3 Best BMW OBD2 scan tools and programming software 2021: Never buy it before reading this guide [updated]

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Looking to buy a scan tool for your BMW? You are on the right place.

You can choose either BMW factory scan tool software packages or aftermarket BMW scan tools. However, your choice doesn’t end there. There are many products under both categories, each with different connection types, handling, feature set, price, and best use cases.

In this article, I’m going to show you both BMW factory scan tools and their aftermarket counterparts. But I went one step further to make your purchase decision easier by sorting them into different classes. 

Top 3 stand-alone BMW OBD2 scanners

Comparison chart

FOXWELL NT510 Elite
FOXWELL NT510 Elite - Editor's Pick
Check Price
Creator C310+
Creator C310+
Check Price
AUTOPHIX 7910
AUTOPHIX 7910
Check Price
Customer Rating
4.3
4.3
4.5
Price range$175-$185$50-$60$125-$130
OBD1 Codes7/10n/an/a
OBD2 Diagnostics10/1010/1010/10
System diagnostic functions10/105/1010/10
Maintenance/Reset functions7/104/107/10
Bi-directional Controls6/10n/an/a

Top 3 BMW OBD2 scanners: Foxwell NT510 Elite Vs. Creator C310+ Vs. Autophix 7910

OBD1 codes

Using a 20-pin adapter, the Foxwell NT510 Elite can support some OBD1 BMWs made before 1996.  The Autophix 7910 and the Creator C310+ do not support OBD1 BMWs. On those vehicles, the NT510 Elite checks emission systems, read and monitor data from the ECU, ABS, and transmission, and provide basic warning messages. However, the NT510 Elite’s OBD1 support is not exhaustive, and its scans on those older vehicles may not yield complete results. The reason is obvious: OBD1 is outdated. But the Foxwell scanner is still your best bet to scan a BMW using that protocol as long as you have a 20-pin adapter. 

Foxwell NT510 Elite
Foxwell NT510 Elite BMW Scanner
4.3
Suppose you’re a DIY-er or even an experienced mechanic looking to perform bidirectional tests on BMW cars, Foxwell NT510 Elite is all you need.

OBD2 diagnostics

All three devices are built to support OBDII protocols, including SAE J1850 VPW, SAE J1850 PWM, ISO 9141, KWP 2000, and CAN networks. They can execute full OBD-II diagnostic functions, including accessing current live powertrain data readings, requesting freeze frame data, requesting and clearing emission-related diagnostic information, accessing on-board monitoring test results for systems, reading VIN, O2 sensor test, evap test, reset the MIL, etc.

In this regard, any of the three devices would serve you well if all you need are the basic OBD2 scanner functionalities.

FOXWELL NT510 Elite BMW Scanner

FOXWELL NT510 Elite

Rating

Price range: $175-$185

Creator C310+ BMW Scanner

Creator C310+

Rating

Price range: $50-$60

Autophix 7910 BMW Scan Tool

Autophix 7910

Rating

Price range: $125-$130

System diagnostics functions

Both the Foxwell NT510 Elite and the Autophix 7910 are full-system diagnostic tools, meaning that they can scan all the systems in your vehicle without issues. Both scanners can diagnose problems in the engine, ABS, BMS, SAS, SRS, TPMS, and any other systems in your BMW.

On the other hand, the Creator C310+ is limited in its system diagnosis. It can only diagnose four main systems: Airbag (SRS), Antilock Brake, engine, and transmission.

The 7910 and NT510 Elite carry out complete system diagnostic functions, making them a better option if you need a scanner to check everything in your vehicle’s systems.

Autophix 7910 BMW Scan Tool

Autophix 7910

Rating

Price range: $125-$130

Advanced service functions

The scan tools can perform service functions excellently and reset functions to varying degrees. The Autophix 7910 and the Foxwell NT510 Elite outshine the Creator C310+ in this area with a couple more reset functions, including electronic parking brake and battery management functions. The Foxwell NT501 Elite also has special functions like the immobilizer system, while the Autophix 7910 has unique EGS clear adaptions functions.

