Finding the best transmission code readers for your shop requires evaluating the features of every reader on the market and choosing the one that best matches your needs.
If you choose correctly, you will have a tool that will let you check your vehicle’s performance in real-time. It will also provide a clear data display with easy-to-understand graphs and tables that enable you to quickly troubleshoot and boost the vehicle’s performance.
So in this article, I will show you top 10 best transmission code reader on 2019 market.
- 1 What Is Transmission Code Reader?
- 2 Best Transmission Code Readers: Editor’s Top 3 Picks Comparison Chart
- 3 Best Transmission Code Readers Review
- 3.1 1BlueDriver Bluetooth OBDII Scanner for iPhone & Android
- 3.2 2FIXD Second-Generation OBD2 Transmission Professional Scan Tool
- 3.3 3Autel MaxiCOM MK808 OBD2 Full-System Professional Automotive Diagnostic Scan Tool
- 3.4 4ANCEL FX2000 OBD2 ABS/ SRS/ Transmission Diagnostic Scan Tool
- 3.5 5Autel AP200 OBD2 Bluetooth Full-System Diagnostic Scanner
- 3.6 6ANCEL FX6000 OBD2 Scanner with Full System Automotive Code Reader
- 3.7 7Launch CRP123 OBD2 ABS/SRS/Transmission Automotive Scanner
- 3.8 8FOXWELL NT510 Automotive OBD2 Full-System for BMW Code Reader
- 3.9 9LAUNCH CRP129E OBD2 Engine/ABS/SRS/Transmission Diagnostic Scanner
- 3.10 10Autel OBD2 Diaglink All Systems for ABS, SRS, Transmission Code Reader
- 4 Common Problems to Bad Automatic Transmission
- 5 Product FAQs
- 6 Bottom Line
What Is Transmission Code Reader?
The Transmission subsystem is a major component of your vehicle’s OBD2 system.
ODB2 (or On-Board Diagnostic Version 2) is one of the numerous advances in technology that made our lives easy and convenient over the past century. It gives you direct access to every system and mechanism in the vehicle with a complete readout of what is happening under the hood. This data helps you quickly find what is wrong with the vehicle, so you can start fixing the problem as soon as possible.
The transmission ODB2 subsystem operates a collection of sensors situated around the vehicle’s transmission system. These sensors track everything from the vehicle’s speed, wheel speed, throttle position, and transmission fluid level to the system’s operating temperature.
The sensors send their info to the transmission control unit (TCU) which manages the entire system while giving you access to that data. However, you need a transmission scanner to actually read it.
The TCU formats the sensor data into OBD2-compliant codes. Transmission code scanners are diagnostic tools which pull these codes out of the system, acting as an interface between you and the TCU. With these tools, you can view, clear, and read the sensor data, and then send commands back to them.
Best Transmission Code Readers: Editor’s Top 3 Picks Comparison Chart
|Editor’s Pick||Best Budget||Also Great|
Autel MaxiCOM MK808
4.4 / 5
4.4 / 5
4.4 / 5
|Item Weight||5.65 pounds||1.12 ounces||8 ounces|
|Dimensions||9.4 x 1.4 x 5.9 inches||2.3 x 1.9 x 1 inches||2.2 x 1.9 x 1 inches|
|Reset Check Engine Light||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Free Software updates||No||Yes||Yes|
|Storage options||Print out only||Stores to your phone||Stores to your phone|
Best Transmission Code Readers Review
1BlueDriver Bluetooth OBDII Scanner for iPhone & Android
BlueDriver’s Bluetooth scanner uses your mobile device to display and modify OBD2-compliant transmission codes. Compatible with both iOS and Android, the scanner creates a Bluetooth link between your mobile and your vehicle.
As an OBD2 device, the scanner will also work with any OBD2 vehicle, adding the long list of reasons many call it the best transmissions code scanner on the market. However, the device can only read transmission codes from Ford, BMW, Chrysler, Hinda, GM, Toyota, and Nissan vehicles.
Beyond the basics, BlueDriver put some impressive features into it as well.
