Not all trouble codes are included under the OBD2 diagnostics. For non-OBDII systems like the anti-lock brakes (ABS) and airbags (SRS), an ABS/SRS OBD2 scanner is what you’ll want to get the job done.
There’s more to these scan tools than reading and clearing trouble codes. Many can also perform repair functions like bleeding your brakes, while advanced models even allow you to diagnose other systems of the vehicle.
Choosing the right ABS/SRS reader comes down to finding a device that’s compatible with your vehicle and offers the functions you need. The good news is, it doesn’t need to cost a fortune and can save you money down the line by letting you make your own repairs at home.
Ready to find the perfect scan tool for your car or pickup? Let’s take a look at the best options currently on the market.
Table of Contents
Top 3 OBD2 scanners with ABS SRS comparison chart
All the scan tools in this list support all gas/diesel sedans, SUVs, light trucks, and 12V HD trucks. Some of them also support minivans.
FOXWELL NT630 Plus - Editor's Pick
|ABS codes and reset||10/10||8/10||9/10|
|SRS codes and reset||10/10||8/10||10/10|
|Transmission codes and reset||2/10||10/10||10/10|
|Vehicle coverage||Cars, SUVs, light trucks, 12V HD trucks from 1996||Cars, SUVs, light trucks, 12V HD trucks from 1996||Cars, SUVs, light trucks, 12V HD trucks from 1996|
|Best OBD2 scan tool with full ABS services and bleeding||Best Bluetooth OBD2 scanner with ABS SRS||Best ABS airbag transmission code reader with touch screen|
*Notes: Excellent: 9-10; Good: 7-8; Fair: 5-6; Poor: 3-4; Very poor: 1-2
How to choose the best ABS/airbag OBD2 scanner?
There are many companies out there making diagnostic equipment, but you don’t just want to go with the first one you find. Buying from a well-known brand means you can trust their scanners to be both durable and accurate. Here are our top 3 choices for both professionals and home enthusiasts.
Founded in 1992, this Chinese company has decades of experience providing top-notch customer service and reliable automotive repair equipment. Their tools are used in more than 60 countries worldwide and are designed for both wide compatibility and consumer value.
Launch tools are an excellent choice for home mechanics because they have a reputation for providing excellent support. Their tools are also easy to use and come in a wide range of features and price points, from basic code readers to full professional scanners.
Highly recommended: Launch CRP123X
Foxwell’s focus as a company is on innovation and excellence. Their diagnostic tools are preferred by many professional mechanics because of their top-notch engineering. Since they invest about 20% of their profits into research and development, you know you’re getting the most up-to-date technology.
Foxwell designs their tools with the customer experience in mind, and that’s reflected in the products. On the whole, they’re well-built and intuitive to navigate, providing a fast and accurate diagnosis for a range of vehicles and systems.
Highly recommended: Foxwell NT630 Plus
Below $100: many OBD2 scanners support ABS and SRS at this price, which means you can read and clear codes related to the systems. Bluedriver is a good example of this price range when you’re looking to have a Bluetooth OBD2 scan tool for iPhone iPad or Android. If you prefer a wired scan tool, take the Autel Diaglink.
Highly recommended: Bluedriver
$100-$250: scan tools priced in that range will usually have full OBD2 functionality along with the ability to read ABS, airbag, and transmission codes. You may also get a few advanced functions, including ABS bleeding like the Foxwell NT630 Plus or special reset services like the Launch CRP129i.
Highly recommended: Foxwell NT630 Plus
An ABS and airbag code reader is a piece of automotive diagnostic equipment that allows you to read data from the engine computer. Basic code readers are designed to work with the OBD2 (onboard diagnostic) system, which provides trouble codes and sensor readings from the engine but isn’t compatible with other vehicle systems. That’s where an ABS/SRS code reader comes in. These devices are designed to work with the anti-lock brake system (ABS) and airbag system (SRS) in the same way basic code readers communicate with the engine.
The most obvious advantage of this is the ability to turn off the associate warning lights for those systems without going to a garage. Most of these SRS and ABS scanners can do a lot more than that, though. Let’s take a look at the key features you can expect from these devices.
ABS and SRS scan tools’ functionality varies widely, from basic models that only read and clear trouble codes to professional SRS/ABS diagnostic tools with full programming and coding capabilities.
Generally speaking, beginning home mechanics and DIY-ers will only need a code reader that provides the basic features listed below. The Advanced Features will primarily be of use to professionals and experienced home mechanics.
