3 Best VW Audi scan tools and software 2021: Never buy it before reading this guide

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A VW scan tool will ease your anxiety when any much-hated dashboard light comes on. Whether you own a Volkswagen or are working on VAG vehicles like Audi, Seat,Lamborghini, Bugatti, Bentley or Skoda, you know you can’t pop the hood and diagnose the problem. 

Only the best VW Audi scan tool will tell you what to look for in the car’s systems. 

Now, in this guide, we’ll look at VW and Audi-specific OBD2 scanners and software so you can stay on top of your VAG car’s problems. I’ll tell you the:

Let’s go!!

Top 3 VW Audi stand-alone OBD-II scan tools 

All VAG vehicles sold from Jan 1996 in the US must be OBD2-compliant (Onboard Diagnostics II). This goes for all Volkswagen and Audi vehicles. They all have a standard connection interface underneath the vehicle’s steering column. 

Top 3 VW Audi stand-alone OBD-II scan tools comparison chart 

Ancel VD500
ANCEL VD500 - Editor's Pick
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Autophix ap7610
AUTOPHIX AP7610
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FOXWELL NT510 ELITE
FOXWELL NT510 Elite
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Customer Rating
4.5
4.3
4.2
Price range$50-$60$120-$130$174-$184
OBD2 Diagnostics 10/1010/10*10/10
System diagnostics 6/1010/1010/10
Advanced service functions 5/106/107/10
Vehicles covered7/10

Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, Seat V/A series
8/10

Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, Seat V/A series, BMW,12V cars, non-electric light trucks
8/10

Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, Seat V/A series, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Bentley Upgradable to support more cars

*Notes: Excellent: 9-10; Good: 7-8; Fair: 5-6; Poor: 3-4; Very poor: 1-2

Best VW Audi stand-alone OBD-II scan tools: AP7610 Vs. VD500 Vs. NT510 Elite

OBD2 and system diagnostics 

AUTOPHIX AP7610, ANCEL VD500, and FOXWELL NT510 Elite are all full OBD2 diagnostics scanners for Volkswagen and VAG vehicles. You’ll be able to access all current powertrain data values, request freeze frame information, and clear & reset DTCs. 

These scanners support all ten OBD2 modes. You can diagnose all systems, including engine, TPMS, SRS, transmission, SAS, ESP, Battery, Immobilizer, and can automatically retrieve VIN information.

Aside from being good code readers, these scanners are effective when getting ready for an emission test by running diagnostics on the emission system. The ANCEL VD500, for example, uses oxygen sensors found on either side of the catalytic converter to perform calculations on the emission level. It will then let you know whether or not your car will pass a smog test. 

ANCEL VD500
ANCEL VD500
4.5
Perfect for any VAG owner looking for a scanner with full OBD2 functions, and some advanced service functions. ANCEL AD500 lets you clear SAS codes, perform oil reset and check battery system stress-free.

Another essential attribute is automatic retrieving of VIN information since it’s something that these scanners do which saves you time from looking up the car’s VIN and feeding it into the scan tool manually.

These scanners can also retrieve ECU information, meaning they will tell you all about the condition of a car. The feature is essential when diagnosing a used car that you want to buy. It will tell you the things you need to know before parting with your money. 

Apart from VW and VAG cars, all the three scanners can read and erase codes, turn off MILs, show definitions, and retrieve VIN information for all 12V vehicles and non-electric light trucks made in the USA from Jan 1996.

If all you want is to perform OBD2 diagnostics, you will like working with the ANCEL VD500 since it’s not a complicated tool. It even shows definitions, so you don’t have to go looking for a mechanic to translate the diagnosis.

But if you have a garage and are looking to diagnose and service as many systems as possible, you may opt for the FOXWELL NT510 Elite or AUTOPHIX AP7610 because they support more functions as you’ll see next. 

Autophix AP7610
AUTOPHIX AP7610
4.3
Autophix AP7610 is a professional, full-system diagnostic scanner that will read and clear codes on all engines, transmission, and ABS systems. It supports 10+ special functions to turn the DIYer into a pro.

Advanced Service Functions 

While all three scanners are full OBD2 scanners, they perform varied special functions on VW and VAG cars.

Now, the ANCEL VD500 is the least advanced since it can only perform a few advanced service functions such as oil service reset, throttle position adaptation, electric parking brake reset, TPS replacement reset, and TPMS for VAG vehicles diagnosis. 

AUTOPHIX AP7610 and FOXWELL NT510 Elite support most service features. 

Together, these scanners can perform the following special functions:

  • Oil service reset
  • Battery register 
  • ABS bleeding 
  • Electronic throttle position reset/learn 
  • Code new injector numbers
  • Steering angle calibration
  • TPMS reset 
  • Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) adaptation and regeneration
  • Fuel pump reset
  • Body adjustment
  • Among others

FOXWELL NT510 Elite can run system tests and perform programming tasks on control modules. Thanks to its software, it can complete the tasks with more accuracy according to the specific car brand and model. But together with the AUTOPHIX 7610, they do not support key programming. 

