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OBD2 Scanners Advice Needed (TIA)
Posted by: Beam Me Up Scotty
Date: April 24, 2021 10:19AM
I'm looking to purchase an OBD2 Scanner and was hoping some of you have had good experiences with one.

I know what you're thinking; what is your price range? Well, the sky is the limit on how much these things cost. I'm not a professional mechanic so I don't think I need to spend thousands of dollars on one. I'm also thinking you get what you pay for so I'm guessing there are a number of worthless cheap ones out there.

Yes, I Google searched this but I'm really hoping for some real world experiences with those of you that own and use one.

Basically I'd prefer it to be reasonably priced and the biggie is that it's easy to use and doesn't come with a 1000 page PDF manual that I need to study in order to properly use it.

Anyhoo, if you have one you're satisfied with that was affordable & easy to use/understand let me know please.

Thank you,
BEMUS
(formally Dazed & Confused. Yeah, that idiot)



A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP
11:36 PM - 22 Feb 2015

-Leonard Nimoy



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/24/2021 12:43PM by Beam Me Up Scotty.
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Re: OBD2 Scanners Advice Needed (TIA)
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: April 24, 2021 10:34AM
I have an iCarsoft model that I like. You have to buy thr correct version, of course, for your model. The interface is a bit clunky but you can figure it out after some trial and errors.
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Re: OBD2 Scanners Advice Needed (TIA)
Posted by: MrNoBody
Date: April 24, 2021 10:37AM
Brand & year of vehicle?
I ask because Euro & Asian brands are tricky to get the right software
match.

On my '16 VW, the Carista works great. $30 @ bezosville



39°36'17"N 75°44'43"W

DuckDuckGo
The search engine that doesn't track you.





Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/24/2021 10:40AM by MrNoBody.
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Re: OBD2 Scanners Advice Needed (TIA)
Posted by: Gareth
Date: April 24, 2021 10:48AM
Maybe start with [www.nonda.co] which is free + shipping (don't know what they "charge" for shipping but sounds like it's actual USPS First Class mail price).

PeterB recently mentioned them here (in regards to keeping track of the physical location of your car).

They do seems to have some sort of optional subscription service, but at quick glance, I couldn't figure out what is was for (maybe it's just for the mileage tracking)? Perhaps looking up the app would provide more insight.

I'd recommend going with a phone connected option, simply because the apps tend to give you better information than the standalone hand scanners (i.e. they can actually tell you what the code means instead of just telling you the code number) and the prices have come down on the bluetooth scanners. When looking at other "generic" products, be sure to make sure the product works with bluetooth for iOS. I don't think it's as much of an issue now, but in the earlier days, iOS products were WiFi, while Android could use bluetooth. It would be annoying to be connected to the scanner's wifi, and then have to switch networks when you want to look up the code.

In terms of premium products, I have:
[www.bluedriver.com] - Is this the "Mac" of OBD2 scanners? Maybe? It's great at giving information on the codes you read. I also use it for the live data readouts while driving, and the SMOG check readiness.

[www.mycarly.com] - Also has a subscription for additional features, such as coding BMW's. They are somewhat brand specific, so make sure you have a vehicle brand they support. But you can't do "everything" with them, either, which is why I also have:

A Foxwell NT530 (to code the injectors on my BMW). [www.foxwellstore.com] They have a full range of product options, which can be overwhelming to decide on again.
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Re: OBD2 Scanners Advice Needed (TIA)
Posted by: MrNoBody
Date: April 24, 2021 11:21AM
(don't know what they "charge" for shipping but sounds like it's actual USPS First Class mail price)

To the Mid-Atlantic area the charge is $4.95 which includes USPS tracking.



39°36'17"N 75°44'43"W

DuckDuckGo
The search engine that doesn't track you.

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Re: OBD2 Scanners Advice Needed (TIA)
Posted by: GGD
Date: April 24, 2021 11:24AM
Why do you want one and how often do you expect to use it?

I bought this cheap one from Amazon 8 years ago for about $20.

[www.amazon.com]

Primary purpose was to read codes when the check-engine light was on and to clear them after a repair. Secondary use has been to verify that all status is ready before taking car for a smog inspection in cases where the car's battery was changed or a jump was needed in the recent past.

It just gives the codes, from there I usually google the code along with the make/model and find someone who's had the same failure and what fixed it, I don't really need the device or an app to translate the code into a sentence or paragraph, and I don't keep it connected all the time to monitor things with an app on my phone or anything fancy like that. I just wanted a basic device to read and clear codes, and like having it at home for those rare cases when I'm interested in the car's computer's opinion.
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Re: OBD2 Scanners Advice Needed (TIA)
Posted by: deckeda
Date: April 24, 2021 11:46AM
Yep, use GGD’s method. Get a code you can then Google, or better yet join a forum that already knows the known problems of your car.

