By Mike Chua | Last Updated: January 20, 2021
A bidirectional scan tool also referred to as a coding scanner, is a handy tool that is connected to a vehicle’s engine computer to send commands and read errors. The professional-grade bidirectional scan tools support different vehicle types and have several built-in functions.
In the past, people used traditional scan tools that could carry out system tests. However, these scan tools didn’t give you much information. You only get a number that you have to look up to determine the problem with the vehicle.
Now, the professional bidirectional scan tools, used in modern garage and repair shops, will display more data and allow you to send commands. Doing this enables you to test out several modules in your vehicle. Most people use bidirectional tools to reset different counters and components. If you haven’t been using a bidirectional scan tool, then you have been missing out on a lot.
You need to understand that the professional bidirectional tools have all the necessary features, which make them quite expensive. You, therefore, need to put a lot of consideration into the buying process to ensure you get a model that best suits you.
In this article, we are going to look at everything you need to know about bidirectional scan tools. Our key focus, however, will be on how to install a professional grade bidirectional scan tools.
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How do bidirectional scan tools work?
You have probably noticed that your check engine light appears whenever your vehicle encounters a problem. The bidirectional scan tool reads engine error codes to help you determine where the problem is and help you handle it. However, regular engine scan tools can equally perform this function effectively.
What sets aside the bidirectional scan tool from the standard engine scan tool is its ability to send directional commands to your car module. The ability to give outputs and read inputs give it the bidirectional element.
Once installed on a vehicle, you get to read your engine’s health and receive error codes should there be any. You can equally use these bidirectional scan tools to run further tests and view additional information.
While a regular scan tool will dictate what is wrong at the moment, a bidirectional tool will alert you of any future problems. Having the bidirectional scan tool is essential since you can handle the different engine problems even before they occur.
What is the cost of professional-grade bidirectional scan tools?
Yes, there exist several simple model bidirectional scan tools that cost less than $20. However, professional-grade bidirectional scan tools will cost anything from $600 and above. Many people may consider this cost to be rather high, but it isn’t when compared to the life of your car.
Understand that the professional-grade bidirectional tools give you complete readings. You, therefore, get accurate data measurements that allow you to give precise commands to your car module. It is also worth noting that it is cheaper and easier to fix a problem when you notice it early enough.
How do you install a professional grade bidirectional scan tool?
Installing a professional-grade bidirectional scan tool is not as difficult as it may seem. You have already noticed that your bidirectional scan tool includes a screen that displays graphs, error messages, and data.
Installation of the device will require you to hook it up to your car’s computer. In most models, you will find a port around the steering wheel. Ensure that you carefully check around your steering wheel to locate the port.
Sometimes, you might not spot the port that hooks up to your bidirectional scan tool. Do not panic; all you need to do is look through your owner’s manual. The manual will indicate where you need to hook up your bidirectional scan tool.
Almost all the cars built from 1995 onwards have easily accessible computer ports. Most of the time, it will take you just a few minutes to find the port that fits your bidirectional tool.
When you have an older vehicle, you will have to take out your owner’s manual to identify where the port is located. The owner’s manual should also include the kind of readers that will work with your vehicle. You don’t want to spend a fortune on a bidirectional scan tool only to discover that it isn’t compatible with your vehicle.
All you need to do is hook up your professional-grade bidirectional tool, and you are good to go. You can start carrying out maintenance almost immediately and identify any errors. With the professional-grade bidirectional scan tools, you get more functionality and better displays.
Most people prefer installing high-performance bidirectional scan tools because it gives you an extensive car health report. Getting the constant software updates to ensure your engine is in perfect health is equally a huge plus with the high-end scan tools.
Step 1: Hook it up
Proceed to hook up your scan tool to the intended port. Your scan tool will automatically connect when you turn your vehicle on.
Your bidirectional tool will automatically display the necessary information you need. Navigating the menu is straightforward, as explained in the user manual. You can perform all the different applications right from your professional-grade scan tool.
Step 3: fix errors
Fixing errors, once detected, is rather simple, and the product’s menu will contain all the information you need. You can also run tests to determine how your vehicle is performing.
Step 4: all done
Using your bidirectional scan tools is rather simply because many models have a friendly user interface. You will find it easy to navigate the menu and select what you need to be done.
What should I consider when purchasing professional grade bidirectional scan tools?
Buying a high-end bidirectional scan tool is not as simple as it seems, and there are a lot of factors to consider. Some of these factors include the following:
How often do you plan on using it?
When you simply need to know why your check engine lights up, then you don’t need an expensive professional-grade bidirectional scan tool. In such a scenario, then the ordinary code reader will work just fine.
However, when you have different cars and enjoy working on them, then you need a professional grade bidirectional scan tool. If you are also the type of person who wants to avoid maintenance costs, then a bidirectional scan tool is a must-have.
A professional-grade bidirectional scan tool is not necessary when you are the type of person that will diagnose a problem and not have it fixed. Understand that mechanics don’t need you to have a code reader when you get to the shop. In such situations, you are overpaying to know the problems that your car might have.
What kind of display and data do you need?
The expensive bidirectional scan tools have a better display that lets you view a lot of information about your car. Foxwell, for example, gives you a bigger and vivid display that lets you access everything that you need.
You have probably noticed that most car repair shops have these professional-grade bidirectional scan tools. This is because it makes it easier for the repair shop owners to show the clients how their vehicle is doing. The advanced numbers and graphs give clients a more visual understanding of what is wrong with their engine.
However, when you are a mechanic, then you might not need the color-coded numbers and fancy graphs. Most people with a little training can successfully diagnose what is wrong with their vehicles without needing the professional-grade bidirectional scan tools.
What do you need?
If you need to get specific readings about your car’s performance, then the professional bidirectional scan tools are a good buy. It depends on what kind of readings you need to fix a particular problem that you might have.
When buying these tools to fix a specific problem, you have to check the specifications before making any purchase. You don’t want to spend a fortune on a piece of equipment only to realize that it doesn’t help fix your situation.
Are there any popular bidirectional scan tool brands?
In today’s market, there are a=several manufactures that you can choose from. However, the top three brands that make good quality products include the following;
Located in California, Launch offers you great solutions when it comes to automobile diagnostics. You get control over your vehicle when you use the Launch bidirectional scan tools.
Foxwell is one of the leading brands in the production of bidirectional scan tools. They pride themselves in creating effective tools that make things easier for their customers.
With Autel scan tools, you get a top-quality product that is continuously being improved. Customers, therefore, get value for their money, which is excellent.
Professional grade bidirectional scan tools are a great investment that you need to consider. However, you need to ensure that you get a model that is compatible with your vehicle. You will need to carry out some research to help you figure out which scan tool will suit your needs.
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