FOXWELL NT510 Elite
FOXWELL NT510 ELITE
4.2
Powerful VW VAG scan tool for the DIY-er and professional mechanic. FOXWELL NT510 Elite diagnoses all electronic systems, read codes, get live data and perform adaptation and actuation.

Design and more

All the scanners come with an intuitive menu layout that is easy to set and use out of the box with plug-and-play operation. 

AUTOPHIX AP7610 and FOXWELL NT510 Elite have a 2.8-inch TFT LCD screen, while the ANCEL VD500 has a 2.2-inch LCD screen. All have a rugged, drop-proof case that prevents damage in case you drop the device. 

The best thing about these stand-alone scanners is that they all have free lifetime software updates. This is a fantastic attribute since you will add more cars instead of buying a new scanner for new car models.

FOXWELL NT510 Elite
FOXWELL NT510 ELITE
4.2
Powerful VW VAG scan tool for the DIY-er and professional mechanic. FOXWELL NT510 Elite diagnoses all electronic systems, read codes, get live data and perform adaptation and actuation.

Vehicle coverage 

These stand-alone scanners are designed for OBD-2 compliant VW and VAG cars manufactured from 1996 and newer in the US. They can all support Volkswagen models ranging from the CC, EOS, Golf, Polo, Rabbit, Touran, Tuareg, Tiguan, Phaeton, Passat, Jetta, GTI, and Sharan. They work on all Audi A3, A4, A6, A7, A8, Q3, Q5, Q7, and more. They are also compatible with Seat Leon, Toledo, Exeo, Ateca, etc., Skoda Octavia, Roomster, Karoq, etc.

ANCEL VD500 has compatibility issues with the 2001 VW Golf and 2013 VW Tiguan. On the other hand, FOXWELL NT510 Elite is also a good pick for top brands like Lamborghini, Bugatti, and Bentley. And it works as an EOBD and OBD1 tool.

What’s more, FOXWELL NT510 Elite is upgradable to be compatible with Ford, Chrysler, Jaguar, Rolls-Royce, BMW, Hyundai, Porsche, Lexus, Maserati, Honda, and many more. But it can only hold information for only five different car models at a single time.

AUTOPHIX AP7610 can also work on most BMWs with the model year 1996 to 2019. 

ANCEL VD500
ANCEL VD500
4.5
Perfect for any VAG owner looking for a scanner with full OBD2 functions, and some advanced service functions. ANCEL AD500 lets you clear SAS codes, perform oil reset and check battery system stress-free.

Read more: ANCEL VD500: Audi VW OBD2 scan tool in-depth review

Top 3 VW Audi OBD2 Bluetooth scanners

OBD2 is a unified protocol that stores problematic codes from a car’s onboard computer in a specific format. To access these codes, you need an OBD2 scan tool to connect to the vehicle’s OBD2 port and show the diagnostics codes on a small screen. 

The Bluetooth OBD2 scan tool is a type of DIY scanner that links up to a PC, smartphone, or tablet via Bluetooth. The dongle works alongside a diagnostic app to read DTCs.

A Bluetooth adapter combines reliability and convenience since you can perform your car’s diagnostics when the Check Engine Light comes on without going into a mechanic’s shop. If you are handy, you can clear the CEL and go on your day. 

In short, Bluetooth OBD2 scanners are suitable for DIYers and mechanics, depending on the tool’s features. 

Top 3 VW Audi Bluetooth OBD2 scanners comparison chart 

OBDEleven Standard
OBDEleven Standard - Editor's Pick
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OBDLink MX+
OBDLink MX+
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OBDCheck BLE+
OBDCheck BLE+
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Customer Rating
4.3
4.7
4.6
Price range$60-$70$95-$105$35-$45
Best-Matched App OBDEleven StandardCarista OBD2Carista OBD2
OBD2 Diagnostics 10/10*10/1010/10
System Diagnostics10/10 9/10 8/10 
Advanced Service Functions 6/106/105/10
Vehicle Covered8/10
VW, Audi, Seat, Skoda, Bentley, Lamborghini
9/10
All OBD2-compliant cars 1996 and later 
8/10
All OBD2-compliant cars 1996 and later

*Notes: Excellent: 9-10; Good: 7-8; Fair: 5-6; Poor: 3-4; Very poor: 1-2

The OBDEleven, OBDLink MX+, and OBDCheck BLE+ are wireless, Bluetooth adapters that will work with a diagnostics app on your smartphone or tablet. They offer simple setup and operation and are compatible with VW and VAG vehicles.

