Today, I am going to reveal powerful Ford scan tools for those who are driving Ford, Mazda, Lincoln, or Mercury cars and light trucks. (I’ve never shared it before!)
In fact, you often consider Ford-specific scanners that generally perform better than the universal ones, simply because they are made specifically for a particular car brand. For that reason, they are tailored to work almost flawlessly when running diagnostics on those cars.
So, if you are an owner of a Ford, Mazda, Lincoln, Mercury or frequently find yourself working on the brands, my advice is “Get a scan tool that specific made for it” such as OHP FORScan adapter, OBDLink MX+, or AUTOPHIX 7710.
Table of Contents
Best OBD1 OBD2 Ford Scanners Comparison
*Price updated on May 9th, 2021. It is sometimes different from the price you find in reality.
|OHP FORScan||9.5/10||$28.46||Most wanted USB OBD2 FORScan adapter|
|OBDLink MX+||9.3/10||$99.95||Best Enhanced OBD2 Bluetooth adapter|
|OBDLink LX||9.7/10||$59.95||Best Affordable OBD2 Bluetooth Scanner|
|VINT-TT55502||9.0/10||$17.97||Best cheap USB OBD2 FORScan scan tool|
|INNOVA 3145||9.1/10||$35.98||Most hunting OBD1 code reader|
Benefits of A Scan Tool
Whether you’re a professional mechanic or an everyday Joe, a Ford OBD2 scanner is a helpful tool to have in your garage. The benefit of all scan tools is that they allow you to diagnose issues with your vehicle. They can show you information from the data monitors in your car or truck along with reading trouble codes. This lets you get on top of potential issues before they get serious. Once you can diagnose problems in your vehicle, making repairs at home is a lot easier. Many scan tools also include repair functions like DPF regeneration or ABS bleeding that you would otherwise need to have done at a mechanic. Even if you’re not an experienced mechanic, some issues that trigger the check engine light are minor. It could be something as small as a loose gas cap, in some cases. That’s something anyone can easily fix at home. Without a scan tool, there’s no way to know the significance of the issue triggering your check engine light.
A Ford OBD2 scanner has additional benefits for Ford owners. They are designed to work with your manufacturer, which means compatibility is less likely to be a concern. The OBD2 protocol is standardized across vehicles made in 1996 and later. Not every system in your car is covered by these diagnostics, though. It’s mainly focused on emission-related data. However, it will also trigger serious engine issues, to read trouble codes from systems like the transmission or airbags. Unlike the OBD2 protocol, diagnostic information for these other systems isn’t standardized across manufacturers. This means not every tool that offers non-OBD2 diagnosis will work for every vehicle. When you get a Ford scanner, it’s designed to read the systems of your car. This will let you diagnose and fix problems in Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury cars and trucks better than generic scan tools.
5 steps for the best scanner for Ford
Step 1: What Are The Top Brands?
Buying a scan tool from a trusted brand is the best way to know you’ll get a reliable, accurate reading. Devices made by top-tier brands will also be backed by better customer service and support. Among the top brands for Ford diagnostic tools are:
The affordable cost of OHP diagnostic adapters is the first thing you’ll notice. OHP adapters are designed to work with popular software like FORScan (made specifically for Ford vehicles). This lets you get in-depth, professional-level diagnostics at DIY-er prices. My recommendation is the OHP FORScan OBD2 USB Adapter (for Windows ONLY).Check Price at Amazon
This global manufacturer of OBD2 and DIY repair equipment is one of the top names on the market. Autophix has an exceptional quality control team, producing durable and reliable tools at all price levels. Their support for customers is also well-regarded. Autophix has a line of products for famous car brands such as Ford, BMW, Audi/VW, etc. Autophix 7710 is the most wanted OBD2 scanner for Ford in 2020 and 2021.Check Price at Amazon
This US-based company is a leader in the automotive aftermarket industry. Their advanced testing and innovative designs are their main claim to fame. Innova uses a network of certified repair technicians to develop their diagnostic database, ensuring a higher accuracy level for users. INNOVA is strong at both OBD1 and OBD2 scanner. Their best pick of OBD1 code reader for Ford is the INNOVA 3145.
Step 2: What Type Of Scan Tool Is Suitable For You?
There are OBD1 code readers for those made before 1996 and OBD2 scanner for the newer by year. Do you remember the year of your car? By functionality, Ford scanning tools can be divided into three groups: (1) basic code readers, (2) enhanced OBD2 scanners, and (3) advanced professional diagnostic tools. Because of price gaps, the benefits you will get from the devices are different. A basic code reader like INNOVA 3145 can only read codes of the engine system, while an enhanced OBD2 scanner such as the OHP FORScan USB adapter can diagnose non-OBD2 systems like ABS, airbag, and transmission beside the engine system. Professional automotive diagnostic tools offer more functions and services and usually for experienced DIY people or mechanics. The more you pay, the more you get.
