Bidirectional Tools and OBD (II) Scanner Tools: Everything Need to Know

Bidirectional tools and OBD (II) scanner tools Everything you need to know

Bidirectional tools and OBD (II) scanner tools: Everything you need to know

OBD (II) scanner tools and bidirectional tools can be confusing, which is quite understandable. Most people aren’t entirely sure whether there is a difference between the two. All motorists, however, seem to know that you need to plug a code reader or scan tool whenever the ‘Check Engine’ light comes on.

In this article, we will take an extensive look at OBD (II) scanner tools and bi directional scan tool. Understanding the two will help you determine which tool is best for your vehicle. We need to break down to two to ensure that you get a better understanding.

OBD (II) scanner tools

OBD II (Onboard Diagnostic II) diagnosis is a simple process that needs a basic scan tool or code reader. The tool gets plugged into your diagnostic connector that is commonly located near the steering column. You only need to turn on the ignition to read the code(s) that is causing issues to your vehicle. Follow the prompts, and you can then read out the code(s).

The cheapest OBD(II) scanner tools will display numbers, and you have to look them up in a handbook. However, the best quality tools will get you both a number and a brief definition of the issue affecting your Engine.

The downside of OBD (II) scanner tools is that they don’t tell you about the underlying problem. Understand that you won’t get to know what is causing the problem and how to fix it. If you don’t have a background in mechanics, then you won’t know how to fix the issue permanently.

The good news is that you get a starting place, which is excellent if you ask me. Sometimes, all you might need is some direction of where to focus on fixing the problem. You also get to decide which steps to carry out next once you diagnose the issue.

Bidirectional tools

Bidirectional control describes receiving and sending information between two devices. These scan tools are programmed to command a module or request information. Commanding the module entails directing the system to perform specific functions and tests.

Bidirectional control can be referred to as actor tests, functional tests, system tests, and inspection tests. Reprogramming and reinitialization can also be added to the list of these controls.

Start by understanding that the bidirectional tools are the primary bidirectional control device. This is because they receive and send out information to and from the vehicle control module.

Now that you understand what professional grade bidirectional scan tool and OBD (II) scanner tools are, we can get down to discussing the differences.

Scan Tool Differences

There is one significant difference between the OBD (II) scanner tools and bidirectional tools. The OBD (II) scan tools only display what is causing a problem. In contrast, the bidirectional tools allow you to send commands.

While both devices can diagnose the issues affecting your vehicle, bidirectional tools have more functionality since you can use them to send commands. With bidirectional tools, you get to perform different tests and functions, which is not possible with OBD (II) scan tools.

Should you get a bidirectional tool or an OBD (II) scanner tool?

Whether you need an OBD (II) scanner tool or a bidirectional tool will depend on your preference. If you need to diagnose any issues in your vehicle, then you need to go for the OBD (II) scanner tools. However, if you need to both read issues and send commands, then you need to get a bidirectional tool.

Understand that bidirectional tools are quite expensive when compared to the OBD(II) scan tools. With bidirectional tools, you get much more functionality, which is excellent. However, you have to learn the different commands that you need for various functions.

You also need to note that while OBD (II) scan tools can work with most vehicle models, the bidirectional tools only work on specific models. You, therefore, need to research whether your vehicle model works with bidirectional tools or not. If not, then you will be better of purchasing an OBD (II) scanner tool.


OBD (II) scanning tools and bidirectional tools are an essential purchase when you need to diagnose various issues in your vehicle. However, you must ensure that you get the best tools because they come with more functionality. Yes, the cheap ones will help you with the diagnosis but might not be practical since they only provide basic numbers.

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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