You’ve got engine problems with your BMW? Or you just want to connect to your BMW’s advanced diagnostics systems?
A BMW scan tool is the right tool for you.
What you will find in this article are detailed reviews of BMW scan tools for BMW owners, DIY, and professional mechanics in 2018.
Do not have enough time to read the whole article? Don’t worry!! I’ve picked out the best choices for you right below:
Learn all about OBD2 scan tools and read reviews of the 5 best OBD2 scanners for BMW below.
Do I Need A BMW Scan Tool?
BMW vehicles have an uncommon configuration in their OBD-II serial ports. This means that they’ll work inconsistently with non-BMW scan tools.
The OBD-II system also will give additional information that can only be read by scanners with special BMW-specific software.
In other words, a generic OBD-II scan tool MIGHT work, but it may need special software to deal with weird pin configurations and it might not read all of the data your car can send.
A BMW-specific scan tool solves these problems without any hassle!!
Some of these are inexpensive pieces of hardware that allow you to talk to your car on a level normally reserved for professional mechanics. Some are built ONLY for BMW mechanics.
They’re not more expensive than generic scan tools, either.
The only downside is that these scan tools may require a software patch to interface with non-BMW cars. Some manufacturers force you to pay for this software patch, so this can add a bit to the expense of your scan tool.
But before reading the review for details, have a look at this comparison chart for an overview.
Best BMW Scanner Comparison Chart
Scroll down for the 5 Best BMW Scan Tool Review
1. FOXWELL NT510 BMW Scan Tool
This standalone scan tool offers a great blend of features at a reasonable price. User-friendly and simple to use, you can access BMW specific information with this scan tool.
Who is this scan tool built for?
Advanced features like a datastream viewer and manufacturer-specific error codes make this perfect for BMW owners who want to save money while diagnosing car problems.
It does more than that, however.
A whole host of special functions, like:
- brake de-activation,
- battery registration,
- and oil light information
means that this tool is practically a must-have for anyone who plans to service their own BMW.
A video about using FOXWELL NT510 scan tool:
PROS of FOXWELL NT510
It’s got a variety of first-party software patches that allow it to work with almost all common car makes as well.
You’ll get both generic error codes and manufacturer specific information with these car makes, making this tool great for anyone who does a lot of auto work.
Because of the full functionality of this standalone scan tool, you won’t need to buy anything else. You don’t need a phone, an app, or even a separate scanner for use with different makes of cars.
CONS of FOXWELL NT510
You have to pay for software patches in order to use this scan tool to its full potential with non-BMW vehicles. It’s not a huge fee, but it is an additional cost you should be wary of.
While the interface on this scan tool is simple and practical, it’s not as detailed as the interface you see on scanners that work with your phone. In practice, this isn’t a problem, but you might have trouble reading some of the more advanced graphs.
Finally, this scanner doesn’t support “programming.” If you want to change settings on your car, you may have to go to a dealer or choose another scan tool.
If you want a fully-featured BMW scan tool with the ability to support other car makes, the FOXWELL NT510 is a great choice.
It’s got everything you need to diagnose car problems and begin to repair them yourself.
Extra features make many DIY maintenance headaches vanish, as you can register a battery or de-activate your car’s brakes easily with this scan tool.
Overall, it’s a top choice for BMW owners who want to do car maintenance at home.
2. MAOZUA V7.7 Creator C310+ BMW Scan Tool / Code Reader
This inexpensive scan tool works for all BMWs made after 2000.
It’s not as fully featured as some other models, but you can still clear trouble codes and view lots of live diagnostic data.
Free software patches via USB cable will allow you to use this tool on cars that haven’t even been made yet.
Who is this scan tool built for?
MAOZUA’s diagnostic scan tool tends to be on the cheap end.
While it doesn’t have every feature you might want, it’s still perfect for BMW owners who want to save a bit of money on car maintenance.
Picking up this tool is less expensive than a visit to most mechanics, so even if it’s your first time with a check engine light, you can probably save money with this tool!