Step 3: Compatibility/Vehicle Coverage
An automotive scanner for Ford is built to work with vehicles from the manufacturer. That said, not every Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury uses the same processes. While all Ford scanning tools will provide basic diagnostics on all vehicles, more advanced features may not be widely supported. The first division is between OBD1 and OBD2. Before 1996, cars used the OBD1 diagnostic system. This simple system uses a different style of plug. Some OBD2 scanners will read OBD1 information, but you’ll need an adapter to connect it to an older vehicle. Even within the OBD2 era, there may be differences in how engine computers send diagnostic information. For example, there was a change in which protocol some Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles use made in 2018. For example, tools like the Autophix 7710 can support all cars from 1996-2017, but that’s not true for all vehicles made in 2018. However, The 2018 Ford Fiesta is a notable make supported by this diagnostic tool.
It’s a good idea to check the compatibility of any scan tool you’re looking at, even one that’s made for Ford. You can often find lists of compatible vehicles broken down by make and model year on the scan tool company’s website. To verify a particular function’s compatibility, contacting the company’s customer service is your best bet.
Step 4: Pricing
The pricing of car scanning tools is mostly dependent on which features they offer. Devices made for a specific manufacturer, like automotive scanners for Ford, typically cost less for the features provided than those with wider compatibility. This can make them an excellent value, especially for DIYers. For a beginner, a Ford scanner in the range of $20-$100 should give you what you need. These tools can read OBD2 codes and may offer diagnostics of other central systems. Beginners won’t miss the lack of advanced repair functions since they probably wouldn’t be comfortable making those repairs at home anyway.
More advanced DIYers and professional mechanics will want to look for more fully functional diagnostic tools. The good news is, these don’t have to cost thousands of dollars. Something in the budget of $100-$500 should meet your needs.
Step 5: Software
Adapters like those made by OHP require a compatible diagnostic software before you can use them. You can find a range of different diagnostic software options out there. The best ones to use with Ford are:
- FORScan. FORScan is compatible with Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, and Mazda vehicles. As for adapters, it will work with any that are compatible with ELM327 or J2534. It can run service features and advanced diagnostics, as well as reading sensor data and OBD2 codes. While FORScan is a paid software, the free FORScan Lite version is free and has all the functions a beginning DIYer needs.
- ELMconfig. This free software is primarily used for adaptations, activations, and configuration of modules. Since it doesn’t read or clear codes, it’s not sufficient for diagnostics on its own. The compatibility is somewhat limited, as well. However, it can be an excellent addition to something like FORScan to expand its functionality.
- FoCCCus. Another free program, FoCCCus has similar functionality to ELMconfig. The main difference is that it’s designed for use with the Ford Focus, which is not supported by ELMconfig.
Best OBD1 OBD2 scan tools for Ford review
Our technician team practically tested all the scanners in this review to ensure that they will work well on any cars and light trucks included in the coverage.
OBDLink MX Plus – Best enhanced OBD2 Bluetooth scanner
Most Bluetooth scan tools work with either Windows or iOS and Android. With the OBDLink MX+, you’ll get full compatibility across operating systems so that you can use it with any phone, tablet, or laptop.
The OBDLink MX+ is compatible with a range of diagnostic apps, including manufacturer-specific apps like FORScan, BimmerCode, or AlfaOBD, as well as more general apps like Dashcommand, Torque, and Carista.
It’s also capable of going beyond basic OBD2 diagnostics. Enhanced support for popular brands like Ford and GM lets you read data from the ABS, SRS, and TPMS systems in addition to the engine.
The design of the OBDLink MX+ is worth mentioning, too. It processes data about four times faster than most OBD2 adapters, providing accurate real-time data and smoother graphs of live parameters. Along with over-voltage and battery drain protection, it’s hacker-proof and safe to leave plugged in full-time for continuous monitoring of your engine’s health.
Verdict: OBDLink MX+ supports the multi-system diagnosis for many brands and is compatible with a wide range of devices and diagnostic software, letting you tailor its functions to match your vehicle’s needs.Check Price at Amazon
OBDLink LX – Best affordable OBD2 Bluetooth adapter
Right around the middle of the price range for Bluetooth scanners for Ford cars and light trucks is the OBDLink LX. This OBD2 Bluetooth Scanner is intended to be left plugged into your car constantly collecting data.
