Innova Scanners – Are they any good? [Our Review]

Whether you fix cars for a living or are a do-it-yourselfer who wants to save on costly garage bills, diagnostic tools can make it incredibly easy to locate and fix any problems that arise.

When it comes to high-quality but affordable diagnostic and testing equipment for cars, trucks, and everywhere in between, Innova Electronics has you covered.

Founded in 2003, Innova boasts more than 15 years of experience as designers, manufacturers, and suppliers of innovative diagnostic tools. Their headquarters in Irvine, California is the birthplace of all products, with manufacturing occurring in China before being distributed through Innova’s US and Canadian distribution centers.

Our Take On Their Units

Below are some of our favorite models from Innova. The right choice for you will depend on your needs, so be sure to consider all our recommendations.

The Innova 3040c is a handheld diagnostic tool that is compatible with all vehicles that are OBDII compliant. Using a hardwired connection, it plugs into the OBDII port on your car with its 12-inch cable, relaying diagnostic information to the 2.8-inch screen in simple terms rather than needing to be decoded.

It can analyze and erase errors with the engine (including a snapshot of the engine status in case of a malfunction), battery, and even ABS systems on some newer models. With a paid subscription to RepairSolutions, it can even recommend DIY fixes. This functionality along with software and firmware update support for life makes it a premium model to consider for most common diagnostic needs.

Unfortunately, this model does not support SRS (airbag) testing, meaning that you’ll need an additional device to totally ensure your car is safely functioning.

It would be best for someone looking to maintain their own car thanks to premium features like Repair Solutions that can help save money on garage visits with simple fixes.

Innova’s 3100 base model is a wired scanner and code reader that works on vehicles made after 1996 that are OBDII compliant. Its LED display will allow you to quickly diagnose a check engine light’s cause in just a few seconds and erase it just as quickly. The 3100 also supports ABS codes and SRS codes for most GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, and Honda vehicles, making it a comprehensive all-in-one diagnostic package for DIYers and pros alike. The scanner is also internet-ready, allowing it to be updated and also access RepairSolutions for home repairs.

A downside of this model is that is doesn’t offer Bluetooth compatibility, so you’ll be tethered by a 12-inch cable to your OBDII port. It also doesn’t have expansive ABS/SRS code support, making it better for American cars like GM, Ford, Toyota, and others that it supports. In the full review you will find answers to questions like how to reset Innova 3100, and more.

An updated 3100 model with a slimmer body and brighter screen, the Innova 3100j can also scan, read, and erase codes from the engine of any OBDII compliant vehicle in just a few seconds. The readings are presented on a bright screen measuring about 2.8” – enough for it to clearly display ABS and SRS diagnostics in supported American vehicles.

You’re also able to check your emissions, evaluate your battery levels, test the alternator, and more with this single device. This allows you to perform comprehensive tests on a wide array of cars, trucks, and more, making it great for advanced users.

Unfortunately, this model needs to be plugged into the OBDII port on your car to function, so you’ll need to stay put when diagnosing.

For those who may have an older car or truck, you’ll want to consider Innova’s 3120 diagnostic tool. Unlike some of the lower-end models, this device works with both OBD1 and OBD2compliant vehicles thanks to the included adapters, allowing it to work on most vehicles from 1981 to present day. It takes 20 pieces of information from your engine, transmission, ABS system, and battery and displays it on an all-in-one LED display to make a comprehensive analysis easy to run and decipher without looking up obd2 codes.

Despite the addition of ODB1 compatibility, the 3120 model sacrifices SRS (airbag systems) support. It also has to be plugged in manually due to a lack of Bluetooth capability, so you’ll have to check it after repairs are completed. Thankfully it updates every 30 seconds, so you’ll know right away if you’ve solved the problem.

If you have an ODB1-compliant car, this is a solid choice for frequent DIYers. Just be sure to test your SRS with another device to be safe!

When it comes to diagnosing and addressing problems with your vehicle, the more information you have the better. With the Innova 3130, you’ll get more information for your OBDII-compliant car or truck thanks to its advanced scan functions.

In addition to standard engine and computer scanning, the 3130 can give you live data streamed to your display, allowing you to immediately check to see if your problems are fixed. It also can record, graph, and playback and malfunctions for you to diagnose without needing to recreate the problem. You can also plug it into your PC to better analyze any problems, get help from others, and more.

The drawbacks of this model are that it doesn’t work on ODB1 vehicles or support ABS or SRS, making it more of a specialized tool for advanced engine diagnosing. Therefore, it’s best for small shops and hardcore DIYers who want a specialized engine tool.

6. Innova 3140

Does the Innova 3130 sound like the tool for you, but your car was made before 1996? Innova’s 3140 is for you!

Like the 3130, this handheld model can better scan engine problems by providing advanced diagnostic tools with live data streaming as well as on-demand recording and playback of DTCs. Fortunately for ODB1 car or truck owners, the 3140 also works for pre-1996 ODB1 vehicles so you can get all the real-time benefits of Innova’s scan tool functions even on older vehicles.

Sadly, this model doesn’t add the ABS or SRS support – the No. 1 problem with this choice. You’ll need a separate tool to diagnose and read those so that the car or truck is totally safe.

This choice would work for a shop owner who wants to be able to support older cars that the 3130 cannot support or anyone who wants a solid scanner for their older engine.

The 3150 works on most ODB-compliant cars and trucks, allowing for quick diagnostic information to be relayed to the bright display screen where it will provide defined codes from your engine, ABS, or SRS systems. It’ll scan over 20 points of your car every 30 seconds to give up to date information as you work on fixing the problem. The SRS and ABS diagnostics work on most GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, and Honda models that were built post-1996.

While the SRS and ABS support is an upgrade, this model loses the advanced engine scanning function of the 3130 and 3140 and doesn’t support ODB1 cars and trucks, limiting its potential use.

With an array of tools for diagnosing multiple parts of your vehicle, the 3150 can be a high-quality starting set thanks to its informative display or a solid professional piece for general scans.

Are you sick of having to leave your scanner while you work on the car, only to have to return to find out if your fix worked? The 3160g can help.

While other models need to be plugged into the OBDII port on your car, the 3160g uses a Bluetooth adapter to allow for free movement around the car while still receiving live updates through the display. This means that you’ll see the results of any fixes right away, and you don’t have to get up and hop back into the driver seat each time.

The Innova 3160g has a screen that is 25% larger than most competitors at 3.5”, making it easier to read all the diagnostic information you’ll receive. It also offers the advanced engine diagnostic tools that allow for recording and playback of data while still supporting your ABS and SRS systems

The primary drawback of the device is that it doesn’t support ODB1 vehicles, so be sure your car or truck will work with it first.

At its price range and with its suite of features and tools, this is likely a professional car dealer or repair shop’s tool, though even new users would likely love its functionality and convenience.

As one of the very best Innova has to offer, the 5160 model is sure to draw your attention. It has a bright 3.5” screen to make it easier to read the collection of information the scanner provides. It can scan and graph 4 different parameters at a time on the screen so that it’s easier to analyze how the car as a whole is working together. It supports the engine, ABS, SRS, powertrain, and transmission as well as providing newer benefits like steering angle reset to straighten the steering.

The 5160 is a high-end scanning and diagnostic tool that does a ton of valuable tests on your car to keep it running, making it a professional tool for certain. Consider it if you want one of the very best Innova offers.