The Foxwell NT510 Elite has 15 reset functions, including oil service reset, anti-lock braking system reset, clear adaptations, airbag reset, diesel particulate filter regeneration, service reset, steering angle sensor reset, tire pressure reset, throttle body alignment, transmission/gearbox, electronic parking brake, battery management, CBS reset, and immobilizer system.

Foxwell NT510 Elite
Foxwell NT510 Elite BMW Scanner
4.3
Suppose you’re a DIY-er or even an experienced mechanic looking to perform bidirectional tests on BMW cars, Foxwell NT510 Elite is all you need.

The Autophix 7910 also has 15 special functions, namely oil service reset, anti-lock braking system reset, clear adaptations, airbag reset, diesel particulate filter regeneration, service reset, steering and suspension, tire pressure reset, throttle learning function, transmission control module, electronic parking brake, battery management, transfer case, and EGS clear adaptions.

Autophix 7910
Autophix 7910 BMW Scan Tool
4.5
The Autophix 7910 is the best for DIY-ers who want a scanner with essential repair functions and can diagnose every system in their BMW. Once you confirm that it is compatible with your car, we can fully recommend it.

Creator C310+ only comes close with 10 reset functions, including oil service reset, anti-lock braking system reset, clear adaptations, airbag reset, diesel particulate filter regeneration, service reset, steering angle sensor (SAS) calibration, transmission control module, and CBS reset.

Creator C310+
Creator C310+ BMW Scanner
4.3
Creator C310+ is your best option if you want an excellent scanner to carry out checks and fixes on your own, but you’re on a budget. Note that it only diagnoses four main systems in your BMW. If that is all you need, this scanner will provide great value for your money.

The Foxwell NT510 Elite has all the maintenance/reset functions that the Creator C310+ provides, and so does the Autophix 7910, with the exception of the CBS reset. We can recommend the NT510 Elite and the 7910 for their advanced service functions, and you can choose one based on the assortment of functions you prefer.

Bi-directional controls

Only the Foxwell NT510 Elite has bi-directional controls. The Autophix 7910 and the Creator C310+ can only read codes, while the Foxwell NT510 Elite can read codes and send commands to the vehicle to perform real-time tests. Bidirectional controls afford you more possibilities since you can perform tests on specific modules while recreating the problem instead of only reading past data. 

For instance, you can perform lamp tests by using the Foxwell NT510 Elite to control the lamps while testing. The NT510 Elite can also perform ABS manual control tests, ABS motor tests, ABS version tests, actuator tests, autobleed tests, service bleed automated tests, brake bleed preparation tests, function tests, gear tension relief tests, Idle up manual control tests, and lamp tests on your BMW. This capability is one of the main reasons why the Foxwell NT510 Elite is priced higher than its close counterpart, the Autophix 7910.

FOXWELL NT510 Elite BMW Scanner

FOXWELL NT510 Elite

Rating

Price range: $175-$185

Vehicle coverage

The NT510 Elite is compatible with all BMW, MINI, and Roll-Royce models from 1987 till date. However, you’ll need a 20-pin adapter like the FOXWELL OBD2 Female to 20pin adapter to use on models before 2001.

Creator C310+ supports BMW and MINI models between 2001 and 2017. Older car models from 1997 to 2000 will require a 20-pin adapter as well. 

The Autophix 7910 works with virtually all BMWs, MINIs, and Rolls-Royces from 1998 till 2019. You’ll need an adapter like the Foxwell 20-pin adapter if you want to use it to diagnose older models before 1998. 

NT510 will be the best choice in terms of vehicle coverage. It supports the broadest range of BMW, MINI, and Roll-Royce vehicles compared to 7910, which in turn surpasses the C310+’s vehicle coverage.

