Automaotive scan tools - anybody got a handle on this?

Discussion in 'Mechanic and Repair' started by spray_man, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. spray_man

    spray_man LawnSite Member
    Messages: 176

    Tired of paying big dollars for vehicle repairs. I want to be able to diagnose my troubles down to the component/unit/lower level. Some scan tools just give you the top layer of the problem. What scan tool is best? I am getting a lot of input, but not from real end users/mechanics. Does anybody use a PC-based scan tool? My understanding is that you get a better bang for the buck with these units. Is this right?
  2. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,649

    These have been around a few years now, and alot of mechanics have them in their tool box. Anything better starts to get into the thousands.

    Take in cosideration that scan tools dont fix cars, and newer cars have alot of "programming" issues that you cant do.
  3. spray_man

    spray_man LawnSite Member
    Messages: 176

  4. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,649

    Dont know and that is a big difference in price. Also check Autozone they used to sell these units.

    Heres one that covers a lot of years. Also on tooltopia you can compare alot of scantools.
  5. larryinalabama

    larryinalabama LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 19,649

  6. jsslawncare

    jsslawncare LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,673

    OBD II scan tools- The cheap ones want tell you must and the high price one's will just about fix the problem. I've got a $50 one, but I know what the codes mean.
  7. show-n-go

    show-n-go LawnSite Member
    Messages: 232

    Depending how much you will need to use one you might want to step up to a Snap On unit. You can find some pre owned ones out there for $1200-$1500. but thats a big investment just to read codes a few times a year.
  8. ed2hess

    ed2hess LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,574

    Scanners are not the silver bullet. My experience has been very very little use without all the diagnostic maps mechanics have. Most places will take their big scanners and scan your codes and tell you what they are, because they know you can't do much with them. I would throw the codes up on the forums and get tooo many opinions on what to replace.

    Nobody could tell me what the blinking air bag lights meant on Ford. And nothing came out on scanner.
  9. ecurbthims

    ecurbthims LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 493

    I have an older snap-on unit ,I can just get my cartridge flashed so it is updated ,works very well ,and now you should be able to find one fairly cheap as many of the garages have gone to the otc genesis system and left the older ones behind .
  10. Oli

    Oli LawnSite Member
    Messages: 40

    Low end scan tools will give generic OBD codes for common engine problems such as a cylinder misfire. It will then be up to the user to determine the cause such as a bad plug, wire, cap, rotor, etc. It's usually a process of starting with the most simple fix, and progressing to the more complex. I had a number 2 cylinder misfire code which required the fuel injector to be replaced before the code was cleared. In addition, manufacturers have their own proprietary codes that are more specific, but require a computer with their software. In either case, code scanners will not tell you the fix for any particular code. It still requires someone who understands what the code(s) means and the most likely fix.

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