Looking for the best transmission scanner for your vehicle? Or perhaps you are an auto mechanic or DIY enthusiast and want to know which scanner offers the best in transmission diagnostics?
Lucky you! In this post, you will find 10 of the best transmission code readers for your consideration.
Any vehicle requires that the transmission system is checked regularly. Don’t wait until the shifting becomes harsh, the cruise control fails or the Check Engine Light comes on. Instead, perform frequent checks to ensure that the car’s transmission is healthy and free of trouble codes. A transmission code reader can help with that.
- 1 What Is Transmission Code Reader?
- 2 10 Best Transmission Code Readers Review
- 2.1 1FIXD Active Car Health Monitor OBD II Transmission Scanner
- 2.2 2BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBD II Transmission Code Reader
- 2.3 3Autel Diaglink OBD2 Transmission Diagnostic Tool (DIY Version of MD802)
- 2.4 4Launch Creader CRP123 OBD2 Transmission Scan Tool
- 2.5 5Autel Scanner MD802 Maxidiag Elite OBD2 Diagnostic Tool for Transmission
- 2.6 6FOXWELL NT510 Automotive OBD2 Transmission Scanner
- 2.7 7Launch CRP129 OBD II Transmission Scanner
- 2.8 8FOXWELL NT614 OBD2 Transmission Diagnostic Tool with Oil Light Reset
- 2.9 9ANCEL FX4000 OBD2 Car Code Reader for Transmission
- 2.10 10Autel MaxiCOM MK808 OBD 2 Transmission Scan Tool (MD802+MaxiCheck Pro)
- 3 Best Transmission Code Readers: Editor’s Top 3 Picks Comparison Chart
- 4 FAQs
- 4.1 1. Can a transmission problem trigger the Check Engine Light?
- 4.2 2. Can I drive with a faulty transmission system?
- 4.3 3. How much does it cost to repair an automatic transmission?
- 4.4 4. What transmission-related information can I get using a scanner?
- 4.5 5. My scanner won’t communicate with the car’s ECU. What should I do?
What Is Transmission Code Reader?
The simplest definition of a transmission code reader is that it’s a diagnostic device that can pull codes from the transmission system. It acts as an interface between you and the car’s ECU. In other words, it allows you to communicate with the ECU by viewing codes, clearing codes, reading sensor data and sending commands (for bi-directional scanners).
Most of the transmission information is relayed to a scanner from transmission sensors. They include vehicle speed sensors, wheel speed sensors, throttle position sensors, and transmission fluid temperature sensors just to name a few.
These sensors detect things like transmission input, output, and speed. They then send that information to the transmission control unit (TCU). The latter uses the information to manage functions like engaging a gear and regulating shifting pressure.
Now, in order to view that information, you need a transmission scanner. It will report exactly how each function is managed. And if there’s a problem anywhere in the system you will see and take the necessary action (like repair or replace a part).
Besides, the best transmission code reader will show you live sensor data. That’s important because the data will help you single out sensors that are faulty. You can then make plans to replace them.
All that goes to show that you need a reliable transmission code reader if you want to diagnose the transmission system and maintain its good health. Luckily we have 10 of the best devices on the market today.
10 Best Transmission Code Readers Review
1FIXD Active Car Health Monitor OBD II Transmission Scanner
Why taking FIXD Active Car Health Monitor OBD II Transmission Scanner?
The FIXD Car Health Monitor is an OBD2 transmission diagnostic tool that reads transmission codes. It’s actually an adapter that requires to pair with an Android or iOS device to perform diagnostics.
Using the adapter is pretty simple. It comes with the FIXD App that you install on your phone or tablet. Once that’s done plug the adapter to the OBD2 port of your car and pair it with your device via Bluetooth.
It will automatically sync with the app and allow you to check your transmission for faults. More specifically, this scanner can pull and clear stored, pending and permanent transmission trouble codes. With each code comes a brief description to help you understand the problem better.
Note that clearing transmission codes can help reset the Check Engine Light. But what’s even better, the FIXD OBD2 adapter supports engine diagnostics. If you erase both engine and transmission codes you will certainly reset the Check Engine Light.
