Best Kobra OBD2 Scanners Review: The Choice for Affordable Car Diagnostics

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For a long time, diagnosing car problems has been an expensive and frustrating process. Different scanners on the market claim to diagnose engine issues, transmission problems, and more. The Kobra OBD2 scanner is affordable, easy-to-understand, and some models work on your smartphones, so you don't have to bring more than one device with you in your car.

PRODUCT DETAILS
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Kobra Code Reader

  • Compact design
  • Works with most cars from 1996-2016
  • Supports CAN, VPW, PWM, ISO, and KWP 2000 protocols
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Kobra Scanner Pro

  • Simple operation
  • Interprets the code in simple English
  • Efficient in reading generic and manufacturer-specific trouble codes
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Kobra Bluetooth WiFi

  • Has an extensive database of 3000 error codes
  • 1-year money-back guarantee
  • Reads and diagnoses codes in 15 seconds or less
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Kobra Scan Adapter

  • Compatible with most US, European, and Asian cars
  • Retrieves generic and manufacturer-specific codes
  • Bluetooth (Android and Windows) and WiFi connection for all devices

Why I Need a Bluetooth OBD2 Scanner

• Real-Time Diagnosis on Problems with Your Car

Bluetooth OBD2 scanners allow you to diagnose problems with your car while the engine is running. They're worth investing in if you frequently drive and don't want to end up stranded because of a minor problem or if you want to avoid further damage to your car. The scanner displays important indicators like fuel pressure, exhaust emission level, idle speed, engine temperature, and throttle response.

• Safer Driving All Year

While statistics show that car accidents happen the most during the warm months where driving is most pleasant, your car also reacts differently during the winter months. If your battery dies without warning, the gas cap loosens, or tire pressure is too low in one of your tires, accidents may happen before you are even aware of your car's problem. With a Bluetooth car diagnostic tool on board, you can drive safer in any weather.

• Save Money and Time on Repairs

Think of a good vacation ruined because your car suddenly broke down. Car websites estimate an annual expense on repairing and maintaining your vehicle, amounting to $600-700. You can buy a quality auto diagnostic scanner for less than $30, depending on the brand.

The scanner effectively detects error codes in your car, tripping the engine light so you can work on it before it gets any worse. You can also use this device for years, thus saving you lots of money!

• Peace of Mind for Everyone

Do you ever worry when someone from your family drives on his own, especially a son or a daughter who just got his or her license? Well, take the worry out of the equation by bringing a check engine code reader that supports iOs devices or Android devices. Teach them how to check the engine code reader and what to do when the check engine lights turn on. We recommend you get one for each car to get a real-time check on your car's performance.

What Makes Kobra OBD2 Scanner Better Than Other Brands

This fantastic car code reader OBD scanner can connect to any device, including iOS, Android, and Windows smartphones and tablets. You just need a WiFi connection (which is convenient) to diagnose your car's problem. With a database this extensive (3000 codes stored in its database), it can find the issues on your vehicle in less time than you need to search online.

It supports many free and paid apps, including the OBD Fusion, Dash Command, OBD Car Doctor, etc., for iOS and Torque for Android, OBD Auto Doctor for Windows, and Elm 327 apps.

The KOBRA Bluetooth car code reader works well with all 1996 - 2018 cars in the United States and has an easy-to-understand interface. It takes only 15 seconds for the scanner to connect with your device. Turn the Bluetooth off, then turn it back on after 5 seconds if the scanner does not show on your device immediately.

The newest version of the compact Kobra OBD2 scanner

PROS

  • Compact design
  • Works with most cars from 1996-2016
  • Supports CAN, VPW, PWM, ISO, and KWP 2000 protocols
  • Error codes listed in the user's manual
  • 1-year money-back guarantee

CONS

  • Some codes are not as accurate as other brands

What Recent Buyers Report

It works on most cars, and though some users have trouble understanding the code, the dealership for his vehicle was accommodating, and the code helped speed up the diagnostics, so he got his car fixed in no time. Another driver checked the codes on the internet and replaced the cause of the trouble code without visiting a mechanic. 

Why It Stands Out to Us

Check your car like a pro with Kobra's compact OBD diagnostic scanner. It is an excellent tool that every car owner should get to read generic and manufacturer-specific trouble codes. 

It also has an easy-to-follow 4-step code reading procedure that even newbies can understand and can check engine light codes in seconds. The company also has the friendliest customer service that accommodates every customer's problems promptly.

Even for its simple makeup and low price, it still carries an extensive database of more than 3000 error codes, clears check engine lights instantly, and is compatible with OBD2/ EOBD compliant US, European and Asian vehicles. 

It is also effortless to connect with your car's electronic control unit (ECU), minimizes maintenance costs, and reads error codes in real-time.

