes on a laptop have advantages over many handheld scan tools.
Handheld tools are great and work for the most part but can sometimes fall short.
For example, I was trying to diagnose an ABS light on a 2004 F150 with my cheap scan tool, and it couldn’t find anything.
I then took it to a local part store, and they couldn’t find the problem either.
Not wanting to admit defeat, I began reading online and found the Scan Tool 425801 for a PC. After looking at comparable options, I gave it a try.
It came with an OBD2 adapter that plugs into a USB port on a laptop and software to diagnose codes called OBDwiz.
It found the bad code on the F150, which was the rear speed sensor.
Keep in mind that there are other scan tool options, such as using a smartphone or buying a good handheld tool.
If you don’t want to lug around a laptop, smartphone Bluetooth OBD2 adapters can also be a low-cost option.
One of the reasons a PC-based solution can be better, in my opinion, is the software and the ease of reading the interface.
There are many free and paid for OBD2 diagnostic software that is constantly being updated.
Also, it is easy to try new software interfaces to see which one fits the scenario.
The larger screen on a laptop is, in my opinion, much better than any scan tool or smartphone not only for ease of reading but research.
There are many good programs that can be used on a PC.
After a code is found with a scan tool and it gives you an OBD2 code number, looking for information online is the next step.
Looking information up quickly online with a laptop is much easier at least for me. Reading through forums and watching YouTube videos is just easier on the eyes when doing research.
Of course, this is a personal option, and using a smartphone scan tool is just as cheap as a laptop scan tool.
What works for me may not work for someone else, so be sure to read other reviews for the best fit for you.
*This post contains affiliate links.
Read More About the 425801 Here on Amazon
ScanTool OBDLink SX USB: Professional Grade OBD-II Automotive Scan Tool for Windows – DIY Car and Truck Data and Diagnostics
As always be sure to read the reviews on Amazon, forums, or elsewhere to be sure any unit is a good fit for you.
Other Windows PC Based OBDII Scan Tools
- OBDMONSTER ELM327 USB
OBDMONSTER ELM327 USB FORScan OBD2 Adapter for Ford Car and Light Truck, ELMconfig Scanner with MS CAN/HS CAN Switch, Diagnosis on Windows with V1.5 PIC18F25K80 Chip
The OBDMONSTER ELM327 is a USB Ford OBDII scan tool that works with Windows-based PCs and Laptops.
It is compatible with Ford-based cars and trucks.
It uses the PIC18F25K80 Chip along with ForScan software to communicate with a vehicle’s onboard computer and modules.
FORScan OBD2 Adapter, VINT-TT55502 ELMconfig ELM327 modified For all Windows compatible with Ford Cars F150 F250 and Light Pickup Truck Scan Tool, Code Reader MS-CAN HS-CAN Switch
The VINTscan is a Windows-based OBDII scan tool for Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, and Mazda cars and trucks.
It plugs into a USB port and, along with the ForScan software able to read and clear codes.
DAP4CS app for Windows supports ELM327 and STN adapters (OBDLink). DAP4CS used for multi-brand diagnostics.
can I use this to match my replacement ignition to my 2004 honda odessy
Am an Auto Electrician .i already have a good laptop now i need the best and affordable OBD to connect with laptop to scan auto electrical faults.
These cables should come with your vehicle. Even if I had to configure a tuning system and GUI interface I would be willing to invest that time. Going to purchase cable to try and reset my throttle body. I just put a new one on my 2000 VW jetta and evidently it has to be aligned/reset through the ECM. Autozone no longer loans a fully functional tool and wants a $240 deposit to borrow…I told the guy if I had $240 to “loan” I would just go and buy one for $50…he said I didn’t understand, that I would get my money back…so I hung up.
It is a deposit to make sure you bring back the tool . if you use it in the parking lot you only have to leave your ID
1. No, cables DO NOT come with the car. You’re lucky if the car comes with jumper cables or a spare tire nowadays.
2. You need to understand the concept of a deposit.
3. DO NOT touch your car or anyone else’s…….leave it to someone with more common sense.
I have a 2000 ford ranger with a recently rebuilt transmission that does not engage and cannot pick up any codes. Would this be able to read the transmission solenoids activity
Pls how to install this app from my pc, just i want to diagnosis fault from the vehicle. i am Automotive Technician
I NEED AN OBD 2 I CAN USE ON MY LAP TOP TO PICK FAULT CODES ON MY CAR SAAB 9000.
Pls. Iam An Auto Mechanic Living In Nigeria And Want To Start Auto Diag Business How Do I Go About?
Eobd fáciles is a good software you may use it with an elm 327 adapter.
Hi. I’m an automotive mechanic from Nigeria, I have a laptop with Windows 10; but I’m in search of a good automotive diagnostic software. Thanks!