Looking to buy a Ford scan tool? You may want to consider a brand-specific device. Brand specific OBD scanners generally perform better than the universal ones.
The reason behind that is simple – the former are made specifically for a particular vehicle brand.
For that reason, they are tailored to work almost flawlessly when running diagnostics on those cars.
Now, if you are a Ford owner or if you frequently find yourself having to work on a Ford vehicle, it may just be a better idea to get a scanner designed specifically for that brand.
Table of Contents
- 1 Editor’s Top 3 Picks of Ford Scan Tools Comparison Chart
- 2 Best Ford Scan Tools Review
- 3 The Bottom Line
Editor’s Top 3 Picks of Ford Scan Tools Comparison Chart
From the ford scan tool reviews, what is the best scan tool to buy?
Now, have a look at the comparison chart below for the top 3 picks of ford scan tools recommended in 2019.
Editor's Pick Also Great Best OBD1 Code Reader for FORD
OHP Wifi Forscan ELM327
Customer Rating Price OBD1/OBD2 OBD2 OBD2 OBD1 MIL Reset Yes Yes Yes SRS, ABS N/A Yes N/A Engine, Transmission Yes Yes N/A Full-system Diagnostic Yes Yes N/A Bottom Line The Autophix 7710 provides a decent amount of data and functionality for auto enthusiasts and beginner mechanics. OHP WiFi Forscan OBD2 Adapter is especially suitable for you if you have a Ford/Mazda or frequently work on one. Innova 3145 will serve you best if you have an OBD1 Ford, Lincoln or Mercury car or truck.
Best Ford Scan Tools Review
1Autophix 7710 OBD2 Automotive Diagnostic Scanner
A pocket-sized Ford scan 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. Meaning once you plug it to your vehicle’s OBD2 port it will be good to go.
This Ford scan tool supports all Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles that are OBD2 compliant. The car should be a model that was made between 1996 and 2017.
One of the good things about the Autophix 7710 is that it identifies vehicles automatically. On the downside, it doesn’t work on vehicles that are more than 12V.
The Autophix 7710 can read and clear engine codes. You can use it to reset the Check Engine Light (CEL) on your Ford vehicle.
However, you won’t get detailed code definitions for each code pulled. You may need to do some Googling to understand the codes (assuming you don’t know the code meaning off the top of your head).
ABS, SRS & Transmission
It pulls and erases codes in those systems. 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.
Most modern scanners even offer suggested fixes for engine, ABS, SRS and transmission problems. The Autophix 7710 doesn’t, and that is one of its biggest weaknesses.
In addition to codes, the Autophix 7710 performs a series of special functions on Ford vehicles. It can reset the TCM, PCM, EPB, TPMS, DPF, intake air throttle valve and oil change injector.
Furthermore, the Ford scan tool performs battery monitoring, injector quantity adjustment, DPF regeneration and clears collision data memory as well as EGR adaptive tables.
On the surface, it may pass as a mere code reader, but the above functions prove that it is, in fact, a professional automotive diagnostic scanner for Ford vehicles.
However, it still lacks in some areas. For instance, it doesn’t support new key programming and can neither monitor nor let you manipulate individual PIDs.
Who is it built for?
The Autophix 7710 provides a decent amount of data and functionality for auto enthusiasts and beginner professionals. It is particularly ideal for anybody who regularly works on Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles.
2OHP Wifi Forscan ELM327
OBD scanners come in two main styles. While some connect to a vehicle’s computer using a cable, others do so wirelessly. The OHP ELM327 falls in the latter category.
It’s actually an OBD2 adapter (or dongle). That’s basically a diagnostic interface that works alongside a mobile device or computer and diagnostic app.
More on that in a short while, for now, let’s look at vehicle compatibility.
The OHP ELM327 is a Ford scan tool that also works on Mazda vehicles. It supports OBD2 cars (from 1996 to 2018) that are no more than 12V.