Everything starts with the BlueDriver app. The app comes free with the scanner, and provides a full ODB2 diagnostic experience. You can easily pull and manage the transmission codes from your vehicle.
The app even provides complete code definitions so you can quickly understand what is wrong with the vehicle without having to search the Internet. It will even display live transmission data and then clear any code to reset the system.
- Small enough to leave attached to a vehicle to gather live, real-time sensor data
- Free OBD2 diagnostic app compatible with iOS and Android
- Suggests repair tips and replacement parts
- Provides brief code definitions to help you better understand problems
- Bluetooth wireless connectivity
- Prices comparable to most stand-alone transmission scanners
- Provides a full set of ODB2 functions
- Can only read transmission codes from a few brands
- Drains battery if left plugged into the OBD2 port
- Will not work with Windows phones or tablets
Who’s it For?
Despite its drawback, the BlueDriver Bluetooth scanner works great if you have a compatible vehicle. If you want to use your mobile to check transmission and other ODB2 diagnostic codes, this is the scanner for you.
2FIXD Second-Generation OBD2 Transmission Professional Scan Tool
Another fine adapter is FIXD OBD-II scan tool. This transmission code reader also comes with an OBD2 app that works all Android and iOS devices.
With the app, you can read and erase transmission codes, and then reset the system as necessary. You can even see live transmission data in both a text format as PIDs (gauges, graphs, and charts). At its heart, you will find the FIXD Car Health Monitor. This feature lets you perform all the transmission diagnostics.
As for the scanner itself, it supports an OBD2 plug which will fit any OBD2-compliant vehicle. Once plugged in, you can send the data to the mobile app through a Bluetooth connection. The device automatically syncs with the app. So, you always know that you are reading the most up to data info on your vehicle.
However, you can only check transmission codes on only 5 brands. While the ODB2 functions work with any ODB2 vehicle, the toll can only read transmission data from Ford, Nissan, Chrysler, Honda, and Toyota vehicles. You also need to know everything about your vehicle to register it, including the VIN number.
- Free FIXD ODB2 app compatible with Android and iOS
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Simple-to-use, comprehensive diagnostic display
- Small enough to keep plugged in for live data tracking
- Display data as either text of PIDs
- Very affordable
- Transmission diagnostics has limited compatibility.
- Bluetooth connection losing signal strength over time
- Poor customer support and vehicle registration system
Who’s It For?
As a hands-free, compact transmission code reader, the DIXD tool works will in any DIY shop. It has all the tools you need to maintain a vehicle without wires getting in your way.
3Autel MaxiCOM MK808 OBD2 Full-System Professional Automotive Diagnostic Scan Tool
Priced among mid-range ODB2 devices, the $499 Autel MaiCOM MK808 Diagnostic scanner offers everything from SRS, Engine, ABS, Brake System, Emission System, Fuel System, Light System, Wiper System, and Transmission code reading. The 7-inch tool will work with any OBD2–compliant vehicle right out of the box.
While you cannot link it with a mobile device, the MK808 feels like a tablet. It has a decent touchscreen display, and an easy to navigate the menu. You can access every diagnostic feature on the scanner as if they were individual apps. It also includes a fast processor and a stable connection to your vehicle.
Like any other ODB2 diagnostic tool, the MK808 lets you do everything you need to diagnose and maintain the transmission system. It even gives you a list of trouble codes while letting you probe deeply to find the root of a problem. You can see live, real time data as well.
Beyond the basics, the MK808 features some impressive additions. Shop Manager is a virtual mechanics shop that lets you save customer data in folders and subfolders. MaxiFIx gives you access to a vast online community of automobile experts for repair tips and shop recommendations.
The MK808 also offers an impressive compatibility list. If it is OBD2 compliant, this scan tool can read it.
- Full-spectrum of ODB2 diagnostic features
- Large 7-inch, highly sensitive, touchscreen, tablet-like, color display
- Reliable technical support and an online community
- Fast and easy for both the profession and the DIY enthusiast
- No batteries required, uses vehicle’s power
- Sleek, ergonomic design and interface
- Compatible with all OBD2 vehicles
- Updates are not free
- Premium price tag
- Device can freeze up after few months of use
Who’s It For?