Who Will Use This Most

The Kobra Newest Version OBD2 Scanner is an excellent OBD2 scanner for drivers who want a straightforward tool that delivers. 

Kobra Newest Version OBD2 Scanner, Pro

PROS

  • Simple operation
  • Interprets the code in simple English
  • Efficient in reading generic and manufacturer-specific trouble codes
  • Great value for money
  • Clears codes to pass smog and emission tests

CONS

  • Potentially drains your car battery
  • Short connecting cable

What Recent Buyers Report

Many shoppers think it’s an excellent tool, even for its very affordable price and cheap materials. It works well with most cars and clears trouble codes without any issues. The manual is also helpful since it lists most of the trouble codes. 

Why It Stands Out to Us

Turn any car into a truly smart car with the Kobra Pro OBD Scanner. The car scan tool retrieves accurate trouble codes in seconds after plugging the device into the diagnostic link connector and turning it on. You don't have to waste hours Googling codes since it explains the error codes in plain English.

In addition to providing codes, this handy tool is an excellent check engine light eliminator, runs I/M readiness tests, and pulls other pertinent car information like gallons per mile that other car code readers can't. It also has a very compact design for easier storage and transport.

It is compatible with most US, European, or Asian model cars manufactured beyond 1996 and works on cars, sedans, minivans, and pickup trucks. It determines the reasons for check engine light illumination, reads and erases error codes, and runs I/M readiness tests, freeze frame data, and other information. 

It also supports 6 languages and reads vehicle identification numbers (VIN) without manually inputting them. 

Who Will Use This Most

We recommend this code scanner to any driver who’s okay using a scanner and doesn’t want to pay for a mobile app.

Kobra OBD2 Bluetooth WiFi Car Code Reader

PROS

  • Has an extensive database of 3000 error codes
  • 1-year money-back guarantee
  • Reads and diagnoses codes in 15 seconds or less
  • Connects with your car's ECU in just 4 steps
  • Works on almost any device

CONS

  • The free app doesn't work as it should
  • Drains your car's battery faster

What Recent Buyers Report

Drivers recommend this tool to their fellow drivers because of the savings you can get from using it. The paid apps are very affordable (some less than $5), but they can verify what’s wrong with their car in seconds. However, even some drivers who use a free app with their mobile phones claim the scanner still works perfectly. 

Why It Stands Out to Us

KOBRA OBD scanner is a quality auto diagnostic scanner. It connects with Android and Windows devices using Bluetooth, allowing you to get free or paid updates from the Google Play Store or Windows Phone store on OBD Fusion, DashCommand, Torque app, OBD Link, ScanMaster Lite, OBD Car Doctor. 

This professional car code reader has a database for more than 3000 generic and manufacturer-specific trouble codes. It's perfect if you need help figuring out how much gas is in your vehicle or what might be wrong when it idles funny!

Kobra OBD2 scanners are better than other Bluetooth OBD scanners because they provide upgraded deals. The new and improved ELM327 scanner now has an improved WiFi signal range, compatible with iOS, Windows, and Android devices than before. It even comes with a built-in antenna for clearer reception. 

It also no longer requires CD installation for upgrades! Please note that it does not have a Bluetooth connection for iOS devices, so use your WiFi instead.

Who Will Use This Most

This Bluetooth/WiFi adapter is best for drivers who prefer to check their vehicles with just a tap on their mobile device. 

Kobra OBD2 Bluetooth Scan Tool Adapter

Kobra OBD2 Bluetooth Scan Tool Adapter

PROS

  • Compatible with most US, European, and Asian cars
  • Retrieves generic and manufacturer-specific codes
  • Bluetooth (Android and Windows) and WiFi connection for all devices
  • Checks diagnostic trouble codes
  • Effectively resets engine light

CONS

  • Only the WiFi version works with iOS devices
  • Troublesome updates

What Recent Buyers Report

Although some drivers found some connection issues with the app, it still works well once they have achieved a stable connection. The company is also very helpful for addressing the problems encountered by the users. On the whole, it’s an essential tool for your car, and you can get it and the companion app at a very affordable price. 

Why It Stands Out to Us

The Kobra OBD2 Bluetooth Scan Tool Adapter is an effective OBD Scanner that can identify diagnostic trouble codes. It seamlessly works with Torque and many more iOS, Android, and Windows smartphones and tablets, giving you a smart car without spending much.

This car code reader supports all OBD2 protocols: CAN (Controller Area Network) / KWP2000 (Keyword Protocol 2000) / ISO9141 / J1850 VPW (Variable Pulse Width Modulation) / J1850 PWM. Aside from other trouble codes, its live sensors read engine RPM, fuel system status, fuel pressure, intake manifold pressure, airflow rate, O2 readings, and so much more than other Bluetooth OBD scanners.

