9 Best Heavy-duty Truck Scanners and Software 2022: What Nobody Told You Before?

Are you looking to buy a scan tool for a 24V heavy-duty truck or a 12V gas/diesel truck? Either you’re a truck DIYer or professional technician, I’ve got you covered.

Many people bought a truck scan tool and got disappointed because it didn’t support their vehicle or didn’t perform the functions as expected or described?

I’ve spent hundreds of hours doing research and testing tens of scan tools for (gas/diesel) light trucks and heavy-duty trucks before writing this article (to make sure they work).

In this article, I’ll show you:

I make sure that they 100% work on your truck.

Remember, don’t pay for what you don’t need. Don’t buy a $1,000 scan tool and then use half of what it can do. That’s a waste!!

Best Trucks/Heavy Equipment Scan Tools Comparison Chart

ModelRatingRecommended forAction
Editor's Pick
NexLink NL102P

NexLink NL102P
9.7/1012V 24V heavy trucks/ equipment Check Price

Read review
fcar f507

FCAR F507
9.5/1012V 24V heavy trucks/ equipmentCheck Price

Read review
Editor's Pick
autel ms908cv

Autel MS908CV
9.8/10Heavy duty trucks/ equipment
(Technicians only)
Check Price

Read review
nexlink nl102

NexLink NL102
9.5/1012V/24V cars/ trucksCheck Price

Read review
Editor's Pick
bluedriver

Bluedriver
9.6/10Light trucksCheck Price

Read review
autel maxicheck pro

Autel MaxiCheck Pro
9.4/10Light trucksCheck Price

Read review

Keep reading, so you can take the right one for your needs and pocket.

Top 3 Scan Tools for 24V Heavy Trucks/Equipment

Not all scan tools can run diagnostics on semi-trucks and class 4 to class 8 heavy trucks (24V, diesel). These include commercial vehicles such as delivery trucks, school buses, bucket trucks, garbage trucks, long heavy trucks, construction trucks, agriculture trucks, and any other heavy-duty vehicles or equipment!

1. NexLink NL102P

NexLink NL102P
NexLink NL102P
3.5
The NexLink NL102P does not only run basic OBD diagnostics, but also regenerates the DPF and resets the oil service light. It runs complete systems diagnostics on many 24V heavy-duty trucks and is a perfect option for any truck owner.

NexLink NL102P is a quality Diagnostic Scanner that works well for both cars and trucks. It can read/ clear harmful codes, display live data in graphs, retrieve vehicle details, carry out EVAP tests, sensor tests, and others in cars.

It can quickly check engine, transmission, brake and identify fault codes. Also, It can provide 10 modes of OBD tests for a complete diagnosis and battery power checks of cars & light-duty vehicles.  It has unique functions, including oil light/ service reset, sensor reset, and DPF regeneration on heavy-duty trucks.

Notably, the NexLink NL102P is the only other scan tool apart from the Foxwell NT510 Elite that can run checks on pre-1996 vehicles with OBD1 protocols. 

The NexLink NL102P reads code easily but doesn’t clear them. Also, it doesn’t have a recall option for ancient codes, and it doesn’t support trucks not listed in the three major protocols.  Also, it doesn’t perform forced DPF regeneration. 

2. FCAR F507

FCAR F507
FCAR F507
4.6
The FCAR F507 does run typical HD-OBD and OBD2 functions and performs more resets than the others on selected truck brands. The device is a wonderful option for experienced heavy truck DIYers.

FCAR F507 is an exceptional scanner that provides unique diagnostics functions and serves as a full system truck scanner, OEM grade diagnostics, and code reader. This scanner has fantastic features that support class 8 trucks, automatic search, and routine operations like reading and eliminating error codes, reading the latest data, freeze frames, graphics, and others.

Also, the FCAR F507 has existing software, which makes it possible for it not to be updated before use. It is ideal for small garage owners, mechanics, and technicians who want to save money, time, and effort.

This scanner comes with improved and modernized configurations, which makes it a joy to behold for owners. The adorable 3.5 TFT color screen makes it easy to view displayed results. Also, the processor is super-fast and responds without lagging.  It is a must-have for everyone who wants to save time and enjoy a seamless scanning process.

The FCAR F507 is a high-end scan tool, but it is complicated and expensive to maintain and repair. It may be challenging to cope with for small business owners and professional busy auto mechanics who don’t have time.

3. ROMONDES RD801

ROMONDES RD801
ROMONDES RD801 Heavy-duty Truck Scan Tool
4.6
The Romondes RD801 is an excellent HD-OBD diagnostic tool for truck owners. The device checks all systems but lags a bit in reset functions. It gets the job done at an affordable price.

ROMONDES RD801 heavy-duty truck scanner is a vital scan tool for you. It can perform all 10 modes of OBD2 tests. It also has features like Live data in a graph, freeze frame, I/M readiness, O2 monitor test, on-board monitoring, DTC lookup, and retrieval of VIN for your vehicle.

Also, this scan tool is compatible with all heavy-duty trucks in compliance with standard protocols (SAE J1939, SAE J1587/J1708).

It is one of the most affordable and effective scan tools ever for technicians, mechanics, and small garage car repairers. It is easy to use, operate and control. Even if you are using the tool for the first time, you will find it easy to run and fix errors. It is compatible with at least 8 languages and comes with full obd2 functions. 

The Romondes RD801 is made for the European/Asia truck market and not the US markets because it doesn’t work in the right way for US users. It also lags in resetting functions and doesn’t offer more advanced system diagnostics and programs

Top 3 Heavy-Duty Truck/Equipment Scan Tools Comparison Chart

Before going to the detailed comparison of the 3 scan tools, let’s have a look at the brief comparison chart!!

