Car repair can be costly (duh!) and that Check Engine light could mean you have a myriad of issues with your car. However, it could also be a simple fix that you could do yourself — so why take it to your dealer or mechanic without knowing the problem first? Some places will charge you an arm and a leg (or more!) just for the scan. Grab a home ODB2 scanner, download an app, and become your own second opinion.

Best reviewed: BAFX Products Bluetooth scanner

Staff pick

The BAFX Products 34t5 claims to work on all vehicles in the U.S. from 1996 or later, so chances are that if you're driving, this will work with your vehicle. All you need is a third-party app (which range from free to rather expensive paid apps), and you can connect the 34t5 to your Android phone or tablet to read out diagnostic information.

$23 at Amazon

Best value: Panlong Bluetooth OBD2 car reader

Panlong's small OBD II scanner is perfect for the do-it-yourselfer on a budget. This reader will work on any car sold in the U.S. from 1996 or later — it just might not work with some hybrids. All you need is a third-party app like Torque or DashCommand and you'll be able to read and clear trouble codes while receiving real-time data readings — and you'll be able to turn off that damn Check Engine light!

$10 at Amazon

Professional grade: ScanTool OBDLink LX

The ScanTool OBDLink LX is a professional-grade OBD II reader that features its own app, which allows you to scan, read, and clear trouble codes in all cars sold in the U.S. since 1996 (except hybrid or electric vehicles). Being a professional tool, the OBDLink LX claims to service a wider range of vehicles, given more complex algorithms.

$50 at Amazon

Great value: iSaddle Super Mini Bluetooth OBD2 scanner

The iSaddle Super Mini supports all OBD II protocols and works on just about every car sold in the U.S. since 1996 (except hybrid and electric), and it works exclusively with the Torque app. All of the diagnostic information is fed to you via Bluetooth, so if you're not sure if it's worth a trip to the shop, you can check first for yourself.

$12 at Amazon

Industry favorite: BlueDriver Professional-grade OBD2 reader

At this price, you'd hope this scanner would be professional-grade, and it certainly makes the cut since even some mechanics use it. It's a lot more than the average scanner, showing you recall information, dynamic data, and even offering repair suggestions in its companion Android app.

$100 at Amazon

Family Plan: FIXD Professional Scan Tool

The FIXD OBD2 scanner is unique in that it lets you manage multiple cars within the app. It allows you to check and clear the readings on all your vehicles in one place, and also offers up reminders when you're due for maintenance. The more you buy at one time, the more money you save. You just need to figure out how many cars you want to manage and go for it.

From $60 at Amazon

Taking your car into the shop for a simple Check Engine light can wind up costing much more than may have been necessary. These easy-to-use Bluetooth readers can give you a picture of your car's overall "health" and put you in control of diagnosing your vehicle's issues. If you're looking for easy and inexpensive, go with the BAFX reader.

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