It not only acts as a diagnostic tool, but it can also give you accurate information about the performance of your car. It can act as an MPG tracker, real-time performance monitor, and trip computer.
OBDLink LX comes with an app for reading, saving, and graphing your data. It’s an excellent app with beautiful digital gauges and an overall pleasant user interface.
OBDLink LX is big on security and speed. It claims to be four times faster than the leading competitor. That means quick, real-time data and very little wait around for scan results.
A sophisticated multi-layer security system keeps hackers from getting any of the data you collect. A couple things this scanner is lacking is iOS support and ABS / SRS monitoring.
It’s a good, mid-range scanner and if you don’t see yourself needing those lacking features it would be a great pick.Check Price at Amazon
OHP – Most wanted USB OBD2 Forscan/ELMConfig adapter
[for Windows devices]
OHP is actually an OBD2 USB adapter (or dongle). That’s a diagnostic interface that works alongside a computer and diagnostic software. This particular adapter will send real-time diagnostic data directly to your computer. So what kind of data is that? It can read and clear codes for the engine, ABS, SRS, and transmission systems. And if you are scanning a Ford, you can also read codes for the body control module (or BCM in short). There’s an MS-CAN/HS-CAN switch that toggles between DTC and BCM codes.
The exact range of special functions depends on the diagnostic software you choose. For example, if you use one of those renowned apps like Torque, Carista, OBD Auto Doctor, and OBD Car Doctor, you will be able to perform service functions like resets. But at the very least, you can read and clear codes.
The OHP FORScan ELM327 adapter is a Ford OBD2 scanner that also works on Mazda, Lincoln, and Mercury. It supports OBD2 cars (from 1996 to 2018) that are no more than 12V. Those are generally all Ford cars and light trucks, including the popular F150 and F250.
When you buy the OHP ELM327 adapter, you’ll be recommended to use the Forscan software. But you can switch to different ones like Torque, and use the adapter on other car brands. While that’s a viable option, it may result in you incurring an additional expense. Most reliable diagnostic apps are not free. And you won’t need to enter a password because it creates an open network.
Note that the package doesn’t include a diagnostic app. You’re only advised to download and install Forscan from Forscan’s official website. Alternatively, you can get it from the App Store or Play Store. Some of the most reliable versions are Forscan v2.3.12 and Forscan Lite v1.2.11. The connection created is pretty stable, perhaps more stable than Bluetooth.
- Very affordable
- Supports both basic and advanced diagnostics, depending on the app used
- Can be left plugged in, and it will give real-time diagnostic data
- Small and compact, it can’t come in the way of your driving even when left plugged
- Can work on other car brands beyond Ford and Mazda
- No diagnostic software included in the package
If you are an ordinary car owner and DIYers, OHP ELM327 is especially suitable for you. This is one of the best FORScan adapters today.Check Price at Amazon
INNOVA 3145 – Most hunting OBD1 code reader
If you drive a Ford manufactured before 1996, then the three products above will not help you. You will need an OBD1 scanner like INNOVA 3145 that is extremely affordable, compact, and light in weight. But how does it rate incompatibility and functionality? As an OBD1 scanner, this device works on Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury made between 1982 and 1995. More precisely, it is compatible with MCU as well as EEC-IV computer control systems. The scan tool plugs into the OBD1 port located on the driver’s side. You may need an extension cord because the one that it comes with is relatively short.
Besides the engine, you can also pull transmission codes using this unit. As good as that sounds, its diagnostic functionality pretty much ends there. You can only pull engine and transmission codes. While it doesn’t turn off the Check Engine Light, the INNOVA 3145 will tell you why the light came on. It does so by pulling engine codes and displaying them on the screen. You may refer to the accompanying codebook to know what triggered the light. To reset the light, you will need to fix the problem and then disconnect the battery for about 15 minutes. When you reconnect it, the DTC will be cleared. Not the most straightforward way to turn the Check Engine Light off, but it does get the job done. Still, on matters codes, this OBD1 scanner has a built-in memory that stores codes. It retains them even after you have unhooked it from the vehicle. That handy feature means you can always revisit diagnostic data later for more analysis.