NexLink NL102P
NexLink NL102P - Editor's Pick
Check Price
FCAR F507
FCAR F507
Check Price
Romondes RD801
Romondes RD801
Check Price
Customer Rating
3.5
4.8
4.6
Price rangeNexLink NL102P priceFCAR F507 priceRomondes RD801 price
System Diagnostics Functions10/10*10/1010/10
Advanced Service Functions6/105/102/10
Supposed Protocols8/108/108/10
Vehicle Type Covered (Cars, SUVs, class 1 to class 8 trucks, trailers (12V, 24V)8/108/108/10

 *Notes: Excellent: 9-10; Good: 7-8; Fair: 5-6; Poor: 3-4; Very poor: 1-2

Supported protocols and vehicle coverage chart

All three scan tools are compatible with most OBD2 protocols and HD OBD protocols. The NexLink NL102P is compatible with the 5 OBD2 protocols and heavy-duty trucks’ protocols like J1587, J1939, and J1708. The rest have the same protocol compatibility, but the NexLink NL 102P tops the rest as it’s compatible with a wider range of vehicles.

Here’s a table showing the three devices and the vehicles they are compatible with.

NexLink NL102PFCAR F507Romondes RD801
Supported ProtocolsJ1939, J1708 and J1587 and OBD2 protocols.Complete OBD2 protocols,  J1708, and J1939.SAE J1939, SAE J1587/J1708, ISO 1576 and ISO 14230 protocols.
Vehicle Covered (12V Trucks, 24V Heavy Trucks, Trailers)Cummings, Detroit, Maxxforce, Caterpillar, Freightliner, International, KenworthMost car brands. Heavy duty trucks from Volvo, GMC truck, Mack FreightlinerSCANIA, MAN, HINO, FUSO, UD, DAF, Cummings, Detroit, Maxxforce, Caterpillar
John Deere, Peterbilt, Sterling, Mack, Paccar, Westernstar, Mercedes, Volvo, Scania, for Man, Renault, ERF, Foden, Seddon-Atkinson, Iveco, DAF, SISU, STEYR, ISUZU, etc.Mack, Peterbilt, Sterling, Western Star, Fuso, Hino, International, Isuzu, Iveco, Mercedes Truck, Man, Scania, Renault, ERF, DAF, Nissan UD, Paccar.Freightliner, International, Kenworth, John Deere, Peterbilt, Sterling, Mack, Paccar, Westernstar, ERF, Foden, Seddon-Atkinson, Iveco, SISU, STEYR, ISUZU.
This video shows you what you can do with the NexLink NL102P.

Top 3 Universal Heavy-duty (12V, gas/diesel) Truck Scan Tools

For heavy-duty gas/diesel trucks, some diagnostics tools do a better job than others, especially as they have more advanced service functions. Below I’ll review the top 3 of them. Please keep reading to know the best one for you.

1. NEXAS NL102

The NEXAS NL102 heavy-duty diagnostic scanner comes with a clear 2.8-inch TFT color screen and has an interface that is easy to navigate.  It has a DPF/ sensor calibration/oil reset + vehicle engine inspection amongst others as features and can work smoothly with heavy-duty trucks that meet the expected specifications.

This scanner has troubleshooting tips that help mechanics, technicians, and car owners understand the problems and suggest solutions faster, saving money and time.

Other scanner features include reading and clearing of codes, DTC definition display, freezing of frame data, resetting monitors, etc.

For anyone looking for a scanner that is affordable, easy to operate, and can work on heavy-duty trucks, they should look at getting the NEXAS NL102 heavy-duty diagnostic scanner.

The NexLink NL102 sometimes reads codes without clearing them, especially for 2019 Pete 389 with an X15, 2015 Freightliner Cascadia DD15 DT12 automatic, and others. Also, the emission function of the scan tool tends to malfunction almost every time. 

NexLink NL102
NexLink NL102
4
The NexLink NL102 is an excellent OBD2, HDOBD and EOBD tool capable of running full system diagnostics. This device works on most 12V light trucks and 24V class-8 heavy trucks at an affordable price.
Watch how to use the NexLink NL102 here.

2. Autel Maxicheck Pro

The Autel Maxicheck Pro scanner is a fantastic scanner for 12V trucks that has standout features. It can read and erase error codes, carry out oil light reset, set inspection mileage, and reset the angle sensors. Also, it is compatible with at least 50 more car/truck models and can easily be enhanced on the internet. 

This scanner is ideal for mechanics, car technicians, and DIYers who want to save money. At its price, it is an all-in-one scanner that is simple to use and generates accurate information about your car/truck.

The Autel Maxicheck pro scanner exudes durability and simplicity with its strong case. You can carry it around without the fear of spoilage or deterioration.  

Also, it was conceived by a known quality brand with a reputation for building excellent products and comes with a 12-month warranty.  In case it has any issue, you can be sure to get it fixed in no time.

The Autel Maxicheck Pro takes time to update and doesn’t offer professional functions such as transmission, ECU coding and programming. Also, it depends on the car battery power to work, and you may notice this takes a toll on your car battery.  It is not an ideal scan tool for your busy shops or professional mechanics. 

Autel Maxicheck Pro
Autel Maxicheck Pro 12V Truck Scanner
4.4
The Autel Maxicheck Pro is a perfect pick for day to day typical OBD2 diagnostics for light trucks. It also offers full systems diagnostics and a lot of advanced service functions at a relatively affordable price.

