Having trouble with your VW or Audi car? The first and obvious step is to get a diagnostic report and pinpoint the problem(s). You can pull the report right from your garage, without having to take the car to an auto repair shop. But you will need a VW Scan Tool if you own a VW car, or an Audi Scan Tool in case it’s an Audi.
Better yet, you can get yourself a unit that’s compatible with both car brands. In this review, we look at 7 of the best VW/Audi diagnostic tools to buy in 2021.
- 1 Introduction To Audi/VW Scanners
- 2 Best VW Audi Scanner Reviews
- 2.1 1 Carista OBD2 Bluetooth Audi VW Scan Tool
- 2.2 2OBDeleven Pro Bluetooth Full System VW Audi Scanner with Programming and Monitoring
- 2.3 3ANCEL VD500 OBD2 Volkswagen Audi Code Reader for EPB ABS SRS Diagnostics
- 2.4 4XTOOL VAG401 Live Data OBD2 Audi VW Scan Tool ABS SRS and Oil Reset
- 2.5 5FOXWELL NT510 Full System VW Audi Scan Tool with Oil Light and ABS Reset
- 2.6 6iCarsoft i908 OBD2 Multi-system Audi VOLKSWAGEN Scan Tool
- 2.7 7AUTOPHIX V007 VW Audi Diagnostic Scan Tool with Oil Service Reset
- 3 VW Audi Scan Tool: Editor’s Top 3 Picks Comparison Chart
- 4 The Bottomline
Introduction To Audi/VW Scanners
A VW/Audi scanner is an OBD tool that is compatible with Volkswagen and Audi vehicles. For those who need to know, an OBD scanner is a device used to diagnose on-board systems of a car.
The most basic scanners display diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) that are stored whenever the car detects a problem anywhere in its systems. The problem may have occurred in the powertrain, chassis, body or anywhere else in the car.
Regardless, if you have a VW or Audi scanner you may be able to view the codes and in some cases read live, freeze frame data, etc. Ultimately, all these pieces of information will help you identify the problem, and even fix it (if you know how to).
Now, with that in mind, which is the best scanner for Audi and VW car owners? Sit back and relax as we take you through this review of our top 7 picks. Here’s a comparison chart to get the ball rolling.
Best VW Audi Scanner Reviews
1 Carista OBD2 Bluetooth Audi VW Scan Tool
Carista is an Audi and VW scanner that pairs with iOS and Android smartphones to perform diagnostics. It’s an adapter. What you do is install an OBD2 app (like the Carista App) on your phone and then connect the phone with the Carista adapter via Bluetooth, which turns the adapter into an OBD2 interface that links your phone with the car’s ECU. And you will be able to perform a wide range of diagnostic functions.
One of the things that you can do is read and clear codes. On VW and Audi cars, Carista supports viewing and erasing engine, ABS, airbag and transmission codes. It follows that this VW and Audi diagnostic tool can reset the Check Engine Light as well as ABS and airbag warning lights.
Besides that, Carista has some dealer-specific functions for VW and Audi. They include service light reset, EPB retraction and viewing of ECU information.
Like most other OBD2 adapters, Carista does an excellent job in relaying real-time data. You can view parameters like engine temp, calculated engine load, fuel trim, vehicle speed, MAF air flow rate, torque, fuel economy, etc. Just keep in mind that the exact number of gauges that you will see depends on the app you use.
The Carista adapter works with the Carista app as well as third-party apps like OBD Fusion, OBD Auto Doctor, OBD Car Doctor, and Torque Pro. So be sure to choose an app that offers as many functions as possible; like OBD Fusion.
All in all, Carista earns a spot as the best VW Scan tool (or the best Audi scan tool for that matter) because of its simplicity. Connecting it with a smartphone takes a few easy steps.
Despite that, it allows you to diagnose all the primary systems (engine, ABS & airbag), to view the live data and to monitor fuel economy to name a few. That’s why it’s one of the best apps for car owners with OBD2-compliant vehicles.
