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Best Innova Scanners for OBD1 Vehicles

By Joseph Kim
Published on May 7th, 2024

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If you’re looking for a diagnostic scanner for your OBD1 (pre 1996) vehicle, Innova currently offers 3 options:

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But before we dive into the products, it’s important to understand why only certain OBD scanners support OBD1 vehicles.

A Short Overview of OBD1 VS OBD2 Systems

The On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) system in vehicles has evolved over the years, and one notable distinction is the separation between OBD1 and OBD2 systems. Unlike modern vehicles, which predominantly use OBD2 systems, vehicles manufactured in 1996 or earlier require a special type of OBD scanner, specifically an OBD1 scanner.

OBD1, which stands for On-Board Diagnostics 1, was the first standardized system implemented in vehicles to monitor and control various aspects of the engine and emissions systems. OBD1 systems were introduced in the early 1980s and were in use until 1996 when OBD2 became the standard.

Not All OBD2 Scanners Support OBD1 Vehicles

It's important to note that not all OBD2 scanners can work with OBD1 vehicles. OBD2 scanners were built to communicate with the standardized OBD2 systems in modern cars. As a result, attempting to communicate with OBD1 systems will result in an error.

OBD1 systems were manufactured to be more brand-specific, with each carmaker having its own way of sharing diagnostic information. It’s like attempting to Airdrop photos (an iPhone-specific feature) with a Samsung phone.

On the other hand, OBD2 scanners were designed for universal OBD2 communication and might not be able to effectively communicate with or retrieve data from OBD1-equipped vehicles.

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Best OBD1 Scanner Recommendations

Top Choice

If you only own OBD1 vehicles, then the best bang for your buck would be the Innova 5512. While parenting all the features of the Innova 5510, the Innova 5512 comes with an OBD-1 Kit!

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This OBD-1 Kit contains OBD1 adapters for the following brands:

  • General Motors – 1982 to 1993 and some 1994 to 1995 models
  • Ford, Lincoln, Mercury – 1983 to 1995 models with EEC-IV Systems.
  • Toyota / Lexus – 1991 to 1995.
  • Chrysler / Dodge / Plymouth – 1984 to 1995.
  • Jeep – 1993 to 1995.
  • Honda

We currently sell this OBD-1 Kit for $117.64. And here’s why I say it’s the best bang for your buck. The 5510 costs $249.99, while the 5512 costs $299.99. This means that you’re buying the OBD-1 Kit for $50 rather than paying the full $117.64.

To top it off, this scan tool can still diagnose OBD2 vehicles.

Second Choice

If you own both OBD1 and OBD2 vehicles, I’d suggest buying the Innova 5610. As our most advanced handheld tool, it comes with a wide variety of advanced features you can utilize such as OEM live data or bi-directional controls.

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Please note that the Innova 5610 does not come with an OBD-1 Kit, which means you’d have to purchase it separately.

Third Choice

If you don’t need to diagnose an OBD1 vehicle right now, but would still like to keep the possibility of diagnosing one in the future, the Innova 5510 may be a good choice.

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Now, it’s placed last on this list because frankly, it’s much cheaper to go with the Innova 5512. The Innova 5510 is the cheapest of the 3, but it doesn’t come with an OBD1-Kit or with the fancy features of the 5610.

How About Other Innova Scanners?

With the exception of the 3 scanners above, our other handheld scanners (5110 ~ 5410) do not support OBD1 vehicles. Even if you own an OBD-1 connector, the device itself will not have the capability to communicate with OBD1 systems.

Word of Caution

It’s important to remember that OBD1 vehicles sometimes don’t have the necessary computers to support select advanced functions.

Though the Innova 5610 supports calibrations and relearns, an old vehicle may not have the right computers installed to perform it. This causes the device to show a “Not Supported” message.

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