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Why Are Certain OBD2 Features Not Available On My Innova Scanner?

Published on December 14th, 2023

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Joseph Kim

Content Manager at Innova Electronics

innova scanner doesn't work? Here's why

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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. Now, you're feeling frustrated and annoyed because you spent over $100 on a device that can't perform the one task you wanted it to do!

I get it. It feels frustrating enough to warrant a trip to a rage room. But rest assured that you’re not the first to experience this frustration. In fact, I’d bet that almost every DIYer starting out with OBD2 diagnostics faced this dilemma.

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 OBD2 Feature May Not Work

For starters, 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 Innova 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. This is unfortunately the reality when it comes to OBD2 scanners.

Innova OBD2 scanner compatibility with vehicles

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 readily available on common brands like Toyota, Honda, or Ford. But for other brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Alfa Romeo, and so on, the available advanced features may be limited; we still support certain features, but it depends on the make.

If you’re an experienced mechanic looking for an advanced scanner, for example, specialized to European vehicles, I’ll be honest — Innova most likely isn’t the right choice for you. You’ll most likely have to purchase from other brands, though 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 whether your vehicle was modded

If you own a vehicle that has been modded, chances are you won’t be able to enjoy the full features that an OBD2 scanner offers. Modded vehicles often involve switching out different vehicle parts that aren’t part of the OEM standard. As a result, the code reader may not be able to detect or access certain functions.

It depends on the vehicle age

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.

Innova OBD2 scanners with OBD1 vehicles

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.

Go To 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.

For a more comprehensive guide on how to use the Coverage Checker, please click here (coming soon).

If you aren’t sure of the base features of each product model, I encourage you to visit our Comparison Chart page.

Not sure which scanner to buy? Take our quiz.

Discover your ideal OBD2 scanner by answering a few questions.
Only takes a few seconds.

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 either visit our community page or contact us! We are always looking for ways to improve your experience.

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