This OBDII transmission diagnostic tool works on Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota cars that are OBD2-compliant. For those types of cars, you can also pull ABS, SRS and TPMS codes. For engine diagnostics, you can use it on any brand of car, provided it’s OBD2-compliant.
- Provides comprehensive diagnostic information
- Can display live data as text or PIDs
- Comes with the exclusive FIXD App for free
- Easy to use and connects simply using Bluetooth
- Compatible with both iOS and Android
- Can be used as a real-time monitoring device when left plugged in
- Transmission diagnostics work on limited car brands
- Bluetooth connection weakens over time
What can FIXD Active Car Health Monitor OBD II Transmission Scanner be used for?
Its low price tag and ease of use makes the FIXD scanner the best transmission code reader for ordinary car owners.
2BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBD II Transmission Code Reader
Why taking BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBD II Transmission Code Reader?
The BlueDriver Bluetooth transmission diagnostic tool is yet another OBD2 adapter that pairs with mobile devices to perform diagnostics. Just like FIXD above, this tiny device comes with its exclusive app, the BlueDriver App. The other feature that these two adapters have in common is support for Android and iOS devices.
Using the BlueDriver dongle is just as simple and straightforward as using FIXD. That’s what makes it a popular OBD2 transmission scan tool. Start by installing the BlueDriver on your smartphone or tablet.
From there, hook the device to your car’s OBD2 port. Once it senses power (from the car battery) it will automatically come on. You can then find it under Bluetooth devices and complete the pairing to activate the BlueDriver app.
Its simplicity might make the BlueDriver Bluetooth scanner great but it is its functionality that makes it arguably the best transmission code reader. With the ability to read and clear confirmed, pending and permanent transmission codes, this OBD2 dongle can help you diagnose faults in the transmission system.
If your Check Engine Light is on you can use the BlueDriver transmission diagnostic tool to reset it. That’s possible because it has the ability to clear both transmission and engine codes. Besides, it also gives you access to codes from the ABS and SRS.
Additionally, this transmission diagnostic tool provides live sensor data. With information, you can easily pinpoint a faulty transmission sensor and replace it.
Although it’s generally compatible with all OBD2-compliant vehicles, the transmission diagnosis function of this scanner only covers Chrysler, Ford, GM, BMW, VW, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota.
- Very small and can be left plugged in the car to transmit live sensor data in real-time
- Fairly affordable compared to most stand-alone transmission scanners
- Offers repair tips and suggests replacement parts
- Codes come with brief definitions to help you understand the problem
- Supports several diagnostic functions besides transmission diagnosis
- BlueDriver App is offered free when you buy this adapter
- Doesn’t work with Windows smartphones and tablets
- Can drain car battery when left plugged in the OBD2 port
- Transmission diagnosis works on a limited brand of cars
What can BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBD II Transmission Code Reader be used for?
Despite its few drawbacks, the BlueDriver Bluetooth scanner is a great device for ordinary car owners who want to pull transmission codes and view live transmission data in real-time.
Why taking Autel Diaglink OBD2 Transmission Diagnostic Tool (DIY Version of MD802)?
The Autel Diaglink is the first wired scanner on this review. It falls in the same price range as our first two OBDII transmission diagnostic tool. Therefore, as you might expect, it offers almost the same functions as they do.
Top on the list is a diagnosis of the transmission system. Besides reading and clearing transmission codes, this handheld scanner displays live transmission data. As mentioned already, clearing transmission codes plays a part in resetting the Check Engine Light.
On its part, live transmission data makes it possible to single out any faulty sensors. That, in turn, helps you identify all the sensors that either need replacement or adjustment.
Built with a full-color screen, the Autel Diaglink works on all mainstream OBD2 car brands, domestic and foreign. However, you only get the software for one car model for free. If you want the scanner to work on more car models you will have to pay $10 for each additional vehicle.
That makes it fairly expensive, especially for auto repair guys and DIY technicians who work on many different makes of cars. On the upside, it makes up for that with a plethora of additional diagnostic functions.