Vehicle coverage comparison chart

Vehicle, SeriesFOXWELL NT510 EliteCreator C310+AUTOPHIX 7910
1 SeriesE81, E82, E87, E88, F20E81, E87, E88, F20, F21E81, E82, E87, E88 and F20, F21, F52
2 Series F22, F23, F45, F46, F87F22, F23,2’_F45, F46, F87F22, F23, F45, F46, F87
3 SeriesE30, E36, E46, E90, E91, E92, E93, F30, F31, F34, F35, F80E36, E46, E90, E91, E92, E93, F30, F31, F34, F35, F80E30, E36, E46, E90, E91, E92, E93, F30, F31, F34, F35, F80, G20
4 SeriesF32, F33, F36, F82, F83, F32, F33F32, F33, F36, F82, F83F32, F33, F36, F82, F83
5 SeriesE28, E34, E39, E60, E61, F07, F10, F11, F18E39, E60, E61, GT(F07), F10, F11, F18E28, E34, E39, E60, E61, F07, F10, F11, F18, F90, G30, G31, and G38
6 SeriesE24, E63, E64, F06, F12, F13E63, E64, F06, F12, F13E24, E63, E64, F06, F12, F13, G32
7 SeriesE23, E32, E38, E65, E66, E68, F01, F02, F04, G11, G12E38, E65, E66, F01, F02, F03, F04, G11, G12E23, E32, E38, E65, E66, E67, E68, F01, F02, F03, F04, G11, G12
8 SeriesE31-E31, G14, G15, G16 
I SeriesI01, I12I01, I02I3, I01, I8, I12
X SeriesX1, X3, X4, X5, X6 X1, X3, X5, X6X1, X2, X3, X4, X5, X6, X7
Z SeriesE30, E36, E85, E86, E52, E89E36, E85, E86, E89E30, E36, E85, E86, E8, E52
MINIR50, R52. R53, R55, R56, F60R50, R52, R53, R55, R56, R57, R58, R59, R60, F55, F56R50, R52, R53, R55, R56, F60
Rolls-RoyceR Series and F Series-R Series and F Series

Read more: Autophix 7910 Vs. Autophix 7810 Vs. Foxwell NT510 Elite: Which a BMW driver must have

Top 2 BMW Bluetooth OBD2 scanner apps

Bluetooth OBD2 adapters give you to the ability to diagnose and fix problems with your car right from the screen of your smartphone through an app. They’ve become quite popular, so we’ll compare the top 2 Bluetooth OBD2 adapters with the most intuitive apps for iOS and Android devices, Carly and BimmerCode.

Comparison chart

carly scanner
Carly App+Scanner - Editor's Pick
Check Price
Bimmercode
BimmerCode
Check Price
Rating
4.6
4.3
Price range$69-$169
(App+Scanner)
$25-$35
(App only)
OBD2 Diagnostics10/10*1/10
System diagnostic functions10/101/10
Maintenance/Reset functions6/101/10
Coding/Programming8/1010/10

Best BMW Bluetooth OBD2 scanner apps: Carly Vs. BimmerCode

OBD-II diagnostics 

BimmerCode app focuses on coding for vehicles only, so it lacks any OBD2 diagnostic features, not even CEL. On the other hand, Carly is built with OBD2 features in mind, so it delivers on all OBD2 capabilities. There are two apps with different feature sets, but both of them deliver all ten OBD2 diagnostics functions. With the app and any app plan, you can read and clear error codes, run an emissions diagnosis, display freeze frame data, read VIN, etc. The BimmerCode app has a sister app called BimmerLink that can perform those functions, but it is a separate purchase entirely.

If basic OBD2 functionalities are important to you, the Carly is your obvious choice.

Carly OBD2 Diagnostic App + Carly Scanner

epsoak epsom salt 5 lb

Rating

Price range: $69-$139

Advanced system diagnostic functions

In short, BimmerCode doesn’t offer system diagnostics functions, but the Carly app and scanner do. Even if your scanner of choice supports system diagnosis, the BimmerCode app isn’t built to conduct system checks. Carly offers two app versions, the Carly Scanner and Carly Scanner+. With the Carly Scanner+, you can perform system diagnostics on all your vehicle systems, including the ABS, engine, TPMS, airbag system, and so on. 

Carly also has the upper hand over the BimmerCode for system diagnostics function, as the latter isn’t built for it, except you buy BimmerLink, another app by the same manufacturer.

Check out how you can use the Carly scanner and app here

Advanced service functions

BimmerCode can’t perform service/reset functions on your vehicle, but Carly can, to some extent. Carly doesn’t have the full suite of service functions and what it can do slightly varies from vehicle to vehicle. Some of its main reset functions include service reset, MIL Reset, airbag, battery registration, diesel particulate filter regeneration, iDrive service settings, transmission/gearbox reset, NOx catalyst regeneration, and parking brake reset. 

