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Best Bidirectional Scan Tools Reviews 2020

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By Mike Chua | Last Updated: October 01, 2020

Best Bidirectional Scan Tools

Around 15% Americans feel that they would rather have their bones broken than have their car breakdown. If your vehicle is as important to you, let us present before you a selection of the best bidirectional scan tools. These are crafted to become your saviour in the time of crisis. A bidirectional scan tool is meant to interact with the automobile. You can easily diagnose any lags or problems in the vehicle There is no need to dismantle it completely.

Save hours of tedious physical work. If you are sceptical about its efficacy you should learn more about how it works. Once you have been convinced of its value by the car geek in you, we have curated a range of models you can choose from. There is also a buying guide to address your queries. Take the time to go through it to understand all features better. But first, we‘ll acquaint you with the best models in the market. So let’s get started!

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Product Name

Review

Price

LAUNCH X431 V Pro Bi-Directional Scan Tool

LAUNCH X431 V Pro Bidirectional Scan

(Editor’s Choice)

LAUNCH X431 V Pro Bidirectional Scan

LAUNCH X431 V PRO

LAUNCH X431 DIAGUN IV  -5 Years Warranty

LAUNCH X431 V+(Upgrade Version of X431 V PRO)

Product Reviews: Find the Bidirectional Scanner Made for You

1. LAUNCH X431V+ - The Most Accurate and Effective Scanner

This scanner has various features that will make you forget the word ‘limitations’. Try out features like ECU coding, IMMO, and Auto VIN Detect for repair and maintenance tasks. You can reprogram the data as well to rectify issues such as power loss. This can save you a lot of time and effort. Read how.

Apart from this, there are 20 service functions. These include ABS bleeding, injector coding, Gear reset and the like. Plus, there are automatic updates for the scanner to keep it safe along the way. The software is complemented by the hardware which is durable and invulnerable to dust, grease or water. This is a 7.1 Android-based diagnostic scanner. And you have a pretty decent storage capacity at 32 GB. Combine that with a good power battery of 7000 mAh – you can use this for a while.

Unfortunately, while you can run scans on heavy-duty trucks with this tool, the diagnostic module has to be bought separately.

The best part about this scanning tool is its wide vehicle coverage. It can scan and repair around 10000 car models (and all parts) made in America, Europe or Asia. 

Final Verdict-

The LAUNCH X431V is one of the best scanning tools in the market. It works well with the latest vehicles and will prove to be a useful aid for the future as well. LAUNCH has come up with a very good scanner on which inaccuracies and glitches are next to none.

Pros

  • It has a durable body that is dust, grease and water proof.
  • It supports ECU coding which can repair faults easily.
  • The automatic updates relieve the user of the stress of frequent updation of the software.
  • It provides 20 service functions.

Cons

  • It cannot read the VIN of older vehicles.

2. LAUNCH X431 Pro Mini: The Best Additional Utility Bidirectional Scanner

The scanner uses the bidirectional technology to command tests to discern if specific components of vehicle is functioning properly. The scanner supports ABS bleeding, injector coding, Gear reset among other features.

You can carry out a top-to-toe diagnosis and reset of the vehicle. The scanner’s ability to clear fault codes and graph a live data stream works like a charm. It can be a key technique to correcting faults in the vehicle.

The body of the scanner is a Lenovo tablet with an Android 7.1 system and 128 GB expandable memory. The guarantee of trusted hardware, good firmware and adequate storage space provide good value for your money. There is lifetime tech support as well.

It can only work with SUVs, MPV pickups and light trucks. For heavy trucks and vehicles, you will have to look elsewhere.

It provides the 20 most useful services including steering angle calibration and oil reset service. Added to that, are its 5 special service functions such as AFS Reset and EGR Adaptation. The scanner is compatible with 1000 car models of 150 brands spread across Asia, America and Europe.

Final Verdict

This scanner performs its basic functions well. But it goes on provide various other advantages above and beyond the usual ones. This speaks volumes for its utility, subsequently making it an essential tool for mechanics and car enthusiasts alike.

