Vehicle diagnostic tools have started playing a very relevant role in the automobile industry. They help you diagnose and fix your vehicle’s problem without going to a mechanic.
This article gives you an insight into the best GM scan tools, which can help you choose the right tool for your demands.
Best GM scan tools: Comparison chart
|BEST OVERALL||RUNNER UP||GREAT PICK|
Actron CP9690 Elite
FOXWELL NT630 Plus
|Item Weight||3.63 pounds||10.4 ounces||2.65 pounds|
|Product Dimensions||4 x 11 x 13.5 inches||4.92 x 2.95 x 0.98 inches||17.72 x 9.84 x 2.36 inches|
|Summary||An exclusive GM scanner model that comes not only with codes but also with fixes. A perfect choice for OBD1 compliant vehicles too.||An extremely user-friendly GM code reader that provides comprehensive information even for those new to the scanning functions.||A professional GM scan tool that makes you well in charge of your vehicle health with a full system diagnosis.|
|Pros||Code connected with 26 million verified fixes. User-friendly graphical display.||A generic model that supports mode 6 and a menu that is more than just easy to use.||Apart from standard features, the ABS gives detailed coverage, and steering wheel calibration is available for many brands.|
|Cons||Code connect is available only in English.||Can't clear code and keep no tab on the safety aspects.||This device does not clear the airbag crash code.|
Table of Contents
- 1 Best GM scan tools reviews
- 1.1 Actron CP9690 Elite OBD1 & OBD2 GM scan tool
- 1.2 OBDScar OS601 GM OBD2 scanner
- 1.3 FOXWELL NT630 Plus GM OBD2 code reader
- 1.4 BAFX Products GM scan tool
- 1.5 LAUNCH CRP129X GM diagnostic tool
- 1.6 FOXWELL NT510 Elite GM scan tool
- 1.7 INNOVA 3123 OBD1 scanner for GM
- 1.8 thinkcar ThinkDriver GM code reader
- 2 Recommendation: Top 3 GM code readers
- 3 Why buy a GM scan tool?
- 4 Types of GM scan tools
- 5 Top brands of GM scan tools
- 6 Price range of GM scan tools
- 7 Tips & buying guides
- 8 FAQs
- 9 Final thoughts
Best GM scan tools reviews
|Editor's Picks||Products||Our Rating|
|Best Overall||Actron CP9690 Elite||9.5/10|
|Runner Up||OBDScar OS601||9/10|
|Great Pick||FOXWELL NT630 Plus||9/10|
|Best Budget Buy||BAFX Products||8.5/10|
|Best For Professionals||LAUNCH CRP129X||8.5/10|
Actron CP9690 Elite OBD1 & OBD2 GM scan tool
This GM OBD2 scanner tool is truly an elite model with enhanced features which keeps you on top concerning the car health. Actron CP9690 Elite has a code connect that houses a whopping 26 million verified fixes. Besides, with a single press of the hotkey, you get immediate insight as to why your engine light might be on.
With features like battery and oil reset, live data reading including playback, freeze frames, and coupled with 3.5” color display gives you a trouble-free diagnostic experience. You have a choice of three languages.
Read more: Best Actron scanners
Being a General Motors code reader, there are specific codes available, thereby putting you in a better grasp of the situation than other OBD2 code scanners. You can keep a safety tab on most GM vehicles with this enhanced type, with code definitions for ABS and Airbags.
Accurate link technology of CP9690 Elite, along with CAN, makes it compliant with all OBD2 compliant vehicles after 1996, including newer import and domestic vehicles. It also comes with an OBD1 compatible cable. You can update software via a USB cable.
Though Actron CP9690 Elite OBD1 & OBD2 GM scan tool is worth every penny in the higher price range, it has user-friendliness and easy to use design. Personal vehicle owners will love it.
- The graphical display of engine data on the LCD screen makes it very user friendly.
- Has some convenient features like indicating overheating of the transmission fluid, which might not have triggered the engine light
- There menu options based on vehicle type.
