What is a Scan Tool?

A scan tool is a diagnostic device used to interface with, diagnose, and sometimes reprogram vehicle control modules. Essentially, it’s your car’s way of telling you what’s wrong under the hood without you needing a mechanical engineering degree.From rudimentary code readers to sophisticated diagnostic machines, scan tools have come a long way. Initially, they were bulky and expensive, used primarily by dealerships and high-end repair shops. Today, they are compact, affordable, and accessible to the average car owner.

OBD-II Scan Tools

Introduced in 1996, OBD-II is standardized across all vehicles, providing a universal diagnostic interface. OBD-II scan tools can read a range of data points from various vehicle systems, making them indispensable for both professionals and DIY mechanics.

Advanced Diagnostic Tools

Beyond OBD-II, advanced diagnostic tools offer features like bi-directional control, which allows mechanics to test specific functions of the car’s systems directly. These tools can communicate with more systems in the vehicle, providing a comprehensive diagnostic capability. A prime example is the Foxwell NT710 Bi-directional Scan Tool.

Foxwell NT710 Features and Benefits

The Foxwell NT710 is a 2024 new version scan tool that builds upon the Foxwell NT530 and Foxwell NT510 Elite, featuring upgraded hardware configurations and improved upgrade processes. Its hardware update brings significant convenience to repair work, making diagnostics faster and more efficient.

How Scan Tools Work

Basic Functionality

Scan tools work by connecting to the vehicle’s diagnostic port, usually located under the dashboard. They retrieve diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) stored in the vehicle’s ECU, which correspond to specific issues. The tool then translates these codes into understandable information.

Advanced Features

Modern scan tools can do much more than just read codes. They can perform live data streaming, showing real-time information from the vehicle’s sensors. Some can also perform special functions like ABS bleeding, airbag resets, and even key programming.

Foxwell NT710 Hardware Update

The Foxwell NT710 is equipped with a 5.5″ touch screen, a 4000mAh powerful battery, a 32 GB micro SD card, and runs on the Android 9.0 operating system. These hardware optimizations greatly improve diagnostic speed and reduce waiting times.

Foxwell NT710 Supports Bi-Directional Control and Active Test

Foxwell NT710 allows users to perform tests on vehicle systems and components by reading engine ECU data and monitoring component operation. This helps in reducing diagnostic time significantly.

Foxwell NT710 Supports OE-Level Full-System Diagnosis

The Foxwell NT710 provides OE-Level diagnosis and bi-directional tests for vehicles requiring maintenance or repair. It accesses all electronic systems, supports advanced functions like adaptations and control module coding, and performs rapid, reliable analysis.

Foxwell NT710 Supports 30+ Reset Functions

This scan tool features over 30 service reset functions, including EPB, OIL RESET, ABS BLEEDING, TPS, SAS, TPMS, DPF, INJECTOR, BRT, CVT, GEARLEARN, ODOMETER, and more, making it a comprehensive solution for most maintenance needs.

Foxwell NT710 Supports Full OBD Functions

Foxwell NT710 supports full OBD functions, including reading/clearing fault codes, DTC look-up, smog tests, I/M readiness, O2 sensor tests, and more. It also reads freeze frame data and retrieves vehicle data, facilitating clear communication between mechanics and vehicle owners.

Foxwell NT710 Supports Lifetime Free Updates

Foxwell provides lifetime free updates for the NT710. Users can enjoy the latest features for their vehicles at no additional cost. Updates are more convenient now, as they can be performed via a stable Wi-Fi connection with a single tap on the touch screen.

Benefits of Using Scan Tools

For Professionals

For professional mechanics, scan tools are essential. They save time, increase accuracy in diagnostics, and help in providing a clear and precise repair plan to customers. Advanced features allow professionals to diagnose complex issues efficiently.

For DIY Enthusiasts

DIY enthusiasts can also benefit greatly. A scan tool empowers them to diagnose and fix issues at home, saving money on dealership diagnostics and repairs. It also helps in understanding the health of their vehicle better, ensuring timely maintenance.

How to Choose the Right Scan Tool

Key Features to Consider

When choosing a scan tool, consider features like compatibility, ease of use, and functionality. Does it support your vehicle make and model? Is it user-friendly? Does it offer the specific functions you need, such as live data or special tests?

Top Brands and Models

Some top brands in the scan tool market include Autel, Innova, and Launch. Models like the Autel MaxiCOM, Innova 3160g, and Launch CRP129E are popular for their comprehensive features and user-friendly interfaces. Among these, the Foxwell NT710 stands out with its bi-directional control, full-system diagnosis, and lifetime free updates.

Common Issues and Troubleshooting

Connectivity Problems

Sometimes, scan tools may have trouble connecting to the vehicle’s ECU. This could be due to a faulty diagnostic port, a bad connection, or outdated software. Ensuring that the tool’s software is up-to-date and checking for physical connection issues can help resolve this.

Error Code Misinterpretations

Not all error codes are straightforward. Misinterpreting them can lead to unnecessary repairs. It’s crucial to cross-reference codes with reliable sources and understand the context of each code to avoid misdiagnosis.

Future of Scan Tools

Integration with AI

The future of scan tools is exciting, with AI integration on the horizon. AI can help in predictive diagnostics, offering solutions based on a vast database of past issues and their resolutions, making diagnostics faster and more accurate.

Enhanced Connectivity

Future scan tools will likely offer enhanced connectivity options, integrating with smartphones and cloud services for seamless diagnostics and updates. This will make it easier to keep the tools up-to-date and expand their capabilities.


In conclusion, scan tools are invaluable devices for both professional mechanics and DIY enthusiasts. From their early beginnings to the advanced models available today, they have revolutionized the way we diagnose and repair vehicles. With the rapid advancement of technology, the future of scan tools promises even more exciting developments. The Foxwell NT710 Bi-directional Scan Tool exemplifies these advancements, offering comprehensive diagnostics, bi-directional control, and lifetime free updates, making it a top choice for anyone looking to invest in a high-quality scan tool.


What is an OBD-II scan tool?

An OBD-II scan tool is a diagnostic device that connects to a vehicle’s OBD-II port, allowing you to read and interpret trouble codes and sensor data.

Can I use a scan tool on any car?

Most modern scan tools are designed to work with OBD-II compliant vehicles, which includes most cars made after 1996.

How do I know which scan tool is right for me?

Consider factors like compatibility with your vehicle, the features you need, and your budget. Reading reviews and comparisons can also help you make an informed decision. Read more