Best matched app & diagnostics functions 

OBDEleven Standard

Let’s start with a popular scan tool designed specifically for VAG cars (VW, Audi, Seat, Skoda, Bentley, and Lamborghini). OBDEleven Standard is a full system Bluetooth OBD2 scanner for Android and iOS that will read and clear diagnostic trouble codes. It allows you to reset the Check Engine Light, and once you have the codes, you can share them over email. This scan tool works well with the OBDEleven app. 

A unique feature of the OBDEleven is called Apps. These are prepared functions that allow you to change vehicle settings in one click. It supports services such as brake pads replacement and oil service reset. The device can also help you adjust car lights, activate functions after retrofits, control comfort system settings, and many more.

When you open the OBDEleven app, you get 11 free credits and six more when watching ads. 

You’ll like that this model has an impressive range of up to 10 meters so that you can perform diagnostics outside the vehicle. However, it still needs an Internet connection since its software is cloud-based and will not pull codes or perform most OBD2 diagnostics without a form of internet. 

OBDEleven Standard
OBDEleven Standard
4.3
The OBDEleven Standard is an excellent scan tool for DIYers and ordinary car owners. The app is specifically made for VAG vehicles, which lets you deeply diagnose your car’s systems.
OBDLink MX+

For those looking for a scanner that can work with iOS, you may want to consider the OBDLink MX+. The gadget supports iOS, Android, and Windows devices. It is also compatible with various apps, the best being Carista OBD2 for this particular model. 

Nevertheless, OBDLink MX+ comes with the OBDLink app, but it also works with DashCommand, FORScan, BimmerCode, and AlfaOBD. 

This adapter will read and clear DTCs from ABS, transmission, SRS, TPMS, wheel speed, etc. The tool can also monitor the vehicle’s fuel economy, check emission readiness, remote startup of your car, and clear the Check Engine Light. 

While this gadget can display live data, it delivers up to four times more data than other scanners. That’s why it’s capable of producing more accurate live data than its counterparts in the same price range.

OBDLink MX+
OBDLink MX+
4.7
OBDLink MX+ is a professional-grade scan tool that all car geeks will like. You can pair it with Carista OBD2 to use on your VW Audi vehicles. It will exceed your expectations.
OBDCheck BLE+ 

Meanwhile, OBDCheck BLE+ can read and clear diagnostic trouble codes. The scanner supports smog checks, freeze frame data, and oxygen sensor tests. This model also allows you to track your gas mileage as well as see live data on graphs. 

OBDCheck BLE+ can even reprogram and customize the ECU when paired with Carista on Audi and Volkswagen models. 

Also, OBDCheck BLE+ does not block other apps from accessing the internet when it’s in use. It’s an easy choice for Android users who often get other apps blocked out when using a Bluetooth OBD2 diagnostics device. 

OBDCheck BLE+
OBDCheck BLE+
4.6
You will appreciate the OBDCheck BLE+ functions if you own a home garage since you don’t have to be a professional to interpret the faults. You are looking to gain lots as long as you pair it with an excellent application such as Carista OBD2.

Design & ease-of-use 

These are pretty small tools that are lightweight and compact enough to store in your pocket. They fit in seamlessly in the OBD2 port and will not interfere with legroom. 

The OBDLink MX+ has an ultra-low current sleep mode to prevent it from draining the car’s battery. OBDEleven has an alarm that sets off when you turn off the device to remind you it’s still plugged in, while the OBDCheck BLE+ only works when the ignition is on. 

Both OBDEleven and OBDCheck BLE+ have smooth bodies. They may feel a bit slippery when getting them out of the OBD2 port. The OBDLink MX+ has small ridges on the sides that make it easy to unplug. 

OBDCheck BLE+

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Price range: $35-$45

OBDLink MX+

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Rating

Price range: $95-$105

Vehicle coverage and protocols 

OBDEleven is explicitly designed for Volkswagen, Audi, Seat, Skoda, Lamborghini, and Bentley, built from Jan 1996 and newer in the US. OBDLink MX+ and OBDCheck BLE+ have to be paired with Carista OBD2 to access the special functions in Volkswagen and VAG models. 

OBDCheck BLE+ supports CAN, J1850 PWM, J1850 VPW, KWP2000, & ISO 9141-2. 

OBDEleven is compatible with KKL, CAN, and CAN-UDS protocols, while OBDLink MX+ can support SW CAN and MS-CAN protocols alongside all the five OBD2 protocols.

Read more: OBDEleven Standard: VW Audi Bluetooth OBD2 scanner in-depth review

Best VW Audi diagnostics software for Windows laptop 

Professionals and technicians who want to access all systems within a car opt for cables and software downloads for Windows laptop instead of using OBD2 scan tools. The two main types for VW and Audi are VCDS and ODIS. 

These two software packages integrate VW’s group central application system. The software gives access to functions of expensive OBD2 diagnostic tools that are only available to official dealers. 