- Code connected with verified fixes.
- Dual PID graph
- Code connect is available in English only.
- ABS/SRS modules will not work on some models.
OBDScar OS601 GM OBD2 scanner
OBDScar OS601 is a ‘must-have’ to many users. Just plug it in, and your vehicle status is at your fingertips, displayed on a color 2.5” screen compact design with clear to see menu buttons.
This generic type GM OBD2 scanner hosts the enhanced mode 6 and displays test results in the graphical format. Such a value for money as it saves you several trips to the local mechanic or gives you enough information bases if you need to call in a professional.
There are languages such as English, German, Spanish, Dutch, and Russian, and also, you can update onboard software, making it scalable too.
This GM diagnostic tool is suitable for all EU based cars from 2001 onwards, US cars from 1996 onwards and Asian cars manufactured after 2008, and CAN compliant vehicles. A software upgrade is via USB cable.
We recommend this OBDScar OS601 GM OBD2 scanner for personal vehicle owners who want basic information about their vehicle when engine lights get on.
- Comes with enhanced mode 6.
- Accurate diagnostics.
- Able to retrieve generic codes, manufacturer specific codes, and pending codes.
- Very easy to use even for those new to these ODB scan devices.
- More features in this price range.
- Can switch between three languages.
- Codes are located but cannot be cleared.
- Does not indicate faults in the ABS or Airbag systems.
FOXWELL NT630 Plus GM OBD2 code reader
The NT630 Plus GM OBD2 scanner is feature-packed, making it an ideal choice for professionals. Wide coverage of vehicles, safety checks, graphical display, and live data monitoring of this GM Tech 2 scanners keeps you on top concerning your vehicle health.
The ABS code system is quite exhaustive. It shows ABS live data, allows manual control of actuators, provides version information, and removes air blocked in the internal brake fluid chambers. Calibration of the steering wheel works on more than 35 vehicle makes, while the safety tab on ABS/SRS works on more than 58 types of vehicles.
This enhanced OBD2 code scanner sports all the standard features of the O2 sensor, reading and erasing codes, onboard monitoring, and keeping you aware of the SMOG test’s vehicle readiness. There is a lookup available for the diagnostic codes.
NT630 Plus can be plugged into any OBD2 compliant vehicle worldwide, including light trucks, minivans, and SUVs. You can update this GM code reader via the company website, using a USB cable connected to Windows XP/7/8/10. However, It doesn’t support MAC systems.
The FOXWELL NT630 Plus GM OBD2 code reader is an excellent choice for DIY users and professional Automobile technicians, as it provides a very detailed insight into the vehicle.
- Wide coverage of brands
- 12 language options available.
- Detailed scan of ABS systems.
- Allows controlling the ABS pump motor manually.
- Large TFT color screen
- It cannot clear the airbag crash code.
- Does not support Russian cars
BAFX Products GM scan tool
The BAFX OBD2 scanner is a wireless model under the generic category with Bluetooth connectivity. This GM code reader makes gauging your vehicle health a breeze.
Read your inference from a wide variety of third-party apps on either Android or Windows devices. Engine light blinking no longer needs to worry as the Bluetooth OBD2 scanner provides live data from O2 sensors, EVAP systems, fuel pressure readings, and more.
You can easily read and erase codes and ensure your vehicle is ever ready for the SMOG checks. Also, it brings to your notice the accurate reading when your engine light went on via freeze frames. Works well on diesel vehicles, too, as long as they are OBD2 compliant.
This OBD2 diagnostic tool is pretty easy to configure and reads all the PIDs from the computer. Even when the tool is plugged into your vehicle for a long time, the battery levels are not drained. This GM scan tool works with Android and Windows-based devices.
Bluetooth connectivity is only for getting the data after the scanning is done. Faulty conditions are not notified via Bluetooth as the engine light will only blink first, after which the codes have to be read.
The BAFX OBD2 scan tool is compatible with many models in the US and manufactured after 1996.
