A heavy-duty truck diagnostic scanner works hard to maintain your HD truck’s performance. But not all truck scanners work the same or work for every HD truck.
Here’s a look at the five best heavy-duty truck scan tools on the market today.
- 1 Best Heavy-Duty Truck Diagnostic Scanners Review
- 2 The Bottom Line
Best Heavy-Duty Truck Diagnostic Scanners Review
|Editor's Picks||Products||Our Rating|
|Best Overall||Autel ML529HD||9.5/10|
|Runner Up||LAUNCH X431 VPlus||9.5/10|
|Best Budget Buy||NEXAS NL102Plus||8.5/10|
|Best Value||Kzyee KC601||8.5/10|
|Also Great||Launch CReader HDPlus||7.5/10|
1. Autel ML529HD Scanner for J1708 and J1939 trucks
The Autel ML529HD Truck Scan Tool relies on Mode 6 testing technology to inform you of issues with your truck.
Heavy-duty truck scan tools that interpret Mode 6 technology can read the system that was put in many cars in the mid-2000s. Mode 6 testing assigns values for test results for the various systems in your vehicle. There is both a minimum and maximum value that will not turn on warning lights on your dashboard. Lights turn on when the value goes below the minimum or above the maximum.
Live updates keep the ML529HD up-to-date with changing manufacturer codes. AutoVIN technology works inside the ML529HD to keep your heavy-duty scanner updated. And the ML529HD code reader works advanced testing to ensure you pass emissions.
The Autel ML529HD Scan Tool works with J1708 and J1939 protocols. Autel includes a 12-month guarantee and lifetime updates for the software.
- The Autel reads Mode 6 testing compatible heavy-duty trucks.
- This Code Reader uses AutoVIN technology to keep up with the latest manufacturer codes.
- Runs I/M readiness and O2 sensor tests to determine if your truck is emissions ready.
- Comes with a 12-month warranty.
- Offers Lifetime software updates.
- Provides both live and freeze frame data.
- Not compatible with trucks that use the J1587 protocols.
- Less reliable if your truck doesn’t feature Mode 6 testing.
- Not the best tool for beginners.
Who Should Buy Autel ML529HD?
For experts and DIYers who have trucks with J1708 and J1939 and are familiar with heavy duty truck diagnostic tools.
2. LAUNCH X431 VPlus(upgraded) Full-system Diagnostic Scanner
Of all the heavy-duty truck scanner tools on this list, none cover as many models as this LAUNCH X431 VPlus OBD2 Scan Tool does.
The X431 VPlus works with two major truck protocols ( J1708 and J1939), covering 68 brands and 220 models. And the Android 5.1 interface with touch screen diagnoses quickly and reads easy.
Bluetooth accessibility and multiple diagnostic connectors, including 6PIN OBD and 9PIN OBD, allow you to run tests from your desk or while you work under the hood.
With its larger storage capacity, larger screen, and faster processor, count on better capability with the X431V Plus
And count on durability with the X431 VPlus that comes with dust, drop, and shockproof case.
- The LAUNCH works with multiple brands and models of trucks.
- Features an Android 5.1 Interface with a touchscreen.
- Can be used with Bluetooth.
- Comes with multiple diagnostic connectors.
- Great Customer Service.
- Very durable thanks to the shockproof case.
- Can be complicated to activate.
- Random truck models may not be compatible.
- Big size relegates it to the garage.
Who Should Buy Launch X431 VPlus?
The LAUNCH X431 V Plus works best for professional mechanics, especially those who expect to work with a wide variety of HD models.Check Price at Amazon
3. NL102Plus Scanner from NEXAS
The NL102Plus not only reads codes for various systems in your truck (engine, transmission, ABS, brakes, Instrument Panel, etc.). A Battery Power Monitor comes with the NL102 and shows you where the life of your battery is and what steps you can take to recharge it.
Other systems monitored include Drivetrain, EPS, ESP, fuel system, and suspension.
This heavy-duty scan tool reads and clears codes with real-time data that is broken down easily into graphs and charts with NEXAS NL102.
The NL102 covers all three standard protocols and works for most heavy-duty trucks, including Mack, Kenworth, Peterbilt, Paccar, International, Sterling, Caterpillar, and others.
Along with reading all the other various systems in your heavy-duty truck, the NL102 performs DPF regenerations and oil resets.
- Battery Power Monitor
- The NL102 comes with a two-year warranty
- Provides lifetime updates to the software.
- The interface makes excellent recommendations that help drivers make their own repairs.
- Works with many languages.
- It comes in a portable size that is easy to store.
- Offers the DPF regeneration.