3. FOXWELL NT510 Elite

Foxwell NT510 Elite is a solid and versatile truck scan tool ideal for technicians, mechanics, and car/truck owners. What distinguishes this scan tool is that it can work perfectly on both the OBDI and OBDII.

This scan tool is one of the most affordable professional scan tools for modest car/truck owners, small garages, and technicians simply because it can deliver fantastic OE-level diagnosis on all electronic systems. It can help out with oil service light reset, throttle body adjustment, DPF regeneration, and so much more. It is a unique scan tool that provides outstanding checks for several 12V car/truck models and supports the regular service features.

Though the Foxwell NT510 Elite is closely related in features to some other scan tools, you will find it hard to find one that can compare to the features the Foxwell NT510 provides. You can easily save tons of money and time with it while not sacrificing anything.

The Foxwell NT510 Elite code reader doesn’t work well with the MAC system.  Also, the code reader doesn’t have a battery, making it hard to use when the car is not running. 

FOXWELL NT510 Elite
FOXWELL NT510 Elite
4.2
The FOXWELL NT510 Elite is made for GM trucks and other added brands. It’s relatively more expensive but offers quality and optimal functionality for every penny. As a professional mechanic or long-time DIYer, you’ll love it.

Top 3 Heavy-Duty (12V, gas/diesel) Truck Scanners Comparison Chart

NexLink NL102
NexLink NL102 - Editor's Pick
Check Price
Autel Maxicheck Pro
Autel Maxicheck Pro
Check Price
FOXWELL NT510 Elite
FOXWELL NT510 Elite
Check Price
Customer Rating
4
4.4
4.2
Price rangeNexLink NL102 priceAutel Maxicheck Pro priceFOXWELL NT510 Elite price
OBD-II Diagnostics10/10*10/1010/10
System Diagnostics Functions10/1010/1010/10
Advanced Service Functions5/105/106/10
Supposed Protocols8/107/107/10
Vehicle Type Covered8/10
Cars, SUVs, light trucks, heavy-duty trucks (12V), 24V heavy trucks.
7/10
Cars, SUVs, light trucks, heavy-duty trucks (12V).
7/10
Cars, SUVs, light trucks, heavy-duty trucks (12V).

 *Notes: Excellent: 9-10; Good: 7-8; Fair: 5-6; Poor: 3-4; Very poor: 1-2

Supported protocols and vehicle coverage

All three vehicles are compatible with the five OBD2 protocols which are the KWP2000, ISO2000, ISO9141, J1850 VPW, J1850 PWM, and CAN. But the NexLink NL102 is also compatible with J1939, J1587, and J1708 that 24V class-8 heavy trucks use. This feature makes it lead the other three here.

Below is a comparison table of vehicles that these scan tools work on:

NexLink NL102Autel Maxicheck ProFOXWELL NT510 Elite
Supported ProtocolsComplete OBD2 protocols and J1587, J1939 and J1708 for heavy duty trucks.KWP2000, ISO2000, ISO9141, J1850 VPW, J1850 PWM and CAN.All OBD2 protocols.
Vehicle CoverageFreightliner, Kenworth, Mack, International, Sterling, Paccar, PeterbiltGM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, Kia, Hyundai, BMW, VWGMC vehicles including these brands: Alpheon, Cadillac, Chevrolet Truck
Caterpillar, Western Star, Mercedes-Benz, Man, Scania, VOLVO, Renault, Erf, Foden, Seddon-Atikinson, Daf, Sisu, Steyr, ISUZU, Hino, etc., from 1996 to date.And some other vehicles from 1996 to date.GMC Truck, Buick, Silverado and Holden from 1996 to date.

Read more: Autel MaxiCheck Pro: Scan Tool to Cycle The ABS Solenoids

Top 3 Universal Light Truck Scanners

Many OBD2 scan tools are designed to efficiently run diagnostics on your light truck. I have compared three of the best and varied options below and recommended the absolute best among them.

1. FOXWELL NT301

The Foxwell NT301 OBD2 Code Reader is a fantastic scan tool for modern car or truck users. The device allows you to know and grasp your car’s condition. It is easy to operate and enables you to check your car’s emissions. The Foxwell NT301 offers an incredible volume of data on your vehicle when you compare it to other OBD2 scan code readers, and you can easily control it through the desktop tool. 

This Foxwell code reader is great and offers fast solutions for OBD challenges. It is ideal for checking engine issues and troubleshooting modern vehicles. It comes with a precise 2.8 TFT color screen that displays everything clearly.

The automatic VIN acquisition and decoding of the code reader make it easy for users to read unique manufacturer codes and get improved mode 6 data.

As good as the Foxwell NT301 is, one of its glaring weaknesses is that it can’t read abs codes and barely functions well for service reset. 

Also, the Foxwell NT301 cannot work on problems not related to the engine, such as seat or airbag issues. Lastly, though free, the updates need windows 7 software to download, and it can’t work for Mac users.  

Foxwell NT301
FOXWELL NT301 OBD2 Car/Light Truck Scanner
4.5
The FOXWELL NT301 is a cheap OBD2 scanner that runs full-OBD2 diagnostics on your vehicle. This scan tool is a perfect option if you just want to make a few system checks on your car, SUV or light truck.

2. Bluedriver

The Bluedriver is one of the most admirable truck scan tools in the market today because of its many outstanding features. It works perfectly with both Android and iOS devices and saves time and money. It is not every time you see a scan tool that is as wireless and highly effective as the Bluedriver.  It helps provide quick, quality fixes to your everyday car issues without complicating things for mechanics, technicians, or DIYers.

