Joseph Kim

November 14th, 2023

Why Is My OBD2 Scanner Not Working?

Here's why your Innova scanner may not support certain features + how to make sure it doesn't happen.

Link to 5110

Link to 5610

Why Is My OBD2 Scanner Not Working?

Here's why your Innova scanner may not support certain features + how to confirm vehicle compatibility

by Joseph Kim

November 14th, 2023


So you bought (or you plan to buy) an Innova scanner after reading it can do X feature, only to realize that this feature isn't supported by your vehicle. And now, you're frustrated and annoyed of spending $100+ on a device that can't do the one thing you want it to do!

I get it. It can be a pain in the butt. But we at Innova are here to make this right. We've diagnosed over 50 million vehicles throughout the past 3 decades. The data Innova has is unparalleled across the industry.

In this article, we'll go over why an Innova scanner's advertised feature may not work, how to prevent this from ever happening, and what you can do to make the most out of your purchase. By the end of it, you'll know how to purchase the perfect scanner that'll work on your vehicle.

Why An Advertised Scanner Feature May Not Work

It's important to understand that not all vehicles will support the features that an OBD2 scanner offers. This is true not only for Innova scanners, but for all generic OBD2 scanners in the market. Here’s why.

It depends on the manufacturer

Although OBD2 scanners provide a wide array of advanced features, whether that feature will work on your car highly depends on your make.

Visualize this situation: You're in a bind with a broken sink and call a reliable handyman for assistance. In this analogy, Innova stands as your chosen handyman, while your vehicle's manufacturer serves as the vigilant security guard. However, as the handyman attempts to reach your location, the security guard intervenes, preventing access because the handyman is considered an outsider in the context of your vehicle's system.

In other words, Innova has all the necessary features built in its tools. However, whether your vehicle allows that feature to work depends on the manufacturer. It’s unfortunately the reality when it comes to OBD2 scanners in general.

Even if you own a $10,000 OBD2 scan tool, chances are it won’t cover all the features you need for every vehicle make out there. And this is precisely why many mechanics today own several OBD2 scanners from different brands.

To give you a general idea of what it's like using an Innova scanner, advanced features are usually available on common brands like Toyota, Honda, Ford, Hyundai, and so on. And while advanced features are also available on other brands like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Alfa Romeo, and so may be limited compared to the more common makes.

If you’re an experienced mechanic looking for an advanced scanner that can do calibrations, for example, specialized to European vehicles, I’ll be honest — Innova most likely isn’t the right choice for you. Innova supports a lot of car makes, but it does not support exotic ones like Ferraris or Lamborghinis. You’ll most likely have to purchase from other brands, even if it comes at the cost of annual update fees.

But if you’re a mechanic or DIYer looking for an everyday OBD2 scanner that’s affordable and reliable, read on!

It depends on the vehicle age

You probably know this, but a vehicle is a complex machine that contains various computers — aka electronic control units (ECUs) — crucial in operating a vehicle. These ECUs do an important job of communicating with your vehicle’s Controller Area Network (CAN). And as you might have guessed, modern vehicles are filled with these complex systems.

The reason why I mentioned the above is because it has a direct correlation to feature availability. If you own an older car, that car may simply not have the necessary computers to support certain features.

For example, let’s say you’re attempting to perform a bidirectional feature with the Innova 5610. You have a 1996 Dodge Avenger, as well as a 2014 Dodge Avenger.

Even if they’re the same make and model, they’re built with different computers and therefore, have different available feature sets. Your 2014 Dodge Avenger will be able to enjoy a wide array of bidirectional features, while your 1999 Dodge Avenger will not be able to utilize any of the supported bidirectional features of the Innova 5610.

That’s the difference.

So How Do I Know If My Innova Scanner Will Work On My Specific Vehicle?

Great question! To know the exact features our tools support for your specific vehicle, we encourage you to use our Coverage Checker.

The Coverage Checker is an awesome self-selection tool that allows you to view the exact features you’re buying. No more guessing. No more frustrations. Here’s how you can use the Coverage Checker.

Step 1: Select your vehicle information

Choose your vehicle’s year, make, model, and engine size. If you don’t know your engine size, you may find it under your vehicle’s hood or in the owner’s manual. However, don’t worry if you don’t know. For starters, click on any engine size.

Step 2: Choose your OBD2 scanner

Choose the scanner you currently own. Or, if you’re looking to buy a scanner, choose the one you’re most interested in. We recommend the Innova 5210 or the Innova 5610.

Step 3: Understand the available features

Once you press “Submit”, you’ll see a lot of different diagnostic/reset/service features. Carefully go through each supported feature. If you aren’t sure of the base features of each product model, I encourage you to visit our Comparison Chart page.

What If I Already Bought The Product?

Hopefully, you read this article and utilized our Coverage Checker before purchasing our tools. But if you already bought the product, don’t worry! There’s still a ton of stuff the tool can do for you.

Even if the product may not support the feature you need, it’s still a very useful tool to have around. Because our OBD2 scanners don’t require batteries or WiFi connection, you can keep it in your trunk or glove box for future use.

Also, unlike some tools in the market, we don’t charge you update fees! So keeping a scanner around for stuff like SMOG precheck, live data, or erasing codes can come in handy.

What Now?

You’re going in the right direction! You’re aware that not all vehicles support all the features an OBD2 scanner offers. Now, it’s time to utilize the Coverage Checker to confirm a scanner’s compatibility with your vehicle.

A few other OBD2 companies like Bluedriver or Autel also offer a Coverage Checker, so we do encourage you to utilize them even if you do not buy our products. It’ll save you a truckload of headaches.

It’s Innova’s mission to make diagnostics easier for both DIYers and mechanics alike. If you have questions you’d like answered, we encourage you to submit your question in the form below! Alternatively, you can contact us by email, phone, or live chat. We are always looking for ways to improve your experience.

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