Besides the transmission, you can use the Autel Diaglink to diagnose various other systems. They include engine, SRS, ABS, and EPB. It can even do oil service reset, display freeze frame data, check for I/M readiness, open/close brake calipers and pull vehicle information.
That wide range of functions is what makes the Autel Diaglink the best transmission code reader for some people.
- Represents good value for money
- Wide vehicle coverage that includes luxury brands like Bugatti, Bentley, Lexus, Land Rover, etc.
- Software updates are free for the life of the product
- Comes with a TF card for storing diagnostic data
- Simple to use
- You only get one software for free. Increasing vehicle coverage increases your expense on the scanner.
- Not easy to update software
What can Autel Diaglink OBD2 Transmission Diagnostic Tool (DIY Version of MD802) be used for?
With a wide range of functions, the Autel Diaglink is arguably the best OBD2 transmission diagnostic tool for enthusiasts and DIYers. It allows you to add vehicle software depending on the models of vehicles you find yourself working on frequently.
4Launch Creader CRP123 OBD2 Transmission Scan Tool
Why taking Launch Creader CRP123 OBD2 Transmission Scan Tool?
Those who like it hail the Launch Creader CRP123 is the best transmission code reader because of its sleek design, simple operation and extensive vehicle coverage.
It looks like a mini-tablet with control buttons around its bezel. At the right bottom part of the bezel is a DTC button that you can use to retrieve stored codes. Just above this button are navigation buttons.
The 3.5-inch, color display adds taste to the overall design of the CRP123. While that’s great and all, it is its functionality that makes this OBDII transmission scanner one of the best.
First things first, the CRP123 allows you to read and erase generic as well as manufacturer-specific transmission codes. Additionally, it supports live streaming and recording of transmission data. By streaming data from transmission sensors, this scan tool makes it possible to pinpoint faulty sensors.
Although transmission is our main concern, you may want to know that the scanner also allows diagnosis of the engine, ABS and SRS. It can also display freeze frame data, live PCM data, O2 sensor data, and I/M readiness.
In terms of vehicle coverage, the Launch Creader CRP123 transmission diagnostic tool is compatible with most of the mainstream OBD2-complaint vehicle brands. That includes Chrysler, Ford, GM, Benz, BMW, VW, Honda, Mazda, Subaru, Toyota, etc.
- Has auto-VIN technology for identifying vehicle automatically
- Wide vehicle coverage that includes domestic and foreign car brands
- Software updates are free for the life of the product
- Offers code descriptions for each code
- Supports diagnosis of 3 other main systems in addition to transmission
- Updating device software is an uphill climb
- Compatibility issues with Asian-made cars that are older than 2003
What can Launch Creader CRP123 OBD2 Transmission Scan Tool be used for?
As far as transmission diagnosis goes, the Launch Creader CRP123 is suitable for ordinary car owners. It’s simple to use and comes with an affordable price tag.
5Autel Scanner MD802 Maxidiag Elite OBD2 Diagnostic Tool for Transmission
Why taking Autel Scanner MD802 Maxidiag Elite OBD2 Diagnostic Tool for Transmission?
The Autel MD802 Maxidiag Elite offers all the basic functions you need to diagnose a transmission system. For starters, it can read and erase trouble codes that are related to the transmission. Each code comes with a brief description to help you understand the problem.
By clearing transmission codes the MD802 helps you reset the transmission warning light and by extension Check Engine Light. Additionally, it can stream live sensor data from transmission sensors. This is very important if you want to isolate faulty sensors from those that are okay.
This transmission diagnostic tool features a full-color screen. With a simple interface and hotkeys, the device is pretty simple to navigate and customize. That’s one of the reasons why it can easily rate as the best OBD2 transmission scanner.
Speaking of OBD2 diagnosis, the MD802 is designed to work on most domestic, Asian and European car brands. That said, the car must be OBD2-compliant. Meaning it should be a 1996 or newer model.
- Supports diagnosis of other systems like the engine, ABS, SRS, and EPB
- Doesn’t require batteries, uses the car’s power
- Comes with free software updates for the entire life of the product
- Wide vehicle coverage that includes all mainstream car brands
- Ergonomic design and simple-to-use interface
- Vehicle database needs updating. It doesn’t auto-recognize most 2017 and newer cars
- Durability concerns. Some buyers have reported frequent freezing after a few months of use
What can Autel Scanner MD802 Maxidiag Elite OBD2 Diagnostic Tool for Transmission be used for?
