Actron CP9670 AutoScanner Trilingual OBD II Review

When it comes to high quality diagnostic equipment, few people look further than Actron. Their scanners have been the mechanics first choice for a couple of years now, especially for those people who would like affordable, reliable scanners that they can work with for ages.

Features of the Actron CP9670 AutoScanner

One of their most popular tools is the CP9670 AutoScanner Trilingual OBDII and CAN scan tool. This scan tool was purpose built to help fill the void that was created by many of the higher end scanners and their competition.

Display Features

The CP9670 is a magnificent little scan tool for you to keep in your car or in your garage. It has a wonderful, clear, color LCD screen that allows you to see all the results to your tests with unrivalled clarity. The LCD is also set up in such a way that the most important information is highlighted. This is so that when you are reading your data, the issues that you need to deal with first catch your eye early. The LCD also comes with a backlight, meaning that you will not have to worry about using the scanner in dimly lit areas.

The scanner comes with an inbuilt battery, that is accompanied with a battery charging monitor. This will help to ensure that you do not run out of juice at a critical moment. The charging monitor will also give you an idea of some of the other things that are going on in your car, such as your initial, cranking, and running voltages. It can also check the health of your alternator and charging system, giving you an all round analysis of how the electronics in your car are faring.

ACTRON CP9670's Display Features
ACTRON CP9670 has a wonderful, clear, color LCD screen

Multilingual and Elevated Compatibility

The CP9670 is a multilingual unit that comes with three language options, English, French and Spanish. This makes it handy for all those people who do not speak English as a first language, or for those who would like to strengthen their vocabulary in a new one.

Its compatibility does not stop with languages though, as the manufacturer promises that it is compatible with all vehicles that were produced from the year 1996 onwards. The scanner can identify more than 15,000 different Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) definitions, from the generic to those specific to each manufacturer, meaning that you will be able to check for any error codes on virtually any car in your garage.


One of the highlights of the CP9670 AutoScanner is the live feedback that you get when carrying out running tests. The feedback is virtually instantaneous, and the machine allows you to record and playback the different data streams for better analysis. The CP9670 will also let you record all your results in a graph form, which is extremely handy for performance comparisons, especially when tuning up a car.

To top it all off, the CP9670 has a freeze frame data feature that takes a snapshot of the data stream at the time of a fault. This helps you to identify the possible causes of the fault quickly, and also gives you an overview of the effect that the fault is having on your vehicle. This all helps to make using the CP960 AutoScanner as stress free experience, and allows you to save time and money thanks to speedy results.

The CP9670’s is also very good at reading ABS codes and definitions. However, there are certain cars that this may not work with. Therefore, before buying this scanner, it is important you make sure that your car model will be compatible with it, especially if this is the type of error that you would like to clear. There are certain car owners that do not have to worry. If you own a car that was manufactured by GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, or Hyundai between 1996 and 2013 then you should have no problems.

Error Code Reading

The CP9670 can also read powertrain codes and definitions, and delete the different error codes that may come up. This function has been tested and proven on cars manufactured by Chrysler, Ford, GM, Toyota, Nissan, Hyundai and Honda. This makes this an essential addition for those who regularly have to work on cars manufactured by these companies.

The scanner’s ability to read and erase error codes such as engine and transmission codes comes in very handy, as does its ability to read the manufacturer code definitions for everything from make and model to year of manufacture. In fact, Actron’s own AutoID™ technology means that the scanner can identify most cars that were manufactured after the year 2000, all the way up to 2013. The AutoID™ technology will not only identify your car, it will also populate information such as the VIN number, and store it in memory for future comparisons.

The CP9670 can help you carry out important maintenance checks such as the State OBD check, which is a test to help monitor emissions. This test can be very important for your car, especially if you are about to take it in to get tested at a government facility.

The CP9670 does not only read and correct errors, and some of its other features may prove to be more helpful and save you a whole lot of time. For instance, the CP9670 has the ability to not only read the errors, but also give you a description of where the component of the vehicle has failed is. This means that instead of spending time looking for the component that has failed, you can now take that time to figure out a way to solve your issue.

It also comes with a full library of acronyms and their meanings so that you know what an error code means when it pops up. This allows both seasoned professionals and wayward amateurs to identify and correct problems quickly and efficiently.

The scanner is designed with ergonomics in mind, and sits comfortably in the palm of your hand. The small handheld device weighs less than one pound, meaning that you will barely even feel it in your hands as you work. The small size and internal battery means that this device can be carried anywhere, allowing you to be able to scan for any errors your car should encounter anywhere.

Pros and Cons

The Actron CP9670 AutoScanner is obviously a very well equipped scanner, and considering the company that manufactured it, that should come as no surprise. There are a couple of things that you have to love about this scanner. However, there are also other areas in which it is lacking.


For instance, it’s compatibility with cars that were manufactured after 1996 is something that should be lauded. However, the fact that it cannot connect and read all the different error codes with some of these cars is not very encouraging. As much as it should be able to read and delete error codes from cars that were manufactured between 1996 and 2013, it has reportedly failed to do so in a number of models. These cars include the 2002 Nissan Frontier, the 2006 Subaru Forester and the 2015 Subaru WRX.

The incompatibility with the cars was a surprise, as the manufacturer vows that all cars produced after 1996 will be able to be read by the scanner. In fact, the CP9670 AutoScanner is also supposed to be able to read OBDII compliant vehicles that were manufactured from as far back as 1994. However, with the tool’s inability to read some cars that were made after 2000, it would not be surprising to find that this is an inaccurate claim.

