Innova 3160 Review: Is It The Best Car Scanning Tool?

Innova 3160 Review: Is It The Best Car Scanning Tool?

If you want to purchase a car scanning tool for your car, you might not know which one is worth your time and money.

There are many scanning tools on the market, but not all of them will give you the features you want and need.

What, exactly, is a car scanning tool. This type of tool is a small handheld device that connects with your car’s onboard computer to give you information pertaining to how different components in the car are working.

Much talk has been made of the Innova 3160. But, why is it popular and is it right for you? Here is what you need to know.


What Is Innova? 

What Is Innova?

In case you didn’t know, Innova is regarded as one of the best car diagnostic tool brands in America. It currently has a range of car scanning tools on the market.

Innova has many years of experience when it comes to designing, making, and supplying innovative diagnostic tools to its customers, as it’s a company that was founded in 2003. 

Why Is Innova 3160 Popular? 

Why Is Innova 3160 Popular?

Innova 3160 has been said to be reliable and consistent with its car diagnostics. What really sets it apart from other car scanners on the market, however, is that it can read as well as clear both SRS and ABS codes.

This can help you to find out what’s wrong with either of these systems yourself instead of being forced to take your car to the mechanic right away.

Why is this important?

For starters, it helps to know what ABS and SRS mean. ABS stands for “Anti-Lock Braking System” and it enables the car’s tires to keep contact with the road when you use the brakes.

SRS, on the other hand, means “Supplemental Restraint System,” and it deals with safety restraints in the car, such as seatbelts and airbags. 

Both of these are obviously important and you want them to be functioning properly at all times.

An ABS/SRS feature in your scanning tool can help you to identify problems with your car’s engine that can cause the ABS or SRS engine light to come on, so having this feature is highly valuable because it won’t result in you wasting time when it comes to making much-needed repairs on your car.

Best Features Of Innova 3160

Best Features Of Innova 3160

The best features of the Innova 3160

  • This car scanner enables you to view 20 pieces of data on the screen simultaneously. This makes the scanner easy to use and beginner-friendly, while also making it convenient so that you don’t have to scroll a lot through the menus to get the info you want.
  • It has a nine-button format and hotkeys, which further increase the user-friendliness of this device. It’s really easy to learn how to use it, even if you’ve never dealt with a car-scanning tool before.
  • It is compatible with any car, hybrid, SUV, and light truck that was produced in, or after, 1996. This is when On-Board Diagnostics 2 became standard in all vehicles in the U.S.
  • If English is not your first language, you’ll appreciate that Innova displays diagnostic codes and their definitions in French, Spanish, and English.
  • If you’re worried about your car’s upcoming emissions test, this scanning tool will help you prepare because it offers red, yellow, and green emission readiness LED lights. Red means your car is not ready, yellow means some work needs to be done on your car, and green means your car will pass the test with flying colors. This feature enables you to fix whatever is wrong with your car before taking it to the test.
  • It offers you the chance to freeze-frame your data. You can also make use of graphs and record live data, all to better help you diagnose what’s wrong with your car.
  • It offers a live data stream. This is considered to be one of the best features to look for in car scanner tools, and the Innova device gives you live readings for various operations in your car, such as air intake temperature, RPM, throttle position, and fuel trims. Why live data is so useful is because your vehicle technician will be able to use various components of the car and then see how they affect the live data. As an example, he or she could press the accelerator and see how the throttle position is responding in real-time. This makes it faster and easier to locate any problems.
  • After you’ve connected the scanning tool to your car’s OBD2 port, it will refresh itself every 30 seconds so you’ll always get the most important and updated information about your car.
  • It offers USB support. This is a fantastic feature to enable you to connect it to your computer so you can do valuable updates on the device.
  • Innova also allows you to have access to Repair Solutions. This gives you extra information, such as definitions of trouble codes, complete diagnostic reports, and even what you can expect to pay for the repairs that need to be done on your car.

What You Might Not Like About Innova 3160

  • While this car scanning device has many features to enjoy and which you’ll appreciate if you want to look after your car better, its drawback is that it’s quite a bit more expensive than other car scanning tools. If you’re only going to be using it once in a while, it might not make sense for you to purchase it.

Other Versions Of The 3160 

Other Versions Of The 3160

There have been other versions of the Innova 3160 that were made. You might find that one of these versions is better suited to your needs, so let’s check them out in greater detail.

The Innova 3160g

  • This Innova model is popular because of how it makes use of a Bluetooth adapter so you can move around the car without missing out on live updates. This wireless connection enables you to have a much more convenient way of getting information about your car.
  • It has a big screen that’s 25 percent larger than those of other tools on the market. It’s also only 3.5 inches in size, so it’s convenient to carry and handle. 
  • It has some of the features that we love about the 3160, such as the ability to record and playback your data and support for both SRS and ABS diagnostics.