It is compatible with all OBD2-compliant vehicles from the US, Europe, Japan, & Korea and comes with free-to-download apps (Torque Lite, OBD DashCommand, Car Scanner, OBD Auto Doctor). It can stream data through Bluetooth signal (Windows and Android devices) and WiFi connection for iOS and all other devices and comes with a 1-year money-back guarantee.

Who Will Use This Most

This scanner is an excellent addition to secure any car from preventable accidents while on long drives. Any driver would love to have this on their vehicles, especially that you can access your data in seconds, right on your mobile phone. 

Features of Kobra OBD2 Scanners

Features

Kobra Newest Version OBD2 Scanner, Compact

Works

All available systems for most European, Asian, and Domestic Vehicles After

Check Engine Light

Freeze frame Data

No

Transmission

ABS,SRS,EPB

Retrieving I/M Readiness status

Live Data

Not Declared

Component test

Not Declared

ON-board monitor test

Oil Reset Service

Protocol

CAN, VPW, PWM, ISO, and KWP 2000 protocols.6

Viewing Vehicle Information

Not required

Automatic VIN Acquisition

Not required

Software Update Option

Not declared

Broad Vehicle Coverage

Ford, Toyota, Lexus, Hyundai, Nissan, Audi, Honda, Volkswagen, Chevrolet, Subaru, and all cars sold in Canada and the US

Warranty

1 year

Price

The newest version of the compact Kobra OBD2 scanner

Features

Kobra Newest Version OBD2 Scanner, Pro

Works

All available systems for most European, Asian, and Domestic Vehicles After 1996

Check Engine Light

Freeze Frame Data

Transmission

ABS, SRS, EPB

Receiving I/M Readiness Status

Live Data

Component Test

Onboard Monitor Test

Oil Reset Service

Protocol

CAN, VPW, PWM, ISO, and KWP 2000 protocols.

Viewing Vehicle Information

Automatic VIN Acquisition

Software Update Option

Not declared

Broad Vehicle Coverage

Ford, Toyota, Lexus, Hyundai, Nissan, Audi, Honda, Volkswagen, Chevrolet, Subaru, and all cars sold in Canada and the US

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Warranty

1 year

Price

Kobra Newest Version OBD2 Scanner, Pro

Features

Kobra OBD2 Bluetooth WiFi Car Code Reader

Works

All available systems for most European, Asian, and Domestic Vehicles After 1996

Check Engine Light

Freeze Frame

Transmission

ABS, SRS, EPB

Receiving I/M Readiness Status

Live Data

Component Test

Onboard Monitor Test

Oil Reset Service

Protocol

CAN, VPW, PWM, ISO, and KWP 2000 protocols.

Viewing Vehicle Information

Automatic VIN Acquisition

Software Update Option

Not declared

Connectivity

WiFi and Bluetooth

App Compatibility

 Paid apps (Torque Pro, OBD Fusion, and DashCommand; free apps (Torque App Lite, OBD Car Doctor, ScanMaster Lite, and OBD Link)

Device Compatibility

 iOs, Windows, and Android devices

Broad Vehicle Coverage

Ford, Toyota, Lexus, Hyundai, Nissan, Audi, Honda, Volkswagen, Chevrolet, Subaru, and all cars sold in Canada and the US

Warranty

1 year

Price

Kobra OBD2 Bluetooth WiFi Car Code Reader

Features

Kobra OBD2 Bluetooth Scan Tool Adapter

Works

All available systems for most European, Asian, and Domestic Vehicles After 1996

Check Engine Light

Freeze Frame Data

Transmission

ABS, SRS, EPB

Receiving I/M Readiness Status

Live Data

Component Test

Onboard Monitor Test

Oil Reset Service

Protocol

CAN, VPW, PWM, ISO, and KWP 2000 protocols.

Viewing Vehicle Information

Automatic VIN Acquisition

Software Update Option

Not declared

Connectivity

WiFi and Bluetooth

App Compatibility

Paid apps (Torque Pro, OBD Fusion, and DashCommand; free apps (Torque App Lite, OBD Car Doctor, ScanMaster Lite, and OBD Link)

Device Compatibility

Android, iOs, and Windows devices

Broad Vehicle Coverage

Ford, Toyota, Lexus, Hyundai, Nissan, Audi, Honda, Volkswagen, Chevrolet, Subaru, and all cars sold in Canada and the US

Warranty

1 year

People Also Ask

What type of OBD has my car?

If you're unsure what type of OBD your car has, there are two easy ways to find out. Check the sticker under the hood of your vehicle, or if your car is older than 1196, then it has the OBD2 protocol. You can also look this up online if you're unsure.