The only way to know which features will work on your vehicle is by ordering Scanner, Carly’s proprietary scanner, and testing it out with the free Carly Lite app version. If you like the functions for your car, you can upgrade to the main Carly app. If not, Carly offers a 14-day money-back guarantee for the scanner. Please note that the basic Carly scanner does not have any special functions.

Carly is the obvious choice for advanced service functions, with the caveat that you’ll have to order the product first to see how many functions it can perform on your car.

Carly
Carly Car Diagnostic App + Scanner
4.6
If you want a Bluetooth scanner that performs the popular OBD2 functions and service resets but also want to do some common coding/customizations on your BMW, the Carly Scanner+ app will serve you well.

Coding/programming

At last, this is where the BimmerCode app shines. Yes, the Carly app + scanner can code your vehicle and adjust the functions of many of its control units. You can adjust the lights and open exhaust valves to your liking, features which are usually hidden. However, you can only code preselected components for each vehicle. On the other hand, BimmerCode’s vehicle coding prowess dwarfs Carly’s offering. Its coding possibilities are so exhaustive that it is categorized into two classes, the Basic mode, and the Expert mode.

The Basic mode is best for you if you’re new to coding vehicles and just want to explore the most common coding options. The Expert mode is for technicians or experts who have coding experience and know about BMWs’ in-depth coding possibilities. Since all the popular coding options are available in the Basic mode, the average DIY BMW driver won’t need to use Expert Mode as they can cause issues if they don’t know exactly what they’re doing. 

Carly OBD2 Diagnostic App + Carly Scanner

epsoak epsom salt 5 lb

Rating

Price range: $69-$139

Both the BimmerCode and the Carly app back up your coding data the first time they read your ECU. BimmerCode’s iOS app goes even further to back it up every time you connect to the car. This gives you the freedom to restore your coding data if it might something go wrong. You can also export the backup to a Windows or Mac computer in case you change your Android or iOS device.

For basic and advanced coding functions, the BimmerCode is hands down the better option. It offers more choices than the Carly app to make your car more unique.

Learn how to use the BimmerCode app for beginners

Vehicle coverage

Carly supports all vehicle models from 2001 till date, and it also supports older BMW and MINI models since 1996. We provided a chart of the supported models below. We recommend Carly’s proprietary Scanner Plus to go with your BMW. 

Carly Scanner (with Carly App)

epsoak epsom salt 5 lb

Rating

Price range: $69-$139

BimmerCode supports almost as many BMW and MINI models as Carly, but it can work with any Bluetooth-equipped OBD2 scanner. However, we recommend the OBDLink CX for iOS devices and the OBDLink SX USB adapter for Android users.

OBDLink CX for iOS

OBDLink CX

Rating

Price range: $50-$60

OBDLink SX for Android

OBDLink SX

Rating

Price range: $35-$45

Carly works with more BMW vehicle models, and it is also compatible with many more brands than BimmerCode, so it is our BMW Bluetooth app + scanner of choice in this regard.

Vehicle coverage comparison chart
Vehicle, SeriesCarlyBimmerCode
1 SeriesE8x, F2x, F40F40, F20, F21, E81, E82, E87, E88
2 Series F2x, F44, F45, F46, F87F22, F23, F44, F45, F46, F87
3 SeriesE36, E46, E9x, F3x, F80, G2xE90, E91, E92, E93, F30, F31, F34, F35, F80, G20, G21
4 SeriesF3x, F82, F83, G2xF32, F33, F36, F82, F83, G22
5 SeriesE39, E6x, F1x, F07, G3x, F90E60, E61, F07, F10, F11, F18, F90, G30, G31
6 SeriesE6x, F1x, F06, G32E63, E64, F06, F12, F13, G32
7 SeriesE38, E6x, F0x, G11E65, E66, E67, E68, F01, F02, F03, F04, G11, G12
8 SeriesG14, G15, F93F91, F92, G14, G15, G16
I SeriesI01, I12, I15I01, I12, I15
X SeriesE53, E7x, E83, E84, F15, F16, F25, F26, F39, F48, F49, F85, F86, G01, G02, G05, G06, G07E70, E71, E72, E83, E84, F15, F16, F25, F26, F39, F48, F85, F86, F95, F96, F97, F98, G01, G02, G05, G06, G07
Z SeriesE36, E85, E86, E89, G29E85, E89, G29
MINIR55, R56, R57, R58, R59R50, R52, R53, R55, R56, R57, R58, R59, R60, R61, F54, F55, F56, F57, F60

