Check Engine Light

Should I Buy A Bidirectional Scanner?

Mike Cross
Updated Oct 18, 2020

Without a doubt, owning your own car or vehicle is a great pleasure. And with that, comes great responsibility. You need to make sure that your car is properly maintained in order to get maximum use and years from it.

Despite taking such great care of your vehicle, it is still possible to run into some issues. When you notice something is off, you should have it taken care of right away. This prevents the problem from becoming worse and causing more damage to your car.

Some people are handy and great DIYers. If you are one of those who is handy with tools and knows your way around an engine or exhaust system, you might prefer to try your own hand at repair work first. The key here is to know exactly what is wrong with your vehicle.

Scanners have been around for a while. They are used in mechanic shops. They are also available to purchase and use at home. Often there is an app or software for your computer that you download to accompany the scanner. It will help interpret the results and tell you where the problem lies.

should i buy a bidirectional scanner

How do scanners work?

Scanners are used by almost every mechanic. The scanner is plugged into the car's onboard computer and it sends the diagnostics to the technician’s computer. Then the technician has an accurate assessment of what is wrong with the vehicle. Many times, the scanner can detect a problem before it becomes full blown.

What is a bi-directional scanner?

Since most cars and vehicles today have a computer integrated into them, you will need a tool to help you read and interpret the diagnostics. A bi-directional scanner is used in this way. This type of scanner is used to get diagnostic information from your car’s computer as well as it is able to input information back into the car as well.

What are the benefits of using a bi-directional scanner?

Using a bi-directional scanner at home can have some useful benefits. If you are good with tools and mechanics, a scanner can save you some money. Your scanner can give you the info that pertains to issues your car may be having. This will give you a starting place when looking to tackle a mechanical issue.

A bi-directional scanner can also be beneficial if you are working by yourself. Since this type of scanner works in both directions, you can use it to input certain info into your vehicle as you are working on it.

This means that you can have the best obd2 scanner give the car certain commands as you are working on it. This saves you the trouble of running from the engine to the driver's seat while trying to work.

LAUNCH X431 DIAGUN IV Bidirectional Control Scan Tool Full System Diagnostic
LAUNCH X431 DIAGUN IV Bidirectional Control Scan Tool Full System Diagnostic

Easy to read graphics

Another key benefit to using a bi-directional scanner is the information that you are given and how it is displayed. Sine this type of scanner is newer, they are usually equipped with the latest technology. This means that you will be viewing the information in the most up to date manner.

These scanners are capable of displaying information in colorful and easy to view ways. They are capable of charts and graphics. Many times, there is software you can download onto your laptop, so that it makes it convenient to view when you are in the garage.

They help manage your time

Nobody likes to waste time, especially looking for a mechanical issue. Using a bi-directional scanner will help you manage your time more efficiently. Plugging in the scanner will help you pinpoint the problem quickly. At the very least it will give you the correct starting point to start looking for the issue. This saves you time in the garage and will help you get the problem resolved faster.

A scanner can help figure out what type of mechanical problem

A scanner is also helpful in determining what type of problem your vehicle is having - intermittent or continuous. This is helpful to know since there can be different causes of intermittent problems.

What to look for when purchasing a bi-directional scanner

If you decide that a bi-directional scanner would be a beneficial tool to have at home, there are a few things to keep in mind when deciding which one to purchase.

  1. Make sure the tool you purchase is equipped to read your vehicle. Check the make and model of your car against the scanner to be sure your car is covered.
  2. Check to see how the scanner connects to your computer to give you the results. Some scanners are wired, and they connect from your car’s on-board diagnostics to plug in on a computer. Others are wireless and will download the information via an app or software.
  3. If you are planning on a scanner for home use, make sure it is handheld. Mechanic shops tend to use bigger computers, but they also have a higher volume of cars that they diagnose.
  4. What is the cost? Scanners can range from $20.00 to $1000.00. And some professional models can price out around $10,000. It is helpful to know your budget. Generally speaking, the more expensive models will not be handheld version. The pro versions are typically also able to have more error reading abilities, too. For example, some can tell you exactly what time a certain issue occurred with your car.

How do I use the bi-directional scanner with my vehicle?

It is easy to use a handheld scanner with your car. Simply locate the port near the steering column and plug in your scanner. Make sure any software is downloaded ahead of time.


A bi-directional scanner is an invaluable tool to have on hand. If you are handy with tools, it can save you time and money in repairs since it can tell you what is wrong with your car. If it is something you are not sure how to fix though, be sure to bring your vehicle to your local service shop for help.

Mike Cross
Life is too short to drive with stock audio

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram