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If you have ever had a mechanic take a look at your vehicle, you might have noticed them using a car health monitor. These small devices will let you quickly identify problems that will cause your engine warning light to turn on.
You needn’t be a mechanic to use one, though!
Some of the best car health monitors will allow you to diagnose common problems like an engine misfire, for instance, right from your garage. Plus, having a car health monitor at home can save you a costly trip to the mechanic for not much money at all.
So, let’s take a look at some of the most popular models currently available to find the best one for you and your vehicle…
- Top 5 Best Car Health Monitors On The Market In 2021 Reviews
- 1 Autel MS300 Universal OBD2 Scanner Car Code Reader – Best Entry Level Car Health Monitor
- 2 Autel AutoLink AL319 OBD2 Scanner Automotive Engine Fault Code Reader CAN Scan Tool – Best Middle Range Car Health Monitor
- 3 nonda ZUS Smart Vehicle Health Monitor, Wireless Bluetooth OBD2 Car Code Reader with App – Best Car Health Monitor for Trip Monitoring
- 4 BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone & Android – Best Premium Car Health Monitor
- 5 FIXD 7388 OBD II Gen II Active Car Health Monitor – Best Car Health Monitor for Multiple Vehicles
- Best Car Health Monitors Buying Guide
- Modern Motor Tech
- So, what are the Best Car Health Monitors?
Top 5 Best Car Health Monitors On The Market In 2021 Reviews
Autel MS300 Universal OBD2
Plug-in Integrated LCD
|(4.4 / 5)|
Autel AutoLink AL319 OBD2
Plug-in Integrated TFT
|(4.6 / 5)|
nonda ZUS Smart OBD2
Plug-in with Bluetooth
iOS and Android Devices
|(3.8 / 5)|
BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro OBD2
Plug-in with Bluetooth
iOS and Android Devices
|(4.7 / 5)|
FIXD 7388 OBD II Gen II OBD2
Plug-in with Bluetooth
iOS and Android Devices
|(3.6 / 5)|
1 Autel MS300 Universal OBD2 Scanner Car Code Reader – Best Entry Level Car Health Monitor
The first couple of car health monitors we are going to look at come from Autel. The first being their MaxiScan MS300 model scanner.
This OBD2 scanner offers a simple two-line backlit LCD. It will show you both fault and pending codes.
When you plug this OBD2 car health monitor into your diagnostic port, it will automatically light up. You will then want to turn the vehicle on, but do not start it.
Simply press the Enter button, and it will start scanning. You will then be brought to a scrollable menu that offers DTC, Erase, I/M, VIN, and Rescan options.
Codes but no info…
The DTC menu will show you any error codes you may have, but it does not offer any explanation of what the codes mean.
Also, depending on the vehicle you are scanning, some options like VIN and I/M may or may not be available to you. The VIN function only works on 2002 or newer vehicles, for example.
- Straightforward to use.
- LCD screen is backlit.
- Compatible with CAN protocols.
- Doesn’t offer real-time monitoring.
2 Autel AutoLink AL319 OBD2 Scanner Automotive Engine Fault Code Reader CAN Scan Tool – Best Middle Range Car Health Monitor
The next product in this best health monitor for vehicles roundup from Autel is their AutoLink AL319. Autel’s AutoLink AL319 health monitor comes with a vibrant TFT color display.
With the AL319 connected to your vehicle, you will notice a simple looking menu that is easy to scroll through. If you go to the check engine section of the menu, it will break down the codes based on whether you have a transmission or engine problem.
If you were to go to the section for your engine codes, you would notice that the error code is clearly displayed on the top of the screen. Below that, it will also give you a brief summary of the fault.
You will also notice a dollar amount on the top right of the screen. This lets you know the average cost of the part needed to fix the error. The prices that this monitor comes stored with aren’t very accurate, though. While you can update the scanner via the internet, Autel hasn’t provided a firmware update in quite some time.
This scanner also provides emissions readiness checks as well as being able to view real-time data from your vehicle.
Lighten up your day…
On the front of the scanner, you will notice a green circle with a checkmark, a yellow triangle with an exclamation point, as well as a stoplight looking symbol with an exclamation point.
