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Scan tool recommendations


Well-Known Member
December 9, 2005
Reaction score
City, State
Calgary Alberta
Year, Model & Trim Level
98 XLT, 2013 Sport
G'day, been awhile. I'm in the market for a scanner/reader for my 98 could you please point me in the right direction? I'm not a money no object type but I don't want to go cheap and get a useless piece either. Suggestions?

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G'day, been awhile. I'm in the market for a scanner/reader for my 98 could you please point me in the right direction? I'm not a money no object type but I don't want to go cheap and get a useless piece either. Suggestions?

I have an Actron 9180 and have been very happy with it. I know I don't use it up to it's capabilities, but it reads codes very well.

I have a Actron CP9410 PocketScan Plus, I rarely use it, but it does whats its supposed to do. Very cheap, but has alot of quality, most of the time it will show the severity of the trouble code by a color triangle. I bought it used for like $4. or $14..

I went with Innova 3160 for its ability to read ABS codes in addition to engine trouble. My initial trouble was ABS, reason I bought it off Amazon.
It can also read live data and perform key on engine off and engine running tests. You can read data in situ or store and download live data to a computer program, though the included CD program has limited utility in my opinion.

You still have to look up the code definition and decipher "what it all means."
The definition is not in the program; I made a printout of code definitions. Innova has a website where you are encouraged to pay $14 for the most common fixes for your trouble code; I've never done this.

To download stored live data to your computer you'll likely need a serial to USB adapter cord. You have to screen capture to save graphs as pictures and trim as appropriate; one of the program limitations.

I've been quite happy with mine despite limitations. Its saved me more money than I paid. I use it on a 96 XLT AWD 5.0. Some have reported troubles but I have not had any.
example: I bought the vehicle used with ABS light on. Dealership said $1700 to replace HCU. After resetting stored codes, ABS light was due to driver front wheel speed sensor. About $55 delivered. They never tried to reset codes and assumed they would have a hard time selling it.

I would encourage you to read reviews prior to purchase and insure whatever you purchase will work on your vehicle. I do like the Amazon reviews for this reason.
Link to reviews

Thanks! I was just looking at the same exact model to get me for "father's day"... :)
Wasn't sure if is worth it.

Thanx for the help guys, got one coming from Amazon.

My wife bought me a bluetooth scantool for Christmas this past year on Amazon. It was one of the few under $100 that has the genuine ELM chip.

I've been using it on my Android phone with Torque ($5) app and also a more expensive Dash Commander ($45) but can be had free if you are... resourceful.

Anyhow, I really like the Dash Commander app because it offers code reading and code definition/reset as well as live sensor readings. You can also do data logging and email the results to yourself. For me this is a great tool and provides features I've seen in $200+ scantools for a fraction of the cost.

Some people don't like the under $200 bluetooth scantools, but I've surprised several full time mechanic friends when they saw what I can do with my phone and a $50 scantool.

What brand is that? I have a tablet (and torque), forgot about that option!
Reading the comments on Amazon, looks like the PLX Kiwi Bluetooth is the most stable...

Do you have a link for the scanner on Amazon?

Since nobody had anything to say, I did bite the bullet and order it:
Kiwi PLX scanner

I did read the comments on the other ones (ELM237 "compatible", cheaper with 40-50$) and I was't thrilled. Mostly about instabile connection, some reports of incompatibility with Ford, not reading fully the sensors...

PS: ELM327 is the chipset in those devices...

You can find Snap-On scanners on ebay for a hundred bucks. Sure they're the old red brick that is outdated by today's standards, but it will do anything you want as long as you have the cartridges. At work i have a brand new Snap-On Verus scanner, it's very difficult to use, it's bulky, it requires a stylus to flip through the menus, and it still requires the personality keys for different vehicles. I'm glad I didn't have to pay for it.

One... which?
Autel ms300 just got it today thanx to the mail strike. It shows code p0430 and it killed the MIL, gotta find out what caused the light now.