Most cars, released after the second half of the 1980s, are equipped with an electronic self-diagnostic system, based on sensors and a central microcontroller, called electronic control unit or ECU. This microcontroller collects and processes sensor readings, comparing them to predefined default modes, stored in ECU memory. When sensor readings differ from default values, the ECU generates and displays an error message. In modern cars, equipped with a display, this message is shown on this display. If no display is present, the corresponding indicator on the dashboard is activated.

But error messages are not informative enough – they just indicate the presence and nature of failure, but contain no detailed description of its causes. However, every car with ECU has special diagnostic OBD port, so detailed information can be obtained using scanners and other diagnostic tools.

Best automotive scanners and other electronic diagnostic and tuning equipment can be found at ECUTools online store – just visit

What is a Car Diagnostic Scanner?

Scanner for car diagnostic is a hardware-software complex, which can be connected to a car ECU via OBD port in order to get information on the health and operational modes of different systems of the car. Modern scanners have the following functions:

  • Identification of installed ECU, sensors, actuators and other electronic devices, identification of ECU firmware revision.
  • Performing health and performance tests on engine, brakes and other modules and systems of the car.
  • Error message management (displaying advanced descriptions, dismissing messages).

Advanced scanners can also provide the following features:

  • Running and stopping actuators including wipers, door locks, safety bag and mirror adjustments, etc.
  • Immobilizer reprogramming.
  • Editing certain variables, stored at ECU memory (including car mileage).

Some scanners are provided as a set that consists of an adapter and special diagnostic software, while others are stand-alone devices that require no third-party PC.

Popular Scanners for Vehicle Diagnostics

The following scanner models are acclaimed by experts as best available solutions:

  • ScanDoc Compact – universal multifunctional scanner that consists of diagnostic software and the adapter, compatible with KL-Line, 2xCAN, VPW, PWM and J1708 protocols.
  • AutoScannerOpelCAN – special scanner for Opel vehicles.
  • Carman Auto i-700 – multifunctional universal tablet-like scanner with touchscreen.
  • Scanmatik 2 PRO – universal scanner with the adapter that supports all popular protocols.
  • Dialink – scanner with the adapter that supports K/L-Line, J1850 VPW/PWM and ISO-CAN protocols.

All these scanners can be ordered from ECUTools online store.