OBDII scan tool

Messages
1,048
Location
Sunny Calif
My car is throwing a Check Engine and I need to get a scan tool to read the code. So why do some of these scanners cost $35 and some $250? are the cheap ones totally useless? I've even seen some for $20 that hook up to a laptop (it's just a cable and software).
 
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Messages
23,591
Functionality and features vary widely. Some scan tools let you do much more than reading error codes. For example, they may let you change settings, allow you to calibrate and to read out all sorts of data. You can even get free diagnostic software, which is usually limited to reading and resetting trouble codes and some basic readouts. Such software my be used on a laptop (for example Vag-com for VW/Audi), on an internet tablet, or even on an advanced phone. Carman is one such free software and works with Nokia internet tablets (and some phones). You need an OBD II connector, either hardwired, or a Bluetooth dongle.
 
Messages
2,439
Location
snowblind in TX
 Originally Posted By: moribundman
.........they may let you change settings, allow you to calibrate and to read out all sorts of data.
A scantool that doesn't have a data function is next to useless, not quite useless, but darn near.
 
Messages
1,048
Location
Indiana (IN)
AutoZone will read the codes for free. I use the AutoEnginuity software/hardware. I like the ability to record and play back data.
 
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Messages
25,176
Location
Upstate NY
 Originally Posted By: shanneba
AutoZone will read the codes for free. I use the AutoEnginuity software/hardware. I like the ability to record and play back data.
I have the same product. While I think their product is great, I am annoyed that the version for the Palm (which is what I have) is back level. They blame it on Palm. For a laptop, i think its top rate.
 
Messages
11,147
Location
Florida, Cape Coral
I use a Actron PC4910 to read codes and erase them including the check engine light Lists for about $129 but, but offered $80 at Discount or AutoZone(can't remember which) and got it for $80. Excellent unit that appears very well made.
 

tonycarguy

Thread starter
Messages
1,048
Location
Sunny Calif
 Originally Posted By: shanneba
AutoZone will read the codes for free.
Not anymore. I just went down to their store and they said they stopped doing it.
 
Messages
379
Location
Mi
I did read about that on another board.The state of California made AutoZone to stop this.The people working at AutoZone are not certified to do this and do not know what they are talking about.
 
Messages
2,439
Location
snowblind in TX
 Originally Posted By: wafrederick1
I did read about that on another board.The state of California made AutoZone to stop this.The people working at AutoZone are not certified to do this and do not know what they are talking about.
The problem was if there was an O2 code, they tried to sell you an O2 sensor. If there was a MAF code, they tried to sell a MAF sensor................and no returns on electrical parts. God forbid someone should diagnose the problem.
 
Messages
52
Location
Tennessee
Check out the scangauge II. I don't have one yet but you can use going down the road to view all your gauge readings and clear codes too. The hypermilers use them religiously.
 
Messages
720
Location
texas
actron has info on website to help you select one. you just need one to pull the codes as live data won't help many people. there was a nice actron one for about $90 that was upgradeable, and could do almost everything. it was on amazon and i think northern tool had it too for about the same price.
 
Messages
11,658
Location
NorthEast
Autel from Amazon; I just picked up my second one. I already have Autel GS400 purchased from Ebay but that did not support live data monitoring. Since I have three vehicles to maintain, I decided to splurge on top of the line Autel JP701 kitchen-sink model which claims to do not only OBD-II but also supports ABS and Airbag for Japanese cars. I also have BR-3 scanner for the laptop. Autel's low end GS300 sells for $40 shipped from Amazon and it even supports CAN bus and Inspection Monitor Readiness codes. It is an excellent deal if you want a basic scanner with lots of features. - Vikas
 
Messages
1,784
Location
Bonnyville, AB
I got my Innova 3160 and in my opinion it is worth every penny, especially if you drive a domestic. Live data, can read ABS and transmission codes, and easy to use. Priced right as well.
 
Messages
8,367
Location
Texas
 Originally Posted By: hal
you can borrow an OBDII scan tool from most auto parts stores for free
Yes, but in today's world a man needs a scan tool in his toolbox. The scan tool has become as needed as screwdrivers to work on cars now.
 

JTK

Messages
13,153
Location
Buffalo, NY
 Originally Posted By: tonycarguy
My car is throwing a Check Engine and I need to get a scan tool to read the code. So why do some of these scanners cost $35 and some $250? are the cheap ones totally useless? I've even seen some for $20 that hook up to a laptop (it's just a cable and software).
If your goal is to read and clear codes, $40 is all you need to spend. If your vehicle is ~2005+ it may be CAN compliant (controller area network). If that's the case, make sure you get a reader that is OBDII with CAN. Joel
 
Messages
10,008
Location
Upstate NY
Second the ScanGauge II. I have one, and it's useful as heck to see what the engine is doing in real time in an attractive, fit-almost-anywhere package. Also acts as a trip computer and a scan tool for OBDII codes (not ABS or transmission, but does do emissions readiness and tells you what is not ready). And with gas trending back up, the fuel economy functions may be of some use.
 
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