Pros

  • It is easy to use.
  • It has reliable hardware and firmware.
  • It provides 20 basic and 5 additional services such as sunroof control, gearbox testing, EGR adaptation and the like.
  • It is widely compatible with all modern and upcoming cars around the world.

Cons

  • None that dims its pros.

3. LAUNCH X431 V+ (Upgrade from X431 V Pro) : The Best Upgrade for New Automobiles

A LAUNCH scan tools comparison is one of the more advanced scan tools around. Take the powerful all-systems diagnostics and ECU coding feature for one. You can rely on its live data, values combined with active testing, adaptation, matching and coding. It is bidirectional in every sense of the term.

You have access to 20 kinds of resetting services including Transmission reset, ABS bleeding and Gear reset. The tool is compatible with 10000 car models of 150 car brands across Asia, America, Russia, Malaysia, India and Europe. You can even get a diagnostic report from this nifty scanner.

The only thing lacking in this solid upgrade is the lack of a help database. People all across the globe need to have access to some technical support so that their queries can be resolved. Unfortunately, that is unavailable.

The good news is that along with live data values, it allows you to perform active tests. For instance, you can turn the a/c clutch on or off. You can detect the flaws in your car in a jiffy with this bidirectional control.

Final Verdict

Had it not been for lack of support, this scan tool would have been the best device available. It obviously does its job, but since the brand has consumers of various nationalities, certain aspects of the scanner might be lost on them. Otherwise, the scanner delivers on all its promises.

Pros

  • It provides active testing support.
  • It is compatible with many car models across the globe.
  • It provides 20 crucial service functions.
  • The full-system diagnosis is a boon for fault detection

Cons

  • Lack of a help database is a big problem for beginners

4. LAUNCH X431 V Pro- The Scan Tool Packed with Features

If you own this handy device, you will come to enjoy every repair task on your vehicle.  The little scanner embedded in a Lenovo tablet, powered by Android 7.1, is anything but insignificant. This little tool can help you run a full diagnosis of your vehicle- which may be any vehicle you like.

The scanner claims of a wide coverage of 99.99% vehicles around the world. It covers 10000 car models of 150 brands from different parts of the world.
A special mention has to be accorded to the multilingual support and software provided by the brand for people around the world.

The bidirectional communication helps you run actuator tests and perform ECU coding along with 20 reset services. The diagnosis software is a one-key update for free, for two years. So you can relax and keep updating your mechanical expertise without spending a dime more.

The scanner comes with multiple connectors for different vehicles. However, none of which are marked to help you identify which goes with which. So you are on your own figuring out the connectors.

Its efficient bidirectional communication and multilingual support work in its favour when it comes to a comparison between the products in the market.

Final Verdict

You cannot fault this scan tool for not giving you enough. Instead, you are going to be annoyed that it comes with too many accessories- the use of which you are unable to figure out due to lack of markings. The scanner is flawless in its operation and you can be assured of its efficiency every time.

Pros

  • It has a good battery life.
  • It is easy to navigate.
  • It has an efficient bidirectional communication system.
  • It has a very good response time

Cons

  • There are different connectors provided for various vehicles. However, there are no markings.

5. LAUNCH X431 DIAGUN IV: The Effective Economical Answer to High-end Scanners

It is the most useful scan tool in the market with its 1.1 GHz processor and 5.5 inch touch screen. It gives you all the fundamental capabilities. Expect full-system diagnosis, bidirectional testing and ECU coding, along with the extra advantages such as multilingual interface for its international consumer base. 

It boasts of wide coverage of 94 car brands across the world and 10000 car models. You will rarely come across a car model that this little tool will not be able to repair or reprogram.

The free 2-years one-key update policy means you can update its software anytime you wish with just a click. The ECU coding feature might be a little trickier than the rest and will require some looking into, before you can begin the process.