BAFX Products GM scan tool is a great choice if you are a personal vehicle owner looking for a device that provides simple real-time information regarding your vehicle.
- Compatible with a wide range of third-party apps.
- 2-year manufacturer warranty
- Reliable and consistent even across many engines make.
- Does not drain the battery, though it supports multiple features.
- Very simple to use and the associated software poses no hassles.
- Does not support iOS devices.
- Not compatible beyond ELM 1.4
LAUNCH CRP129X GM diagnostic tool
The CRP129X is an enhanced version of the CRP129 and stays true to its type, as it comes with loads of enhanced features. The 5 inches LCD screen, which is more than double the size compared to other scanners, coupled with the keypad, makes it very accessible for non-technical people and dual speakers.
This GM diagnostic tool covers your vehicle’s major aspects – Engine, transmission, and more! By hosting all 10 modes of the OBD2 protocol like live data graphic display, readiness for SMOG,… this GM Tech 2 scan tool gives more than a comprehensive insight into your vehicle condition.
Live data monitoring is done across the engine system, the ABS, the ARS, and the transmission system. It detects the root cause of the engine light turn on and also clears the code. The anti-brake system is visually inspected to catch the fault, while every parameter of the airbags is also inspected, making sure you are not caught unawares.
LAUNCH CRP129X is available in 10 languages and can work on 57 American, European, and Asian brands manufactured after 1996. Lifetime updates for software are available via Wi-Fi and are compatible with Android and Windows devices.
LAUNCH CRP129X GM diagnostic tool is more than a home-use OBD2 scan tool and makes a reliable companion in automobile service centers and individual users.
- Live data is continuously updated concerning the transmission power to the wheels.
- Your vehicle specific scanning is done once plugged in via the Auto VIN detect feature.
- Graphs display the live voltage across batteries.
- Code reader covers TPMS/OIL/EPB/SAS reset.
- Printable inspection reports are available.
- In Porsche vehicles, while resetting the OIL, it sometimes also resets the other service indicators.
- Does not scan the traction control system.
FOXWELL NT510 Elite GM scan tool
An ergonomically designed GM OBD2 scanner with elite features that provided full system diagnostics. This has been engineered for running all the 10 modes of the OBD protocol that includes global OBD, OBD1, and OBD2. The color screen is 2.8 “and does not strain the eyes. Its operating speed and performance have increased by 60% in comparison to its predecessor.
Its diagnosis provides you with a detailed view of the health of the battery system, ABS/ ARS systems, radio control system, immobilizer, and oil service system. Reading and clearing codes, freeze frame data (including data at the start of the current drive cycle), code lookup, component test, onboard monitoring, Live data, and SMOG test readiness are available.
NT510 Elite Runs for all OBD1 and OBD2 compliant GM vehicles till 2019 and few of 2020. The software can be upgraded via USB for Windows XP based devices.
FOXWELL NT510 Elite GM scan tool is a good option for professional automobile engineers and personal vehicle owners though the software compatibility on newer computers might be a problem.
- You can also use this to aid the process of bleeding the brakes.
- Handles bidirectional tests and also allows key programming.
- Advanced features like adaptation and actuation available.
- A new module called repair information has been incorporated to provide additional guidance.
- Feature-rich at the comparable price range.
- The menu navigation was sometimes not too easy till the users get the hang of it.
- Not compatible with Android, iOS, as well as the latest versions of Windows.
INNOVA 3123 OBD1 scanner for GM
The INNOVA 3123 GM OBD1 scanner is for vehicles specific to General Motors cars and trucks. It connects to the self-test connector without harming the onboard computer and reads ECM and ABS codes.
INNOVA 3123 is a yesteryear model and does not reset the check engine light and turn off the battery for 15 min might clear the codes. This 12 pin GM OBD1 code reader neither requires a chord to connect nor is a wireless model. There are no compatible apps, either.
There is a book provided to look up the codes, which can be downloaded from the internet. This OBD1 GM scan tool is just a simple code reader model, and the code gets reset on the issue getting resolved.
