Code Scanner


Old 04-29-11, 10:22 PM
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Code Scanner

I want to buy a code scanner for my car. But I have a few things I wanted to know first. Does the engine service light need to be on in order to use it. And what kind of code scanner should I be looking for.
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Old 04-30-11, 05:23 AM
the_tow_guy's Avatar
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No, you can scan any time; in addition to reading codes the better models will show realtime performance data and some of the more recent ones include data on check engine codes that will give you a list of likely causes for the light. I'm using an Actron unit that we've had for about 7 or 8 years, but there are others that perform well, too.

Here's a review on some of the scanners; keep in mind it's just one writer's opinion:

Automotive Scan Tool Reviews |

And some more info:

Diagnostic Code Reader Reviews - Consumer Feedback and Complaints
Old 04-30-11, 08:12 AM
ukrbyk's Avatar
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i think, you may have several routes to follow here.

you may have a tool called Scangauge. basically, it is a basic code reader with data scanner, that is portable enough to be installed somewhere on the dash, so that you can continuously monitor 4 powertrain parameters at the same time. plus, doubles as trip computer and you can do some engine remapping with it, if you dare and know how to. when set to show rpms and mpg, works great as driving habit modifier, lightening that lead foot on the gas pedal.

or, you can follow route the towguy here mentioned. you will never be able to discover ALL of the codes though, as there are some that are proprietary to manufacturer, and require special s/w to read. and they cost mucho mucho dinero, right, towguy?

on a cheap note, any parts store will read codes for you for free anyway.
Old 05-01-11, 11:36 AM
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I don't think a DIY'er needs to spend more than about a hundred bucks for the basic ability to read codes, even less if you just want a code read. A lot of shops use scanners from Snap-On, so we won't even go there on the co$t, but they can tell real mechanics much more than a shade-tree like me need to know usually.

Depends on how much/often it's going to be used to decide whether to buy or just visit Auto Zone when the cel comes on. I don't dig mine out very often, but I'm glad I have it when I want to use it.

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