The MK808 works best for users with some experience. You should only get it if you are a serious DIYer or professional mechanic who needs the diagnostic features the device offers.
4ANCEL FX2000 OBD2 ABS/ SRS/ Transmission Diagnostic Scan Tool
Another full-feature ODB2 scanner, the ANCEL FX2000 offers transmission code reading along with its other ODB2 functions. You can even stream and evaluate live data from any connected vehicle. You can even read the vehicle’s VIN and ECU freeze frame reports directly from the device.
The tool itself supports a sleek LCD display which you can configure to display in a variety of languages. Everything comes in a graphics format for convenient reading and analysis. You can even print the graphs for later use or to share them. It even has an impressive, updatable code dictionary, so you never have to decipher the codes coming from your vehicle.
- Complete OBD2 Diagnostic system
- Clear, easy-to-use LCD display and well-organized interface
- Free lifetime software updates
- Excellent customer and technical support
- Cannot erase and reset codes
- Not compatible with some older ODB2 vehicles
Who is it for?
While impressive, the FX2000 is really only useful to the consumer user. Beginner enthusiasts will love the simplicity. Experienced users will enjoy this reliable and data-rich tool.
5Autel AP200 OBD2 Bluetooth Full-System Diagnostic Scanner
As a simplified version of the MK808, the Autel AP200 puts a lot of diagnostic power in a small package. Nothing more than just a wireless adapter, the scanner uses your iOS or Android mobile device as its display and interface, giving you a complete diagnostic lab right in the palm of your hands.
The adapter is just a control unit with an OBD2-compliant plug on one end. There is no other port, favoring a Bluetooth connection between your vehicle and mobile device. Even still, it is a fully OBD2-compliant scanner, letting you diagnose the entire vehicle and not just the transmission. The device is also small enough that you can just leave it attached to the vehicle for live, real-time data tracking.
Because the AP200 has no display, you must use the mobile app for everything. The app supports a simple graphical and text interface. Its large buttons make it easy to select the various modes, including an impressive system reset system where you can reset each subsystem individually. The app even lets you test these components through virtual faults and leaks.
- AutoVIN technology identifies vehicles automatically.
- Compatible with all ODB2-compliant vehicles
- Can generate PDF files for exporting and sharing data
- Small enough for live, real-time data collection
- App can display data in analog, text, waveform graphs, and other formats
- Bluetooth connectivity
- Easy-to-use app works with both Android and iOS
- Cannot update registration info. If you entered the wrong profile information, you cannot correct it.
- Some newer vehicles not supported or requires and update
Who’s It For?
The MaxiAp AP 200 Bluetooth OBD2 scanner is a great transmission code reader for consumers. It lets you quickly diagnose problems without the need for a more professional setup.
6ANCEL FX6000 OBD2 Scanner with Full System Automotive Code Reader
While many transmission coder readers and OBD2 scanners look nice, only a few provide a nice carrying case to go with them. One of those select few is the FX6000 from Ancel. The OBD2 scanner comes packed with a CITROEN-16C connector, a diagnostic cable, a USB cable, an OBD2 connector, and a user manual. It has everything you need to check your vehicle right there in the box.
The scanner itself looks and feels like a smartphone. It fits comfortably in your hands, and its light weight makes it very portable. On its surface, you have a large, clear touchscreen display that supports a simple interface. Along the side, you will find 7 physical buttons you can use to go quickly to your favorite functions.
The tool also features an OBD2 connector, but the device will only work with vehicles that use less than 12 volts power. It does come with an OBD1 adapter so you can use it on vehicles as old as 1992 though
- Compatible with both OBD1 and OBD2 standards
- Basic and advanced diagnostic features for both gasoline and diesel vehicles
- 2 years of free software updates
- Well-constructed, solid, rugged body
- Compact size and portable carrying case
- Easy to set up and use
- Compatibility issues with some vehicles including newer models
- Windows only, not compatible with mac systems
- No built-in storage memory
Who’s It For?
