In this comprehensive review, we will explore a handpicked selection of budget-friendly OBD-II tools tailored specifically for General Motors cars, all priced under $200.
To start with, Here are the car manufacturers under GM, brand-wise:
Think of it like General Motors being an Umbrella & manufacturers like GMC, Chevrolet, etc under its shade.
Why do we need a special Scanner for GM vehicles?🔍
There’s a thing called OBD-II protocol;
an OBD-II protocol is like a secret language that cars speak to communicate with diagnostic tools. It’s a set of rules that allows the tools to understand and talk to the car’s onboard computer.
Now, there are a few common types of OBD-II protocols, like different dialects of the same language. Let’s take a look at a couple of them:
- CAN (Controller Area Network): This one’s like the popular kid in the OBD-II world.
- CAN allows for high-speed communication between the car’s systems and the diagnostic tool.
- It’s like lightning-fast texting between them, making it super efficient and reliable.
- KWP2000: Think of KWP2000 as the cool cousin of OBD-II protocols.
- It’s used by many European and Asian car manufacturers.
- This protocol uses a serial communication interface and is known for its compatibility and reliability.
- ISO 9141-2: Imagine ISO 9141-2 as the well-traveled adventurer.
- It’s a protocol that you’ll find in many Chrysler, European, and Asian vehicles.
- This one also uses a serial communication method and allows for bidirectional data exchange.
General Motors adopted CAN as the OBD-II protocol across its vehicle lineup in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The specific variant of CAN used in GM vehicles is known as CAN-Bus (ISO 15765-4).
If you want your scan tool to play nice with your GM ride, you gotta make sure it’s compatible with the CAN protocol that GM vehicles use.
It’s like having the right key to unlock the treasure chest. If you end up with a scan tool that doesn’t speak GM’s language (CAN protocol).
The importance of diagnostic tools!🔨
Diagnostic tools are like the super sleuths of car maintenance and troubleshooting, and they play a crucial role in keeping your vehicle in top shape.
No More Guesswork: Forget about playing Sherlock Holmes under the hood. Diagnostic tools take the guesswork out of figuring out what’s wrong with your car.
Just plug them into the onboard diagnostics system, and they’ll fetch those fancy diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) that spill the beans on specific issues. Talk about saving time and skipping the frustration!
Saving Your Hard-Earned Cash: We all know car repairs can cost an arm and a leg. But with diagnostic tools, you can cut through the confusion and avoid unnecessary repairs.
By pinpointing the exact problem, you won’t waste money on replacing parts you don’t need. That’s more cash in your pocket for exciting road trips or maybe even that sweet pair of driving gloves you’ve been eyeing.
Staying One Step Ahead: Diagnostic tools aren’t just about fixing what’s broken; they’re also about preventing breakdowns before they ruin your day.
These smart tools keep an eye on your vehicle’s vital signs, spotting potential issues before they snowball into major headaches. It’s like having a superhero sidekick that alerts you when trouble is brewing, allowing you to take preventive action and keep your car purring like a contented kitten.
Precision Is the Name of the Game: Modern cars are like high-tech gadgets on wheels, packed with intricate electronic systems.
Trying to diagnose problems manually is like navigating a maze blindfolded.
But fear not! Diagnostic tools bring clarity and precision to the table. They provide detailed data and insights, helping mechanics (or intrepid DIYers) perform repairs with ninja-like accuracy.
These are the tools that we will review:
- CGSulit SC530 – 4.4 stars – $120-150
- ThinkScan – 3.8 stars – $65-80
- LAUNCH CRP129E – 4.3 stars – $200-250
- LAUNCH CRP123 – 4.2 stars – $134-140
- INNOVA 5610 – 4.2 stars – $350-400
- INNOVA 5210 – 4.5 stars – $90-110
- FOXWELL NT624 – 4.2 stars – $250-300
Best OBD-II Tools for GM Cars
1. CGSulit SC530
December 7, 2023
The CGSulit SC530 is an affordable OBD-II tool designed to make diagnosing and repairing modern vehicles easy.
Connectivity method: Wired
The tool also provides live sensor data and can be used to program and change parameters in the vehicle’s computer.
