Looking to buy an OBD scan tool for your Ford? You may want to consider a brand-specific device that generally performs better than the universal ones.
The reason behind that is simple – the former are made specifically for a particular car brand. For that reason, they are tailored to work almost flawlessly when running diagnostics on those cars.
Then, if you are a Ford owner or frequently find yourself working on Ford vehicles, my advice is: “Get a Ford scanner”.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is a Ford scan tool?
- 2 What to Consider Before Buying a Scanner?
- 3 What is the Best Scanner for my Ford today?
- 4 Best Ford Scan Tool
- 5 The Bottom Line
What is a Ford scan tool?
An OBD scanner for Ford (can also work well on Mazda, Lincoln, and Mercury) is developed to be best compatible with the dashboard monitoring systems and other electronic systems in the vehicles, which ensures that the tool can diagnose and give accurate reports about the issues in the cars.
What to Consider Before Buying a Scanner?
Let’s start with the classifications.
By year, there are OBD1 code reader for those made before 1996 and OBD2 scanner for the newer. Do you remember the year of your car?
By functionality, Ford scan tools can be divided into three groups: primary code readers, enhanced OBD2 scanners, and advanced professional diagnostic tools. Because of price gaps, the benefits you will get from the devices are different. The more you pay, the more you get.
Now, the questions you should be asking yourself are:
“What functions do I need from it?”, and
“How much should I spend on it?”
If you are a beginner DIYer, buy a cheap car code reader (costs around $20-$100) to help you read and clear the trouble codes, reset the check engine light, and do some simple diagnosis and fixes. Enhanced OBDII scanners ($100-$200, some are cheaper) are suitable for experienced home mechanics or enthusiasts. They offer more complicated diagnostic functions for both OBD and non-OBD systems and cost a bit more. If you are a diagnostic specialist or a shop owner, buy a professional automotive diagnostic scanner.
What is the Best Scanner for my Ford today?
Best Overall: AUTOPHIX 7710
The Autophix 7710 is the perfect pick if you want to perform advanced diagnostics because this diagnostic tool offers a series of special features like programming and resetting things.
Best Budget Buy: OHP Forscan OBD2 USB Adapter
If you prefer a Forscan adapter then the OHP is an excellent choice. With a strong Wi-Fi connection, the FORScan adapter allows you to turn your phone, tablet or computer into a diagnostic device.
Best OBD1 Code Reader: INNOVA 3145
If you own an OBD1 Ford car or truck, never miss the INNOVA 3145. It’s the only one that can diagnose vehicles made between 1982 and 1995. But if your Ford car is OBD2 compliant then you may want to make your choice from the other four scanners.
Scroll down for the detailed reviews.
Best Ford Scan Tool
All the scanners in this review were practically tested by our technician team to make sure that they will work well on any cars included in the coverage.
1. Autophix 7710 OBD2 Ford Diagnostic 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 to 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, DPF regeneration and clears collision data memory as well as 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.
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. Most modern scanners even offer suggested fixes for engine, ABS, SRS and transmission problems, but Autophix 7710 doesn’t, and that is one of its biggest weaknesses.
This automotive scanner supports all Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles that are OBD2 compliant including large pickups F150, Transit, VAN, and more that are 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.
The Autophix 7710 is particularly ideal for auto enthusiasts and technicians who regularly works on Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles because it provides a decent amount of data and functionality.Check Price at Amazon
2. OHP FORScan USB OBD2 Adapter
[for Windows devices]
OHP is actually an OBD2 USB adapter (or dongle). That’s basically a diagnostic interface that works alongside a mobile device or computer and diagnostic app. This particular adapter will send real-time diagnostic data directly to your phone/tablet/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 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.
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 diagnostic app. But you are able to switch to a different app, 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.
If you are an ordinary car owner and DIYers, OHP ELM327 is especially suitable for you.Check Price at Amazon
3. INNOVA 3145 OBD1 Ford Code Reader
If you drive a Ford that was manufactured before 1996 then the three products above will not be of help to you. You will need an OBD1 scanner. One that you may consider is the INNOVA 3145 which 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.
Besides the engine, you can also pull transmission codes using this unit. Good as that sounds, its diagnostic functionality pretty much ends there. You can only pull engine and transmission codes. While it doesn’t really 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 code book 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.
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
4. FORScan VINT-TT55502 Scan Tool
[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 in order 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-base 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 that are 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 basically.Check Price at Amazon
5. ELM327 FORScan OBD2 Scanner
Yet another ELM327-based scanner for Ford, the ELM327 FORScan OBD2 Adapter 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 its 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
The Bottom Line
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.