Overall, the Autel MD802 Maxidiag Elite is the best transmission code reader if you are not looking for a professional-level tool. It’s perfect for ordinary car owners.
6FOXWELL NT510 Automotive OBD2 Transmission Scanner
Why taking FOXWELL NT510 Automotive OBD2 Transmission Scanner?
FOXWELL NT510 is specially designed for BMW, Mini, and Rolls Royce vehicles and light trucks. On other car brands, it can only read and clear transmission trouble codes. But if the car is a BMW, Mini or Rolls Royce you can do a lot more.
First things first, the scanner allows you to pull and clear transmission trouble codes. Needless to say, doing that may reset the transmission warning light and Check Engine Light.
Secondly, it requests live transmission data. You can, therefore, use it to pinpoint a transmission sensor that is faulty. Even better, the scan tool can record all your live data just in case you need to store them for future analysis.
Thirdly, the NT510 supports active tests. Performing an active test for the transmission diagnostic tool system will help you know whether it’s working properly and efficiently. For example, you can use the scanner to shift your car’s gears and see whether the gears are changing at the same speed. These are tests that you can’t do with an ordinary scanner.
In addition to diagnosing the transmission, the FOXWELL NT510 can also check the engine, SRS, ABS, EPB and SAS of any BMW, Mini or Rolls Royce vehicle. It also supports DPF regeneration, battery registration, oil service reset and freeze frame data just to name a few.
The functionality of the NT510 makes it the best transmission code reader for BMW, Mini or Rolls Royce vehicles. The second best thing is its coverage. For the listed car brands, it supports both OBD1 and OBD2-compliant models.
More specifically, it works on cars and light trucks that were made from 1987 to date. For other vehicle brands, it can only read and erase trouble codes from the main systems. I.e. engine, SRS, ABS, and transmission.
- Covers OBD1 and OBD2 vehicles (BMW, Mini & Rolls Royce)
- A wide range of functions that include active tests
- Can display live sensor data in text and graph
- The software is upgradable to cover latest car brands
- Very accurate diagnosis
- Most functions work on BMW, Mini & Rolls Royce vehicles only
- FOXWELL doesn’t offer reliable support for this scanner
What can FOXWELL NT510 Automotive OBD2 Transmission Scanner be used for?
All in all, the FOXWELL NT510 is undoubtedly the best transmission code reader for BMW, Mini, and Rolls Royce cars. Its wide range of functions makes it great for enthusiasts and DIYers.
7Launch CRP129 OBD II Transmission Scanner
Why taking Launch CRP129 OBD II Transmission Scanner?
The CRP129 is the second Launch Tech scanner in this review of the best transmission diagnostic tool. That goes to show just how reliable the brand is, and this particular scanner is no let-down either.
With it, you can view and erase transmission codes. When pulling codes you will get a brief description detailing what the code means. That’s a welcome feature, particularly if you are new to OBD codes.
In addition to that, this OBDII transmission scanner can stream live sensor data. You may need that information to single out transmission sensors that are faulty. The good thing is that the scanner displays it nicely thanks to its 3.5-inch color LCD screen.
Besides transmission, the Launch CRP129 also diagnoses the engine, ABS and SRS. It’s, therefore, a handy tool for resetting the Check Engine Light and other warning lights. It can also reset oil service, EPB, SAS, perform O2 sensor tests and display freeze frame as well as emission-related data.
In terms of vehicle coverage, this OBD2 transmission scan tool works on OBD2-compliant cars and light trucks. It covers all major car brands, domestic and foreign. The car should, however, be a 2000 or newer model if it’s made in the EU. If it’s diesel-powered then it should not be more than 12V.
- Compatible with over 40 vehicle brands
- Supports several diagnostic functions besides the transmission
- Offers code definitions and troubleshooter
- Software updates are free for the life of the product
- Nice construction with a tablet-like design
- Not easy to update software
- Has compatibility issues with most Asian-made vehicles
What can Launch CRP129 OBD II Transmission Scanner be used for?