The CGSulit SC530 is compatible with most OBD-II-compliant vehicles sold in the United States since 1996. (Specially compatible with General motor vehicles)
It is easy to use and provides a user-friendly interface that allows users to quickly diagnose and repair their vehicles.
The CGSulit SC530 is a powerful tool that can be used to diagnose and repair a wide range of vehicles quickly and easily.
It is capable of performing a variety of functions, including reading and clearing DTCs, reading live data, resetting monitors, and programming and coding.
The tool is also user-friendly and easy to use, making it ideal for anyone who needs to diagnose and repair their vehicle quickly.
With the ability to program and code, users can easily adjust their vehicle’s settings to make it run more efficiently. This can help improve fuel economy and reduce emissions, as well as increase the vehicle’s performance.
Overall, the CGSulit SC530 is an excellent OBD-II tool that is easy to use and provides a wide range of diagnostic and repair functions.
Functions of the CGSulit SC530
The CGSulit SC530 is a multi-function tool that can be used to perform a variety of diagnostic and repair functions:
- It can read and clear diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs)
- Full system diagnostic.
- Free Lifetime software updates
- It can also provide live sensor data.
- Can be used to program and change parameters in the vehicle’s computer.
The usefulness of the CGSulit SC530
The CGSulit SC530 is a highly affordable & easy to use OBD-II tool that can be used to diagnose and repair a wide range of vehicles quickly and easily.
It is also user-friendly and provides a user-friendly interface that allows users to quickly diagnose and repair their vehicles.
Additionally, the CGSulit SC530 is capable of performing advanced functions such as programming and coding, allowing users to customize their vehicles and make them more efficient. This can help improve fuel economy and reduce emissions, as well as increase the vehicle’s performance.
2. ThinkScan OBD-II
December 7, 2023
The Thinkscan is a cheap diagnostic tool that has become increasingly popular among car owners.
It is a budget-friendly device that can be purchased on Amazon for less than $100.
A major con having less compatibility with major car models i.e Mercedes, BMW etc
Features of Thinkscan
Thinkscan comes with a range of features that make it a versatile and reliable diagnostic tool. Some of its most notable features include:
- Live Data: Thinkscan can display live data from your car’s sensors, including RPM, speed, coolant temperature, and oxygen sensor readings. This can help you identify any issues with your car’s systems and diagnose problems more effectively.
- Tests: Thinkscan can perform various tests on your car’s systems, such as the EVAP system test, O2 sensor test, and onboard monitor test. These tests can help you identify specific issues with your car’s systems and diagnose problems more accurately.
- User-Friendly Interface: Thinkscan has a user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate. It has a 3.5-inch color screen that displays data and codes clearly, making it easy to read and understand.
- Benefits of Thinkscan: Thinkscan has several benefits that make it a popular choice among car owners. Some of its most significant benefits include:
- Affordability: Thinkscan is an affordable diagnostic tool that costs less than $100 on Amazon. It is an excellent option for car owners who want to diagnose basic issues with their car’s systems without spending a lot of money.
- It also comes with a lifetime free update.
- Ease of Use: Thinkscan is easy to use and does not require any technical knowledge or expertise. It comes with a user manual that explains how to use the device, and you can also find online tutorials and videos that can help you get started.
- Versatility: Thinkscan is a versatile diagnostic tool that can diagnose a range of issues in your car’s systems. It can read and clear trouble codes, display live data, and perform various tests, making it a comprehensive diagnostic tool for car owners.
Cons of the Thinkscan:
Compatibility: The Thinkscan is compatible with all OBD2-compliant vehicles, which includes most cars manufactured after 1996.
It can read and clear trouble codes from your car’s engine, transmission, ABS, and SRS systems.
But European & Asian car owners have been complaining of the Thinkscan’s compatibility.
For example It is not compatible with the Mercedes GLA250 & Infiniti QX30
How Thinkscan Compares to Other Diagnostic Tools
Thinkscan is not the only diagnostic tool available in the market. There are several other diagnostic tools that you can consider, such as the BlueDriver Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner.
Here’s how Thinkscan compares to some of these tools:
BlueDriver Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner
The BlueDriver Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner is a portable diagnostic tool that connects to your phone via Bluetooth. It costs around $100 and is compatible with both iOS and Android devices. However, it has limited features compared to Thinkscan, and it requires an internet connection to diagnose issues in your car’s systems.