The Bluedriver provides detailed results in its DTC readings which is a steal when you think about its affordability.

Supposing you are looking for an all-in-one truck scan tool that can carry out everything you want in auto diagnostic works, you should consider the Bluedriver considering it also comes with 365 days all-year warranty period. 

The Bluedriver doesn’t allow you to solve more advanced problems. Also, it doesn’t work with the camshaft timing and cannot be used for relays and switches. Furthermore, it is not ideal for diesel cars and lags in performance when connected to a laptop since it is majorly a phone product. 

BlueDriver
BlueDriver Car LIght Truck Scan Tool
4.4
BlueDriver can run full-system diagnostics, suitable for most dashboard light resets. If you need a diagnostic device you can use from your smartphone without compromising functionality, BlueDriver fits you the best.
Find out how to use the BlueDriver scan tool in this video.

3. Launch CRP129E

The Launch CRP129E is an affordable and quality truck scan tool that is simple to use and gives truck owners the ability to diagnose their vehicle problems and avoid destructive situations. The scan tool can work for more than 50 car/truck models and Resets at least five known sensors such as TBS, TPMS, electronic parking brake, steering angle calibration, and oil change lamp.

The Launch CRP29E is versatile and can carry out various functions ranging from reading code or checking engine, brakes, transmission, and airbags. It also has the live data display feature, making it easy to monitor and prevent avoidable problems. The truck scan tool comes with a steering angle sensor that makes it easy for regular steering geometry, which is crucial to effective Advanced Driver-Assistance systems. 

As for Launch CRP129E, many people have compatibility issues as it doesn’t work with their car makes and models, making it hard to read some codes and analyze issues. The auto-scan feature is also not consistent as sometimes; users need to enter the VIN manually. 

LAUNCH CRP129E
LAUNCH CRP129E Car Light Truck Scan Tool
4.7
The LAUNCH CRP129E has a wider range of compatibility than most scan tools. If you’re looking to run the main system diagnostics and perform a number of reset functions, LAUNCH CRP129E is the best choice.

Below, I’ll be comparing and reviewing three of the best options for you to make an informed purchase decision.

Top 3 Light Truck Scanners Comparison Chart

FOXWELL NT301
FOXWELL NT301
Check Price
BlueDriver
BlueDriver - Editor's Pick
Check Price
Launch CRP129E
Launch CRP129E
Check Price
Customer Rating
4.5
4.7
4.4
Price rangeFOXWELL NT301 priceBlueDriver priceLaunch CRP129E price
OBD-II Diagnostics10/10*10/1010/10
System Diagnostics Functions2/1010/105/10
Advanced Service Functions1/101/05/10
Supported Protocols7/10 7/10 7/10
Vehicle Type Covered
(Cars, SUVs, Light Trucks)
7/10 7/10 8/10

*Notes: Excellent: 9-10; Good: 7-8; Fair: 5-6; Poor: 3-4; Very poor: 1-2

Supported protocols and vehicle coverage

The three scan tools are compatible with most OBD2 protocols and CAN network protocols. The comparison chart below shows the brands the three scan tools work on.

Please note that Bluedriver doesn’t work on Ford 7.3L Powerstroke diesel trucks.

FOXWELL NT301BlueDriverLaunch CRP129E
Supported protocolsJ1859-41.6, J1850-10.4, ISO 9141, KWP 2000 ISO 14230, and CAN ISO 11898CAN, ISO 9141-2, ISO 14230-4 (KWP2000), SAE J1850 (VPW & PWM)SAE J1850 PWM, SAE J1850 VPW, ISO 9141-2, ISO 15765 CAN, ISO 14230
Vehicle Covered (Cars, SUVs, Light Trucks)BUICK, BMW, CADILLAC, CHEVROLET, CHRYSLER Group, FORD GroupGM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, 2005+ Mercedes, 2008+ MitsubishiBUICK, BMW, CADILLAC, CHEVROLET, CHRYSLER Group, FORD Group
GM Group, HONDA, HYUNDAI, ISUZU, JAGUAR, KIA, LANDROVER, LAMBORGHINI, NISSAN, MITSUBISHI, MAZDA, MERCEDES, OPEL, PORSCHE, SAAB, SUBARU, SUZUKI, TOYOTA, VOLVO, VW, and other brands from 1996 to date.2011+ Hyundai (available worldwide), VW (available in North America), 2003+ Honda (available in North America), 2005+ BMW (available in North America), Subaru (available in the U.S.)GM Group, HONDA, HYUNDAI, ISUZU, JAGUAR, KIA, LANDROVER, LAMBORGHINI, NISSAN, MITSUBISHI, MAZDA, MERCEDES, OPEL, PORSCHE, SAAB, SUBARU, SUZUKI, TOYOTA, VOLVO, VW, and other brands from 1996 to date.

Read more: Never Buy BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBDII Scan Tool Before Reading This Guide

Top 3 Professional Heavy-Duty Truck Diagnostic Tools for Diesel Technicians

As a professional heavy truck technician, you must need something that offers more advanced service functions than most devices do.

1. Autel MaxiSYS MS908CV

Autel MaxiSYS MS908CV Heavy-Duty Scan Tool stands out as a robust diagnostic scan tool produced to improve diagnosis on more than 80 public cars, including light-duty, heavy-duty, and medium-duty. It is one of the most sophisticated diagnostic scanners from the excellent Autel brands and offers exceptional service delivery.