- Package includes codebook and user manual
- Easy to use, doesn’t require any setup
- Very affordable
- Works on virtually all OBD1 Ford, Mercury, and Lincoln
- Small, compact, and rugged design
- Limited functionality. Can only access the engine and transmission systems
- Doesn’t actually reset the Check Engine Light
This unit will serve you best if you have a Ford, Lincoln, or Mercury car or truck made within the years recommended.Check Price at Amazon
VINT-TT55502 – Best cheap USB OBD2 FORScan adapter
[for Windows devices]
Like the OHP USB Forscan ELM327 adapter above (check #3), the FORScan VINT-TT55502 is also a diagnostic adapter. Meaning you’ll need to hook it up to a PC to run diagnostics. Granted, the process of connecting an OBD adapter to a laptop every time you perform scans can be a bit tedious. But this Ford product makes up for that with its low price tag. You can get it for under $20, and it will offer the same service as Ford scanners that cost hundreds of bucks.
First and foremost, the FORScan VINT-TT55502 will tell you why the Check Engine Light is on in your Ford. It’s designed to read and clear engine codes, which means that in addition to checking why the light is on, you can also turn it off. Alongside the engine, this unit also pulls and clears codes in all OBD2 modules, including the SRS, ABS, transmission, TPMS, and all other modules. Rather than taking your car to the shop, you can perform a DIY test on all modules using this unit and will know what the problem is even before hiring the services of a mechanic.
One thing that makes the FORScan VINT-TT55502 popular is its wide vehicle coverage. It works on all OBD2-compliant Fords, including the F-series (F150 all through F450), Mustang, Ranger, Fusion, Kuga, Explorer, Transit, S-Max, and C-Max. As long as the car is a 1996 or newer model (car or light truck), there’s every possibility that the scanner will work. Besides Ford, the scanner is also compatible with Lincoln, Mazda, and Mercury cars and light trucks. Something else to keep in mind is that it’s a Windows-based device. It doesn’t work on Mac or Linux computers, but it’s compatible with all versions of Windows PCs from XP all through Windows 10. On one end of the scanner is an OBD port that plugs into the car’s OBD2 port. The other end has a USB port for PC connection. Install the best ELM 327 software on your PC, and it will unlock an array of features packed in this Ford code reader.
- Compatible with all OBD2 Ford, Lincoln, Mazda, and Mercury cars and light trucks
- Very affordable and easy to use
- Connects to OBD2 using a cable which is more stable than wireless
- Small and compact for easy portability.
- Has MS-CAN & HS-CAN toggle switch for quick access to module data
- Compatible with Windows PCs only.
- It doesn’t have the best instructions.
The FORScan VINT-TT55502 is perfect for DIYers and enthusiasts. If you’re a car dealer, it may also come in handy when you need to inspect a car.Check Price at Amazon
OBDResource – Best durable USB ELM327 FORScan scanner
The ELM327 FORScan OBD2 Adapter, another ELM327-based scanner for Ford, falls in the same price range as the FORScan VINT-TT55502. Unsurprisingly, these two are similar in so many ways. For starters, they are both Windows-based scanners that connect to a PC using a USB cable. Both devices give you access to all OBD2 modules. That shouldn’t come as a surprise seeing as it supports all OBD2 protocols such as MS-CAN, HS CAN, HS CAN2, HS CAN3, and J1850PWM. What does that imply? It means you can read and clear codes from all modules like the engine, ABS, SRS, and TMPS. You can use the scanner to reset the Check Engine Light and any other warning lights that appear on the dashboard.
Additionally, this Ford code scanner displays live data from on-board sensors. You can view basic data like air flow rate, vehicle speed, and RPM to more complex data like throttle position, manifold pressure, coolant temperature, fuel trim, and crankshaft position. It’s worth mentioning that you can also manipulate sensors and modules. For example, the scanner can enable and disable TPMS, navigation, door, hood, etc.
The best part about this scanner is that it can do basic programming. Specifically, it supports coding and adaptations. For example, you can use injector coding to calibrate communication between the engine control unit ECU) and the injector control unit. Similarly, TPMS programming allows you to replace old TPMS sensors with new ones and program the new ones to communicate accurately with the ECU.
Like the FORScan VINT-TT55502 above, this adapter covers all Ford cars and light trucks that are OBD2-compliant (1996 and newer models). That includes the F-series (F150 all through F450), Mustang, Ranger, Fusion, Kuga, Explorer, Transit, S-Max, and C-Max. It also works on 1996 and newer models of Lincolns, Mazdas, and Mercuries.
How to set up? Simply install an ELM327 software on your Windows PC/laptop, hook one end of the adapter to the OBD2 port, and the other end (USB port) to your computer. With that, you’ll be set to run diagnostics on your car.