Let’s review 2 professional-grade tools
When it comes to choosing the right diagnostic tool for your vehicle, it’s important to consider the features and capabilities of each option.
In this case, we will be comparing the Launch CRP123 and the Launch CRP129e.
Both of these products are Android-based diagnostic tools that offer useful features for vehicle diagnostics.
Below is a detailed comparison table between the Launch CRP123 and the Launch CRP129e:
|Screen Size||3.5 inches||3.5 inches with higher resolution display|
|Battery Life||3-5 hours||8-10 hours|
|Vehicle Coverage||Up to 57||Up to 76|
|Processor||1.2 GHz||1.5 GHz|
|Memory||1GB RAM, 8GB ROM||1GB RAM, 16GB ROM|
|Weight||1.06 lbs||1.4 lbs|
Launch Elite CRP129E
December 7, 2023
The Launch Elite CRP129E is a powerful diagnostic tool designed for professionals and DIY car enthusiasts. It is an upgraded version of the CRP129, with better features and capabilities.
Though it may not be technically ’Affordable’ but it does fall into the cheap category amongst professional grade scanners.
Features and Capabilities
The Launch Elite CRP129E is a comprehensive diagnostic tool that can scan and diagnose all systems of a vehicle.
- It can read and clear fault codes, view live data streams, perform bi-directional tests, and reset service and maintenance lights.
- It can also perform functions like oil reset, EPB (Electronic Parking Brake) service, SAS (Steering Angle Sensor) calibration, and DPF (Diesel Particulate Filter) regeneration.
- The Launch Elite CRP129E can diagnose more than 80 vehicle makes and models, including Asian, European, and American vehicles.
- It supports all major OBDII (On-board Diagnostics II) protocols – including General motors’ and can diagnose all 10 modes of OBDII, including enhanced mode 6.
The Launch Elite CRP129E is designed with user-friendliness in mind. It has a 5-inch touch screen that provides clear and easy-to-read data.
It also has a built-in Wi-Fi module that allows for wireless updates and data sharing.
The tool comes with a one-click update feature that ensures you always have the latest software and diagnostic data.
The Launch Elite CRP129E has advanced functions that make it stand out from other diagnostic tools.
- One of these functions is the AutoVIN technology, which allows the tool to automatically identify the vehicle’s make, model, and year. This feature saves time and reduces the risk of errors.
- Another advanced function is the Report Printing feature, which allows you to print diagnostic reports directly from the tool.
- The reports are detailed and provide a clear overview of the vehicle’s condition, making it easy to communicate with customers or colleagues.
- Comprehensive diagnostic capabilities
- User-friendly design
- Advanced functions like AutoVIN and Report Printing
- Supports more than 80 vehicle makes and models
- One-click update feature
- May not support some older vehicle models
- Expensive compared to some other diagnostic tools
- Some users report occasional software glitches
December 7, 2023
If you’re looking for a reliable and versatile scanner for your car, the LAUNCH CRP123 is a great choice.
Features of LAUNCH CRP123
The LAUNCH CRP123 boasts a range of features that make it an excellent diagnostic tool. Here are some of its key features:
- Reads and clears codes: The scanner can read and clear codes from your car’s engine, transmission, ABS, and airbag systems.
- Live data: The scanner can retrieve live data from your car’s sensors, allowing you to monitor things like engine RPM, coolant temperature, and more.
- Special functions: The scanner can perform a range of special functions, including oil reset, EPB reset, and throttle adaptation.
- Large color screen: The scanner has a large, color screen that displays data in real-time.
- Built-in battery: The scanner has a built-in 4000 mAH battery, allowing you to use it without connecting it to your car’s battery.
If you want to more about Launch Crp123
Which one is better?
Ultimately, the decision on which tool to choose depends on the user’s needs and budget.
If you are a professional mechanic or a car enthusiast who requires advanced diagnostic capabilities, the Launch CRP 129e is the better option.
However, if you are on a budget and need a reliable diagnostic tool for basic diagnostic tasks, the Launch CRP 123 is a good choice.
Innovations in Diagnostics: Innova 5610 & Innova 5210
The Innova 5610 and 5210 are two of the most popular diagnostic tools on the market for General Motors vehicles.