- Has special functions for Audi and VW cars
- Small, compact and lightweight. Can be left plugged in the car’s OBD2 port
- Comes with the premium version of Carista app for free for one month
- Compatible with third-party apps
- Works on Android and iOS devices
- Carista app has in-app purchases
- May drain car battery if left plugged in the OBD2 port
2OBDeleven Pro Bluetooth Full System VW Audi Scanner with Programming and Monitoring
If you like the idea of an OBD2 adapter but don’t want to use Carista you may consider the OBDeleven Pro. Just like Carista, the latter is a dongle that plugs to the OBD2 port of your VW or Audi car. It then pairs with your mobile device (smartphone or tablet) via Bluetooth and allows you to run diagnostics from that mobile device.
Although they are similar in many ways, Carista and OBDeleven Pro also differ significantly. For starters, OBDeleven works on Android devices only. That means VW and Audi car owners who use iOS devices exclusively can’t use this adapter.
Besides, OBDeleven Pro is only compatible with the OBDeleven App. That limits the number of OBD2 apps that you can use to just one. Again, if you are a VW or Audi car owner who prefers a different app (like OBD Fusion, Torque Pro or any other), then you are out of luck.
In terms of functionality, OBDeleven is just as good, if not better than Carista. For one it can identify your car make and model automatically using the VIN. Besides, this Audi and VW diagnostic tool can read and clear trouble codes from all major systems. That includes the engine, ABS, airbag, and transmission.
So if you are looking for the best VW scan tool or the best Audi scan tool for resetting the MIL and other warning lights, OBDeleven Pro should make the best choice.
The one thing that gives the OBDeleven scanner an edge over other adapters is its wide range of advanced functions. With it, you can reset oil service, relearn brake pads after replacement, adjust car lights, view live sensor data, view freeze frame data, perform coding, make adaptations, and so much more.
In short, if you own a VW or Audi car, the OBDeleven Pro might prove to be invaluable. It is especially great for enthusiasts and DIYers who frequently work on VAG cars. The tool is compatible with OBD2-compliant vehicles.
- Provides all-system access
- Supports a wide range of advanced diagnostic functions
- Has gauges for viewing live data
- Can pull freeze frame data
- Has an exclusive app (OBDeleven App)
- Small enough to be left plugged in the car. That way it will give an instant report when something happens
- Only compatible with Android devices
- Doesn’t support third-party diagnostic apps
- In-app purchases which may make using the adapter expensive
3ANCEL VD500 OBD2 Volkswagen Audi Code Reader for EPB ABS SRS Diagnostics
The ANCEL VD500 is compatible with OBD2-compliant Audi and VW vehicles. Therefore, if your car is a 1996 or newer model, then you may use this scan tool.
You may want to know that it works on 12V cars and light trucks only. If it’s compatible, the scanner will detect the car make and model automatically using Auto-VIN.
So, what can you do with the VD500? First, you can read and clear trouble codes. As a full system scanner, it gives you access to the engine, ABS, SRS, transmission, TPMS, SAS and all major systems of the car. And that means if the pesky
S, transmission, TPMS, SAS and all major systems of the car. And that means if the pesky
Additionally, this Audi and VW code reader supports oil service reset, EPB reset and battery monitoring. You can also use it for throttle position adaptation and IMMO.
More specifically, the unit diagnoses the throttle position sensor (TPS) to ensure that it monitors the car’s throttle position effectively. With regards to IMMO, the ANCEL VD500 can disable a lost key and protect the vehicle from theft.
The scanner has an ESP (Electronic Stability Program) that is explicitly designed for VW and Audi cars. This program keeps a vehicle stable by detecting and reducing skidding.
To sum everything up, the VD500 makes a good buy if you prefer stand-alone scanners over OBD adapters. It’s an excellent tool for DIYers and enthusiasts.
