The fact is that it’s hard as hell to find an OBD1 scanner these days. Last year I still saw a variety of OBD1 scanners in the market, but most sellers had ceased production.
IMPORTANT ALERT: there are products called “OBD1 to OBD2 adapters”, and they claim to connect your OBD1 vehicles with your OBD2 scanners. Well, I have bought some of those to see if there is any magic. As I expected, there isn’t. So please, please, and please, don’t waste your money on those products.
Let’s get back on our way; in this post, I got the 3 best OBD1 scanners that are still in the market. Let’s take a look at that table for an overview of all the best OBD1 scanners:
3 Best OBD1 Scanners: Comparison Chart[Mobile users: Swipe left for full table]
|INNOVA 3145 (for Ford)||[Ford OBD1 vehicles]|
• Engine-system diagnosis
• Advanced diagnosis (with INNOVA 3149 cable)
|INNOVA 3170RS||[OBD1 & OBD2 vehicles]|
• Full-system diagnosis
|INNOVA 3123 (for GM)||[GM OBD1 vehicles]|
• Engine/ABS-system diagnosis
Table of contents:
- Best Manufacturer-specific OBD1 Code Readers
- Best OBD1 and OBD2 Scanners: INNOVA 3170RS
Best Manufacturer-specific OBD1 Code Readers
BIG NOTE HERE: These two scanners only work as code readers, nothing more, nothing less. They will show you the trouble codes; then you need to find the code meaning in the manual books. Sure, you can clear codes as well.
The books will come along with the scanners. There are lots of things you can see in the books:
- general information about how the vehicle computer works,
- detailed instructions,
- a full list of codes, etc.
Anyway, there’s a lot of patience needed here, but there’s no other better option.
And beware that:
- OBD1 scanners don’t get power from the vehicles; they require 2 AA batteries.
- OBD1 scanners don’t check every mechanical issue, only ones detected by the car computers.
#1 INNOVA 3145: Best OBD1 scanner tool for Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury
- Can save codes
INNOVA 3145 is for Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury domestic cars and trucks from 1982 to 1995.
This tool is among the simplest tools I have ever used. Just push the “ON” button, then the “TEST” one, and wait for the codes to appear.
It takes about 10 seconds to start sending the codes and another 10 seconds to display them. It’s kinda fast, right?
Thus, INNOVA 3145 has the ability to save codes. There’s a “MEMORY” button that lets you recall all the codes whenever you want. Yes, this also means you can bring the scanner to the repair shop, give it to the mechanics, and they can read the memory codes to solve the problem.
That being said, INNOVA 3145 alone is a basic and sufficient OBD1 scanner for Ford owners. And if you want to get more advanced, you can pick up the INNOVA 3149 extension cord.
With the extension cord, you can access a bunch of different modules:
- checks everything connected to the ECM/PCM/VCM (with KOEO mode)
- more specific to individual systems (with KOER mode)
Thus, the cord lets you sit more comfortably while using the scanner.
Today’s best INNOVA 3145 price:
#2 INNOVA 3123: Best OBD1 reader for GM
- Sufficient for basic codes
- No direct codes
- Can’t save codes
INNOVA 3123 is for 1995 and older GM vehicles.
The INNOVA 3123 helps you diagnose issues with your OBD1 vehicle’s computer by reading ECM and ABS codes. This way, you can quickly determine the problem and take the necessary action.
In fact, unlike other scanners, INNOVA 3123 doesn’t display digital codes on the screen. I have to count the time the engine light blinks; it’s kinda annoying.
Have to mention that, INNOVA 3123 does not have the ability to save codes, which means you have to write the codes down somewhere for later recall.
All in all, INNOVA 3123 is still the best option to get an idea of what’s going on in your GM OBD-I vehicles (unless you’re willing to pay more than $400 for the 2-in-1 scanner below). Counting the lights is better than spending hundreds of dollars on a repair shop for a code, right?
Today’s best INNOVA 3123 price:
Best OBD1 and OBD2 Scanners: INNOVA 3170RS
Price: Under $300
- Full system diagnostics
- Only for GM & Ford
INNOVA 3170RS for GM & Ford OBD1 vehicles.
Actually, INNOVA 3170RS cannot work with the OBD1 vehicles directly. This scanner comes with different adapters that you can use to connect to your OBD1 vehicles. You need to pick the right adapter for your vehicle.
Just like the Actron CP9690 above, INNOVA 3170RS goes beyond engine diagnosis to check for manufacturer-specific codes in all the systems in your OBD1 & OBD2 vehicles.
However, this little gadget only reads live data on OBD2 vehicles, which is a lack for those who want to read vehicles’ real-time condition.
That’s still fair for the price, though. If you’re not too concerned about real-time readings on OBD1 scanners, then INNOVA 3170RS is still a great scanner for the price.
Today’s best INNOVA 3170RS price:
I’m sorry for the lack of options in this post. But there are no other reliable products available in the market at the moment.
Hope that you can find one friend for your OBD1 vehicle after reading this post.
And if you know any good OBD1 scanner that is still available, don’t hesitate to share it with me and other readers.