The FX6000 works well in highly mobile, professional environments. DIY enthusiast and consumers may also find a place for the device in their toolbox or driver’s compartment.
7Launch CRP123 OBD2 ABS/SRS/Transmission Automotive Scanner
Launch designed their CRP123 Transmission Scanner with quality and more features than your average OBD2 scanner at its price. They even claim their tool to be the “superior” scanner, but novice mechanics should stay far away.
The CRP123 does support a small, compact, intuitive design that easily fits in your pocket. The sleek black and cheery color combination look good too.
As it is an OBD2 scanner, you can use it with any OBD2 vehicle to read every OBD2 system. It is also a plug and play device. It displays data as soon as you plug it into your vehicle with options to save the data for later use. You can even record and save your diagnostic history.
The 7.8-inch tool looks like a small tablet. It’s lightweight and highly portable. The bezel supports control buttons on either side of the 3.5-inch, color, touchscreen display.
The simple interface lets you read and manage ABS, SRS systems, the entire transmission system, including both generic and manufacturer-specific codes. It also supports live streaming and recording of sensor data, allowing you to pinpoint the location of any problem.
- Complete OBD2 functionality
- Compatible with all OBD2 vehicles built since 2006
- Free lifetime software updates
- Auto-VIN technology identifies the vehicle automatically
- Easy to use navigation
- Sleek, Portable, and lightweight design
- Offers code descriptions for each code
- Compatibility issues with vehicles older than 2006
- Short cables make it difficult to use with some models
- Expansions with only a few customer and technical support options
Who’s It For?
The Launch CRP123 is for professional and DIY enthusiasts who know what they are doing. It provides everything a professional shop needs to diagnose any vehicle on the market.
8FOXWELL NT510 Automotive OBD2 Full-System for BMW Code Reader
Foxwell made the NT510 for BMW, Mini, and Rolls Royce vehicles, but that only applies to the OBD functionality. The device will read and reset transmission codes from any vehicle.
On top of that, the reader only displays live data, though you can save the data for later use. It will point you towards the cause of any transmission problem, or let you actively test the system as a whole. It even provides component actuation.
- Covers OBD1 and OBD2 vehicles
- Display live sensor data in text or graphs
- Software is upgradable to cover the latest car brands
- Easy to use
- Very accurate diagnostic functions that include active tests
- EOBD Compliant
- Most functions only work on BMW, Mini & Rolls Royce vehicles
- No reliable customer support options
- Software updates only free for first 18 months
Who’s It For?
The Foxwell NT510 is the perfect scanner for anyone with a BMW, Mini, and Rolls Royce vehicle. It provides enough features to support car enthusiasts and DIYers.
9LAUNCH CRP129E OBD2 Engine/ABS/SRS/Transmission Diagnostic Scanner
If you do not have an Asian vehicle, then the Launch CRP129E OBD2 Diagnostic Scanner might be for you.
While it is just a basic OBD2 scanner, it offers what most people need in a transmission code reader. With it, you can view and erase codes, along with brief descriptions of those codes. It is also small enough to stream live data directly from the sensors to help you find faulty scanners if they exist.
You can manage these codes from the devices sleek 3-5-inch LCD display. The display is large enough for most jobs. Plus, its menu lets you access every OBD2 subsystem your vehicle may have, including emission freeze frames.
Because it is an OBD2 scanner, it will work with any OBD2 vehicle, including cars and light trucks. It covers all major makes and models, both foreign and domestic, though it will have some issues with some Asian models and a hand of EU brands made before 2000. Beyond that, you should never use it on a diesel engine with more than a 12-volt power signal.
- Compatible with over 40 OBD2-compliant vehicle makes and models
- Supports all OBD2 functionality
- Free lifetime software updates
- Tablet-like shape and construction
- Code definitions and troubleshooter
- Software updates difficult to install
- Compatibility issues with Asian and some early European brands
Who’s It For?