The machine provides an instant diagnostic report. This is one of the key things one should look for while buying a scanner.

Final Verdict

It is a high-tech, low-cost and perfectly operational scanner that do.es a lot more than is expected out of it.

Pros

  • One-click diagnostic report generation
  • It provides its interface in various languages.
  • It can work on many car models around the world.

Cons

  • There are no directions for ECU coding.

6. LAUNCH X431 V+(Upgrade to X431 V Pro): The Most Cost-effective Scanner

This little scanner in a Lenovo tablet, with Android 7.1 and a 7000 mAh battery. It is your compact mechanical service, on-the-go. It provides full-system diagnosis for more than 10000 car models. It gives you the ability to perform 20 reset services and ECU coding. You can do an active test on the model. There will be a diagnostic report ready within moments briefing you about the state of your car.

It does not have limitations with car models because it covers 99.99% of them. You name a car brand from Asia, Europe, Russia, America, Malaysia, and the scanner has it covered. Compatibility will never be an issue.

The upgrade works well with the new models, but OBD I models will not be compatible with this scanner.

It is easy-to-use, efficient and compact. You will not face any issues with regard to its operation.

Final Verdict

Apart from the small gripe that it does not work with OBD I models, customers will have no complaints with this scanner. It is fast, simple and perfect for any model that has been made using the OBD II system. You will not be disappointed.

Pros

  • Covers a wide variety of car models all around the world.
  • Its bidirectional communication system works very well.
  • It is accurate and fast.

Cons

  • It does not work with OBD I models.

What You Should Keep in Mind While Buying a Bidirectional Scan Tool

Bidirectional scan tools have been upgraded over the years. From a mere diagnostic or scanning tool, it has become a scan tool with programming capability. You should not get confused with the plethora of options available to you. Sift through them to find the perfect one. Here are some pointers that will guide you through the process:

a.Compatibility-
  • The OBD refers to On-Board Diagnostics of your vehicle. It is the standardized system that allows external electronics to interface with a car’s computer system.
  • The earlier OBD was stopped in 1996. Every car that was made in and after 1996 had to have OBD II system.
  • There are two kinds of scanners –OBD (I) and OBD II scanner.
  • The OBD I scanner is of no use in the modern day.
  • The scanner with OBD II compatibility is best for you and works with all kinds of car models.
b. Ability to Reset the Check Engine Light-
  • This is a crucial yet unstable feature.
  • It is an alarm that there is something wrong, but it can often be a false alarm.
  • Your scanner should be able to figure out what is wrong.
  • Ensure that your scanner has the ability to reset the check engine light, if nothing is wrong with the car.
c. Response Time-
  • You will need a scanner that can boot up easily and provide you with the scans and results in the shortest time. Some scanners languish during the booting process, which is not helpful, if you are a technician or mechanic. The scanner you invest in, should be fast and reliable, else it is not worth the money.
d.The ABS/SRS System-
  • The ABS and SRS systems are the most crucial safety elements that need to be considered before a vehicle can hit the road.
  • A scanner should have the ability to check these systems and their efficiency.
  • The ABS is the Anti-lock Braking System. It is an anti-skid braking system that protects your vehicle from slipping or running along very slippery surfaces. It prevents the wheels from locking while you are driving on such a surface.
  • However, if there is some problem with the ABS, the light will come on and your scanner should be able to detect it accurately by retrieving the ABS code.
  • With regard to the SRS or Safety Restraint System, the airbags are controlled by this.
  • In an accident, the sensors will send a signal to the control module, thereby inflating the airbags.
  • However, if the airbags are flawed in any way, the SRS light will come on automatically.
  • The scanner should be able to accurately detect the problem for you.
  • Ensure that this capability of your scanner is not compromised in any way.
e.Help database-
  • Your scanner can have its own kind of glitches. At this point, you will need some help from the manufacturing company to explain the problem and its solution. Ensure that the scanner is complemented with a help database by the manufacturer. It allows you to understand all its functions and repair any problems that occur in its software.