Read more: My Carly: OBD2 Bluetooth adapter review (for iOS & Android)

Top 3 professional BMW ECU coding and programming tools

Comparison chart

Autel Maxisys Elite
Autel Maxisys Elite - Editor's Pick
Check Price
Autel MaxiSys Ultra
Autel MaxiSys Ultra
Check Price
Launch X431 PAD V
Launch X431 PAD V
Check Price
Customer Rating
4.4
4.5
5
Price range$2,500-$3,000$4,500-$5,000$3,200-$3,700
System diagnostic functions10/1010/1010/10
Advanced service functions10/1010/1010/10
Bi-directional Controls10/1010/1010/10
Coding/Programming9/1010/1010/10
D-PDU/ J2534/ RP1210 SupportJ2534D-PDU/ J2534/ RP1210D-PDU/ J2534/ RP1210
VCMIn/a

Top 3 BMW programming tool: Autel MaxiSys Ultra Vs. MaxiSys Elite Vs. Launch X431 PAD V

Advanced system diagnostic functions

These powerful tools can access your ECU to deliver full, intelligent diagnostics on every system in your BMW. They can access the engine body system, navigation system, airbag system, audio system, suspension system, or other systems to do what they do best; perform in-depth diagnoses on your car. The ability to access all modules in all systems is pretty much expected at the price points of these scanners. The Autel MaxiSys Ultra manages to take it deeper by intuitively displaying the current module status and number of DTC per module, as well as showing the communication structure between the system modules. It also has better specs for faster and smoother diagnostics.

Although you can’t go wrong with any of the three scanners for advanced system diagnostics, we recommend the Autel MaxiSys Ultra for its faster and slightly deeper diagnostics.

Autel MaxiSys Ultra BMW Scanner

Autel MaxiSys Ultra

Rating

Price range: $4,500-$5,000

Advanced service functions

Advanced service functions help differentiate the BMW scan tools even more. All three offer a plethora of reset functions that is difficult to match by other devices. However, the differentiating factor between them is their special functions. The Launch X431 PAD V has 50 maintenance functions, and it promises more for some car models. The Autel MaxiSys Ultra and the Autel MaxiSys Elite have a similar reset function count of 36, but the Autel MaxiSys Ultra takes the cake with newer, more advanced functions that match even more models.

The Launch X431 PAD V can perform oil lamp reset, injector reset, EPB reset, steering angle calibration, battery maintenance, ABS bleeding, TPMS reset, DPF regeneration, gear learning, key coding, AFS, gearbox, suspension, sunroof reset, tire change reset, multimedia video reset, cluster reset, immobilizer service, air suspension matching, seat matching, and headlight fitting.

Launch X431 PAD V
Launch X431 PAD V Scan Tool
5
If you’re a BMW expert or mechanic in the EU, the Launch X431 PAD V is the right fit for you due to its full EU BMW vehicle coverage and powerful diagnostics.

The Autel MaxiSys Elite has oil light reset, steering angle reset, injector coding, IMMO service, DPF regeneration, TPMS reset, EPB reset, ABS bleeding, throttle matching, AFS headlamp reset, sunroof initialization, battery reset, seat calibration, airbag reset, A/F reset, gearbox reset, language change, suspension reset, ODO reset, and many more. However, they aren’t universal for all models.

Autel MaxiSys Elite
Autel MaxiSys Elite BMW Scanner
4.4
BMW experts and professionals who want maximum reset and advanced service functions at a great price point, take Autel Maxisys Elite.