The Autel Scanner MaxiSys MS908CV is an updated version of MS906CV and comes with even more functionalities, such as adjustable parameter programming on PCM, ABS, EATS, ADAS, and TPMS. Others are clear LED-backlit multi-Touch display, wireless connectivity that has a range of 230 meters from your car.

If you are a technician or mechanic looking for a complete scan tool that offers you a variety of options, then you should consider the Autel MaxiSYS MS908CV.

Autel Maxisys CV (MS908CV) is a fantastic scan tool, but one of its most significant weaknesses is that it is too expensive compared to other models. Also, it is challenging to set up and takes too much time.  

Autel Maxisys MS908CV
Autel Maxisys MS908CV
4.1
The Autel Maxisys CV (MS908CV) is a great diagnostics tool made for any heavy commercial vehicles and trucks. It offers amazing functionality at a relatively affordable price.

2. Launch X-431 PRO3S+HDIII

Launch X-431 PRO3S+HDIII V2.0 is an updated version of LAUNCH’s superior diagnosing technology and works with many vehicles. It comes with several unique features that make it easy to generate accurate test results. 

Its unique features include simple Bluetooth or Wi-Fi communication between VCI (Vehicle Communication Interface) device and the display tablet, making it easy to get a complete diagnosis. 

Other features include reading DTCs, Clearing DTCs, Reading Data Stream, Actuation tests, and advanced Functions. The scan tool also uses the internet connection to link one-click updates, remote Diagnosis, and Repair of Data, all of which help to analyze vehicle problems better. 

It is a unique vehicle diagnostic tool ideal for technicians, mechanics, and small truck shops because it offers specific features at a good bargain and helps save money and time.

 LAUNCH X431 PRO3S+HDIII can only work for 12V to 24V diesel trucks only.  After the first-year update, subsequent ones cost around $600, which may burden the user. Also, if you have not opened the x431 v plus account, you will find it difficult to activate, and you can’t download the diagnostic software from the manufacturer’s website.

Launch X-431 PRO3S+HDIII
Launch X-431 PRO3S+HDIII Heavy-duty Truck diagnostic Tool
4.1
The LAUNCH X431 PRO3S+HDIII offers great services for technicians who wish to have long-lasting quality. It lets you do anything you want on any heavy truck.

3. Launch X431 PAD V

Launch X431 PAD V comes with a range of fantastic features, making it a good scanning tool for car/truck owners, mechanics, and technicians.

With a better Smart box 3.0, Launch X431 PAD V can analyze the passenger and heavy-duty vehicles with a single dongle. This scan tool can carry out extensive functions, including full car diagnostic, ample car model coverage, powerful functions, and precise test data.

Also, it comes with a customized J2534 adapter that makes the scan tool one of the most advanced in the market.

 The Launch X431 PAD V is easier to use and operate and can work with more than 80 cars/trucks, displaying its versatility and quality. It can quickly examine cars, commercial vehicles, and big heavy trucks without any issues. 

Other advanced features include an Android 7.1 customized system, Qualcomm 8-core processor, 10.1-inch capacitive touch screen, support QC3.0 fast charging, and a host of others.

You can never go wrong with owning one of the Launch X431 Pad V diagnostics scanners.

For the LAUNCH X431 PAD V, the update for the first year is free but subsequently, you need to pay $600 which can be an issue for those who don’t have a plan to do that. Also, it is challenging to print the diagnostic report because the print button is made uniquely for the launch printer.  

LAUNCH X431 PAD V
Launch X431 PAD V Professional Vehicle Diagnostic Tool
5
The LAUNCH X431 PAD V is a professional truck diagnostic tool for technicians that wish to perform any advanced service functions. The scan tool works on a very wide variety of vehicles and its on-board diagnostics are top notch.

Below, I’ll be comparing and reviewing three of the best options for you to make an informed purchase decision.

Top 3 professional truck diagnostic tools for technician comparison chart

Autel Maxisys CV (MS908CV)
Autel Maxisys MS908CV - Editor's Pick
Check Price
LAUNCH X431 PRO3S+HDIII
LAUNCH X431 PRO3S+HDIII
Check Price
LAUNCH X431 PAD V
LAUNCH X431 PAD V
Check Price
Customer Rating
4.1
4
5
Price rangeAutel Maxisys MS908CV priceLAUNCH X431 PRO3S+HDIII priceLAUNCH X431 PAD V price
System Diagnostics Functions10/10*10/1010/10
Advanced Service Functions9/109/1010/10
Coding/ Programming Services9/108/1010/10
Supposed Protocols9/109/1010/10
Vehicle Type Covered (Cars, SUVs, class 1 to class 8 trucks (12V, 24V)9/109/109/10

 *Notes: Excellent: 9-10; Good: 7-8; Fair: 5-6; Poor: 3-4; Very poor: 1-2

Below I have compared the top 3 truck diagnostic tools for technicians in the market today.

Please keep reading to find out which one suits you more.

Which to Buy: Autel MS908CV, Launch X431 PAD V, or X431 PRO3S+HDIII?

System diagnostics functions

The three scan tools in this comparison are capable of analyzing all systems on most vehicles manufactured from 1996 to date. The LAUNCH scan tools perform advanced system diagnostics including checking the tail gas after-treatment system, common rail system, etc. The LAUNCH X431 PAD V tops this section being more advanced than the rest but it’s also pricier.

LAUNCH X431 PAD V
LAUNCH X431 PAD V
5
The LAUNCH X431 PAD V is a professional truck diagnostic tool for technicians that wish to perform any advanced service functions. The scan tool works on a very wide variety of vehicles and its on-board diagnostics are top notch.