- Doesn’t have a recall option for looking up old, cleared codes.
- Not support trucks outside the three main protocols.
- Reads codes clearly, but struggles to clear them.
Who Should Buy NEXAS N102 Plus?
The Nexas NL102 Plus is another easy to read truck diagnostic tool for drivers whose truck supports standard protocols and want to save money with DIY fixes.Check Price at Amazon
4. KC601 HOBD Scan Tool from Kzyee for Diesel Trucks Class 8
The Kzyee KC601 HOBD Heavy-Duty Scan Tool collects information about your vehicle. That information comes in the form of up-to-date data on things like fuel-economy, battery voltage, engine temperature, and power to take information among other things.
Be prepared to keep with other essential bits of information as well. This truck diagnostic tool includes engine speed, fuel economy, total engine revolutions, and others.
The power supply for the KC601 HOBD comes directly from the vehicle. 6pin, 9pin, and 16pin cables come with your purchase.
And the KC601 HOBD reads and clears for all of your truck’s central systems (engine, transmission, ABS, etc.). But this code reader is only compatible with Class-8 trucks that comply with the three main truck protocols (J1587, J1708 ,and J1939).
Truck brands include Cummins, Caterpillar, Detroit, Freightliner, International, Kenworth, and other popular brands. A two-year warranty and lifetime updates of the KC601 HOBD software comes with your purchase.
- The KC601 provides great real-time data.
- Stores previous information so you can analyze truck performance.
- Runs O2 Sensor tests, EVAP, and Mode 6 testing.
- Comes equipped with a large screen that provides clear instructions.
- The KC601 updates for free over the lifetime of the product.
- Comes with heavy-duty cables and convenient pouch.
- Can deliver you out of the jam without having to be towed.
- Cleared codes don’t return.
- Mac Users cannot update the software.
- Some reviews claim the product quit working after only using it for a short time.
- No support for DPF regeneration.
Who Should Buy KC601?
Kzyee KC601 is for DIYers and experts to use it in the shop and have previous knowledge of codes.
5. Launch CReader HDPlus Scan Tool
The Launch CReader HD Plus Scan Tool reads and clears codes for most systems in your heavy-duty truck. Systems include transmission, brakes, fuel systems, and brakes. The CReader also clears codes for the instrument panel, vehicle management, fuel system, cab climate, and particulate control unit.
Owners can make the CReader work for class 4 and class 8 heavy-duty trucks, including Kenworth, Sterling, Mack, Paccar, Caterpillar, International, Peterbilt, and others. This scan tool covers all three of the main protocols (SAE J1587, J1939, and J1708).
Users will enjoy the friendly interface and the HD Launch CReader’s 2.8″ color LCD screen. Code definitions display clearly and quickly (in only about 5 seconds) on the screen. The CReader also comes equipped with 6 PIN, 9PIN, and 16PIN diagnostic connectors.
And also, the Launch CReader HDPlus Scanner’s convenient size makes it easy for you to carry around.
- Beginners quickly pick up how to use the Launch CReader.
- The CReader features live data streaming.
- The clear format makes code reading easy.
- The company offers free updates for the product’s lifetime.
- This heavy-duty scanner works quickly to identify and clear codes.
- Supports multiple languages.
- It comes in a portable size that is easy to store.
- Many complain it doesn’t work on their heavy-duty truck, particularly Freightliner drivers.
- Might not support some manufacturer specific codes.
Who Should Take Launch Creader HDPlus?
Launch Creader HDPlus is for truck owners or drivers who need a truck scanner that works quickly and is easy to understand.Check Price at Amazon
The Bottom Line
Drivers should look into the NEXAS NL102 and LAUNCH CREADER HDPlus. Both of these heavy-duty scanner tools promote themselves as easy to read and understand. Of the two, if you’d like to move more into the DIY ranges, the NL 102 would be your best option.
A good model for casual DIYers is the Kzyee KC601. Expert level code readers will love all the advanced features, like O2 sensor testing. But the KC601 only works with Class 8 heavy-duty trucks and cannot be updated with a MAC. So check your compatibility before purchasing.
Advanced level mechanics should look into the Autel ML529HD. The various modes and reports are available to read provide significant breakdowns of the data as long as you can read it.
Professionals would prefer the LAUNCH X431 VPlus. The large size of the X431 VPlus makes it best for working in the garage. And no model works for as many brands and models of trucks. The X431 VPlus also comes with Bluetooth, meaning you can work on a car and follow your progress in real-time.
So rest assured, there is a heavy-duty truck diagnostic tool for whatever your preferences or level of expertise for working on HD trucks.