Best OBD2 scanner for Ford cars for DIY auto repair

best obd2 scanner for ford
Published by YOUCANIC Automotive Experts 
Last Updated Feb 16, 2018 

Automobiles are getting more and more sophisticated every year and Ford cars are no exception. Vehicles with advanced systems may seem difficult to work on at first but if you have the right tools they can be easy to diagnose. That's why OBD II / CAN scanners can be a great tool to have if you love doing your own car repairs. Here we discuss some of the Top Diagnostic Scanners for Ford and  Lincoln vehicles.

This review includes scanners that will help Ford repair technicians and Ford enthusiast perform multi-system troubleshooting. If you are looking for the OBD II/CAN scanner for Ford / Lincoln vehicles just to READ and ERASE the Check Engine Light any of the OBD II scanners on Amazon's Best Selling Code Reader and Scan Tools will get the job done. If you perform repairs on Ford cars on a regular basis, then you need a scanner that can troubleshoot multiple Vehicle Communication Modules (VCM) on your Ford.

The scanners listed here will at a minimum diagnose the following systems:

  1. Engine
  2. Transmission
  3. ABS
  4. Airbag

Top 5 Best OBD2 Scanners for Ford Owners

5. INNOVA 3150

innova diagnostic scanner.jpg
Check Price on Amazon

Not only can it read and erase the Check Engine warning light on any Ford 1996 and newer but it also able to retrieve ABS and SRS fault codes. It can retrieve genetic error codes (codes starting with Pxxxx) for most cars. It can retrieve Ford specific error codes (codes starting with Uxxxx).  It works on Ford cars, Ford Light Trucks, and Ford SUVs. It is reasonably priced and will recover the purchase investment even if you use it just one time.  If your transmission is acting up, plug the INNOVA 3150 into the OBD-II port located under the dashboard to retrieve the fault codes. You will get a description of the problem right on the display of INNOVA 3150.

4. Foxwell NT414 OBDII Scanner Diagnostic Scanner

Foxwell scanner for ford lincoln vehicles

Check Price on Amazon

This FoxWell diagnostic scanner will read and erase fault codes from the Engine ECU, Transmission TCM, Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) and Airbag (SRS) control units. These are the main systems in a car that Ford owners usually have problems with. The other benefit of this scanner is that it works on over 50 vehicles including Ford, Holden, Honda, Chrysler, BMW, Ford,  Audi, GM, Mercedes Benz,  Citroen, Euro Ford, Sprinter, Volvo. If you have other cars that you maintain this may be a sound investment. This scanner also provides live data and freeze frame. You will also be able to check the emission readiness status. It allows you to display live sensor data which is a must if you are trying to pinpoint a problem on your Ford.

It can troubleshoot the four systems on Ford cars and trucks:

  • Engine ECU
  • Transmission  TCU / TCM
  • ABS
  • Airbag

It allows you to graph live data, freeze frame, I/M readiness, Oxygen Sensor monitoring. The Maxidiag Elite MB702 works on European, Asian and American cars.

3. Launch Creader CRP

launch creader read erase dtc fault code ford

Check Price on Amazon

The Launch Creader scanners have been around for a long time. You have a couple of options including the Creader VII CRP 123 or VIII CRP129. Both of these models will allow you to diagnose your Ford vehicles. More specifically this scanner will allow you to access (read & erase) the engine, transmission, SRS/Airbag and ABS systems on your Ford. The scanner is easy to use even for those who are new to DIY car diagnostics.  Yes, the Launch Creader supports multiple vehicles and so it is not just for Ford. The Launch Creader is a great little scanner but doesn't expect to do any programming with this scanner or any other scanner in the same price range.

2. Ford IDS

VCM2 for Ford IDS V98 & Mazda IDS V94_0.jpg

Check Price on Amazon

Integrated Diagnostic System (IDS) is the diagnostic scanner used at Ford dealerships. It requires a laptop to run the IDS software. You will connect the VCM2 to the OBD-II port and then via the USB cable to your laptop. It will allow you to diagnose ECU, PCM, ABS, instrument cluster, air bag, fuel pump, traction control, climate control, rear & erase diagnostic trouble codes, flash new software to ECU, steering angle reset, program new keys, bleed the brakes, code new injectors and more. The IDS requires training and is not the best solution for occasional Ford diagnostic and repair. The official Ford IDS requires a software license as well that costs several hundred dollars and needs to be renewed years. The Ford IDS software will timeout if it is not able to connect to the server to validate the license. It will timeout if the required software updates are not performed at the end of the 365-day subscription.

Note that the VCM interface supports Ford vehicles from 1996 to 2014. Newer vehicles that use CANnetworkk require an IDS with the VCM2 capability. 

1. Autel MaxiDAS DS708

autel ds708 for ford_0.jpg

Check Price on Amazon

The Autel MaxiDAS DS708 is the most advanced scanner in this list. It will satisfy the requirements of Ford owners that are looking to do their repairs. This scanner is quite frequently used at repair shops due to its ability to troubleshoot almost all systems in a vehicle known as Vehicle Communication Module (VCM). This is a scanner that has similar capability to the scanner used at Ford dealerships. It is easy to use, and it does not require a laptop, training by Ford or an IDS software. Not only that but the Autel MaxiDAS708 can read, erase, program, initiate, activate sensors and a lot more. This professional diagnostic scanner is more expensive that the rest of this list but it can fulfill the need of even an auto repair garage.

If you are into PIDs, streaming sensor data from your Ford you may want to look at are the ScanGague II or AutoEnginuity with Ford bundle. There are also Snap-on scanners, but are much more expensive and may not be a sound purchase unles you are a auto repair shop.

Ford Vehicles OBD-II Protocol

The scanners listed here compatible with Ford cars and trucks. Ford used SAE J1850 PWM protocol to communicate with the different systems on your vehicle including the Engine Control Unit (ECU / ECM).

If you own an older Ford manufactured between 1982 and 1996 you won't be able to use any of scanners in this list. Those vehicles don't have an OBD II port but an OBD I. In order to read the trouble codes on the older Ford cars, you need to count how many times the light flashes on the dashboard when you first start up the car. If you are not sure on how to do that, you can use an INNOVA 3145 into the OBD I port which will be able to display the fault code on the small LCD.