Let’s take a closer look at both the Innova 5610 and Innova 5210, comparing their features and capabilities to help you decide which one is right for your needs.
The Innova 5610 is a high-end diagnostic tool that is designed for professional mechanics and technicians.
- Graphical visualization of live-data.
- Other than reading and clearing DTCs, it can also perform SRS airbag reset, Oil light reset, ABS bleed etc (Innova 5210 cannot)
- This means that the device can send commands to certain vehicle systems, such as the ABS or transmission, and receive feedback from those systems.
- This allows technicians to view & download diagnostic data to their mobile devices.
- If you want to more about Innova 5610
December 7, 2023
The Innova 5210 is a more affordable diagnostic tool that is designed for DIYers and amateur mechanics.
Limitations of 5210:
The device can perform many of the same diagnostic tests as the Innova 5610, including reading and clearing DTCs, and monitoring live data streams.
However, the Innova 5210 does not have the same advanced features as the Innova 5610.
- It cannot perform bi-directional controls or connect to a mobile device via Bluetooth.
- Additionally, the device is not capable enough to perform bi-directional tests.
- It can also not perform SRS reset, register a new battery or perform TPMS reset/read codes.
When comparing the Innova 5610 and Innova 5210, it is clear that the Innova 5610 is the more advanced and capable device.
On the other hand, the Innova 5210 is a more affordable option that is designed for DIYers and amateur mechanics.
The bottom side is, if you want to choose a well-reputed & branded tool only then you should consider Innova OR Launch, other than that the cheap tool mentioned earlier does the same job.
The FOXWELL NT624 is a comprehensive diagnostic tool that is designed to work with most vehicles, including cars, SUVs, minivans, and light-duty trucks.
It is a powerful tool that can quickly and accurately diagnose problems with your vehicle’s engine, transmission, ABS, and airbag systems.
What are the Key Features of FOXWELL NT624?
Some of the key features of the FOXWELL NT624 include:
- Compatibility with most vehicles, including cars, SUVs, minivans, and light-duty trucks
- Ability to read and clear diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs)
- Live data streaming for real-time monitoring of vehicle systems
- Graphing and analysis of live data
- Ability to perform advanced diagnostic functions, such as oil service reset, EPB service, and DPF regeneration
- Multilingual support, with over 13 different languages available
- One-click update via USB connection
What Can You Do with FOXWELL NT624?
With the FOXWELL NT624, you can perform a wide range of diagnostic functions. Here are just a few of the things you can do:
- Read and clear diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) for the engine, transmission, ABS, and airbag systems
- View live data from vehicle sensors and systems in real-time
- Graph and analyze live data
- Perform advanced diagnostic functions, such as oil service reset, EPB service, and DPF regeneration
- Test components and systems, such as fuel pumps, injectors, and oxygen sensors
- Retrieve vehicle information, such as VIN, calibration ID, and calibration verification numbers (CVNs)
What are the Pros and Cons of FOXWELL NT624?
- A comprehensive diagnostic tool that can diagnose virtually any vehicle system.
- Easy to use, even for beginners.
- Advanced diagnostic functions, such as oil service reset, EPB service, and DPF regeneration.
- Multilingual support.
- Limited compatibility with heavy-duty trucks and other large vehicles.
- Relatively Expensive.
Keeping in mind the reviews of buyers & price of each tool, I declare CGSulit 530 the winner of this comparison.
Under the bracket of $130-140, there are only a few tools which offers great compatibility & functions at the same time & the CGSulit is one of them.
How to Use an OBD-II Scanner?
Simply connect the diagnostic tool to your vehicle’s OBD-II port using the included cable.
Then, turn on the ignition and follow the on-screen prompts to diagnose your vehicle.
The Tool will guide you through the diagnostic process step-by-step, making it easy even for those who are new to automotive diagnostics.
What if my vehicle has a 12-pin for diagnostics?
12-pin connectors were typically found on older vehicles manufactured before the mid-1990s.
However, with the introduction of the OBD-II standard, which aimed for uniformity and compatibility, the 16-pin connector became the standard for most vehicles.
Use the above product 👆👆 It will enable your older vehicle to get connected with your desired scanner.
A part-time Motor enthusiast & a full-time dad!