Those are generally all Ford and Mazda 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 diagnostic app. With that app, you can only run Ford and Mazda diagnostics.
But you have the option of switching to a different app, say Torque, and use the adapter on other brands of vehicles.
While that’s a viable option, it may result in you incurring an additional expense. Most reliable diagnostic apps are not free.
As mentioned already, the OHP ELM327 Ford scan tool works with a mobile device (smartphone/tablet) or computer as well as a diagnostic app.
First, you install a diagnostic app to your device (mobile or computer) and then link that device with the OHP ELM327 adapter via Wi-Fi. With that connection, you will be able to run diagnostics using the app.
One good thing is that the scanner works with iOS, Android and Windows devices. Meaning you can use it with a smartphone and/or Windows computer. Just make sure the device you choose supports Wi-Fi connectivity.
When you plug the adapter to the OBD2 port it will create a Wi-Fi. You can then connect your device to that Wi-Fi.
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.
Although Forscan works extremely well with Ford and Mazda vehicles, you don’t necessarily need to use it.
You can use a different app like Torque, Carista, OBD Auto Doctor, OBD Car Doctor, HobDrive or any other app of your choice.
That way the adapter will cover more vehicle brands than Ford and Mazda.
As stated, this Ford scan tool creates a stable Wi-Fi network.
However, it’s not so strong to use outside the vehicle. You’ll need to sit on the driver’s or passenger seat when running diagnostics.
The biggest advantage of using a dongle adapter over traditional OBD scanners is that you get to pair it with your mobile device or PC.
This particular adapter will send real-time diagnostic data directly to your phone/tablet/computer.
So what kind of data is that? First, off it can read and clear codes for the engine, ABS, SRS and transmission systems.
And if you are scanning a Ford or Mazda you can also read codes for the body control module (or BCM for short). There’s an MS-CAN/HS-CAN switch that toggles between DTC and BCM codes.
It’s undoubtedly a handy switch. The only problem is that it doesn’t indicate which position is MS-CAN and which one is HS-CAN. You have to use trial and error to figure that.
The exact range of special functions depends on the diagnostic app 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.
Who is it built for?
While a professional can use the OHP ELM327 dongle, it is best for the ordinary car owner and DIYers. It is especially suitable for you if you have a Ford/Mazda or frequently work on one.
3INNOVA 3145 Ford Digital OBD1 Code Reader
If you drive a Ford that was manufactured before 1996 then the three Ford scan tools above will not be of help to you.
You will need an OBD1 scanner. One that you may consider is the INNOVA 3145.
An extremely affordable unit, this scan tool is 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 vehicles 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.
A longer one will allow you to sit in the driver’s seat as you work.
Besides the engine, you can also pull transmission codes using this Ford scan tool.
Good as that sounds, its diagnostic functionality pretty much ends there. You can only pull engine and transmission codes.
Check Engine Light
While it doesn’t really turn off the Check engine light, the INNOVA 3145 Ford scan tool 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.
Who is it built for?
This unit will serve you best if you have a Ford, Lincoln or Mercury car or truck made within the years recommended. It makes it a breeze to locate problems in engine and transmission systems.
4FOXWELL NT510 Automotive OBD2 Diagnostic Tool
Foxwell is one of the biggest makers of automotive diagnostic scanners. In their product line is the FOXWELL NT510, a dedicated Ford scan tool.
Here’s what you need to know about its compatibility and performance:
The NT510 is designed to work on Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles that are OBD2 compliant.
If you drive one of those, and it was manufactured not earlier than 1996 then chances are it is compatible.
More interestingly, you can add software for 4 other vehicle brands. So by default, if your scanner comes with Ford software, you can add four other brands, like Chrysler, GM, BMW, etc.
Good as it may be, adding software for other vehicle brands will require you to dig into your pocket.
The NT510 allows you to read and clear trouble codes from all vehicle systems.
They include the engine, ABS, SRS, and transmission. It actually detects a vehicle’s VIN automatically.