INNOVA 3123 OBD1 scanner for GM is an option for OBD1 compliant vehicles before 1985 that needs basic maintenance.
- A basic option for cars that have been manufactured before 1985.
- Very simple to use.
- Easy to handle and manage.
- No code reset option available.
- It only works for the 12 pin model.
thinkcar ThinkDriver GM code reader
Another great GM Tech 2 scan tool that makes full system diagnosis, handles all the 10 modes of the OBD2 protocol. ThinkDriver is designed for 15 reset functions and supports 3 VIN software.
Common aspects of maintenance like battery/ gearbox/anti-theft and suspension matching, the exhaust of the ABS, resetting the steering angle, tire pressure, and even sunroof check are all incorporated into this GM scan tool.
Apart from detecting the vehicle and scanning the faulty points, ThinkDriver goes a step beyond to provide some professional repair options. It keeps a tab on the ABS and ARS systems and provides data from acceleration tests (up to 100Kms). Also, regular features like onboard monitoring, live data reading, freeze frames, EVAP system, code lookups are all inbuilt.
ThinkDriver GM switches between 7 languages; the thinking driver OBD2 scanner is compatible with 107 brands of vehicles that have come into the market after 1996. This wireless model runs on Bluetooth 4.2 and is compatible with Android devices.
thinkcar ThinkDriver GM code reader is an enhanced model that can be deployed by professionals and also serves as the perfect car buddy for personal vehicle owners
- Quick enough to give a full system report in 5 minutes.
- Hosts a flashlight, which is more than handy.
- Check the throttle position.
- Lifetime free software upgrade.
- It also houses a chip which reduces power consumption.
- Will not do a cylinder contribution chart.
- Does not set the new pressure on the car tires and can only reset them.
Recommendation: Top 3 GM code readers
With its plethora of verified fixes and wide feature set, Actron CP9690 Elite is like a mini automobile advisor. It does a lot more than engine monitoring and is a great product for personal use.
Next, a portable and powerful code scanner, the OBDScar OS601 has always been the favorite of many users for its ease of use. At its price range, it gives enough information via the code lookup and can be the preferred choice for personal vehicle owners.
Lastly, a truly high-end model with lifetime free software upgrade and advanced features, FOXWELL NT630 Plus is a GM OBD2 scan tool that even allows temporary control of the ABS and ARS system. Definitely worth the investment for professional automobile technicians too.
Why buy a GM scan tool?
Shouldn’t your scan tool also be specific to your needs rather than relying on multiple-purpose tools? The GM Scan tools would be your best pick because:
- Value for money: The GM OBD2 scanner and GM OBD1 scanner offer more features in the comparable price range.
- Added power: These GM Tech 2 scanners provide you with the right information, thereby thwarting any major breakdown.
- Increased efficiency: As you need not always rely on a paid professional consultation.
- Hassle-free usage: These GM code readers connect to the onboard computer system very quickly.
- Easy visuals: General Motors code reader’s screens come with great designs that do not cause a strain in your eyes.
- Scalable: Some GM OBD2 scan tools allow lifetime software updates making them scalable to the latest version.
Types of GM scan tools
- Generic: These OBD GM scanners provide a diagnosis for the engine alone based on emission characteristics. They do not offer bi-directional testing and also do not keep tabs on the safety and transmission systems.
- Enhanced: Those who fall in this category, provide full system diagnostics that include Engine, ABS/ ARS, and transmission systems. Some also offer to reprogram. Such OEM functionality enhancements naturally provide a better perspective of the current vehicle’s health.
- Wired: These GM diagnostic tools are like plug and play devices. They can be inserted into the self-test connector pins but are not handy in a moving vehicle.
- Wireless: Using mobile apps via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, wireless GM Tech 2 scan tools are a breeze to use. Gives insights when driving without any connection hassles.
