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What Is the Best Truck Code Reader?

Vehicles have become increasingly complex. They contain intricate computer networks that monitor vehicle health from tire pressure to fuel usage and transmission. 

A truck scanner gives you the ability to read, understand and clear error codes. Often used to quickly diagnose problems, truck code readers are an essential tool if you’re in the trucking business. 

A good truck code reader will save you a lot of money and hours on the road by alerting you to possible future problems. In this article, we review some of the best semi-truck scanners currently on the market.  

Quicklook: Best Truck Code Reader 

6 Best Truck Code Reader Options

Below, we’re going to review the best heavy-duty truck scan tools.

Nexiq Pocket Heavy Duty (HD)

Nexiq Pocket Heavy Duty (HD)

Designed in collaboration with heavy-duty truck technicians, the Nexiq pocket scanner provides you with all the diagnostic information you need for light to heavy-duty trucks. The Nexiq can collect and display information for a multi-vehicle fleet. Buy additional software applications to manage trailer brake systems and other add-ons.

Best For: Fleet Managers With a Bigger Budget

Dimensions: Not available

Weight: 3 pounds

OBD2 Modes for All: Yes

ABS Codes: Yes

I/M Readiness: Yes

Live Data: Yes

DPF: Yes

Special Features

  • Compact touch screen technology
  • Multi-vehicle records 

Benefits: 

  • Check speed, load, pressure, and temperatures 
  • View current and historic faults
  • Collect and display multi-vehicle data

Disadvantages: 

  • Expensive

Pricing: Of all the truck scanners the Nexiq pocket is the most expensive

Romondes Heavy Duty Truck Scan Tool RD901

Romondes Heavy Duty Truck Scan Tool RD901

The Romondes truck scanner has a 2.8-inch LED screen. It does all OE level diagnostics and has an onboard code look-up function but it isn’t ABS test capable. It offers an oil change reset button to track oil changes and it is compatible with most heavy-duty trucks. 

Best For: Keeping Track of Oil Changes

Dimensions: 9.92 x 7.4 x 2.87 inches

Weight: 1.89 pounds

OBD2 Modes for All: Yes

ABS Codes: No

I/M Readiness: Yes

Live Data: Yes

DPF: Yes

Special Features:

  • Oil service reset
  • Built-in code look-up

Benefits: 

  • Supports European, Asian, and most American trucks
  • Full system check
  • Graphs live data for easy comparison
  • Lifetime software updates

Disadvantages: 

  • Not ABS-compatible

Launch CReader HD Plus Truck Scanner

Launch CReader HD Plus Truck Scanner

The Launch CReader truck scanner has a 2.8-inch LCD screen. This quick and compact semi-truck scanner can read and clear current and inactive codes and graph live data. Freeze the data screen for later reference. One-click Wi-Fi updates will keep your software relevant.  

Best For: Value for money

Dimensions: 4.7 x 3 x 1 inch

Weight: 1.9 pounds

OBD2 Modes for All: Yes

ABS Codes: Yes

I/M Readiness: Yes

Live Data: Yes

DPF: Yes

Special Features

  • Multi-language function
  • One-click wi-fi update

Benefits: 

  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Free software updates 
  • Has all the required features

Disadvantages: 

  • Does not connect to all vehicles
  • Occasional problems with forced regeneration of DPF

Nexus Heavy Duty NL102 Truck Scanner 

Nexus Heavy Duty NL102 Truck Scanner 

The Nexus code reader for trucks offers a full set of diagnostic tools. It includes a built-in code library for quick diagnosis. It supports all makes of heavy-duty trucks with real-time and historic graphs and charts.  

Best For: Quick and easy answers

Dimensions: 10 x 7.2 x 3 inches

Weight: 1.8 pounds

OBD2 Modes for All: Yes

ABS Codes: Yes

I/M Readiness: Yes

Live Data: Yes

DPF: Yes

Special Features

  • Multilingual menu
  • Built-in code library

Benefits: 

  • Supports all heavy-duty trucks
  • Quick, live diagnostics
  • On-board code library

Disadvantages: 

  • Problems with forced regeneration of DPF
  • The manual could be more instructive

ANCEL Diesel Scan Tool HD3100

The ANCEL heavy-duty truck scan tool has a couple of options that you won’t find on the other heavy-duty truck scan tools under review. The ANCEL has a print feature so you can keep hard records. It is larger and therefore heavier than the other truck scanners but it still offers you the benefit of a six-inch screen. It also boasts Bluetooth installation and communication.