Lastly, the Autel MaxiSys Ultra offers ABS bleeding, TPMS, SRS reset, Oil reset, EPB, BMS, IMMO service, DPF regeneration, injector coding, SAS calibration, throttle adaption, sunroof initialization, seats calibration, gear learning, A/F setting, WIN DR roof, headlight matching, odometer, CHG tire size, trans adaption, neutral gear position learning, torque sensor adjustment, clutch pedal position learning, cylinder power balance, signal check, yaw rate sensor (YRS) learning, auto-door lock, component matching, stop/start reset and many more.

Autel MaxiSys Ultra
Autel MaxiSys Ultra BMW Scanner
4.5
The Autel MaxiSys Ultra has the fastest diagnostic hardware and the new 5-in-1 VCMI, making it perfect for US mechanics who have to meet busy repair demands.

The 3 diagnostic tools offer the similar ability of advanced service functions. I recommend Autel Maxisys Elite for its low price.

Bidirectional controls

All three products can transmit control commands to the ECU to test the actuators in specific systems or components so you can locate the problem easily. This will save you from spending time and effort to take the vehicle apart. With the bidirectional controls, you can go inside your front wiper, rear wiper, parking, license plate lamps, tail lamps, A/C compressor, door switch, and many more with the three devices.

For this feature, we prefer the Launch X431 PAD V as it offers both local diagnostics and remote diagnostics without being physically around the vehicle.

Launch X431 PAD V Scan Tool

Launch X431 PAD V

Rating

Price range: $3,200-$3,700

Coding/programming

The Autel MaxiSys Ultra, Autel MaxiSys Elite, and Launch X431 PAD V support ECU coding and programming almost any BMW vehicles. Coding allows you to pair newly replaced components with their designated software in the ECUs and with their Programming functions, you can program new ECUs when they are replaced or upgraded so they can work properly. You can reflash vehicle control modules and solve various issues related to fuel efficiency and power drivability, etc. 

The Autel MaxiSys Elite supports online, cloud-based ECU coding and programming in the U.S through its J2534 interface. Apart from J2534 protocol and online programming/coding, both the Autel MaixSys Ultra and Launch X431 PAD V support D-PDU and RP1210 protocols to extend compatibility with more passenger and commercial vehicles globally. The VCMI modules in both devices also support other protocols like CAN FD and DOIP. 

The Autel MaxiSys Ultra checks all the boxes any mechanic could want from a non-OEM coding and programming tool with it’s powerful 5-in-1 VCMI paired with extensive protocol support.

Autel MaxiSys Ultra
Autel MaxiSys Ultra BMW Scanner
4.5
The Autel MaxiSys Ultra has the fastest diagnostic hardware and the new 5-in-1 VCMI, making it perfect for US mechanics who have to meet busy repair demands.

BMW vehicle coverage

For their price and functions, it makes sense that these devices support almost all vehicles, including older BMW, MINI, and Rolls Royce vehicles made in the 90s. The Autel MaxiSys Elite and Launch X431 PAD V come with an adapter for OBD1 BMW vehicles that you can use if you have an older bimmer.

Vehicle, SeriesAutel MaxiSys EliteAutel MaxiSys UltraLAUNCH X431 PAD V
1 SeriesE81, E82, E87, E88, F20, F21F40, F20, F21, F52, E81, E82, E87, E88All EU Models
2 Series F22, F23, F45, F46, F87F22, F23, F44, F45, F46, F87All EU Models
3 SeriesE30, E34, E36, E46, E90, E91, E92, E93, F30, F34, F80E90, E91, E92, E93, F30, F31, F34, F35, F80, G20, G21, G28All EU Models
4 SeriesF32, F33, F36, F82, F83F32, F33, F36, F82, F83, G22All EU Models
5 SeriesE60, E61, F07, F10, F11, F18, F90E60, E61, F07, F10, F11, F18, F90, G30, G31, G38All EU Models
6 SeriesE63, E64, F06, F12, F13E63, E64, F06, F12, F13, G32All EU Models
7 SeriesE38, E65, F01, F02, F04E65, E66, E67, E68, F01, F02, F03, F04, G11, G12All EU Models
8 SeriesE31, G14, G16, F91, F92, F93F91, F92, G14, G15, G16All EU Models
I SeriesI01, I12, I15I01, I12, I15All EU Models
X SeriesE70, E71, E72, E84, F15, F16, F25, F26, F85, F86E70, E71, E72, E83, E84, F15, F16, F25, F26, F39, F48, F85, F86, F95, F96, F97, F98, G01, G02, G05, G06, G07All EU Models
Z SeriesE85, E86, E89E85, E86, E89, G29All EU Models

Read more: Autel Maxisys Elite: Why many technicians at big shops are using it?

