In the past, I’ve had countless encounters of a dreaded check engine light illuminating on my dashboard of many vehicles that I’ve owned, especially when I was a starving College student. Those times had me cringing and nearly in tears because I knew that a check engine light meant money to be spent, and often I was not able to fork over what a dealership would charge just to check the light – let alone perform the looming repair required to satisfy the vehicle’s computer to turn off the light. It was those times that I wish technology was advanced enough to provide affordable consumer tools to check those dreaded check engine lights and actually have a solution or game plan to solve the issue causing the check engine light.
Today, things are very different and we’re in a time where there are affordable consumer tools like the Innova CarScan Inspector 5310 and CarScan Pro 5610 that both include a Repair Solutions2 app for my smartphone that connects through bluetooth to either device, for both iPhones (via Apple App Store) and Android (via Google play Store), to tell me exactly what is needed to “fix” my vehicle. To get such a tool, many companies have reached out to me years in the past but none of their solutions provided the necessary information for me to purchase or perform the right fix for my vehicle – they simply gave me a check engine light code and left me to fend for a solution on my own. Tools today like the Innova CarScan Inspector and the bidirectional data CarScan Pro tool go much farther to dig deep into the check engine light code and provide a valid solution that not only applies to the specific code but also narrows down the solution applicable to my particular vehicle.
*NOTE: We found that you do not have to utilize the Repair Solutions2 Mobile App to diagnose issues or clear codes. Either device can handle basic diagnoses and clearing of codes. However, the app does come in handy to fully display and find a diagnostic result or code to find what is available to repair or resolve the discovered issue with primary codes, stored codes, pending codes, and permanent codes.
The difference in the Innova CarScan Inspector 5310 and CarScan Pro 5610, from my use on a couple of vehicles of mine, is primarily the Innova CarScan Pro having the ability to check additional data when connected to the OBD-II (OBD-2 On Board Diagnostics) port of a vehicle. OBD-II port vehicles include anything made after 1996, which makes sense to cover vehicles that have just enough electronics to throw codes for items that the “computer” recognizes need repair or has a fault. The additional data that the Innova CarScan Pro can read over the CarScan Inspector are items like the Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS), transmission temp data, a full vehicle network scan, perform active tests for certain vehicle functions/features, perform a battery system reset, perform and enact certain EPB/ABS (electronic parking brake/anti-lock brake) service functions, view live vehicle data (rpm, speed, temps, pressures, voltage, ect.). and a better interface with the vehicle’s enhanced data stream for maintenance or modification of certain settings. The Innova CarScan Pro 5610 does require 3 AA batteries to operate while the CarScan Inspector 5310 does not require batteries where it uses the OBD-II port to power the device upon connection.
Testing the devices on our 2022 Volkswagen GTI the connection was seamless. However, we did stumble upon an issue with accessing some data, such as the TPMS to gather its data and run a check using the Innova CarScan Pro tool. For some reason, possibly due to our Volkswagen being so new, the tool was not able to access the specific data. Otherwise, most data was accessible by both tools along with our favorite display of live vehicle data using the Innova CarScan Pro tool.
The Innova CarScan Inspector 5310, which is still a powerful tool, also provides you with the ability to interface with an OBD-II vehicle for reading the check engine light code with a valid solution specific to your vehicle, reset your oil light, interface with the SRS (supplemental restraint system) airbag system, perform a battery system check, and interface with the ABS and SMOG systems. Again, the Innova CarScan Inspector 5310 does not require batteries to operate provided your vehicle is powered to accessory power and the scanner is fully connected to the OBD port.
Using either of the devices there is a recent color LCD screen readout giving you the monitor’s status and what codes that it first discovers that may have either tripped your check engine light or stored an internal vehicle code. Each code that is stored on your vehicle can be easily cleared using either of the Innova CarScan devices. Additionally, you can proceed to interface with other vehicle systems and make the necessary modifications through the screen. The Innova CarScan Inspector has some limitations on vehicle settings while the Innova CarScan Pro allows you to perform a variety of vehicle active tests along with making some minor modifications to vehicle settings.
I would highly recommend either device to those who like to tinker with the vehicle, a ‘shade tree mechanic,’ or even for someone who is not very mechanically experienced but wishes to avoid visiting a local repair shop or the dealership’s service department first. Primarily, the Innova CarScan tools come in handy for those times that your vehicle throws a check engine code, which could be just about anything wrong with the vehicle. Knowing first-hand what code and issue your vehicle is having will ultimately save you time and money if you ever attempt to fix the issue yourself or drive into the dealership service bay – you will be armed with the specific information to inform your service tech and avoid wasting your time or them charging for unnecessary fixes or equipment. Not to mention, you may not have to pay that often outrageous diagnostic check fee that dealerships or automotive shops charge.
The Innova CarScan Inspector 5310 retails for about $139.99 while the more advanced Innova CarScan Pro 5610 retails for about $329.99. Additional product information can be found on the Innova website or purchase the devices at most local automotive stores (AutoZone, O’Reily Auto Parts, Advance Auto Parts, NAPA, Car Quest, etc.) or online via Amazon, Walmart, and many other popular retailers. Both scanner tools are well worth the investment!