The green circular light means you have no errors, and your vehicle is performing as it should. Then, of course, the red stoplight indicator will light up when you have any fault or pending codes.
An insight into your car’s history…
With this health monitor, you can delete error codes. Thanks to the yellow triangular indicator, you can actually tell if someone else has previously deleted codes from the computer.
- Checks your car’s emission levels.
- Can change the display language.
- Screen is bright and easy to read.
- The diagnostic port cable could be longer.
3 nonda ZUS Smart Vehicle Health Monitor, Wireless Bluetooth OBD2 Car Code Reader with App – Best Car Health Monitor for Trip Monitoring
Suppose you want a car health monitor that can wirelessly connect to your Android or iOS devices. In that case, the ZUS Smart Vehicle Health Monitor might be right for you.
You can plug this monitor into your vehicle’s diagnostic port like you would with any other car health monitor. From there, you will want to download the ZUS Car Scanner and Code Reader application from your app store.
This will allow you to wirelessly connect to the diagnostic port module via Bluetooth. Pairing the diagnostic module to your phone is easy, thanks to the step-by-step instructions provided.
What exactly can it do?
Since you can leave the Bluetooth module connected to the diagnostic port, you can view live data about your vehicle as you drive. You may notice it drain your battery somewhat over time, though.
If you were to have an error code, the application would notify you of the specific problem area. It’ll also give you a detailed description of the fault as well as step-by-step instructions to fix the problem yourself!
While this car health monitor can clear codes, it does not let you know if fault codes have been previously removed. It will only monitor actively for powertrain faults if you wish, as well.
The ZUS app has the ability to monitor all of your trips. You can classify and separate personal trips from your business ones and export them for tax purposes, for example.
It will also help increase your fuel efficiency by examining your driving behavior. Plus, it will notify you if you are braking too hard or speeding, amongst other things.
- Has the ability to locate your vehicle.
- Can log and export all of your trips.
- Instructions to fix common error codes yourself.
- It may drain your battery over time.
4 BlueDriver Bluetooth Pro OBDII Scan Tool for iPhone & Android – Best Premium Car Health Monitor
Some of the best health monitors for your car don’t come cheaply. This BlueDriver Bluetooth ODB2 Scanner sits at a high price point, but it is able to scan for P, C, and U error codes.
It features Bluetooth 2.0 technology, which should make it compatible with almost any Android or iOS device manufactured since 2005. Pairing this monitor to your smart device will require you to download the BlueDriver Pro Scan Tool application. With this up and running, you will have access to live engine data. It will also freeze-frame any emission faults as they occur.
That’s not all…
Since this scanner can read not only powertrain errors but also chassis and network errors, it will be able to pick up airbag or brake problems as well.
It also features what BlueDriver calls Mode 6. With the use of Mode 6, the scanner will produce even more advanced results. Everything from oxygen and flow system monitors to miss-fires will be picked up and stored using Mode 6.
No matter what error code the scanner puts out, you will also see a brief description of what’s wrong. It will also provide you multiple causes as well as the most common way to correct the fault.
Also included in the application is a vehicle information button. If you tap on this button, it will not only tell you the VIN number of your vehicle, but it will even show if there are any recalls out on your car, for instance.
- Can check for airbag and brake faults.
- Monitor your vehicle’s smog levels.
- Notifies for recalls on your vehicle.
- Doesn’t work well on cars manufactured before 2008.
5 FIXD 7388 OBD II Gen II Active Car Health Monitor – Best Car Health Monitor for Multiple Vehicles
The last car health monitor we are going to look at comes from FIXD. This monitor will work on all 2006 and newer gas vehicles as well as diesel vehicles from 2008 onwards. It is another scanner that connects wirelessly to your Android or iOS device by using Bluetooth and FIXD’s own Vehicle Health Monitor app.
When you first go to pair the application with the scanner, you will need to have your car running. Then it’ll ask you to enter the mileage of the vehicle it is testing. This allows the scanner to recommend when you need an oil change, for example.
Once that’s done, you can scan the vehicle at the push of a button. Plus, this car health monitor might just have the easiest to use interface that we have seen.