Advanced service functions

The Autel Maxisys CV MS908CV is capable of making typical resets such as oil light reset, fuel pressure adaptation reset, etc. The LAUNCH X431 PRO3S+HDIII does 31+ advanced service functions, but the LAUNCH X431 PAD V boasts of making 50+ special reset functions including Gear learning, electronic parking brake reset, electronic throttle position reset/learning. But it’s quite expensive. The Autel Maxisys CV (MS908CV) tops this category because it offers most reset functions you need at a more affordable price than the rest.

Autel Maxisys MS908CV
Autel Maxisys MS908CV
4.1
The Autel Maxisys CV (MS908CV) is a great diagnostics tool made for any heavy commercial vehicles and trucks. It offers amazing functionality at a relatively affordable price.

Coding/Programming services

The three scan tools here all do ECU programming and IMMO key programming. The LAUNCH scan tools here are quite expensive, but they offer similar coding services as the Autel Maxisys CV (MS908CV). This makes the Autel Maxisys CV (MS908CV) the best here as it offers ECU programming and IMMO programming at a relatively affordable price.

Autel Maxisys MS908CV
Autel Maxisys MS908CV
4.1
The Autel Maxisys CV (MS908CV) is a great diagnostics tool made for any heavy commercial vehicles and trucks. It offers amazing functionality at a relatively affordable price.

Specialties

The LAUNCH X431 PAD V comes with a huge 15000 mAh battery capable of running diagnostics on your truck for days without charge. Also, the LAUNCH X431 PRO3S+HDIII runs on Android 9 which ensures a very smooth user experience for you. The Autel Maxisys CV (MS908CV) has a special Cortex A-9 quad-core processor that helps the device run quick diagnostics.

Autel Maxisys MS908CV Professional Heavy Truck Scanner

Autel Maxisys MS908CV

Rating

LAUNCH X431 PAD V Scanner for Truck Technicians

LAUNCH X431 PAD V

Rating

LAUNCH X431 PRO3S+HDIII Diagnostic Tool

LAUNCH X431 PRO3S+HDIII

Rating

Supported protocols

All three tools work with every OBD2 protocol and HD OBD protocols. The Autel Maxisys CV (MS908CV) runs on SAE J1939, SAEJ1708, J1708, KWP, VPW, UDS-CAN, and CDL protocols. The LAUNCH X431 PRO3S+HDIII works with all HD-OBD and OBD2 protocols. And the LAUNCH X431 PAD V tops the rest as it works with J2534, D-PDU, RP1210, all HD-OBD, and OBD2 protocols.

Vehicle coverage

These scan tools work on a variety of OBD2 vehicles and HD OBD trucks. The Launch X431 PAD V and LAUNCH X431 PRO3S+ HDIII boast of working on J2534, OBD2, HD-OBD, and OBD1 protocols. Nevertheless, apart from the J2534 interfaces, the Autel Maxisys CV (MS908CV) pretty much runs on all these making it the best option here at an affordable price.

Autel Maxisys MS908CV Professional Heavy Truck Scanner

Autel Maxisys MS908CV

Rating

Furthermore, the product cannot seriously analyze battery life and crank voltage and the performance decline when different PIDs are used consistently.

This video shows you how to use the Autel Maxisys CV.

Read more: Autel MaxiSYS MS908CV heavy-duty truck scan tool in-depth review

Heavy Duty Truck Diagnostic Software: AutoEnginuity

The AutoEnginuity is a PC-based diagnostic software developed by AutoEnginuity. The software offers top-notch functionality. Below, I have written a concise yet comprehensive review of the software so you can make a great purchase decision.

OBD-II diagnostics

The AutoEngenuity scan tool software does full OBD-II functions. On your device, it can run all 10 OBD2 test modes which are:

  • Mode 01- Request Live Data
  • Mode 02- Request Freeze Frames
  • Mode 03- Request Stored Trouble Codes
  • Mode 04- Clear and Reset Stored Emissions Related Data
  • Mode 05- Request Oxygen Sensors Test Results
  • Mode 06- Request On-Board System Tests Results
  • Mode 07- Request Pending Trouble Codes
  • Mode 08- Request Control of On-Board Systems
  • Mode 09- Request Vehicle Information
  • Mode 10- Request Permanent Trouble Codes

In addition to these, AutoEngenuity’s software is also compatible with EOBD vehicles.

Diagnostic and service functions

The AutoEngenuity scan tool is also capable of running most system diagnostics. These systems include transmission system, body system, electrical system, engine, and ABS. Moreover, it clears error codes and resets error lights displayed from faults in critical systems.

Supported protocols and vehicle coverage

This PC-based software is compatible with J1850 (PWM and VPM), ISO-9141-2, ISO-14230 [KWP2000], and CAN [11Bit and 29Bit] protocols. The software runs on most 1996 and newer vehicles. The software’s also compatible with a couple of enhanced interfaces ranging from the Enhanced Ford Family Expansion to the Enhanced Lamborghini expansion, light trucks, and 4WD heavy-duty trucks.

Weaknesses

The AutoEnginuity has many excellent features, but it has a few weaknesses like every other truck scan tool. One major drawback of the Autoenginuity is that it sometimes develops connectivity issues, making some USB ports and adapters not work well with it. Also, the product doesn’t work with 2000 M5 which is a dent when considering how flexible the product is.  

Compatible adapter

The AutoEnginuity scan tool works best with ProLine VCI Connector.

https://www.autoenginuity.com/support/software/

Final verdict

AutoEngenuity’s scan tool software is pretty amazing as it’s not only capable of running all OBD2 test modes, but is compatible with EOBD vehicles too. It’s a great option if you wish to run basic and enhanced system diagnostics on any vehicle.