Best For: Printed Records 

Dimensions: 11.26 x 6.1 x 4.8 inches

Weight: 2.9 pounds

OBD2 Modes for All: Yes

ABS Codes: Yes

I/M Readiness: Yes

Live Data: Yes

DPF: Yes

Special Features:

  • Print function with screenshots
  • Free lifetime updates
  • Free diagnostic feedback
  • Bluetooth setup

Benefits: 

  • The 6-inch screen
  • Quick installation
  • Bluetooth to your phone
  • Arm hand strap for easy handling  

Disadvantages: 

  • A more expensive option
  • Bigger and heavier than average

iCar HD V3.0 Heavy Duty Truck Scanner

iCar HD V3.0 Heavy Duty Truck Scanner

The iCar truck scanner is the least expensive code reader for trucks under review. Still, it performs diagnostics as well as some of the more expensive semi-truck scanners. The iCar features include real-time graphs and freeze frame options. The scanner is light and compact, which is great, but it lacks the DPF function, which is unfortunate. 

Best For: Budget-Conscious Truckers 

Dimensions: 10.31 x 6.89 x 2.52 inches

Weight: 1.61 pounds

OBD2 Modes for All: Yes

ABS Codes: Yes

I/M Readiness: Yes

Live Data: Yes

DPF: No

Special Features:

  • Freeze frame option
  • Multilingual menu

Benefits: 

  • Inexpensive
  • Compact 
  • Quick and easy to use
  • Diagnostic graphs and text

Disadvantages: 

  • Lacks DPF

What Is a Truck Code Reader?

A truck code reader is a diagnostic tool that interfaces with your onboard computer. Truck scanners monitor data from the vehicle computer and report back on anything that is out of specification. They use fault codes for diagnostic purposes. 

How Does a Truck Code Reader Work?

A code reader for trucks is designed to read inputs and outputs from the truck’s onboard computer. The reader scans the data looking for unexpected outcomes. If it finds anything out of spec, it sends a malfunction signal. 

Truck Code Readers Special Considerations

In evaluating the truck scanners, we have had to take into account several essential considerations. We discuss them below:

Compatibility

Only a few code scanners can run diagnostics on trucks and commercial vehicles. All the truck scanners that we’ve reviewed are compatible with such vehicles.

Value

Value is more than just about cost. Features are important too. When you invest in a heavy-duty truck scan tool, you want to know that the truck scanner is capable of running all the diagnostics that you require. 

User Friendly

You shouldn’t have to battle with your semi-truck scanner. Modern technology should be easy to navigate and use.

Reliability

When you invest in tools and technology, you expect it to last. You should have the confidence that the information you receive from your code reader for trucks is accurate and reliable.

Functionality

The truck scanners in this review have different functionalities. Decide what features and functions suit your business best. Then, match your requirements with the most appropriate heavy-duty truck scan tool. 

Code Readers for Trucks – Saving You Money

A good truck scanner should alert you about when it is time to take your vehicle into the workshop. A code reader keeps you informed of the conditions in the working parts of the engine. 

You can use it any time, and in any place to do a full diagnosis of your vehicle so you know what components need attention. Combine your truck scanner with an advanced ELD for a belt and braces approach to fleet management. 

FAQ

What Is the Best Brand of Code Reader?

Any one of the brands in our review offers good value for money. The best brand for your business will depend on your functional requirements.

What Is the Difference Between OBD and OBD2?

OBD refers to on-board diagnostics. This is the system that monitors and controls vehicle devices. OBD2 is second-generation technology that enables the truck scanner to scan different makes of vehicles.

Shop the Efficiency Solution Company

Diesel Laptops is committed to working with you to find the right solution for your company that fits your needs and budget.

Shop the Efficiency Solution Company

Diesel Laptops is committed to working with you to find the right solution for your company that fits your needs and budget.