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Posted: 3/11/2006 4:36:32 PM EDT
i've decided to take the plunge and buy one of these things. i basically need something to read codes and clear codes- that's it. nothing fancy just something that will work.

got any recomendations- i've seen several in the 125 dollar range- but i have no idea what i'm looking at. just lookin' for some recommendations/links. thanks.

it'll be used for japanese cars from '96 on- if that helps. thanks.
Link Posted: 3/11/2006 7:15:17 PM EDT
www.autotap.com

A cheapie scan tool only reads codes. look what you can do with this.
Link Posted: 3/12/2006 2:11:15 AM EDT
I have this one from Actron and it works for me. I got it on sale for under $100 at autozone.

www.actron.com/product_detail.php?pid=16151
Link Posted: 3/12/2006 6:29:14 AM EDT
I am just curious.

why do you want to just read codes? sure they point out possible failures, but without datastream info you are unable to see cause and effect.
Link Posted: 3/12/2006 7:17:19 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/12/2006 7:22:51 AM EDT by Thepilot]
basically it's a budget thing- i'm not flushed with cash at the moment. i need something that can read the car's codes- so i can determine what needs fixin', and then can clear the codes. having one with the data stream would be great, but i have to stay reasonable pricewise. i could probably go to 250 as a max right now

Any reason to go with either handheld or pc units? that autotap looks pretty good- but i dunno. still seeking advice.
Link Posted: 3/12/2006 1:21:41 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/12/2006 1:24:11 PM EDT by LIVIDDEVIL]
All 1996 and newer foreign and domestic cars use the same on board diagnostics. OBD II. A code reader and a scan tool are two different things. It sounds to me like a code reader is the way you want to go. I would reccomend this one. http://www.iequus.com/item.asp?cid=7&pid=3110
It will pretty much give you what you are looking for. It will allow you to read erase and give a detailed description of each trouble code found. It will read all 96 and newer vehicles with OBD II, and it is CAN ready which is a new data interface control that many new vehicles are coming out with. In other words it is what allows the many different computers and modules on the same vehicle to communicate with one another. I work for O'Reilly Auto Parts, and we carry this tool, so if we have a store in your area come in and look at it. It is geared and priced for the DIY'er and is very reasonable.

One thing worth noting is that just knowing the code is often not enough, such as if you get an oxygen sensor code indicating a lean condition, don't automatically assume the 02 is bad, it could be a number of other factors. Knowing codes only gives you a place to start looking. If you do end up getting a code reader I would also suggest getting a Chilton's manual for DIY engine diagnostics. They are very helpful in troubleshooting problems and will have a catalog of codes sometimes not found in the code reader literature. Hope this helps you out.
Link Posted: 3/12/2006 1:52:05 PM EDT
I agree with Gary_P, but in the mean time reading codes is better than nothing at all.

Once you get into OBDII diagnostics on a frequent basis you want need to get something better. Good scanners start out at $3K and go up from there.


I would look for a used Mastertech by Vetronix, these are one of the best scanners, or even A Snap-On MT2500 if you are on a budget.
Link Posted: 3/12/2006 6:17:47 PM EDT
Hit up your local tool trucks. Many times they will have used scan tools that they will sell for deent prices.

I picked up a used Matco Determinator (made by OTC, same one Mac uses too) with all the cables, cartridges, manual, and a case for $300 off the Snap-On truck.
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