Having said that, the auto scan function doesn’t always work. At times you may need to enter the vehicle make and model manually and do the manual selection of the systems you need scanning.
Many people love this Ford scan tool because of the plenty of data that it offers.
Beyond trouble codes, you can view real-time and freeze frame data from various sensors in text and graphical formats. The scanner also reads VINs and ECU information.
If you prefer analyzing diagnostic on a computer you can do so because this Ford scan tool supports USB connectivity.
Perhaps the one thing you won’t like is the fact that you can’t compare several PIDs simultaneously.
Besides all the basic functions, the Foxwell NT510 Ford scan tool packs several advanced diagnostic features. They may come in handy if you enjoy probing deep in a vehicle’s systems.
For instance, you can do EPB calibration, ABS bleeding, DPF registration, DPF reset, SCR reset, oil change indicator reset, transmission learning and clearing of learning values.
As far as special functions, the biggest downside of this Ford scan tool is that it performs very poorly in some vehicle brands.
For example, while the DPF function works excellent in Fords, Audis and VWs, it completely fails in GMs, Chevys and a host of other vehicles.
Also, you need to set it up for VAG format for it to diagnose the EPB system well.
Who is it built for?
Despite the advanced functions, Foxwell NT510 is not for professional auto repair shops. That’s because it can only support up to 5 vehicle brands. A shop needs a tool that covers virtually unlimited vehicle brands.
However, DIYers and ordinary car owners will find this Ford scan tool great for regular or occasional use.
5Autophix OM121 OBD2 Ford Code Reader
The OM121 OBD2 code reader is the second Ford scan tool made by Autophix on this list. That shows just how strong a brand Autophix is turning out to be.
But of course, the goodness and suitability of a scanner or code reader lie in its compatibility and performance in diagnostics.
Although it’s designed to primarily cover Ford, GM, Acura, and Buick cars, the Autophix OM121 works on virtually all OBD2-compliant vehicles.
However, it is not compatible with most Asian-made vehicles.
As a Ford scan tool, this device supports all OBD2 protocols including CAN, ISO9141, J1850 PWM, J1850 VPW, and KWP20000.
It should work even when the vehicle is off provided the battery is up to activate the onboard computer.
The Autophix OM121 reads and clears hard, pending and historical engine codes.
It basically pulls and erases both generic and manufacturer specific codes from any OBD2 Ford vehicle.
Each code comes with its definition to help you understand the problem better.
Its biggest weakness is that it only accesses the engine. Meaning the device won’t be of any help if you want to scan other systems like ABS, SRS, and transmission.
Check Engine Light
Despite falling short in the number of systems it can diagnose, this Ford scan tool does a good job in reading and clearing engine codes.
As a result, it is great for resetting the Check Engine Light.
With it, you can easily determine what triggered the light and consequently turn it off.
On top of engine codes, the scanner retrieves vehicle information including VIN, CIN, and CVN.
Additionally, it can perform I/M monitor readiness tests.
The latter function means you can always use it to check whether your vehicle will pass state and Federal emission standards.
Although vehicle information and emission tests are handy features for car owners, the device still lacks in functionality.
There are many Ford scan tools that can do a lot more, including programming, relearning and accessing all vehicle systems.
- Supports several other vehicle brands in addition to Fords
- Very easy to use
- One of the most affordable Ford scan tools
- Provides definitions for codes
- The small and lightweight design makes it portable
- Doesn’t need any batteries to work, derives power directly from the ACC
- Has a multilingual menu that supports English, French, Spanish and German
- Massively lacking in functionality. Besides engine codes, emissions, and vehicle information it doesn’t bring anything else to the table.
Who is it built for?
The limited number of functions makes the Autophix OM121 unsuitable for professional use. It’s too basic for an auto repair shop.
But it makes an ideal choice for ordinary car owners and DIYers who want to learn more about their vehicle’s engine and emission systems.
The Bottom Line
In short, each of the 5 Ford scan tools 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 scan tool.