BMW factory scan tool programming software

Comparison chart

BMW OSSBMW Standard Tools 2.12 (Bimmergeeks)BMW Scanner 1.4
OBD1 Codes
OBD2 Diagnostics10/1010/1010/10
System diagnostic functions10/1010/1010/10
Advanced service functions10/108/107/10
Coding/Programming10/109/107/10

BMW factory scan tool software: BMW OSS Vs. Bimmergeeks Vs. BMW Scanner 1.4

OBD2 diagnostics, advanced diagnosis, and service functions

All three diagnostics tools can perform the 10 OBD2 test modes, full system diagnosis, and service resets on compatible BMW models. Their differences boil down to the software that conducts those tests and diagnostics. For the BMW OSS, you’ll be using ISTA-D for diagnosis through the ICOM interface for any and all BMW models, while BMW Standard tools 2.12 use INPA, a much more complicated software with limited vehicle coverage. ISTA and ICOM are much more stable and faster compared to INPA. 

If you want the broadest diagnostics options for both old and new BMWs, go with the BMW OSS.

Coding and programming

The three BMW scan tools can code and reprogram BMW cars, although we only recommend this feature on two of them. BMW OSS’s ISTA-D for diagnostics can do some coding, but if you want in-depth coding and programming, it also has the ISTA-P, which is dedicated to that purpose. BMW Standard Tools 2.12 uses NCS-Expert 4.0.1 for coding and WinKFP 5.3.1 for flash reprogramming, but they aren’t as user-friendly and will need an in-depth knowledge of BMWs. The BMW Scanner 1.4 can also code and program, but the other two have more functions. 

BMW OSS offers the best array of coding and programming functionalities with little chance of bricking modules since it is easy to use.

Download and ease of use

Because these are all advanced, dealer-level diagnostic tools, the interfaces are usually more complex than ordinary code readers and diagnostics tools. Even for experts, they take some getting used to. Also called P.A Soft, the BMW Scanner 1.4 is by far the easiest to download, install, and use. Its interface is as easy as it gets for an advanced tool, and you should be fine as long as you’re familiar with BMW vehicles. You can download the software here and connect it to your Windows PC via the iSaddle scanner.

iSaddle Scanner for BMW

iSaddle

Rating

Price range: $25-$35

Next up is the BMW OSS (including BMW ICOM, BMW ISTA-D, BMW ISTA-P), which has a modern ICOM interface that isn’t a hassle to operate. However, it uses separate software components that you must be familiar with when downloading, operating, and updating to get the most out of it. For diagnostics or programming, you’ll need an adapter like the OHP ENET, the New K-DCAN, or the Autogeek ENET cable.

OHP ENET Interface Cable

OHP ENET

Rating

Price range: $17-$27

New K-DCAN OBD2 USB Cable

New K-DCAN

Rating

Price range: $33-$43

Autogeek ENET Interface Cable

Autogeek ENET

Rating

Price range: $10-$20

BMW Standard Tools 2.12 by Bimmergeeks works similarly to the BMW OSS, but its interface is more traditional, and its updates are not exactly straightforward. The downside is that it requires additional Test Procedures for diagnostics, which are usually in German and can take some work to find the English versions. Besides that, the software is hardly ever updated. After downloading from the Bimmergeeks website, you’ll need a K+DCAN cable like the LZLRUN Diagnostic Cable or the TaoTao Interface Cable to max out its current capabilities.

LZLRUN Diagnostic Cable

LZLRUN

Rating

Price range: $27-$37

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Rating

Price range: $25-$35

If you need easy-to-use yet advanced factory diagnostic and programming software, your best bet is the BMW Scanner 1.4.

Download links:

Vehicle coverage

Of the three BMW scan tools, BMW OSS supports the widest range of vehicles, going back as far as 1985 to 2017. This gives you support for all BMW E, F, G, I, Alphina Series, MINI, and Rolls Royce made in that period.