Basic Key Features of ABS SRS code reader
Read and erase ABS/SRS trouble codes. Trouble codes are the warnings generated by these systems when something is amiss. Once triggered, they’ll activate the associated dash warning light to let you know there’s a problem. Reading the code enables you to identify the issue. You can then clear it once it’s fixed to turn off the light.
Read and erase engine DTCs. Most ABS/SRS scanners support at least some of the 10 OBD2 Modes. At the least, you can expect them to read and clear diagnostic trouble codes that trigger your check engine light.
Read live data. Live data reading enables you to see sensor readings, engine temperature, and other valuable information in real-time. Most SRS/ABS readers can show you information from the brakes, airbags, or engine, which can be a great help in identifying the cause of pesky trouble codes.
EVAP system tests. The main focus of the OBD2 system is vehicle emissions. Many of the modes are designed with this in mind, allowing you to test the oxygen (O2) sensors or other emission system areas. This lets you be prepared for the emission and smog checks that are often part of state vehicle inspections.
I/M readiness. This mode of OBD2 evaluates your system’s preparedness for emissions tests and is another helpful feature for preparing for smog and emission checks.
Read VIN data. Every car that’s made has a unique VIN code that gives you important information like the vehicle’s manufacturer and model, as well as where and in what year it was made. You can also retrieve information on the car’s features and specifications with this function, which can help replace parts or make other at-home repairs.
Highly recommended: Bluedriver
Advanced Features Of ABS Scan Tools
ABS Manual Control Tests. Also called active testing or bi-directional control, this feature enables you to activate mechanical and electronic components in your vehicle manually. Testing individual sensors, valves, and solenoids allows you to locate and repair malfunctions more quickly.
ABS Motor Test. The motor drives the pumping action that helps you stop without skidding in icy weather. An ABS motor test allows you to manually control the pump motor and ensure it’s working the way it should.
ABS Version Test. Similar to VIN data, this tells you useful information about the ABS, including the version number, software ID, and sequence value. You’ll need this information if you plan to repair or replace parts of the system.
Actuator Tests. A form of manual control, this lets you test the AYC valves, inlet valves, outlet valves, TRACS valves, and pump motors of the ABS.
ABS Bleeding. Air bubbles can get into the hydraulic brake lines during repairs or servicing, impeding their function. Bleeding the brakes removes this air to keep things running smoothly. ABS tools often include an automatic brake bleeding program that removes the air for you, saving you the hassle of bleeding out the air manually.
Advanced Features Of SRS Scan Tools
Check the airbag system. Diagnostic functions on SRS scanners go deeper than just reading trouble codes. You can check every aspect of your airbag system with these tools, identifying issues you’d otherwise need a mechanic to correct.
Reset SRS Control Module. The SRS system needs resetting after you install a replacement airbag. This function allows you to do so in your home garage.
Ensure the airbag system is functioning normally. Unlike other systems, you won’t always be able to tell if the airbags are working correctly during day-to-day driving. An SRS scan tool has systems that ensure all safety systems are functional when you need them.
Highly recommended: If you’re looking to buy an OBD2 scan tool with full SRS and ABS services and active tests, take Foxwell NT630 Plus.
Top 3 OBD2 scan tools with ABS SRS review
BlueDriver: Best Bluetooth OBD2 scanner with ABS SRS
The BlueDriver Bluetooth OBDII Scanner is our top choice for everyday drivers and beginning home mechanics who want to diagnose the ABS and SRS systems. Using the BlueDriver app lets you run vehicle diagnostics straight from your phone, even while you’re driving. You’ll also enjoy free, automatic updates and easy saving and exporting of data.
BlueDriver’s compatibility for ABS and SRS diagnosis is narrower than you’ll find with other brands. These functions are part of its Enhanced Codes and are available for eight manufacturers. This list includes common brands like Ford, Toyota, and Volkswagen, but you’ll want to make sure your car’s on the list before buying it.
With BlueDriver, you can view live data from PIDs, read and clear codes, and view suggested fixes. That said, it doesn’t include any repair functions or advanced diagnostic options like bi-directional control. This is the main reason we don’t recommend it for professionals. For home users, though, the streamlined functions make it an easier tool to use and navigate.
BlueDriver is an easy to use ABS and SRS scanner for everyday drivers and beginning home mechanics, though its compatibility and functions are more limited than other options.