All the information you could ever need…
Error codes are clearly broken down, and you will see a description of each. Below each fault code, there will also be a list of things you may notice if you don’t fix the corresponding error.
The FIXD car health monitor will be able to read any code that is sent through your check engine light. That includes powertrain, chassis, body, and network codes, but not airbag faults, for example.
You can also use this sensor on multiple vehicles. FIXD’s Vehicle Health Monitor application allows you to create separate profiles for each and every car you diagnose.
But there’s a catch…
While the application needed to use this device might be free, it only comes with limited functionality. To get the most out of this health monitor, you will want to subscribe to FIXD Premium. This is a monthly service that costs $5.99.
With FIXD Premium, any error codes will show a cost estimate for it to be repaired. You will also have access to a hotline to reach a mechanic.
- Interface is extremely easy to use.
- Can save profiles for multiple vehicles.
- Need to subscribe to a premium plan for full functionality.
- Will not work on all-electric vehicles.
Best Car Health Monitors Buying Guide
The following buying guide will help you further understand some of the terminologies you have come across in this review. We will also point out other important factors to consider when buying a monitor.
All of the car health monitors we have looked at feature the OBD2 system. OBD2 simply stands for OnBoard Diagnostic System version 2. Since 1996 all car manufacturers have used this diagnostic standard. Any vehicle before 1996 will use the original OBD system. Depending on the health monitor, it may be backward compatible.
The monitors we have looked at all need to be plugged into your vehicle’s diagnostic port located on the driver’s side of the car, under the dashboard.
Some monitors will feature an integrated screen for viewing relative diagnostic information. Other monitors have integrated wireless connectivity allowing you to view your diagnostic data on your phone or computer.
Once you have your health monitor plugged into the vehicle’s diagnostic port and have activated it, you will see a diagnostic trouble code.
The code starts with a letter followed by four numbers. It will look something like P0305 or C0999, for example.
In our example, P0305, the P stands for the powertrain. The first number will either be a ‘0’ or a ‘1’.
What does that mean?
A ‘0’ indicates it’s a generic SAE fault that applies to all OBD2 diagnostic systems. In contrast, a ‘1’ indicates that the fault is specific to that vehicle manufacturer.
The remaining three numbers will indicate the specific system and circuit that is faulty. There are a total of 3,637 OBD2 diagnostic trouble codes!
Some car health monitors will provide you with a description of the error code. If they don’t, you can typically find a list of the most common error codes in the monitor’s manual. To get the complete list of error codes, we would recommend heading online and doing a quick search.
Depending on the car health monitor model, it may be able to log the data it receives. This will help you track the maintenance history of the vehicle and even aid in predicting further faults.
Monitors can sometimes allow you to reset check engine lights. They can even provide recommendations that will clear the error code.
You will also come across car health monitors that can check your emissions status, provide maintenance scheduling, and even let you know of any recalls, for example.
Depending on what you want, remember…
We find that when it comes to car health monitors, you get what you pay for. A cheaper monitor will undoubtedly be able to help diagnose simple issues. While, for not much more money, you will usually be able to diagnose problems with your airbags or even brakes as well.
Modern Motor Tech
These days, there’s very little that’s out of reach of the driver in terms of motor technology. You may want to browse our in-depth reviews of the Best Performance Chips, the Best Car Anti Theft Devices, the Best Android Auto Head Unit, the Best Hidden GPS Trackers, the Best Flash Programmers for Tuning, or the Best Tuners for 7.3 Powerstroke for your money?
Back to the best vehicle health monitors…
So, what are the Best Car Health Monitors?
Without further ado, the winner of this best health monitor for cars roundup goes to…
Once you download the BlueDriver app and connect the monitor to your vehicle’s diagnostic port, the amount of information you have at hand is immense.
It will provide you error codes regarding your powertrain and network, as well as the chassis. This will even include airbag and brake errors. Moreover, you’ll also have access to the most common ways to fix those errors yourself.
This isn’t the cheapest car health monitor we have looked at, though. However, since you can fix small problems yourself using this monitor, you quickly find the increased price is more than justified. Especially when you consider how much a mechanic would charge.
Enjoy your ride.