The BMW Standard Tools 2.12 is more limited in that it primarily supports older E-Series models from 1998 to 2008. Coverage can be extended with a K+DCAN cable for diagnostics and an ENET for diagnostics, coding, and programming. 

BMW Scanner 1.4 is only limited to E-Series models made between 1992 – 2006. 

Vehicle coverage comparison chart
Vehicle, SeriesBMW OSSBMW Standard Tools 2.12 (Bimmergeeks)BMW Scanner 1.4
1 SeriesAllE81, E82, E87, E88 
2 Series All
3 SeriesAllE30, E36, E46, E90, E91, E92, E93 E36, E46
4 SeriesAllE46
5 SeriesAllE28, E34, E39, E60, E61E39
6 SeriesAllE24, E63, E64, 
7 SeriesAllE23, E32, E38, E65E38
8 SeriesAll E31
I SeriesAll
X SeriesAllE53, E83, E84, E70, E71E53, E83
Z SeriesAllE30, E36, E52, E85, E86, E89, E85
MINIAllR50, R52, R53, R55, R56, R57, R58, R59, R60, R61, F54, F55, F56, F57, F60
Rolls RoyceAllRR1

Final Verdict

BMW OSS contains ISTA-D, the replacement for older DIS dealership diagnostic software, and ISTA-P, the replacement for the older older SSS Progman programming software. It is used by millions of dealerships worldwide and regularly updated; at least once monthly. If you’re a BMW dealership looking for the most updated and robust software, the BMW OSS is right for you.

Video: How to install and use?

Here’s how you can install and use BMW OSS, specifically the BMW ISTA-P
Watch this to know how to install the BMW Standard Tools 2.12
Learn how to install the BMW Scanner 1.4 from this video

Final Thoughts

Home mechanics don’t need the full range of features you can find on professional BMW diagnostic tools. Consider your budget range and repair experience. If you’re mostly interested in reading trouble codes, a convenient and affordable tool like Creator C310+ will likely fit the bill.

Professionals and advanced DIYers will want a tool that offers repair functions in addition to diagnostics. While you’ll have to pay a bit more for this functionality, buying a limited compatibility tool like FOXWELL NT510 Elite can help save some money.

If you’re a professional technician, Autel Maxisys Elite pays for itself and never makes you disappointed.

Whatever your situation, one of the five tools above will be an excellent fit for your garage! We hope the reviews and info in this article have helped you decide which one you should buy. 

FAQs

1. Why does NT510 Elite not allow me to do programming?

Some of the advanced features of the Foxwell NT510 Elite, like coding or programming, aren’t available on all vehicle models. You can reach out to the manufacturer to find out for sure if this is the case. 

Before you assume that the Foxwell NT510 Elite doesn’t support programming for your vehicle, make sure you check all the menus related to the system on which you’re working. Some of the programming functions are nested under other areas and can be tricky to find.

2. Can NT510 Elite scan the SRS system and return the code?

Yes, the SRS system is supported by the enhanced diagnostics on the Foxwell NT510 Elite

3. Will Creator C310+ reset the check engine light?

Yes, the Creator C310 can run all ten modes of OBD2. It can read and clear generic, manufacturer-specific, pending, and permanent codes from your engine computer and reset the MIL.

If you clear codes with the Creator C310+ and the check engine light is still on, this is likely because you have an ongoing issue. The MIL will continue to trigger as long as the problem persists. To permanently turn the light off, you’ll need first to make repairs then clear the codes.

4. Besides BMW codes, will the Autophix 7910 work on other cars?

The full features of the Autophix 7910 can support Rolls-Royce Series RR1-RR5 in addition to BMWs.

It will work as a code reader for engine codes on any OBD2 compatible vehicle for other manufacturers. It can often still diagnose other systems like ABS or TPMS, but these functions are less consistently available. The same is true of repair functions like DPF regeneration or resetting the oil light. You’ll be able to perform them on some non-BMWs but not with the same consistency.

Read more: Best Lexus/Toyota OBD1 OBD2 Scan Tools 2021 [Review]

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