Buyer’s Guide: Make an Informed Choice

Scanners are supposed to make your mechanical tasks of vehicle testing and repair easier. The problem is that not all scanners can do the same. All of them promise the same specs and try to lure you with almost similar prices. So, simply the features cannot be your answer to buying the perfect tool. Look into other aspects to find the one that gives the best performance.

Ask and answer

a. Does the bidirectional scan tool have an OBD I plug for older vehicles?

OBD I was stopped after 1996. OBD II took its place. But there are still cars that may have the OBD I model. Most scan tools will not provide you the necessary plugs to scan them. Look for a scan tool that can also comply with the older models and give you the widest range of vehicles.

b. What Manufacture Specific Software does it have? (If any)

Your vehicle scan tool can provide you with the generic scanning capabilities. Or, it can go beyond that to provide you with additional benefits. Choose wisely.

All manufacturers have made vehicles such that now all vehicles comply with OBD II norms. All your scanners will be able to function with them and retrieve data from the ECU. To go a step ahead, and command things beyond the ECU, your scanner needs to have access to the particular Manufacturer Specific Codes. So, when you decide to buy a scanner, look for one that complies with the particular manufacturer that you want.

c.Is it able to provide a diagnostic report?

Are you in the automobile industry or work in car repair and maintenance? You will need to have a report of the faults in the vehicle along with the tests and corrections that you did on it. While some scanners do not have such a developed interface, a few do. Invest in such a scan tool that allows you to show proof of your work. It is useful for your client as well as while claiming an insurance.

d. Is it able to provide Live Data Values?

The best part about a bidirectional scan tool is its ability to illuminate the state of your vehicle without you having to take it apart. The icing on the cake can be a scanner which provides you with Live Data Values. The technique is used to convey the values of every component of your vehicle in real time.

The scanner scans the engine rpm, fuel pressure, coolant temperature sensor, and air injection. These are crucial to the health of your vehicles. They are also important for future reference and comparison. Learn to interpret OBD II values on.

e.Does it have ECU coding or Bidirectional communication capabilities?

Remember, every vehicle may, at some point of time, require you to use spare parts. With 69 million vehicle breakdowns occurring in the US every year, spare parts are even bigger necessity.

Most such parts, nowadays, are coded so that these codes can be used to calibrate them with the ECU. Spare keys, radios etc. are all coded these days. This bidirectional communication is what is useful in entering the codes. If your scanner does not have this facility, it will be of no use to you in future.

Final Verdict

You may have made your decision by now, after going through our reviews. Tell us which one you chose and why. We believe the LAUNCH X431 Pro Mini is the clear winner. The considerations while buying a bidirectional scan tool include compatibility, reset engine light ability, response time, ABS/SRS system, and help database.

All these needs are met by the LAUNCH X431 Pro Mini Scanner. It is compatible with both the OBD I and OBD II systems. Plus, it has good response times and has 20 reset services including check engine light. The bidirectional communication capability allows it to configure the ABS/SRS system. If you ever encounter a problem, the lifetime tech support and its multilingual interface helps. It’s why this one is among the best bidirectional scan tools in the market.

The LAUNCH X431V+ is quite handy but lacks as much compatibility. The LAUNCH X431 V+ (Upgrade from X431 V Pro) falls short when it comes to providing a help database. This can be a major issue for many consumers.

The LAUNCH X431 V Pro is perfect except it has parts whose working is difficult to decipher. This makes the scanner difficult to understand completely. The LAUNCH X431 DIAGUN IV loses this race because of its difficult ECU coding. There are no clear guidelines available. This makes the entire function useless. The LAUNCH X431 V+ (Upgrade to X431 V Pro) is also perfect except for its inability to work with OBD I models. This makes it a less popular choice in the market. 

About the Author Mike Chua

Vircet is your one-stop modern products website that offers you detailed reviews based on efficiency, capacity, design, and performance. We help you make better decisions.

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