Its simplicity makes the Launch CRP129 suitable for enthusiasts and DIYers. It makes a great buy if you want to check and delete transmission codes as well as stream live sensor data from the transmission system.
8FOXWELL NT614 OBD2 Transmission Diagnostic Tool with Oil Light Reset
Why taking FOXWELL NT614 OBD2 Transmission Diagnostic Tool with Oil Light Reset?
If you are looking to buy a well-rounded scanner then the FOXWELL NT614 should be one of your top considerations. Featuring a large 4.3-inch color display and ergonomic design for easy handling, this scanner has almost everything you need to diagnose the transmission system.
As expected, it can read and clear transmission codes. In addition to that, it can display live sensor data from transmission sensors. Those two are basic functions for all the best transmission diagnostic tools.
So, what sets the NT614 apart from the rest? Like the FOXWELL NT510 (check above), this device supports active tests. That means you to perform bidirectional tests for the transmission diagnostic tool control module. Such tests tell you whether the system is working as it should.
As an OBD2 scanner, the NT614 is compatible with over 50 vehicle brands, domestic and imported. It also supports a diagnosis of other systems, including the engine, SRS and ABS.
To add to that, the device can perform an oil service reset and test the EPB. That’s why it’s one of the most fully-fledged transmission diagnostic tools out there.
- Compatible with all mainstream OBD2 cars and light trucks
- Provides live data in text and as graphs
- Well-built for durability
- Comes with free software updates for its lifetime
- The intuitive menu makes it simple to use
- Doesn’t come with reliable customer support
- Compatibility issues with some Asian-made cars
What can FOXWELL NT614 OBD2 Transmission Diagnostic Tool with Oil Light Reset be used for?
All in all the FOXWELL NT614 remains to be one of the best transmission diagnostic tool for DIYers and enthusiasts.
9ANCEL FX4000 OBD2 Car Code Reader for Transmission
Why taking ANCEL FX4000 OBD2 Car Code Reader for Transmission?
The ANCEL FX4000 is an OBD2 scanner that reads transmission codes on most OBD2-compliant vehicles. These are generally cars and light sold in the USA from 1996 to date.
Like most of the scanners we’ve seen already, the FX4000 supports two main functions. The first is trouble codes. It can read and erase transmission codes on any compatible vehicle.
Secondly, the scanner can stream live data from transmission sensors. By doing that it allows you to identify faulty sensors. And that shouldn’t be hard seeing as you get the data either in text or graphical format.
Away from transmission diagnostics, the ANCEL FX4000 also checks the engine, ABS, SRS, EPB, SAS, TPMS, and ESP. It can reset the oil light, perform IMMO, BMS, run emission tests and do checks for I/M readiness.
In other words, it’s one of the most comprehensive scanners out there. And the great performance doesn’t come with a compromised construction. Featuring a largely black exterior, the FX4000 is built with rubber sleeves for protection against impacts.
It has an FN key (hotkey) for customizing shortcuts. So if you anticipate that you will be checking the transmission system on many cars you can set the shortcut to lead straight to transmission diagnostics.
- Well-built for durability
- Coverage includes most diesel and gas OBD2 vehicles, domestic and foreign
- Doesn’t require a battery, gets its power directly from the car
- Gives DTC definitions and repair tips
- Offers comprehensive functionality that includes diagnosis of other systems besides the transmission
- Fairly expensive compared to other transmission diagnostic tools
- Could use a better user manual
- A few complaints regarding compatibility with EU and Asian-made cars
What can ANCEL FX4000 OBD2 Car Code Reader for Transmission be used for?
Overall, the ANCEL FX4000 may easily rate as the best transmission code reader for the home mechanic. If you are a DIYer or enthusiast you will like that it can read transmission codes and display live data.
10Autel MaxiCOM MK808 OBD 2 Transmission Scan Tool (MD802+MaxiCheck Pro)
Why taking Autel MaxiCOM MK808 OBD 2 Transmission Scan Tool (MD802+MaxiCheck Pro)?