- Supports full system OBD2 diagnostics
- Can do basic diagnostics (engine, ABS, SRS, transmission, etc.) as well as advanced diagnostics (reset functions, TPS, ESP, and IMMO)
- The menu has English and German options
- Very affordable despite the many functions
- Works on almost every OBD2-compliant VW and Audi cars
- Doesn’t support live data or freeze frame data
- Compatibility issues with some VW cars, like the 2013 VW Tiguan and 2001 VW Golf
4XTOOL VAG401 Live Data OBD2 Audi VW Scan Tool ABS SRS and Oil Reset
Coming in fourth is the XTOOL VAG401. An OBD2 tool, this one of the best VW/Audi diagnostic tool supports all the OBD2 protocols, including the most popular like CAN, ISO9141, J1850, J1850 PWM and KWP2000.
With no built-in battery, the VAG401 draws power directly from the car battery. It comes on as soon as you plug it to the car’s OBD2 port.
Once connected, the scanner automatically runs diagnostics and displays trouble codes. It can read and erase codes from the engine, transmission, airbag, ABS and other available systems.
While it can’t display freeze frame data, the VAG401 does show live data. The latter is essential when you need to observe the real-time performance of monitors, sensors, and modules. Plus it provides helpful information regarding the health of the engine as well as fuel economy.
Alongside the above, you can use this Audi and VW scan tool to check for I/M readiness. It will tell you whether there’s a problem in the emissions system and if the car will pass a smog test.
All the mentioned functions are great, but the ones that make this unit arguably the best VW scan tool or the best Audi scan tool relate to adaptation and coding. The device performs coding as well as throttle adaptation (throttle alignment).
These are features that are typically found in high-end OBD scanners. The XTOOL VAG401 is designed with the ordinary car owner in mind. It’s simple to use and comes with an affordable price tag.
- Can retrieve immobilizer PIN codes
- Provides tips and procedures for performing adaptations and coding
- Very affordable; great value for money
- Can perform actuation tests in addition to live data stream
- Has memory card for easily updating software
- No freeze frame data
- Some units come with Chinese as the default language.
- Reported complaints indicate that the tool at times fails to reset the oil light.
5FOXWELL NT510 Full System VW Audi Scan Tool with Oil Light and ABS Reset
The FOXWELL NT510 offers a little more than what an ordinary car owner or DIY enthusiast might need. Besides being a full-system scanner for VW and Audi cars, it also features six service functions, bi-directional controls, active tests, relearns and adaptation functions.
As a full-system scanner, the NT510 can read and erase codes in all available systems. They include engine, ABS, SRS, transmission, SAS, etc. Consequently, the scan tool can turn off the MIL as well as warning lights for other systems.
As mentioned already, this one of the best VW/Audi diagnostic tool has six service functions including EPB reset; oil service reset, ABS reset, SRS reset, SAS calibration and DPF regeneration. All these are important for the proper maintenance of a vehicle.
Additionally, the NT510 supports bi-directional controls and active tests. You can use it to bleed the ABS, register a new battery, reset the CAS, and to disable a lost key or enable a new one.
As far as relearning, the scan tool can do TPMS relearns which is usually necessary after a TPMS sensor has been replaced.
Finally, the NT510 allows you to perform brake caliper adaptation on any Audi A8. More specifically, you can do the adaptation on the rear brake calipers after replacing brake discs and pads.
In terms of vehicle compatibility, this Audi and VW scanner covers OBD1 as well as OBD2 vehicles. Note that for OBD1 cars you can only check codes and reset the MIL. Still, it makes a good buy for professional mechanics who frequently work on VW and Audi cars; whether OBD1, OBD2 or both.
- Packs so many functions in a compact and affordable device
- Compatible with OBD1 and OBD2 vehicles
- Comes with free software updates for the product’s lifetime
- Small and compact for easy storage and portability
- Fast at relaying diagnostic data
- Compatibility issues with some cars like the 2012 Audi A8L
- Freezes at times when attempting to display a lot of data
- Procedure for updating software is rather complicated
6iCarsoft i908 OBD2 Multi-system Audi VOLKSWAGEN Scan Tool
It might not be the most popular brand, but iCarsoft has arguably the best VW diagnostic tool for enthusiasts. The same goes for DIYers who frequently work on Audi cars.