Watch this video to learn how to use the AutoEnginuity software.

Recommendation

Finally, you have reached the end of your journey in this article. So, once again here are my top picks.

For light pickup trucks, BlueDriver pretty much tops the rest in the comparison being compatible with more protocols and offers more functionality.

For 12V heavy-duty trucks, the NexLink NL102 is the clear winner as it offers exceptional functionality at an affordable price.

When it comes to 24V semi-trucks and class 4 to 8 diesel trucks, the NexLink NL102P is your best option. It runs complete system diagnostics, a couple of special functions and covers a wide range of vehicles at an affordable price.

BlueDriver Scanner for Light Trucks

BlueDriver

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NexLink NL102 Heavy-Duty Truck (12V) Scan Tool

NexLink NL102

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NexLink NL102P Heavy Truck (24V) Scanner

NexLink NL102P

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And for professional truck technicians, the Autel Maxisys CV (MS908CV) is all you need. It offers great diagnostics for all trucks you would work on. The device is relatively affordable and offers top-notch functionality.

AutoEngenuity’s software is one of the best heavy-duty truck applications available on PCs today. Offering most diagnostics, the software is excellent for every truck DIYer.

Bonus: Find your best scanner with the Quick Search Tool on https://www.obdadvisor.com/

Truck scanner/heavy-duty truck scan tools: The basics

Benefits of truck scanners

The benefits of truck scanners.
Four benefits of truck scanners.

Scanners save you money

A trip to the mechanic is going to cost you—there’s no getting around it. If you don’t own a scan tool, you have no choice but to turn to a professional when there’s a problem. With a scan tool, you can figure out what’s going on from your home garage and sometimes even fix it yourself.

You can find and fix engine issues

Drivability issues like sluggish acceleration or reduced gas mileage can be symptoms of a host of engine problems. A scan tool lets you identify the source, so you know if it’s something you need to repair right away.

Module data helps you optimize your engine

When you drive a heavy truck, small changes to your gas mileage can significantly impact your pocketbook. With a scan tool, you can read module data and identify places the system could be more efficient. Even devices that don’t have ECU programming can help you stay on top of routine maintenance and keep your engine running smoother, longer. 

They’re easy to use

Hand-held scan tools use a simple interface that you don’t need to be an expert mechanic to navigate.  

Sound like something you need in your garage? Let’s take a quick look at the best massive truck scan tool brands and the different scanners they sell.

Top brands

Nexas

Website: http://www.nexastech.com/

The main focus of Nexas is on the end-user. Their scan tools are easy to use and affordable, so it’s no surprise their diagnostic equipment is famous worldwide. A robust quality assurance department means you can count on their scan tools to work reliably for years, making Nexas diagnostic tools an excellent long-term value. 

NexLink NL102 Plus review
NexLink NL102P Heavy-Duty Truck Scan Tool
3.5
NexLink NL102P is an excellent option for diagnosing problems with your truck.

FCAR Tech

Website: http://www.fcar.com/Home.html

FCAR Tech is one of the world’s leading suppliers of aftermarket professional diagnostic equipment. Based in the US, their focus on innovation means you can count on their scan tools to use the latest technology.

FCAR F507
FCAR F507
4.6
The FCAR F507 does run typical HD-OBD and OBD2 functions and performs more resets than the others on selected truck brands. The device is a wonderful option for experienced heavy truck DIYers.

Autel

Website: https://www.autel.com/

Autel is best known as a manufacturer of professional scan tools. Their products are well-built with a reputation for accuracy and quality. While their scan tools are typically more expensive than those from other brands, Autel scanners are worth the investment if you need the best performance.

Autel Maxisys MS908CV Professional Heavy Truck Scanner

Autel Maxisys MS908CV

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Types of truck scanners

Truck scan tools for DIYers

You can tell what code readers do from the name. This type of scanning tool is primarily focused on reading and clearing trouble codes generated by the engine. While some will also include functions like live sensor data or freeze frame data, they rarely include repair, calibration, or reset functions. 

In terms of compatibility, you’ll want to check the supported classes carefully on truck code readers. Some will work with any non-commercial truck, including large class-5 trucks like Ford F-550s or Ram 5500s. Others will only work on light or medium trucks or may have full compatibility for all truck classes. 

All heavy-duty Truck Scan Tools are designed for use with trucks in classes 4-8. They’ll often include adapters for non-OBD2 diagnostic ports and compatibility with the protocols used in commercial vehicles. 

Function-wise, heavy-duty truck scan tools are usually more comprehensive than truck code readers. They’re still primarily aimed at diagnostics but will diagnose more systems and read more modules.

Highly recommended – NEXAS NL102 Plus

Nexas NL102 Plus review
Nexas NL102 Plus Heavy Duty Truck Scan Tool
3.6
Nexas NL102 Plus is an excellent option for diagnosing problems with your truck.

Professional heavy truck diagnostic tools for professionals

The most advanced heavy truck scan tools, these models include advanced features that allow you to repair and replace components or even rewrite the ECU. Scan tools at this level also usually offer broad compatibility since they’re designed for use by professional mechanics, who will need to service a wide variety of vehicles.

Highly recommended – Autel MS908CV

Autel Maxisys MS908CV review
Autel Maxisys MS908CV Heavy Duty Diagnostic Scan Tool
4.9
The Autel Maxisys MS908CV supports functions like ECU programming and bi-directional control required for advanced repairs.