- Supports basic as well as advanced diagnostics
- Great value for money (very affordable)
- USB cable makes for a strong connection compared to wireless
- It’s a plug-and-play device
- Small, compact, and portable
- Requires an ELM software to work; not a stand-alone scanner
- May affect the car’s running when it’s plugged and pulling data from multiple sensors
This scan tool is excellent for enthusiasts, thanks to a good range of basic and advanced diagnostics.Check Price at Amazon
Autophix 7710 – Best handheld OBD2 scan tool
As a pocket-sized tool, the Autophix 7710 has a protective rubber sleeve that runs all around the scanner. It comes in a shed of yellow and is a plug-and-play device, which means once you plug it into your vehicle’s OBD2 port, it will be good to go. You can use it to read, clear engine codes, and reset the Check Engine Light (CEL) on your engine. In addition to codes, this unit performs a series of special functions on Ford vehicles, from resetting the TCM, PCM, EPB, TPMS, DPF, intake air throttle valve to oil change injector. Furthermore, the scanning tool performs battery monitoring, injector quantity adjustment, and DPF regeneration and clears collision data memory and EGR adaptive tables. On the surface, this device may pass as a mere code reader, but the above functions prove that it is, in fact, a professional automotive diagnostic scanner for Ford. The best part is that it supports all the OBD2 protocols. Meaning it can’t fail to pinpoint exactly what’s bringing the Check Engine Light on.
Besides the engine, this tool also tests the ABS, SRS, and transmission systems. It pulls and erases codes in those systems. Plus, you can distinguish a faulty code easily because the scanner highlights it in red. While the ability to read and clear codes is a good thing, it would have been better if each code came with detailed definitions. Some modern scanners even offer suggested fixes for the engine, ABS, SRS, and transmission problems, but Autophix 7710 doesn’t, and that is one of its weaknesses.
Autophix 7710 automotive scanner supports all Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles that are OBD2 compliant, including large pickups F150, Transit, VAN, and more made between 1996 and 2017. One of the good things about the Autophix 7710 is that it identifies automatically. On the downside, it doesn’t work on vehicles that are more than 12V as well as lacks some areas. For instance, it doesn’t support new key programming and can neither monitor nor let you manipulate individual PIDs.
- Comes with free lifetime software updates
- Doesn’t require any setup, it’s a plug-and-play device
- Performs exceptionally well in injector quantity adjustment
- Has ergonomic design and straightforward interface
- Very affordable
- Not compatible with Mac systems
- Functionally, it’s not a comprehensive Ford diagnostic scanner
- Could do with better code definitions and a built-in library
The Autophix 7710 is particularly ideal for auto enthusiasts who regularly work on Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles because it provides a decent amount of data and functionality.Check Price at Amazon
1. How can I check if the OHP OBD2 adapter will work with my vehicle?
The OHP OBD2 adapter has been tested to work on Ford models, including F150 and F450 trucks, through the model year 2019. It also supports many vehicles made by Lincoln, Mercury, and Mazda. To confirm your specific vehicle is supported, the best option is to reach out to the company.
2. Can you use the OHP OBD2 adapter to change ECU parameters?
Yes, on most vehicles. This feature does require an extended license from the company to use, which is fortunately free. Which software you use with the adapter is also a factor in whether you can use this feature.
3. Will the VINT-TT55502 work with Windows 10?
Yes, this adapter is compatible with all Windows operating systems. This includes Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8, and 10.
4. Where can I find the software to use with VINT-TT5502?
5. Will Autophix 7710 read and clear ABS codes?
Yes, on most vehicles. It’s been tested to perform ABS diagnostics and service functions on Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles from 1996-2017. You may have issues with some newer vehicles made in 2018 or later. It also doesn’t support these functions for larger pickup trucks like the F150.
6. Does the Autophix 7710 work with OBD1 vehicles?
No. The Autophix 7710 is designed for OBD2 vehicles made in 1996 and later.
7. Will the Innova 3145 turn off the check engine light?
The Innova 3145 will tell you what issue triggered the check engine light. Once you repair the issue, the light will turn off. That said, you can’t force the check engine light to turn off if there are still problems to address.
8. Where is the plug for the Innova 3145 in my vehicle?
In OBD1 vehicles, the diagnostic port is under the hood rather than around the steering column. Your repair manual can direct you to the right area if you can’t find it.
The Bottom Line
I walked you through 5 Ford scanners ranging from their key features to pros and cons. They all come with varying price tags and suitable for particular scenarios. No matter your budget, I believe you’re guaranteed to get a reliable Ford scanning tool.
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In short, each of the 5 Ford scanners is suitable for a particular scenario. And they all come with varying price tags. So, no matter your budget, you’re guaranteed to get a reliable Ford scanning tool.
Read more: Best FORSCAN Adapters – Buying Guide 2021