What can OBD diagnose?

Among the issues that the OBD scanner can detect in your car are:

  • Fuel systems
  • Engine misfires
  • Emissions control systems
  • Vehicle/speed idling controls
  • Computer systems
  • Transmission systems
  • Issues related to vehicle body & chassis such as seatbelt, anti-lock brake system, and airbags

Each error in your car's OBD system has an assigned code stored in the OBD's database. When someone plugs an OBD scanner in your vehicle, they can read these codes and know the problem without opening up anything.

Are all OBD ports the same?

Before 1996 when onboard diagnostics used OBD1 protocols, each car manufacturer has its own set of standards, making it difficult for mechanics to master vehicles without spending much on scan tools for each manufacturer.

In 1996 car makers started equipping cars and trucks with an OBD2 port very similar with slight variations among vehicle manufacturers.

  • SAE J1850 PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) - used in Ford vehicles
  • SAE J1850 VPW (Variable Pulse Width) - used in General Motors vehicles
  • ISO9141-2 - used in all Chrysler and a variety of European or Asian vehicles
  • ISO14230-4 or KWP2000 (Keyword Protocol) - used in European and Asian imports as well as Honda, Jeep, Land Rover, Subaru, Mazda, Nissan, and more
  • ISO 15765 CAN (Controller Area Network) - used on all vehicles manufactured after 2008

The difference is in how manufacturers use standardized pinouts.

  • Pin 1 - Used by manufacturer
  • Pin 2 - Used by SAE J1850 PWM & VPW (+)
  • Pin 3 - Used by manufacturer
  • Pin 4 - Chassis ground
  • Pin 5 - Signal ground
  • Pin 6 -Used by ISO 15765-4 CAN (high) & SAE J2284
  • Pin 7 - The K-Line (ISO 9141-2 & ISO 14230-4)
  • Pins 8, 9 - OEM Reserved
  • Pin 10 - Used only by SAE J1850 PWM (-)
  • Pin 11 - Ford DCL
  • Pins 12, 13 - OEM Reserved
  • Pin 14 - Used by ISO 15765-4 CAN (low)
  • Pin 15 - The K-Line of ISO 9141-2 and ISO 14230-4
  • Pin 16 - Connects the car battery with the scan adaptor

As such, always check the OBD2 protocol of your car before buying a scanner.

  • SAE J1850 PWM - pins 2 and 10 must have contact with inside pins 2, 4, 5, 10, and 16
  • SAE J1850 VPW - pin 2 must have contact with inside pins 2, 4, 5, and 16
  • ISO9141-2 & ISO14230-4 - pin 7 must have contact with inside pins 4, 5, 7, 15, and 16; pin 15 is optional, though
  • ISO 15765 CAN -pins 6 and 14 must have a connection with inside pins 4,5,6,14, and 16

Why is OBD required?

Different states have different requirements, but in general, all light and heavy-duty vehicles sold in the US need to have a mandatory OBD system to warn the driver about potential issues with emission performance and other systems in the car.

The Federal OBD Regulation states that pickup trucks, SUVs, vans, minivans, and vehicles less than 10,000 lbs GVWR require the basic diagnostic system since 1994. OBD systems became obligatory for heavy-duty vehicles and engines up to 14,000 lbs GVWR in 2005.

In December 2008, the EPA finalized their regulations for vehicles manufactured in 2010 onwards and included cars up to 14,000 lbs GVWR along with changes they made on requirements for those weighing over 14,000 lbs GVWR.

Can you drive with an OBD plugged in?

Yes, you can. Some insurance companies require you to have an OBD2 scanner at all times, plugged even when you're not driving, as they consider the travel log information they get from the scanner.

Also, it protects you from unnecessary accidents while on the road. Your battery could die, and the tires will lose air pressure without warning. With an OBD2 scanner, you can readily see the check engine light on your dashboard so you can act accordingly. 

To avoid corrupting the software, always make sure you turn your vehicle on when using a Kobra OBD2 scan tool. Turn off your car first, and then plug in the OBD2 scan into a port located under the dash. Turn it back on and wait for the device to boot up automatically. If it doesn't, press the power button on.

If you're concerned with draining your car battery, get an OBD2 scanner with an auto-sleep mode. If your insurance provider does not demand it, you can also plug off your scanner during the weekend or if you're not planning to drive it for a few days.

Conclusion

Kobra's OBD2 scanner is a lifesaver for people who are on the go and want to diagnose their car problems quickly. No more expensive, frustrating diagnostics! 

The app allows you to scan your vehicle's engine codes with just one device that fits in your pocket. It also lets you understand the error codes without consulting a mechanic or wasting hours googling codes. 

Not sure if this is what you’re looking for? Check out this buyer’s guide for more.