Top brands of GM scan tools
Actron has been active in this field since 1998. Apart from diagnostic equipment, they also produce mechanical and electrical testers. Their range includes code scanners compliant with OBD and CAN equipped with multiple features.
With 20 years of automotive experience, OBDScar entered the foray in 2013 and manufactured OBD scanner tools. Their tools cover a wide range of vehicles, from high-end cars to vans, diesel generators, and engineering vehicles compliant with OBDII and EOBD. Full system diagnostics for BMW, Benz, and the V/A series are also available.
At FOXWELL tech, innovation, expertise, and knowledge present in diagnostic equipment to match the advent of automotive technology and user comfort. A comprehensive portfolio in this sector includes electrical brake tools, tablet diagnostic platforms apart from OBDII scanner devices.
Price range of GM scan tools
- Below $50: These GM OBD scanner tools fall in the generic category and serve a decent purpose. Some even support Bluetooth. They can read and erase codes, handle I/M readiness but will not check the SAS/ARS and other aspects.
- Between $50 and $150: The OBD scanners in this optimum price range are pretty complete in their feature coverage. Some offer enhanced features like scanning codes in the ABS and ARS systems. They do full system diagnostics, provide data in different languages, and cover many car brands. There are versions available for professional use.
- Above $150: The high-end models host features that can fit into professional automobile workshops or personal vehicle owners. The higher the price bracket of a vehicle will increase the maintenance cost. These devices provide the best hands-on diagnostics and keeping it cost-effective.
Tips & buying guides
With multiple products gracing the market, though you might have many choices, you should not buy just any GM Tech 2 scanners. You need to be aware of the below aspects.
- Budget and brand compatibility: You need to keep in mind your vehicle make, your expertise in handling these OBD scanners, and the amount you are willing to shell out from your pocket.
- Software compatibility: Most of them run on software. You need to ensure that your device is compatible with the GM Tech 2 scan tool’s software. Check the availability of updates and if they come with a cost. Many models offer free lifetime updates.
- Data inference: OBD scanners get information from a computer and helps you infer the health status. Graphical output, code lookup, and even verified fixes are available across models.
- Feature list: Scan the feature list to decide if the GM code reader has the key aspects you need. For example, Freeze Frame or ABS/ARS codes or Transmission codes.
- Customer support: If a high-end scanning tool is mandatory for your vehicle or work, there must be enough support from the manufacturer. It need not always be the ideal case that you can weave into the working of the device.
If you are willing to experiment and self-learn, the DIY devices would be very cost-effective as they save the cost incurred for hired professional help.
For those who need just enough data to make an informed decision rather than relying on a third person, then basic code reading models that can reset the faults would suffice.
With information always a click away, it never hurts to check reviews and customer views before zero in your model.
Compare products in a similar price range, especially concerning working methodology. Do not invest in a high model that has features that you will never use.
❓ Will Actron CP9690 Elite work with Windows 10?
💡 Yes, this model will work with Windows 10.
❓ Does FOXWELL NT630 Plus detect VIN automatically for all cases?
💡 It will detect, and in some cases, it needs to be entered manually.
❓ Can I use ThinkCar ThinkDriver in more than one car?
💡 Yes, the ThinkDriver can be used for more than one car. 3 VIN are free, and more than that, it has to be purchased.
❓ Does LAUNCH CRP129X do an oil reset and run an injector test?
💡 The CRP129X will reset the oil but will not run an injector test.
❓ Can FOXWELL NT510 Elite tell which sensor in the ABS has failed?
💡 Yes, this device will show which specific sensor in the ABS has malfunctioned.
❓ Will FOXWELL NT510 Elite read cam retard?
💡 You can use the Dashcommand app to read this. The app and the extended PIDs come with payment as per the current rate.
Many facets have to be considered when selecting GM scan tools with a myriad of features, connection options, and vehicle brands.
A good understanding of your vehicle, its usage, how frequently it requires health checks, and for what reasons all go into deciding the GM scan tool, which would be most suitable. Investing in such a tool is always worthwhile and proves to be very beneficial in the long and short run.