Car repair can be costly (duh!) and that Check Engine light could mean you have a myriad of issues with your car. However, it could also be a simple fix that you could do yourself — so why take it to your dealer or mechanic without knowing the problem first? Some places will charge you an arm and a leg (or more!) just for the scan. Grab a home ODB2 scanner, download an app, and become your own second opinion.
BAFX Products Bluetooth scanner
The BAFX Products 34t5 claims to work on all vehicles in the U.S. from 1996 or later — all you need is a third-party app and an Android phone or tablet.
Panlong Bluetooth OBD2 car reader
Panlong's OBD II scanner works with most post-1996 vehicles (sans some hybrids), and lets you read and clear trouble codes with real-time data readings.
ScanTool OBDLink LX
The OBDLink LX is a pro-grade reader that features its own app, which allows you to scan, read, and clear trouble codes in a wider range of vehicles.
iSaddle Super Mini Bluetooth OBD2 scanner
The iSaddle Super Mini supports all OBD II protocols and works on most cars sold after 1996, and it works exclusively with the Torque app via Bluetooth.
BlueDriver Professional-grade OBD2 reader
Even some mechanics use the BlueDriver scanner, which shows you recall information and dynamic data and offers repair suggestions in its companion app.
FIXD Professional Scan Tool
FIXD's scanner lets you manage multiple cars within its app. You can check and clear the readings on all of your cars, and get maintenance notifications.
Skip the trip to the mechanic
Taking your car into the shop for a simple Check Engine light can often end up costing much more than what may have been necessary. These easy-to-use Bluetooth OBD II readers can give you a picture of your car's overall "health" and put you in control of diagnosing your vehicle's issues. If you're looking for simple and inexpensive, go with the BAFX reader — it'll work with just about any non-hybrid or electric cars sold in the U.S. in or after 1996.
If you have multiple vehicles you'd like to keep tabs on, though, the FIXD Professional Scan Tool lets you keep track of all of them at once — assuming you have an OBD II reader in each one. The FIXD readers are cheaper when you buy in bulk, so cover all of your vehicles at once!
Lastly, if you want the very best of the best, you should grab the BlueDriver LSB2, which offers the most in-depth information on your vehicle and even sends repair reminders to your phone through its companion app.