Featuring a full-color 2.8-inch TFT screen, this OBD2 scanner was designed primarily for Audi and VAG cars made between 2005 and 2014. However, its database has since been updated to include most of the newer models (up to 2021). And you might still get it to work on your VW or Audi car that’s older than 2005.
The scanner supports all OBD2 modes, including CAN, ISO9141, KWP2000 and J1850. It’s a full-system scanner; which means that it can read and erase codes on all available systems. Diagnosing the engine, ABS, SRS, transmission, etc. should be a breeze.
Besides the above, this Audi and VW diagnostic tool can check emissions and also scan the emissions system for problems. It can display the I/M readiness status, run O2 sensor tests, perform EVAP system tests and show live O2 sensor data.
As long as we are talking live data, the iCarsoft i908 displays live data streams from the powertrain and all available systems. Additionally, it supports freeze frame data. Meaning you can check the conditions under which a fault was first recorded using freeze frame data and monitor the performance of sensors and modules in real time using live data.
- Supports all OBD2 modes and full-system diagnostics
- Provides code definitions
- Feels solid and well-made
- 320 x 240P display makes navigation and viewing of data simple
- Good value for money
- Built primarily for VW and Audi cars that were manufactured between 2005 and 2014
- Doesn’t have service and maintenance functions
7AUTOPHIX V007 VW Audi Diagnostic Scan Tool with Oil Service Reset
Like iCarsoft, AUTOPHIX is not quite a household brand (yet). Nonetheless, the AUTOPHIX V007 makes excellent and reliable.
It’s designed for Audi and VW cars and lights trucks that are OBD2-compliant. That means if your car is a 1996 or newer model you may use this scanner. It’s especially ideal for DIYers and enthusiasts.
That’s because, despite its affordable price, the scanner allows you to perform basic and some advanced diagnostic functions. The first of those functions is reading and erasing codes.
In that regard, the AUTOPHIX V007 gives you access to all the available systems on your Audi or VW car. That includes the engine, ABS, SRS, transmission, and over 120 other systems. There’s no system that you can’t diagnose with this scanner.
Alongside DTCs, the AUTOPHIX V007 features some of the essential service functions. It can do oil light reset, brake pad reset and check the throttle position.
While it doesn’t rate highly in data relay, this VW and Audi diagnostic tool does pull vehicle information. You can get the VIN and CIN of any vehicle in an instant. But that’s just about it; no live data nor freeze frame data.
- Gives you access to all available systems
- Features some special functions like oil reset and brake pad reset
- Compatible with all OBD2-compliant Audi and VW vehicles
- 2.8-inch display ensures characters are easily visible
- Small and compact. Can fit anywhere in the driver’s compartment
- Doesn’t have an eye-catching interface
- No live data for monitoring sensors or freeze frame data to check historical faults
VW Audi Scan Tool: Editor’s Top 3 Picks Comparison Chart
OBDeleven Pro Bluetooth Full System VW Audi Scanner
ANCEL VD500 OBD2 Volkswagen Audi Code Reader
XTOOL VAG401 Live Data OBD2 Audi VW Scan Tool
4.1 / 5
4.3 / 5
4 / 5
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What this review shows is that there’s a wide variety of VW and Audi scanners. Each one comes with a unique set of features. The trick to getting the most suitable scanner for you lies in matching your needs with the scanner’s functionality.
For example, if you prefer to use an OBD2 dongle with your phone, then Carista and OBDeleven Pro are the most suitable picks. All the others are stand-alone scanners.
On the other hand, if you are a VW or Audi car owner who is only interested in a tool that can read codes, then the XTOOL VAG401 and iCarsoft i908 make better picks. They don’t have fancy features, just the basics to help you check codes, erase codes and run emissions tests.
The AUTOPHIX V007 includes some service functions alongside codes. So that one offers slightly more than the XTOOL VAG401 and iCarsoft i908.
In case you’re looking to buy a top-drawer scanner then the FOXWELL NT510 should probably on top of your shopping list. This one supports a wide variety of service functions as well as professional-level functions. With it, you can do programming and adaptations.