“I’m getting code X, what does that mean and how do I wrench it?”

Also, YouTube the symptoms.

The reason why professionals use expensive equipment is to reduce the diagnoses time down to basically nothing. The $20 tool is extremely limited in what it can tell you, but Internet forums are not. Spend the time.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/24/2021 11:46AM by deckeda.
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Re: OBD2 Scanners Advice Needed (TIA)
Posted by: Pat
Date: April 24, 2021 12:13PM
On Android, OBD Bluetooth dongle and Torque Pro.
If you have a Ford/Lincoln/Mercury/Mazda vehicle, Forscan Lite allows you access to subsystem codes and tests.
Both allow for virtual gauges and data logging.
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Re: OBD2 Scanners Advice Needed (TIA)
Posted by: Beam Me Up Scotty
Date: April 24, 2021 12:59PM
Thanks everyone for the advice & opinions so far. Answers to your questions below:

"Brand & year of vehicle?"
"Why do you want one and how often do you expect to use it?"

I'm looking to purchase a used 2013 (or newer) Honda CRV or Toyota RAV4. I'd like to use it when I pre-inspect the vehicle prior to taking it to a mechanic for a full diagnosis. I'd also like it to be able to read other makes & models in the future as well as I currently own a 1997 Mazda (a Ford really) B4000. I'll be selling the Mazda down the road (pun intended) and will purchase another vehicle later. Hope that makes sense.

I'm kind of a gear head and having a OBD2 Scanner is a must (IMHO) with today's modern cars.

BEMUS
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Re: OBD2 Scanners Advice Needed (TIA)
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: April 24, 2021 01:00PM
Quote
Pat
On Android, OBD Bluetooth dongle and Torque Pro.
If you have a Ford/Lincoln/Mercury/Mazda vehicle, Forscan Lite allows you access to subsystem codes and tests.
Both allow for virtual gauges and data logging.

Forscan on a Windows laptop can reset codes and modify various factory settings.

Many of the cheaper scanners can't read ABS codes or reset them. Can the phone based apps with a bluetooth or wifi OBD2 adapter reset codes?
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Re: OBD2 Scanners Advice Needed (TIA)
Posted by: deckeda
Date: April 24, 2021 01:11PM
Oh geeze we thought you’d be fixing something, not playing Jr Detective.

I don’t see how scanning a potential purchase is meaningfully helpful beyond letting the seller know you’re a dork looking for a false sense of security. Especially if already planning to take it to a mechanic anyway.

For a scan to reveal something a silent CEL does not, they would have had to use a similar tool to quash the light but forgot to erase the codes.

This is like knowing rags stuffed under valve covers can temporarily quiet valve train clatter of an old OHV engine and assuming without reason that’s what the seller did and STILL wanting to consider buying it.
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Re: OBD2 Scanners Advice Needed (TIA)
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: April 25, 2021 12:56AM
You may be thinking more of a car's ecu stored codes, which a simple scanner can not read. And things like transmission faults, etc. For that level of detail you'd need a laptop hooked up to the car's OBD port, and it will change from make to make. Expensive and potentially complex.
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Re: OBD2 Scanners Advice Needed (TIA)
Posted by: Cary
Date: April 25, 2021 08:47PM
Quote
mrbigstuff
You may be thinking more of a car's ecu stored codes, which a simple scanner can not read. And things like transmission faults, etc. For that level of detail you'd need a laptop hooked up to the car's OBD port, and it will change from make to make. Expensive and potentially complex.

That is not true. There are many scanners that can read transmission and ABS modules. Specific scanners for specific marques, like the Fox well for BMWs have deep capabilities.

Generally, inexpensive scanners are either broad coverage and shallow capabilities, or single brand/marque with deep coverage.

Also generally, you only need a laptop for programming.
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Re: OBD2 Scanners Advice Needed (TIA)
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: April 25, 2021 09:17PM
Quote
Cary
Quote
mrbigstuff
You may be thinking more of a car's ecu stored codes, which a simple scanner can not read. And things like transmission faults, etc. For that level of detail you'd need a laptop hooked up to the car's OBD port, and it will change from make to make. Expensive and potentially complex.

That is not true. There are many scanners that can read transmission and ABS modules. Specific scanners for specific marques, like the Fox well for BMWs have deep capabilities.

Generally, inexpensive scanners are either broad coverage and shallow capabilities, or single brand/marque with deep coverage.

Also generally, you only need a laptop for programming.

Programming? No. It's for accessing proprietary software for different marques. I suppose you could try to hack into the existing ecu to change parameters, I know some people tune turbocharged cars this way, but that's not what I'm referring to.

And I'm sure there are some scanners that can read trans codes, but at b that price you're probably better off with the laptop.



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 04/25/2021 09:19PM by mrbigstuff.
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