A video about Creator C310 BMW code reader:
Most of the time, all you need to do is figure out why one of the dashboard lights is on. This tool is perfect for doing just that.
It supports airbag, ABS, SRS, and your check engine light codes. You can figure out why your car thinks there’s a problem and clear the error code when you’ve fixed it.
You can also view lots of diagnostic data provided by your car’s OBD-II system.
You can’t program your vehicle with this tool, nor can you register a battery or de-activate your brakes. This means it’s not the best choice if you’re more serious about car maintenance.
A more expensive tool might save you a bit of time and money overall if you plan to use it frequently.
While this scanner is pretty cheap, it’s not made in the US. The manual and interface can be somewhat confusing for native English speakers to read. This isn’t a major issue in practice, but it will take you a few minutes to figure things out for the first time.
This scan tool is a great budget option for someone who wants to figure out why their dashboard error lights are on.
It can clear all of the normal offenders: ABS, SRS, airbag, and check engine.
With great compatibility with BMWs made after 2000 and free software patches to support even newer cars, you can use this tool with just about any BMW you’re likely to own.
3. VXDIAG MULTI Professional BMW Scan Tool 12 in 1
(5 / 5)
This professional toolset allows you to plug directly into your car.
While it’s not the most user-friendly option and you may have to purchase additional software, it’s one of the few solutions that gives you access to every feature your car offers.
This means you can program your car, use special BMW engineer software, or simply do basic tasks like reset your check engine light.
Who is this BMW scan tool built for?
This car diagnostic tool is for professionals and advanced hobbyists.
If you’re not specifically looking for the ability to program your BMW or access advanced diagnostic features, there’s nothing wrong with buying another scanner.
If you know what you’re getting into, however, this scanner offers the very best access to your car’s internal computer.
PROS of XVDIAG MULTI
If you want full, professional access to your car’s computer systems, this is the very best tool.
You can use BMW software meant for vehicle engineers to get user-friendly access to advanced systems.
This includes programming modules, advanced diagnostics, coding, and access to functions normally hidden from scan tools available to the public.
While this scanner doesn’t display information on its own, for many users, this is a plus.
You have access to a much larger screen on your laptop, phone, or tablet, enabling you to easily read complicated graphs and control advanced software with a mouse, keyboard, or touchscreen.
This makes this scanner easier to use than small, standalone handheld units.
CONS of VXDIAG MULTI
This scanner isn’t the easiest to use. While you can plug other scan tools into your car, turn the key, and instantly view diagnostic data, this scan tool requires a connection to another device with the right kind of software involved.
If you do this setup, you get the most powerful scan tool on the market, but it’s definitely a bit more work.
Additionally, you actually need to have a computer, phone, or tablet you can hook up. If you don’t have an appropriate device, this scan tool is quite a bit more expensive than its listing price.
If you’re trying to program your car or you want access to specialized BMW engineer functions, this scanner is the best choice.
You can use it with special software usually reserved for vehicle engineers and perform virtually any interaction you want with your car’s computer.
On the other hand, if you just want to reset your check engine light, you can get something that’s much simpler and easier to use with one of the other options presented here.
4. Vgate Creator V6.2 C310+ BMW Scan Tool / Code Reader
This is the same scan tool as the Maozua above with different branding.
It uses the same form factor, the same software, and is often at a comparable price.
There aren’t really any advantages or disadvantages over the Maozua above, so feel free to get whichever one is slightly cheaper.
Who is this scan tool built for?
This budget offering is perfect for BMW owners who need basic functionality to clear dashboard lights at home.
If you want to figure out why your ABS, stability control, oil, or check engine lights are on, this BMW tool is a great choice. It can read some live data and diagnostic information, too.
If you want advanced features or the ability to program your car, you definitely want something else.
A video about Creator V6.2 C310+ on BMW Scan Tool:
PROS of Vgate Creator V6.2 C310+
This BMW scan tool is pretty cheap and comes with everything you need to pull error codes from your car.