Foxwell NT630 Plus: Best OBD2 scan tool with full ABS services and bleeding
The Foxwell NT630 Plus is an excellent bidirectional scan tool for both diagnosing and repairing the airbag and anti-lock brake systems. It supports bi-directional testing of individual system components and can perform repair functions like ABS bleed in addition to reading and clearing ABS/SRS trouble codes.
You can diagnose engine issues with the Foxwell NT630 Plus, as well. This scan tool supports all ten modes of OBD2 for most cars, SUVs, and pickup trucks on the road, and you’ll get the same wide compatibility for its ABS/SRS functions.
The only notable omission on the Foxwell NT630 Plus is that it can’t diagnose the transmission, so it’s less comprehensive than other options on the list. That said, its robust functionality for other systems makes up for this lack. With its portable and lightweight design, it’s an ideal travel scan tool for professional mechanics.
The Foxwell NT630 Plus supports professional features like bi-directional testing for ABS and SRS components in a compact housing that’s perfect for repairs on the road.
Launch CRP123X: Best ABS airbag transmission code reader with touch screen
An upgraded version of the Launch CRP123 above, the CRP123X also has both 4-system diagnosis and full OBD2 functionality. An easy diagnostic report function lets you evaluate your vehicle’s health at a glance, and you can save and print all live data and error codes.
The main improvement made with the Launch CRP123X isn’t its functionality but its convenience. Since it has onboard Wi-Fi, you can update it with one click without connecting it to a computer. It also gives you access to the “Feedback” function, which provides customized repair suggestions from Launch’s certified professionals.
The high-resolution 5” touchscreen interface on the Launch CRP123X lets you view readings more quickly and with more detail than smaller scan tools. If you’re looking for the most in-depth and accurate information, this is the best tool for you.
Built-in Wi-Fi capability makes the Launch CRP123X a convenient way for both professionals and home mechanics to diagnose the ABS and SRS systems quickly.
More OBD2 Engine ABS airbag scan tools review
Launch CRP123: Most Reliable OBD2 scanner with ABS/ SRS/ Transmission
The 4-system diagnosis of the Launch CRP123 includes both ABS and SRS, as well as engine and transmission. Sensor data can be viewed graphically on the scanner or saved and printed through a computer for more in-depth analysis.
The user-friendly interface on the Launch CRP123 has a built-in tutorial with one-click access. That makes it an excellent choice for home mechanics since it’s easy to learn and navigate even without a lot of experience.
You’ll get relatively broad compatibility with the Launch CRP123, as well. One thing to note is that it doesn’t work with trucks and also has difficulty with Dodge vehicles. Aside from that, it’s compatible with most makes and models made in 2006 or later and is an especially great choice for Chevy, Mercedes, and Lexus drivers.
The Launch CRP123 is a user-friendly tool for diagnosing the four major systems in your vehicle.
Launch CRP123i: Best OBD2 ABS airbag scan tool with battery test
Here’s another upgrade of the Launch CRP123. With the CRP123i, you get an improved Android 7.0 operating system and a more powerful 6100mAh battery. This means smoother navigation and long-lasting performance for conducting full diagnoses of your vehicle.
Along with the 4-system diagnosis, the Launch CRP123i has a battery health check and real-time voltage monitoring, a huge help in troubleshooting electrical issues. We also like how easy it is to record and share health reports or other data, letting you maintain vehicle health logs or share the information with mechanics.
The Launch CRP123i also includes expanded convenience features. The built-in Wi-Fi connection makes it easy to update straight through the device, and doing so is free for life. Along with that, you have the choice of touchscreen or button navigation, so it’s easy to use this diagnostic scanner even when your hands are dirty.
Built-in Wi-Fi, an upgraded operating system, and a choice of touchscreen or button navigation make the Launch CRP123i one of the most convenient 4-system diagnostic tools on the market.
Launch CRP129i: Best ABS Airbag transmission diagnostic tool with 15 reset services
Here’s another great option from Launch for intermediate and advanced home mechanics who need repair functions along with basic diagnostics. The Launch 129i has been upgraded for 2021 with more intuitive navigation and wider vehicle coverage, allowing you to perform comprehensive diagnostics more easily.
The functions of the Launch 129i start with full OBD2 support. Along with that, you can read error codes and sensor data from the transmission, ABS, and SRS systems. This includes real-time data monitoring, which you can view graphically or record to playback or print.
