What's a good Auto Scanner Tool / Code Reader?

   #1  

CobyRupert

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This has probably been discussed before, but....

What's a good "middle-of-the-road /weekend-end-warrior/ best-bang-for-the-buck" automobile scanner tool / code reader diagnostic tool?

There's a lot to pick from, but little details on the products, plus when there are details I don't always understand the pros/cons of features they're talking about.

I want to be able to find out , with some detail, the reason for a check engine light on my old beater truck or sons "free car" (that costs a lot to constantly fix).

I would like to keep costs < $150, but if a few bucks more gets you 3-times or a "must have" feature that's negotiable...

Any good tips on what to look for, or "must have" features, etc...?
 
   #2  

dickfoster

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I like the Scangauge II but it stays plugged into my truck all the time so I have some gauges that I don't normally have. It's nice to be able to read and reset codes on the fly. You can move it from vehicle to vehicle, I just choose to leave it plugged in.

Scangauge II 2 Multi Function Vehicle Monitor OBDII Gas Diesel Hybrid | eBay You have to look up the codes but that's easy to do.
Don't know how old your beater is but OBDII compliance was only required in 1996, before that it was not mandatory so make sure the plug is there.
It meets your price target.
 
   #4  

tungularafishcamp

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What about those blue tooth scanners?

Way cheaper if you already have a smart phone or other blue tooth device.
 
   #5  

sd455dan

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A possible unit to use if the vehicle is pre 1996 would be an Auto X Ray.
This is an actual Scan tool which can give live data, I use mine quite a bit, the only real negative is that it only covers GM Ford Chrysler and some Toyota rigs
This is a problem for VW, Subaru, Mitsubishi,Audi and several others that are pre OBD 2 Back then there was OBD1 and several proprietary (one off) systems.

Have no experience with a scan gauge -but thought it was more of a fuel usage monitor??
If you need live data for sensor troubleshooting- and not just stored codes with clearing capability- the costs for obd2 live data scan tools gets fairly expensive.

For OBD 1 and mainly 2 I use an Equus Innova reader IT is NOT a true live data scan tool- (wish it were, they are far better for finding anomalous sensor readings although the Equus does display some freeze frame data)


I have no experience with the smart phone apps , but that (may) be a viable option?

ps. the Smart phone app sounds very interesting, I would also like to hear about experiences with them for troubleshooting use.
 
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   #6  

dickfoster

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What about those blue tooth scanners?

Way cheaper if you already have a smart phone or other blue tooth device.

I don't see how bluetooth is really gonna make it any cheaper. It's a very simple interface and the bluetooth stuff likely cost as much or more to make than a uber simple reader would be. It's really just an I2C serial buss so you can make one with something like a simple and cheap PIC processor and a small LCD. I had or have an OBDII scanner that used a Compac PC, remember those. It did graph displays along with all sorts of bells and whistles but guess where it is now. KISS
 
   #7  

Gunny

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If you've got a smart phone, then all you need is Torque Pro app (about $5) and the scan tool (anywhere from $5 to $25). I've had this one for over two years, works great -
Amazon.com: Vgate Bluetooth Scan Tool OBD2 OBDII Scanner for TORQUE APP ANDROID: Automotive

Then there are a lot of the scan apps that are free, but I wanted one with more functionality, plus you can buy add ons for vehicle specific requirements

This works great for me, and I've got less than $20 invested
 
   #8  

arkydog

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make sure what ever you get can clear the codes. normally they will clear when the problem is fixed and the key is cycled 3 times.
 
   #9  

newbury

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What about those blue tooth scanners?

Way cheaper if you already have a smart phone or other blue tooth device.
Also no wires.

If you've got a smart phone, then all you need is Torque Pro app (about $5) and the scan tool (anywhere from $5 to $25). I've had this one for over two years, works great -
Amazon.com: Vgate Bluetooth Scan Tool OBD2 OBDII Scanner for TORQUE APP ANDROID: Automotive

Then there are a lot of the scan apps that are free, but I wanted one with more functionality, plus you can buy add ons for vehicle specific requirements

This works great for me, and I've got less than $20 invested
The link you gave has a product with 23% giving it 1 star. I'm looking for a more reliable product.

But I think Bluetooth or wireless seems to be the way to go if you are doing only few vehicles.

/edit - Here's one that is wireless with only a 6% 1 star rating on sale for $18. Does iOS, Android, Windows.
 
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sd455dan

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I checked the 1st posted amazon link,

that is a great price for a (Code Reader- code clearing unit)

It does not seem to have Any live data capabilities,
such as singling out a sensor (like a tps) and reading output as the throttle is actuated. or other Scan tool features.


I guess it depends on whether the OP only needs a code reader.
Scan tools read live data and afaik do cost more,



after a quick look This unit does say it has live data, looks promising

Amazon.com: BAFX Products 34t5 Bluetooth OBDII Scan Tool for Android Devices: Automotive

And not to expensive $ 21.99 with prime also 4.5 stars and over 6180 reviews and 1000 answered questions
 
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