Best OBD II scanner for Honda and Acura owners

Best OBD II scanner for Honda and Acura

Last Updated on Friday Feb 16, 2018

If you own a Honda or Acura and would like to diagnose and troubleshoot it yourself an OBD-II scanner is a must. With so many OBD2 scanners for sale, you may wonder what's the best OBD II scanner for Honda?

The best scanner for Honda and Acura depends on two factors. Your budget and what you are trying to diagnose. Are you only looking to read and clear codes from the ECU and reset the Check Engine Light? If that is the case, all you need is a basic OBD-2 scanner some of which costs as low as $20. To get a better understanding of our categorization of OBD2 scanners, take a minute to read the article on Understanding OBD2 scanners. 

Scanner for Honda / Acura in-depth Troubleshooting 

If you want to diagnose, ABS, airbag, transmission problems you need at least a level 2 scanner that has similar functionality as the diagnostic scanner used at Honda deaerships. It doesn't have to cost several thousands of dollars to get a good scanner for your Honda.

In this article, we will talk about the Honda dealer scanner (Honda HDS scan tool) and list some good alternatives.

What scanner do Honda dealers use? 

honda hds diagnostic system mvci tol

If you have had your car diagnosed by a Honda dealership you probably heard the term HDS scanner. What is HDS after all? It stands for Honda Diagnostic System. It is a laptop based scanner used at Honda dealers to diagnose and troubleshoot car problems. To use HDS you will need a Modular Vehicle Communications Interface (MVCI) which allows the dealer to flash, program and calibrate any control unit on Honda and Acura cars. The HDS can scan Honda and Acura cars only. It is compatible with Hondas all the way back to the early 1990s. You can view the Service Bulletin published by Honda if you would like to check vehicle coverage. Honda IDS diagnostic scanner gives complete access to all the systems on Honda/Acura vehicles including the immobilizer system. 

Honda HDS / MVCI requires calibration files for flashing control units. The beautiful thing about the Honda scanner is that the files are downloaded into the MVCI device so that you don't need internet access if you have to carry a re-flashing procedure.1

What is Honda GNA600?

The GNA6003 is a vehicle interface device that can be used to scan the systems in Honda and Acura vehicles. The GNA600 serves similar functions provided Honda Interface Module (HIM) but provides additional capabilities such as program mileage, program smart keys, reset airbag, etc. 

The Honda Diagnostic Software (HDS) with Modular Vehicle Communications Interface (MVCI) requires a software license that costs over $1,000 per year, making it not feasible for Honda and Acura car owners. Therefore, here are the top alternatives for those who still like to perform some in-depth troubleshooting. 

Best OBD2 Scanners for Honda

The following scanners allow you to troubleshoot the following Honda problems. Some scanners are capable of accessing other systems as well plus reseting service intervals and TPMS lights.

  • ABS - Read and erase codes from the brake system.
  • SRS / Airbag - Scan & delete codes from the airbag system. 
  • ECU - Read, reset DTC code from Engine  Control Unit.
  • TCU - Read, clear fault codes from Transmission.

4. Autel Autolink AL619

autel autolink al619

The Autolink AL619 is an affordable option and are looking for a better scanner than the generic OBD-II code readers. It can scan any Honda or Acura since 1996, but it also works on most European, Asian and Domestic vehicles.

read erase codes live data freeze frame honda acura

Capabilities

  • Scan ABS, SRS/Airbag, and ECU
  • System Status
  • Read Codes
  • Erase Codes
  • Live data and Freeze Frame

The Autel AL619 can diagnose the check engine light, but it can also diagnose the ABS and the SRS/Airbag systems. Once you fix the problem that is causing the airbag light to stay on, you can use the AL619 scanner to reset the SRS light on your Honda. No need to go to the dealer. The AL619 provides an on-screen description of the fault code be that related to the ECU, ABS or SRS system. 

Notes: 

Avoid the earlier AL519 model. It is not able to scan and erase codes from the ABS and SRS system. 