The final product in this review of the best transmission code reader is Autel MaxiCOM MK808. A mid-range scanner, this device features a 7-inch touchscreen for display and navigation.
Compared to the other scanners above, it’s the closest thing to a tablet. That’s a good thing because the design makes it easy to find your way around its menus. Its diagnostic functions are organized neatly like apps on a tablet.
More importantly, this OBD2 transmission scan tool offers most of the functions you need to diagnose the transmission system. Top on the list is trouble codes. With the ability to do deep probing, the Autel MaxiCOM MK808 can pull and erase any and every transmission code.
Adding to that, the device displays live sensor data from transmission sensors. It makes your work very easy when you want to identify and repair or replace faulty sensors.
Those two are basic functions of virtually every good transmission diagnostic tool. So what gives the Autel MaxiCOM MK808 an edge over its competition? Well, it packs additional features that make the diagnosis process simple and fun.
The first of those features is a shop manager. This one allows you to save customer data in folders and subfolders. Besides making it easy to retrieve a vehicle’s diagnostic history, the shop manager ensures that you keep records of all your frequent customers.
The other handy feature is Autel’s MaxiFix. This community-based platform gives you access to tons of repair tips and recommended shops where you can buy parts. Any mechanic needs this information to help in correct diagnosis and when shopping for genuine parts.
Finally, in addition to transmission diagnosis tool, the Autel MaxiCOM MK808 allows you to diagnose all systems. They include engine, ABS, SRS, EPB, Fuel, Light, Emission etc. It also resets oil service, EPB, SAS, DPF, BMS, ABS, and TPMS. The icing on the cake? You can use it for IMMO to program keys.
In sum, the MaxiCOM MK808 gets a spot as the best transmission code reader because it offers a plethora of functions. Its vehicle coverage is equally impressive. It works on 1996 and newer US-made cars, 2000 and newer EU-made cars and 2003 and newer Asian-made cars.
- Impressively wide vehicle coverage
- Packs many features in one scan tool
- Sleek and attractive design
- Packed nicely in a carrying case with OBD2 adapters
- Uses a lithium polymer battery, which means it can power up and run even when not connected to a vehicle
- Comes with a premium price tag
- Updates are not free (despite what Autel claim)
What can Autel MaxiCOM MK808 OBD 2 Transmission Scan Tool (MD802+MaxiCheck Pro) be used for?
The Autel MaxiCOM MK808 is ideal for use by professionals and in auto repair shops. Its price tag is highly justified by the premium diagnostic functions that you get.
Best Transmission Code Readers: Editor’s Top 3 Picks Comparison Chart
|Best Value||Also Great||Best of the Best|
FIXD Active Car Health Monitor OBD II Transmission Scanner
ANCEL FX4000 OBD2 Car Code Reader for Transmission
BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional OBD II Transmission Code Reader
4.3 / 5
4.2 / 5
4.4 / 5
|Transmission active tests||No||No||No|
|Bottom line||The low price tag and ease of use makes the FIXD scanner the best transmission code reader for ordinary car owners.||ANCEL FX4000 may rate as the best transmission code reader for the home mechanic. It can read transmission codes and display live data.||BlueDriver Bluetooth Professional is great device for ordinary car owners who want to pull transmission codes and view live transmission data in real-time.|
1. Can a transmission problem trigger the Check Engine Light?
Yes. Resetting the light may be as simple as clearing all transmission codes
2. Can I drive with a faulty transmission system?
You may be able to, but that depends on the nature of the problem. Even so, a failing transmission can prevent gears from engaging or the car from staying in gear. Consequently, the car may stall.
3. How much does it cost to repair an automatic transmission?
The average cost of fixing the transmission system is $2,800 to $3,000. Replacing it will set you back between $4,000 and $8,000.
The best OBD2 transmission scan tool can display trouble codes and live data stream from transmission sensors.
5. My scanner won’t communicate with the car’s ECU. What should I do?
Check that it plugged snuggly in the OBD2 port and no cables are loose. Ensure you have selected the right make and model of your car in the scanner.
If it still doesn’t work check the manufacturer’s website to see if the scanner is compatible with your car.