Ford cars and SUVs are getting more and more sophisticated every year. With so many features and advanced systems, it may seem difficult at first to work on newer Fords. The good news is that if you have the right tools they are quite easy to diagnose.
Here we take a look at some of the best OBD2 scanners for Ford and Lincoln vehicles. The scanners we looked at are not generic OBD2 scanners. Scanners listed here allow you to diagnose multiple systems including Airbag, Transmission, ABS, Engine and other control units.
We mainly focused on scanners that are affordable and fall in the $100-$250 price range.
Best OBD2 Scanners for Ford
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 allow you to diagnose Ford vehicles.
More specifically this scanner will allow you to access (read & erase) the engine, transmission, SRS/Airbag, and ABS systems. The scanner is easy to use even for those who are new to DIY car diagnostics.
The Launch Creader is a great scanner but doesn't expect to do any programming with this scanner or any other scanner in the same price range.
Autel MaxiDAS DS808
The Autel MaxiDAS is the most advanced scanner in this list that offers similar capabilities to the diagnostic scanner used at the Ford dealership.
It will satisfy the requirements of Ford owners that are looking to get into all modules. This scanner is quite frequently used at car repair shops due to its ability to troubleshoot all systems.
It is easy to use, and it does not require a laptop, training by Ford or an IDS software.
Autel MaxiDAS can read, erase, program, initiate, activate sensors and a lot more.
It's a more expensive than the rest of the scanners in this list but if you are looking for an alternative to Ford IDS, this is the best choice.
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.
Foxwell NT414 Scanner
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 allows you to graph live data, freeze frame, I/M readiness, Oxygen Sensor monitoring.
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 your car's OBD-II port and then via the USB cable to your laptop.
It will allow you to diagnose ECU, PCM, ABS, instrument cluster, airbag, 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 every year.
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 CAN network require an IDS with the VCM2 capability.
It is without a doubt the best diagnostic scanner for Fords but not feasible for most owners.
Ford Vehicles OBD-II Protocol
The scanners listed here compatible with Ford cars and trucks. Ford uses 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.
You can use an INNOVA 3145 which will be able to diagnose older Ford vehicles that have OBD I.
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