Price: $$

Check Price: Autel Autolink AL619

3. Launch Creader VII+

launch-creader x431 CRP Honda HDS MVCI Alternative

It is in the same price range as the Autel AL619. Besides scanning the ABS and SRS, it can diagnose one more system: Transmission Control Unit. The Launch Creader supports over 20 car models, not just Honda and Acura. This is one of the best alternatives if you are looking for an good Honda scan tool that will work on other cars as well. 

honda diagnostic scan tool

Capabilities:

  • Diagnose ECU, ABS, SRS/Airbag, Transmission.
  • Covers Asian, European and Domestic makes.
  • DTC reading and clearing displays.
  • Oxygen sensor and carbon canister testing. 
  • Data Stream Graphic
  • EOBD/ OBD 2 Scanner

 It supports OBD-II, Honda, and Acura protocols, whose coverage includes dynamical, body, chassis, ABS, SRS and anti-theft

Price: $$

Check Price: Launch Creader

2. Foxwell NT510 Honda/Acura ABS SRS Multi-System Scan Tool

honda foxwell nt510 diagnostic tool

When you purchase a Foxwell NT510 make sure to request that it has the software that can diagnose Honda/Acura cars. You can also get the scanner with the software for the other main car brands such as BMW, Chrysler, Fiat,  Hyundai, Toyota, and VW. You can only have the software for a single manufacturer loaded on the scanner. The software can be upgraded free for the first year by going to the FoxwellTech website

Details:

  • Show live sensors data in text and graph format. 
  • Actuate sensors, run system tests, program control modules.
  • Can perform coding and programming of control modules.
  • Works on GM Car, Trucks, SUV from 1996 to present. 
  • Can reset oil reminder and Service Lights. 
  • Multiple Language Support

The Foxwell NT510 is a powerful diagnostic scanner that provides in-depth troubleshooting of various systems such as powertrain, body, chassis, control systems. It is one of the least expensive scanners that provides similar capabilities to Honda HDS / MVCI scanner. 

Notes

Foxwell NT510 scanner provides multi system diagnsotics for Honda/Accura cars. This is a great scanner for Honda Accord, Civic etc. The main drawback is that you can't use this scanner on other Japense makes. It will only work on 1996 and newer Honda and Acura cars. 

Price: $$$

Yet another affordable OBD2 scanner for Honda and Acura owners. Worth the investment if you maintain your Honda yourself. 

Check Price: Launch Creader

1. Autel MaxiDAS DS708

best obd2 honda scanner tool

The MaxiDAS DS708 is the perfect choice to diagnose Honda and Acura cars. It is for those that run an auto repair shop or work on cars every weekend. If you would like a scanner that can perform in-depth diagnostic with similar capabilites to the deaer scanner the MaxiDAS708 is your choice. The advantage of MaxiDAS is that it does not require a yearly license like most professional diagnostic scanners of this level. This is a diagnostic scanner that works on over 50 makes including Toyota, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, VW, Hyundai and more. 

Check Price: Autel MaxiDAS Scanner

Conclusion

  • What's the best Honda / Acura scanner? 

That depends on your budget and troubleshooting needs. If you are a DIYer the Foxwell NT510 is still a good choice unless you have other cars that you want to diagnose in which case the Launch Creader may be a better choice. If money isn't a concern or you run a small car repair shop it makes sense to go for the Autel MaxiDAS708.

  • Best OBD2 scanner for Honda owners

The cheapest professional diagnostic scanner for Honda that provides in-depth troubleshooting is the Foxwell NT510.  

  • Best OBD2 scanner for Honda mechanics

If you are looking for a Honda scanner that equals factory level diagnostic, the winner is Autel MaxiDAS.

Resources 

  1. Diagnostic Scan Tools for Automotive Service Professionals 
  2. Which Honda/Acura Vehicles are reprogrammable? 
  3. Teradyne GNA600 Gateway Device User Guide for Honda Vehicles