Key Features

The key features of heavy-truck scan tools.
Eight key features of heavy-truck scan tools.

The functions of a scan tool are the first thing you need to consider. Not everyone needs a professional-level scan tool. For most everyday drivers, the diagnostic features are more critical than service functions like ECU programming, which is more advanced than their repair skill set. 

Here are the most common features you’re likely to see on a heavy-truck scan tool:

Reading And Clearing Codes

Even the most basic code reader will give you this function, which lets you read trouble codes activated by the engine, which are the source of maintenance warning lights illuminating your dash. 

Module And Sensor Data

Most code readers will also allow you to view readings and data from the engine’s various sensors and modules. How many and which sensors you can read will vary from one scanner to another, with the more expensive, comprehensive scan tools reading all engine modules. 

Emissions Testing

Tests often included in this function are oxygen sensor tests, EVAP system tests, and I/M readiness tests. Any scan tool that offers all ten modes of OBD2 will be able to conduct emissions tests. 

Multi-system Diagnosis

Not all scan tools can read error codes from every system. More straightforward code readers tend to focus on the engine but don’t detect systems like the suspension or transmission. Scan tools with multi-system diagnosis or all-system diagnosis fill in these coverage gaps, giving you a complete picture of your engine’s health. 

DPF Regeneration

Diesel particulate filters on diesel engines need to be cleaned and emptied periodically. Forced DPF regeneration lets you manually activate the regeneration process and reset the associated warning light. 

Calibration And Adaptation

After you replace or repair engine systems, the associated sensor and module readings often need to be adjusted or reset to match. Failing to make these adjustments can trigger false alarms from diagnostic systems or even cause incorrect readings that change how the truck handles. Calibration and adaptation functions allow you to make these adjustments at home, rather than paying a professional to do it.

Highly recommended – NEXAS NL102 Plus

Nexas NL102 Plus review
Nexas NL102 Plus Heavy Duty Truck Scan Tool
3.6
Nexas NL102 Plus is can do almost everything you need, from code reading and clearing to DPF regeneration, Sensor calibration, or oil reset, etc.

Active Testing

Also called bi-directional control, this allows you to test mechanical components in the engine on command. It helps identify failed valves and solenoids, sparing you the need to test them manually. You’ll typically only see this function on professional heavy-truck scanners. 

ECU Programming

A feature found only on the most advanced professional scan tools, ECU programming abilities, allows you to rewrite the engine’s computer, adjust parameters, or reset systems inaccessible to other scan tools. This operation helps you install aftermarket components or tune your engine, but it’s something only professional mechanics and advanced home mechanics will have the knowledge to use correctly.

Highly recommended – Autel MS908CV

Autel Maxisys MS908CV review
Autel Maxisys MS908CV Heavy Duty Diagnostic Scan Tool
4.9
The Autel Maxisys MS908CV supports functions like ECU programming and bi-directional control required for advanced repairs.

Pricing

You don’t have to spend a fortune for a code reader. That said, the adage holds: you get what you pay for. More expensive scanners offer more advanced functions, faster and more accurate diagnosis, and wider vehicle compatibility. 

While there’s always some variation between brands and models, here’s the gist of what you should expect from truck scanners in different price ranges:

$150-$300 [for DIY-ers]: Heavy truck scanners priced in this range are ideal for drivers and beginning home mechanics. They’re usually very portable hand-held devices with user-friendly interfaces designed to be accessible to non-experts. Function-wise, they’ll primarily focus on diagnostics, with few (if any) more advanced functions.

Recommended product – Nexas NL102 Plus

Nexas NL102 Plus review
Nexas NL102 Plus Heavy Duty Truck Scan Tool
3.6
Nexas NL102 Plus is an excellent option for diagnosing problems with your truck.

$2,000+ [for professionals]: At this price range, you’re looking at professional heavy-duty truck scanners. They’ll include advanced features like bi-directional testing and programming capabilities and full-system diagnosis, and necessary repair and adaptation functions. While they’re worth the investment for professionals, they’re often more scan tools than everyday drivers need.

Highly recommended – Autel MS908CV

Autel Maxisys MS908CV review
Autel Maxisys MS908CV Heavy Duty Diagnostic Scan Tool
4.9
The Autel Maxisys MS908CV supports functions like ECU programming and bi-directional control required for advanced repairs.

Compatibility And Coverage

Heavy trucks are divided into eight classes depending on their weight. Most trucks in classes 1-3 (14,000 pounds or less) use the same OBD2 diagnostic system as other road vehicles like cars and SUVs. To diagnose these vehicles, you’ll use a standard OBD2 scan tool. 

Trucks that weigh more than 14,000 pounds are between class 4 and 8. Class 8 consists of any vehicle weighing more than 33,001 pounds, including semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles. Read more here-https://www.fullbay.com/blog/truck-classification/

Heavy trucks use various diagnostic protocols like J1587, J1939 and J1708 and may even use a different pin format in the diagnostic port. Because of this, standard OBD2 code readers won’t work on these vehicles. Instead, you’ll need to get a scan tool designed for use with heavy trucks. 

The other primary division in trucks is the type of fuel used by the engine. You’ll find both diesel and gasoline engines in everyday use. Some scan tools will work equally well with both, while others are designed more for use with one or the other. 

If you’re concerned about a scan tool’s compatibility with your vehicle, the best option is often to reach out to them directly with your vehicle’s make, model, and year. They’ll be able to tell you exactly which functions are supported and if it’s a good match for your truck.

Read more: LQ4 vs. LQ9: Which engine should I choose?

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