Even better, you can use the Launch 129i to reset the oil light after service, calibrate the steering angle, or perform throttle adaptation. It also supports TPMS, and EPB reset, covering the most common service functions used by DIY mechanics.
Launch’s customer support is another perk of using their scan tools. Since the Launch 129i has built-in Wi-Fi, you can reach out for tech support advice straight through the scanner. The same goes for updates, free for life, making the Launch 129i an excellent long-term investment for any home mechanic.
The user-friendly Launch 129i is one of the best tools for advanced home mechanics, with a range of useful reset and service functions in addition to comprehensive 4-system diagnostics.
Autel Diaglink: Best affordable ABS SRS scan tool with full system diagnosis and oil reset
The Autel Diaglink is the home mechanic version of their popular MD802. It brings together comprehensive professional-level diagnostic power with an easy and intuitive operation, making it one of the best airbag scanners for DIY-ers.
You can read and clear codes from all systems using the Autel Diaglink. This gives you a more comprehensive picture of your engine’s health than 4-system scanners, which can’t access information from systems like climate control. It also supports all ten modes of OBD2, including onboard monitoring and component tests and two service functions (oil reset and EPB reset).
While the vehicle compatibility of the Autel Diaglink is broad, you won’t get access to all of them right out of the box. You’ll get a diagnosis for one vehicle make free with the scan tool. To add additional cars, you’ll need to download separate software at $10/vehicle. This isn’t necessarily an issue for a DIYer but does limit the use of the Autel Diaglink for professional mechanics.
The full-system diagnosis power of the Autel Diaglink makes it an excellent value for the price and one of the best hand-held SRS scanners for DIY mechanics.
Choosing the right ABS SRS code reader starts by deciding which features and functions you need. As an everyday driver, basic code reading and PID data reading, like you’ll get with models such as BlueDriver or the Launch CRP123X, should be plenty.
On the other hand, professional mechanics will want a model that’s capable of more in-depth diagnostic and repair functions such as FOXWELL NT630 Plus. Bi-directional testing is another helpful feature for professionals, allowing you to identify malfunctioning sensors, valves, and other components.
Whichever way you go, one of the scanners above should fit your needs! We hope this review has helped you figure out the right SRS/ABS code reader for you.
How To bleed ABS brake with a scan tool
Some ABS systems can be bled manually, but this can be a tedious process and it won’t work for all vehicles. Scan tools allow you to activate the pumps and cycle the valves in the system, pushing air out.
As with the SRS reset above, you should check the tool manual to make sure of the exact steps before you start. Generally, though, it’s pretty straightforward:
- Locate the OBD2 port in your vehicle and plug in the ABS diagnostic tool.
- Turn the vehicle key on without starting the engine. The scan tool should turn on automatically when you do this.
- Locate the Automated bleed function on the scan tool. Some tools will automatically read your VIN data, while others will require you to enter the vehicle data manually.
- Verify the vehicle is in park, then start the process.
- The scan tool will instruct you to press down on the brake pedal. Follow the instructions on the screen until the process finishes. The whole process usually takes less than 5 minutes.
1. Does the Launch CRP123X work on Mac?
Unfortunately, no. To update this device, you’ll need to use a PC running Windows 7, 8, or XP.
2. Does the Launch CRP123X do crank relearn?
No, this function isn’t supported by the Launch CRP123. If you need this function, you should look at the Launch X431 Pro, which does include it.
3. Will the Foxwell NT630 Plus read the transmission fluid temperature?
No, the Foxwell NT630 Plus doesn’t read the transmission system. It’s only for the engine, ABS, and SRS. If you need transmission diagnostic capability, the Foxwell NT614 or NT624 will do the trick.
4. Do I need any special software to bleed ABS with the Foxwell NT630 Plus?
No, that function is available right out of the box. Having said that, it’s not universally available for all supported vehicles. Make sure you check the specific ABS bleed compatibility to verify that it works for your vehicle.
5. Which devices is the BlueDriver app compatible with?
The BlueDriver app can be downloaded onto any iOS or Android device, including both phones and tablets.
6. Can BlueDriver read short and long term fuel trim data?
Yes, this data is available under the “Live Data” area of the BlueDriver app. However, it may not be available for all vehicles. You can check the FAQ on their website to confirm if it’s supported for your car or truck.
7. Does the Launch CRP123X read real-time transmission data?
Yes, you can read several parameters from the transmission in real-time, including temperature and other performance data.