Deciding on the right OBD scan tool for your automotive repair needs depends largely upon what the scan tool will be used for. Will you be performing diagnostic repair services at work? Perhaps the scan tool will be used at home to self diagnose your own vehicle's engine troubles. The range of available scan tools can be overwhelming, even for auto repair professionals.

Professional Scanning Tools: AUTEL MaxiDiag
AUTEL MaxiDiag offers a number of specialty vehicle scanners which plug into a car's OBDII port. The benefit of utilizing professional grade scanning tools such as those offered by AUTEL MaxiDiag is that they work with multiple vehicles and can scan the entire car for problems. Professional AUTEL MaxiDiag scanning tools include additional adapters for use with vehicles manufactured after 1980 as well as upgrade capability. AUTEL MaxiDiag diagnostic scanning tools can be updated every year to include new cars manufactured in the current model year.

Professional Scanning Tools: Autel MaxiSYS
Professional diagnostic scanning tools from Autel MaxiSYS are priced about the higher than AUTEL MaxiDiag tools, and provide the same level of diagnostics. Autel MaxiSYS scan tools also plug into the OBDII port of the car to be checked. Autel MaxiSYS scanning tools can be updated every year to cover new cars -- in the same way that AUTEL MaxiDiag tools can -- as well.

Amateur Automotive Scanning Tools
Amateur automotive scanning tools are available from a range of companies. While these scanners do not have the capabilities of the more expensive professional scanners, they do bear a much lower price. Expect to pay between $200-400 for a quality diagnostic scanning tool from companies such as Autel, Launch. These units are similar in many respects in that all the units plug into the OBDII port on your car and provide readings for many of the computer's functions; they differ mostly in the packaging of the diagnostic tools. All three allow you to clear trouble codes as well as scan a vehicle's computer.

Scanning Tools to Avoid
Scanning tools, by their very nature, are expensive to purchase and own. For this reason, it is important to be aware not only that there are new scan tools of dubious quality on the market, but also secondhand scanning tools that should be avoided. Any automotive scan tool priced below $100 should be suspect. Even among used tools, prices below that point tend to indicate that there is some problem with the unit. While professional scan tools might occasionally be offered for sale in secondhand stores such as pawn shops for low prices, a Professional Auto Diagnostic Tool offered for a price that is too good to be true could be stolen.