It’s incredibly simple to use, too.
You just turn the car on and press a few buttons to figure out everything you need to know.
CONS of Vgate Creator V6.2 C310+
The instructions for this tool aren’t great. It’s pretty easy to figure out how to do most things, but if you want to access more advanced features, you might have trouble deciphering the manual.
Speaking of advanced features, this tool is somewhat lacking. You can’t access every part of your car’s computer with this simple scanner.
Like the identical Maozua above, this tool is perfect for people who want to save money on car maintenance.
It’s cheap, simple, and has enough functionality for most BMW owners. You can figure out why your dashboard lights are on or view diagnostic data. This will let you fix your car yourself or simply make a more informed decision with your mechanic.
5. Original Carly for BMW Wifi Adapter
This is a wifi adapter that allows you to connect an app on your phone directly to your car’s computer.
While this adapter doesn’t come with a “pro” app, it will let you view error codes right out of the box.
Once you buy the app upgrade you can reset error codes and access quite a bit of advanced functionality.
Who is this BMW scan tool built for?
If you want to use your phone‘s interface instead of a few basic rubber buttons to view data from your car, this scanner is perfect.
The adapter plus app combo means that you can access data in a much more convenient way and even e-mail yourself copies of the results.
A video about Original Carly Wifi BMW Scan tool:
PROS of Original Carly for BMW
The improved usability of this tool makes it much easier for most people to use.
The apps you can connect have intuitive interfaces and make full use of your phone’s high-resolution screen and touchscreen controls.
CONS of Original Carly for BMW
You have to pay an additional fee to use the proprietary app that pairs with this device. The “free” version only lets you view codes, not clear them.
This means that there are some hidden costs associated with this device that you’ll need to pay in order to unlock its full functionality. Additionally, users have reported some issues with software updates and this device.
If you want a cheap wireless scanner that connects to your phone, this Carly unit is a solid choice. It lets you use an advanced app to view and clear error codes and access your car’s diagnostic data in a more useful format.
This means that it’s often much easier to figure out what’s wrong with your car with this tool instead of a standalone unit with a small screen.
Which scan tool is best for you will vary based on your needs. Here’s a quick guide to which option is best based on some common criteria:
Best Affordability: Creator V6.2 C310+ BMW Scanner
These units are identical, so feel free to purchase whichever one is on sale at the moment.
Both options are perfect for anyone who just wants to easily view and clear error codes or probe engine problems with diagnostic data.
Best Compatibility: FOXWELL NT510 BMW Scanner
The FOXWELL is probably the best choice for use with non-BMW cars, but it’s definitely a tough call.
Since you have to pay for the software to use the tool with cars that aren’t BMWs, it’s still not a perfect option.
Still, you can use it with Fords, GMs, Toyotas, and virtually every other car make you can think of once you’ve bought the right software patch.
Best Functionality: VXDIAG MULTI BMW Scanner
The VXDIAG MULTI automotive diagnostic tool is by far the most advanced scanner in this list.
The ability to use professional software to access the full power of your car’s computer is the best thing you could possibly ask for, and this tool lets you do this.
If you want to program your car’s computer or use other advanced features, this tool is by far the best.
Using an OBD2 Scanner for BMW To Save Money
All of these scan tools are pretty cheap.
For the cost of a couple hours of your mechanic’s time, you can get a tool you’ll have for a long time that will let you talk to your car and retrieve diagnostic information.
Whether you choose a cheap tool with simple functionality or an expensive one that lets your program your BMW, you’ll save lots of cash by figuring out what’s wrong with your car at home.
With a little luck and some Google skills, you can even fix the problem yourself without needing to visit a mechanic!
Will My Scan Tool Last?
OBD-2 is a universal format.
While BMW puts a few extra bells and whistles into its cars, you can still use your BMW-specific OBD2 scan tool with other makes and models of cars.
This means that purchasing a tool today means that you’ll have one on hand to help with any car problems that your family and friends might have in the future.