Whether you’ve got a luxury car or just something to get you from point A to point B, it’s important to take care of your vehicle. Diagnostic tools allow you to do just that, letting you know if you need to bring it into a shop, pop the hood and handle it yourself, or just clear a code from the dashboard.
Creator is a Chinese manufacturer of aftermarket diagnostic tools for American, European, and Asian vehicles that are OBDII compliant. The company was founded in 2009 and their headquarters is located in Sha Shenzhen, China. However, their products are available internationally online.
Our Take On Their Units
While many general scanners will work for most ODBII-compliant cars, some luxury models need a specific tool due to their unique manufacturer codes. If you own a BMW, MINI, Mercedes Benz, or other specialty car, consider the following scanners that we’ve reviewed to find which works best for your car and budget.
1. Creator c110
Just because a scanner saves you a lot of money doesn’t mean it has to cost a lot. The c110 diagnostic scanner tool is a pocket-sized device that reads and erases trouble codes in BMW and MINI cars from 2000-2011. It can be used to test the engine of the car in order to address any “check engine” lights (CELs), identifying the problem and providing you the translated code.
As a basic scanner, the c110 doesn’t allow you to check and clear the ABS (brakes) or SRS (airbags) of the car, focusing instead on primarily the engine. It also works only on BMW and MINI brand vehicles, so it’s a specialist’s tool. It would be best for a beginner who wants to maintain their BMW or address and clear CELs, but the scanner doesn’t quite do enough to be professional-level.
2. Creator c310
Next in Creator’s c-series is the c301, a serious upgrade from the c110 in terms of functionality without exceptional pricing differences.
The c310 is compact with a user interface that is quite easy to read thanks to clear text and a bright screen. It can be plugged directly into the car with the attached cable so that it can scan the car’s systems and provide diagnostics on the display. The c301 can not only scan and clear the engine, but also supports ABS and SRS scans and clears as well in real time with a live data stream feature. This way you can diagnose most problems that come up without needing to visit a garage.
In terms of negatives, this device also lacks some of the more advanced diagnostic features like battery readings, steering calibration, and unlocking brakes. It also doesn’t support ODBII vehicles, just BMW and MINI models. Therefore, it is best for DIYers who want to maintain their BMW or MINI with more advanced tools.
3. Creator c500
If you don’t want to buy a scanner just for your BMW or MINI but still want the specialty diagnostic tools, you can get a Creator c500 series scanner.
With a familiar design but much more functionality, the c500 is a versatile diagnostic tool for those with multiple car types that they want to maintain. In addition to specialty codes for BMW and MINI, this device also works with all OBDII and EOBD cars. It allows you to diagnose CELs and clear them as well as freeze frame data during a malfunction so that you can read and diagnose it at a later time. You’ll also be able to test your emissions, retrieve vehicle information, and reset the engine oil from the device.
While the additional support for more brands of cars and trucks is useful, the bonus functionality is only for BMW and MINI models. The c500 doesn’t support ABS or SRS scanning for all ODBII vehicles (though some Honda and Acura models are supported).
Due to its wide range of supported vehicle types, this is a decent DIYer option for anyone with a BMW/MINI as well as another car like a Honda or Acura. It could also be a suitable quick-scanner for a shop that sees BMWs often.
4. Creator c501
Following the c500 is the c501, which is an updated and slightly improved version of the c500.
The c501 works with all OBDII vehicles as well as BMW/MINI brands. It can do just about everything a car owner would need to do, including engine, ABS and SRS, transmission, and other electronic checks. This plethora of information is broadcasted to the 2.8” color display on the device after it is plugged in and your device is chosen, allowing you to see what’s wrong. You can also attempt to fix it with live data streams that update as you work to make solving the problem easier.
Again, this device doesn’t offer full-system scans for all cars, just BMW and MINI models.
This device would work for a smaller professional garage or just a determined DIYer thanks to its expansive brand and function support.
5. Creator c502
Prefer to roll with a Mercedes Benz instead of a BMW? Creator has something for you as well.
The c502 isn’t a progression of the c500/c501 models, but instead adds a whole different brand specialty: Mercedes Benz. The device looks and acts the same way as the c500 and c501, boasting a 2.8” colored screen that needs to be hardwired, but resembles the c501 in terms of functionality. The c502 supports engine, ABS, transmission, and more scans and clears for Mercedes Benz models, allowing you to diagnose and fix CEL errors as well as an array of other errors.
Sadly, the c502 has the same catch as the previous models in that it doesn’t offer the full-system functionality for anything but the specialty car it is targeted at.
The c502 is for a Mercedes Benz owner looking for a specialized device, making it best for DIYers with a Benz. It wouldn’t be ideal for a professional due to its limited functionality with just a single model, unless they were a specialty shop.
6. Creator c503
Another specialty diagnostic scanner in the c500 line, the c503 works with OBDII-compliant cars and trucks but specifically was made to work with Volkswagen, Audi, Skoda, and Seat brands. It can diagnose problems in the engine of OBDII-compliant cars and trucks, but really shines with the 4 specific brands.
For VW, Audi, Skoda, and SEAT, the c503 supports engine, ABS, SRS, transmission, battery, fuel system, and more scans, diagnoses, and clears. This puts it on par with the c501, but it supports even more specialty car brands in addition to standard OBDII vehicles.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer the same level of functionality that some higher-end general scanners will for most models of car. It is definitely a specialty tool for just the 4 brands, making it ideal for owners of a VW, Audi, Skoda, or SEAT as well as smaller shops that see these brands frequently.