automobile trouble code readers/scanners

Old 05-29-08, 10:29 AM
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automobile trouble code readers/scanners

I'm looking for a reliable professional comparison or recommendation regarding automobile trouble code readers or scanners (Innova, Actron, etc.). As a backyard mechanic, I will be using it on newer cars (post '96) to troubleshoot and/or reset dash warning lights.
Old 05-29-08, 01:57 PM
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I have an older Actron, works well for what I use it for, but it has limitations. For the generic codes, it pulls them and gives you the verbal definition, for the make specific codes, it will give you the number, but the verbal definition is often incorrect. In all instances, I check the internet (or Haynes manual) and get the description and definition based on the number, I do not rely on the scanner's definition.

There are lots of things it cannot do, so I have been told, but I guess I have never needed the other functions. I use it for generic diagnostics and clearing codes to see if they come back.

In my opinion, I think it really depends on what you want to get out of the scanner and how much additional leg work you want to do once you pull a code.

I hope the everyday users shed more light on the other uses, I would love to know what I could tap with the right scanner.
Old 05-29-08, 05:41 PM
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There are some things that you just can not do with an aftermarket scan tool. Bi-directional controls is one thing you can not do. This means that you are not able to turn things on and off. This is something that can be done with the vehicle specific tool. An aftermarket scan tool can be used to retrieve and clear codes. Depending on the software, you can view datastream ie. sensor and input/output data. Whatever the vehicles computers will allow you to view.
I personally own 3 different tools. One is a simple code reader. I can read and clear codes with it. It is pocket size. There are a few other simple functions but I have not had it long and have only used it for the quick read and clear function. The other 2 are full scan tools. They are capable of almost all functions available to aftermarket scan tools. I can diagnose OBDI and OBDII vehicles with these tools.
What you want to do with it is going to be the biggest deciding factor in what you buy.
I hope this helps ya,

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