The CP9670 AutoScanner is supposed to have a function that allows you to use the tool without it recognizing the specific make and model of the car. This is supposed to be a function that comes in handy when you are scanning a car that cannot be read by the tool. However, when this option is applied, the tool becomes virtually inoperable, as the scanner will refuse to carry out any tests that you would like done.

Lack of Updates

Another problem that plagues the CP9670 is the fact that there has been no firmware update for the scanner since 2010. Many car manufacturers have begun to change the programming in their cars, and without regular firmware updates, the CP9670 is being left behind as far as new technology is concerned.

There is also a problem with the way that the CP9670 needs to be updated. The CP9670 can only be updated from a PC via a USB cable. However, it cannot be updated from a Mac, and is not compatible with any other major operating system other than Windows. This means that even if there was an updated version of the firmware, those using Mac or any other operating system would not be able to use their product. Furthermore, when you first purchase the scanner it does not come with a USB cable. This may not seem like such a big problem with all the smart devices that we have lying around our homes, however, as a vital part of the equipment that is supposed to be provided with the scanner, it is disappointing that the tool does not come with one.

Connection Problems

There have been numerous complaints that it cannot connect with certain cars. For instance, there have been reports that it cannot reliably connect with Toyotas made after 2013, with many users complaining that it displays a message saying “Cannot communicate”. When it does finally connect with the car’s ECU, it has limited functions, such as it cannot clear error codes. The same complaint was also made about Nissan.

Craftsmanship and Presentation

Concerns have been raised when it comes to the craftsmanship of the actual product. The scanner’s connector has a notorious habit of getting stuck to the OBDII port, and it can be very difficult to remove. Care is sometimes needed when removing the scanner cable from the port, as is the use of a flathead screwdriver.

The live data aspect of the scanner is something else that you have got to love. Seeing all the data stream by in real time helps to give you control and allows you to keep track of everything that is going on with the vehicle as it happens. However, if you are not experienced with graphical data representation then the graphs that the CP9670 AutoScanner produces may confuse you.

The presentation of the graph in most cases is simple and straightforward enough, on the other hand, there are instances when the graph output gets very complicated, and a better understanding of the data code meaning is needed. This means that for the layman mechanic there may be instances where he needs to call for help, which is the total opposite of what tools like this should do for you.

The Actron AutoID™ technology works well with most models, allowing you to store vital information for future reference. However, it also falls short of the mark, as it is supposed to be able to identify cars that were made in 2000 and after. As mentioned earlier, the scanner has problems reading certain models, and the promises that the manufacturer makes end up falling to the wayside because the scanner cannot deliver.


There is a bright side to the AutoID™ technology. The speed at which it reads the vehicle information is way above par when compared with other OBD2 scanners on the market, allowing you to save time and concentrate more on the errors that you have to solve.

The addition of the acronym library also helps you to save immense amounts of time. For a long time people have had to run to the internet every time they get an error code just to understand what it means. However, by integrating the library into the system, Actron have allowed the user to save a few precious seconds, which in the long run could end up saving a lot of money. It also helps to reduce stress, as now instead of worrying about looking for definitions they are at your fingertips.

Ease of Use

Actron CP9670 Ease of UseThe best thing about the Actron CP9670 is that it is one of the easiest scanners on the market to use. The LCD display hides nothing, and even in the dark the additional backlight works wonders. Should you find yourself baffled by a procedure that you need to carry out, yet you cannot figure out how to do it? Well, the Actron Cp9670 will give you step by step instructions on how to get the data that you need.

This scanner has been praised by many of the amateurs who have used it because it is very easy to understand. The basic functions that you would need to carry out any test are all there for you to explore, while with some of the more advanced functions, the scanner will give you a walkthrough.

When you first set up the scanner, there are a number of settings that are available for you to tweak to your liking. You can control the language, unit of measure, and program mode, as well as carry out tests including a display test, a memory test and a keypad test. These settings are some of the things that many people take for granted but they count towards making your work experience much easier.

However, as much as Actron have tried their best to make the machine very easy to use, they have made it virtually impossible to get out of the packaging. If you are to get this device new, the hard plastic packaging is one of the hardest things to open in the world.

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Quality Concerns

Once you have finally opened the plastic and gotten to the scanner itself, you realize that the plastic that makes up the scanner itself is not of very high quality. Though it does not seem like it will break at the slightest bump, it does seem rather fragile. This is despite the fact that as far as scanners are concerned, this is one of the more expensive scanners on the market.

Should you run into any issues and try to call the Actron tech support staff, you will encounter a group of very helpful individuals that seem to know what they are doing. In the end though, they ultimately prove to be almost as clueless as you are, and other than the odd refund or exchange, will not be able to help you should you encounter a software issue.

The Actron CP9670 AutoScanner Trilingual OBDII and CAN Scan Tool has a few flaws that you may find hard to live with. Nevertheless, once you get over them, you begin to realize that it is a fantastic scanner. It performs as advertised, and the manufacturers do warn you of some of the compatibility issues you may face, especially when it comes to reading ABS and CEL codes. This is purely a scanner, and perfect for those who want to do basic scans and diagnosis.

Reference: Read detailed review of Actron CP9690 – another model from Actron Group.

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