The CRP129E is simple and feature-rich, but it does not have functionality for a professional shot. However, DIY enthusiasts can use it to read and delete transmission codes or stream live sensor data.
While a bit expensive, the Autel Diaglink PBD2 Code Reader put a lot in its small package. It provides a full arsenal of OBD2 features. You can use it to read and clear transmission codes as well as anything else the Check Engine Light indicates.
Speaking of the display, the Autel Diaglink supports a full-color LCD screen for of its actions, and a very intuitive interface and menu system., making it one of the best transmission scanners out there.
Along with the usual reading and clearing functions, this handheld device can display live data to help you find broken sensors. It will even tell you if you just need to adjust the sensor or replace it completely.
You can even get free software updates, but only for one vehicle. This is great for the DIYer who only needs to work on his or her vehicle, but not so much for a professional shop. While you can use the Diaglink with more than one vehicle, you must pay extra for the privilege at $10 per additional vehicle.
Fortunately, the device does give you all OBD2 functions and tests. Plus, it is compatible with every OBD2 vehicle out there. You can also customize the interface you can have the data you need right at your fingertips.
- Compatibility with all OBD2 vehicles including luxury brands
- Supports all OBD2 functions
- Free software for one car brand
- TF card for storing diagnostic data
- Simple to use, full-color, LCD interface
- Durable, professional quality construction
- Adding vehicles require an additional fee
- Difficult to install, might require contacting customer support
Who’s It For?
Because of the additional fee for adding vehicles, professional mechanics should check out other options first. However, if you are a DIYer with a single vehicle, the Diaglink be the best transmission scanner out there.
Common Problems to Bad Automatic Transmission
Once you have your transmission code reader, you can start using it to troubleshoot and fix problems. To get you started, here are a few common transmission issues.
Low Transmission Fluid
Typically, transmissions problems come from low fluid level. While you rarely need to change your vehicle’s fluid, but the system might need a flushing every now and then. If you have chronic low transmission fluid, then you might need to replace a component.
You can tell if you have low transmission fluid if you notice the following symptoms:
- Trouble shifting gears
- Erratic shifts
- Suring Transmission
- Delayed gear engagement
- Gear slippage
- Overheated transmission
Transmission gears can slip if they wear out. The throttle should increase engine RPM and accelerate the vehicle, if this does not happen, you might have slipping. The vehicle may change speed erratically or not at all.
Problems with transmission solenoids
If the transmission jerks or shifts erratically, you might have bas solenoids on your hands. The solenoids regulate the flow of oil through the vehicle. If your vehicle overheats, and you have enough oil, you might want to check the solenoids.
Unable to shift gears
Automatic transmissions shift smoothly upon pressing the pedal. If this does not happen, you have a major issue with the gear box, and should stop the vehicle immediately and have it diagnosed and repaired as soon as possible.
Bonus: You can read more about signs of automatic transmission problems here
Does this support the transmission of 2005 Chrysler?
Most scanners in this list support the transmission of a 2005 Chrysler
Can I drive with a bad transmission?
While you technically could drive with a bad transmission, we cannot recommend it. You are on borrowed time and a disaster waiting to happen. Therefore, you want to fix any issues as soon as possible.
How to know when the transmission is going bad?
You know if the transmission is going bad if you notice the following symptoms.
- Leaking transmission fluid
- Delayed shifting
- Rough shifting
- Transmission slipping
How long will a transmission last?
While there are ways you can extend the life of your vehicle’s transmission, most systems start failing after 30,000 miles. With proper care, you can extend this to about 300,000 miles. Please note that the average city driving will take about 7 years to put 100,000 miles on the vehicle.
These two transmission code readers will help you diagnose issues with your vehicle’s transmission and then some. Each will give you the exact problem so you can find the source quicker than you would otherwise on your own. That does not mean they are all the same.
Some devices work better than others on some transmission systems than others. To get the best transmission code reader for you, you must first evaluate your needs and budget. You then get the reader that best matches your situation.