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OBD-II Scan Tool – What to look for when buying one?

Are all OBD-II tools created equal? I know some OBD II scan tools are car or manufacturer specific, but are they all the same when we talk about retrieving codes?

I would like to buy an OBDII tool and have search different retailers and Internet stores but I am not sure of what to buy. There appear to be a wide range in price and I am concerned of how well/bad or useful some of the cheap or expensive models can be. Will a cheap model do what I want it to do? Or, should I invest in something other than the cheaper OBD2 tools? I do not have an auto shop and do not work on my vehicles all the time.

So, what should I look for when buying an OBD-II scan tool?
 



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BrooklynBay

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Some scan tools which are cheap can't read a lot of codes. The better quality ones which are more expensive could read ABS & SRS codes. Some have a feature for cycling the ABS solenoid block to bleed the brakes. What are you looking for in one of these tools? At a minimum level, you should get one which is capable of reading manufacturer specific transmission codes.
 






1AJeremyD

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As Brooklyn stated previously, not all scan tools are made the same. If you need it strictly for check engine codes and only the code then the cheapest will do fine but you will end up having to look up the code online and go from there. I've used some OBD scanners that allow you to find out where an issue is in the EVAP system but are definitely not meant for the average person primarily because of the price. Knowing what you need it for will be the best way to determine what scanner you would want to purchase
 






apollo607

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It realys on how much want to expend vs. at what level of usage are you going to apply (professional? at home only?). Mine was cheap (I guees) around $200, but it is enough for me, I have seen some professional obd up to $2500.
 












AeroRamer

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I am so used to about thinking of mostly simple 70’s and 80’s cars that I overlooked the possible need to check for SRS (airbags), ABS, and transmission codes.

Use will be strictly personal and with good luck minimal. Just want something to help me troubleshooting my cars when something does not feel right. Also, to check on used cars for when is that time again.

So…, is $200 considered cheap? I ask because I was looking at some OBDII’s that were in the $20-$40 range with a rebate (Autel MaxiScan MS300 CAN OBD-II from Amazon). That is what promoted me to ask in the first place. I was thinking maybe $200-$500 for a good one. I guess my idea of expensive was way off.

Yes, I would like to get something that can do not only engine codes but also air bag codes and generic tranny codes. A driving cycle option and CANBUS ready will be nice too.

I also found an AutoTap Express item but I am not sure if it is an actual OBD II tool. It looks like it is designed to connect to a computer via USB for diagnostics.

Other sources I found include:

http://diydiagnostics.com/

http://www.aliexpress.com/wholesale/wholesale-can-bus-code-reader.html
 






YBCold

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some OBD scanners can bleed the ABS module on explorers i would get one of those. some people on the forum idk who though have them
 






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