What about its drawbacks? Something to know about the 3160g is that it doesn’t work with OBD1 vehicles, so that’s important to check to ensure compatibility before you purchase it.

The Innova 3160e

  • Another Innova model in the 3160 range is the 3160e. This one has a blue backlit screen display for easier analysis of the diagnostic data. 
  • It contains SAE Enhanced Live Data, so you can get your analyses much faster.
  • It will let you know why the car’s “Check Engine” light is coming on, whether your car is a domestic or foreign 1996, or later, model. It will also be able to swiftly and accurately diagnose problems in newer OBD2-compliant vehicles. These include cars, SUVs, hybrids, and light trucks.
  • On all of these vehicles, you’ll be able to read as well as erase ABS and SRS trouble codes.
  • It has an oil and battery reset. This gives you procedures in a step-by-step fashion for resetting these features for 1996 and later OBD vehicles.
  • If offers convenient all-in-one screen displays – up to 25 pieces of data can be displayed simultaneously, and the results will be available in either English, Spanish, or French, depending on your preferences.
  • It will record and stream data in real-time so you can better analyze it in your own time.

What about its drawbacks? Although you can update the tool via PC, these are only meant for bugs as you won’t be able to update the actual database.

Should You Purchase The Innova3160g Or Innova 3160e?

Should You Purchase The Innova3160g Or Innova 3160e?

While both of these Innova car scan tools have many of the same features, the Innova 3160e does have a bit of an edge over the Innova 3160g.

This is because it’s quick, efficient, and more versatile. It’s compatible with lots of different types of vehicles.

If you’re a beginner, you’ll want to reach for the Innova 3160e as it’s easier to learn than the Innova 3160g.

However, the 3160g does have Bluetooth onboard, which is a huge plus if you’re looking for greater convenience, so the choice is yours!

What About The Innova 3160 RS Pro?

  • There’s another Innova model that’s worth knowing about. The Innova 3160 RS Pro is a game-changer for DIY auto enthusiasts. It’s packed with some useful features. These include:
  • Compatibility with OBD1. It offers an adapter that enables you to use this scan tool on cars that are equipped with OBD1 on board. 
  • It offers an emissions test that makes use of three LED colors to let you know if your car’s ready for the rest or not. 
  • It has live recording and freeze-frame data features. It can also store your vehicle data.
  • It includes a battery management system. This performs a battery test on your car.
  • If you have a hybrid vehicle the above-mentioned system will be able to check the battery’s cell voltage as well as diagnose any issues with it.
  • You will have free access to the Innova Repair Solutions 2 app, which can send your diagnostic information to your tablet or smartphone via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
  • This scanning tool offers diagnostic trouble codes but also tells you just how serious they are so that you can see if you need to send your car to a mechanic ASAP or if you can delay it for a while.
  • The Innova 3160 RS Pro has an easy-to-use design that’s both compact and ergonomic.

So, what about its drawbacks? The Innova 3160 RS Pro requires you to purchase an adapter separately in order to use it on OBD1-compliant vehicles.

It is also a bit costly, especially if you’re not a mechanic and just want a simple scanner for your car. It’s worth noting that some of its features are covered by other Innova models we reviewed earlier, so it might not always be worth it to go pro.

Related Questions 

How can you update your Innova car scan tool?


You can do this easily. Simply plug your tool into your computer via USB and then head over to the Innova website so you can download the update. 

How is the Innova 3160 different from the Innova 3160g?

The Innova 3160 is a bit more compact, plus it has a color screen while the 3160g has a black-and-white display. 


If you need to scan your vehicle for why its “check engine” light is on or you just want to ensure your car is ready for its upcoming emissions test, you can do this with the Innova 3160.

But, as we’ve seen in this review, this car scanning tool has many other great features you should know about.

There are different models of the Innova 3160, though, which can make choosing the best one a little complicated.

To make it easier for you, in our Innova 3160 review we’ve included information about the various models, such as the 3160g, 3160e, and 3160 RS Pro.


Innova 3160 Review: Is It The Best Car Scanning Tool? 1

Christopher McKellar

Christopher McKellar has spent so many years dealing with OBD scanners that he has established himself as an OBD scanner expert. This guy talks about OBD scanners at length, explaining everything you want to know. At CarInformant, Christopher will be the chief of OBD scanner guides, buying guides, and other information regarding these small devices. Rest assured, you can count on his insightful ideas in this subject domain, thanks to the decades of experience and the hours he spends on contemporary research. For a guy that spends more time with cars than his family, we think our blog has become a great place to share all his awesome ideas.