Top 2 VW Audi diagnostics software packages comparison chart 

VCDSODIS
OBD2 Diagnostics 10/10*10/10
Advanced Diagnostics 10/1010/10
Advanced Service Functions 9/107/10
Matched AdapterRoss-Tech VCDS HEX-V2
or
VIMVIP VAG-COM KKL 409.1
VXDIAG VCX Nano
or
VAS 6154
Vehicle Coverage8/10
VW, Audi and latest model Seat & Skoda
8/10
VW, Audi, Skoda, Seat, Lamborghini & Bentley

*Notes: Excellent: 9-10; Good: 7-8; Fair: 5-6; Poor: 3-4; Very poor: 1-2

Best VW Audi diagnostic software: VCDS Vs. ODIS

VCDS and ODIS software are handy tools that allow VW, Audi, and VAG car owners and small repair shops to diagnose entire system problems. It will enable you to perform modifications of convenience options like key and ECU coding, automatic door unlocking, diesel ignition timing, and other functions which were only available to official Volkswagen and Audi dealers. 

OBD2 diagnostics & advanced diagnostics 

VCDS is Ross-Tech’s exclusive software. It uses a PC and a compatible adapter like the Ross-Tech VCDS HEX-V2 or VIMVIP VAG-COM KKL 409.1 cable. This software gives you access to ABS, enhanced powertrain, airbag, transmission, instrument cluster, and dozens of other body controllers. 

You can use VCDS to retrieve, analyze, clear diagnostics codes, reset the Check Engine Light and have the vehicle ready for inspection in less than twenty minutes.

The ODIS system, on the other hand, was designed to make diagnostics work interactive. The computer connects to the manufacturer’s network when paired with a suitable adapter like the VXDIAG VCX Nano or VAS 6154

ODIS can carry out simple diagnostics such as interrogating fault memories and repairs. It can also reset service indicators that are only possible at Audi or VW’s dealership. You can view real-time data that will help in identifying numerous engine malfunctions. 

ODIS can help define if emission tests are complete after a repair so you can determine if the vehicle will pass the emission test. 

VIMVIP VAG-COM KKL 409.1 Cable

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Price range: $10-$20

Advanced service functions 

VCDS is mostly a diagnostics software. Nonetheless, it can help you perform long coding, brush hidden and ECU flashing with no required subscription, but it does not do well with the new MQB platform. 

What’s more, VCDS will enable you to code module, code slave modules, perform output tests and selective output tests, as well as advanced measuring values among others. 

ODIS supports all VAG models and is the best for ECU flashing. The most widely used function of ODIS is key coding. You can perform key coding with the help of a dealer (online programming) or mechanic. 

Design & ease of use

Both VCDS and ODIS come with a CD containing the drivers that make the cable detect the PC. You have to download VCDS from Ross-Tech and ODIS from VXDAS or a genuine online dealer and then run the software. 

It’s pretty straightforward for most people, although you may want to go on forums and YouTube for a step-by-step process. 

After installing your software successfully, you’ll be able to connect the OBD2 cable to your car and laptop and start performing diagnostics right away. 

Protocols & vehicle coverage 

VCDS and ODIS are compatible with Audi and Volkswagen vehicles. ODIS also supports Seat, Skoda, Lamborghini, and Bentley vehicles, but VCDS will not. 

ODIS works with VW and Audi with a 16-pin, OBD2 Data Link connector. If your car has a “2×2” Data Link Connection, it should have a wire going to each pin, making a total of four wires for your vehicle to be VCDS compatible. 

ODIS works with all VAG group vehicles with a 16-pin OBD2 Data Link Connector. 

Both VCDS and ODIS support all five OBD2 protocols. I.e., CAN, J1850 PWM, J1850 VPW, KWP2000, & ISO9141-2. 

VCDS: https://www.ross-tech.com/vcds/download/current.php

ODIS: http://blog.vxdas.com/odis-software-v6-10-free-download/

Conclusion 

So, do you know the best VW Audi scan tool for your specific vehicle and needs? 

We’ve covered both subtle and sophisticated scan tools to suit different needs. Whether you want a stand-alone model, Bluetooth adapter, or you want to go all-in with dedicated software. We’ve got something for everyone. 

If you want to have a Bluetooth OBD2 scanner, take OBDEleven Standard.

FOXWELL NT510 Elite suits you with DIY work around your home garage.

But if you are looking to have a professional software, don’t hesitate to try VCDS.

Best VW Audi Stand-alone OBD2 Scanners – FOXWELL NT510 ELITE

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Rating

Price range: $174-$184

Best VW Audi Bluetooth OBD2 scanners – OBDEleven Standard

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Rating

Price range: $60-$70

Read more: Best Ford OBD1 OBD2 scan tool 2021: Never buy it before reading this guide

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