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Thread: engine trouble code reader

  1. #1
    Speedster Member greyben's Avatar
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    engine trouble code reader

    Has anyone used one of the cheap (under $30) code readers to troubleshoot an engine trouble light and if so what model did you use?
    In the end Ignorance will have conquered all adversaries

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    President Member 53commander's Avatar
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    There are so many out there nowadays and they have cheap blu tooth ones that work with smart phones too. I have a laptop that I use at work but I bought a cheap code reader off Ebay to keep at home. It's an Autop D900 and half the time it clears the codes before you have a chance to see them.

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    I picked up a Performance Tool scanner from Summit, I think it was. Less than 30 bucks. Model was W2977, but that won't help much cuz these scanners are pretty vehicle specific. This unit pulled the code out, cleared the idiot light on a Toy Tacoma. Light never came back on so left well enough alone. I will have to get a different scanner if the light comes on in my Tundra.

  4. #4
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    I just go to OReilly Auto and they decode it and reset it for free

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    The Elm 327 is the most prevalent found on Ebay. Some are under $10 if you can wait for the boat. They come USB to a laptop or Bluetooth to your phone. I prefer the USB/laptop to lessen connectivity issues. They will read the general codes P-XXX and allow you to clear the codes. They have "some" live data.

    Frankly other than convenience of not dragging out the laptop my $35 Harbor Freight Scanner doesn't do any more than my $10 Elm 327. The Elm 327 uses Scantool and will even run on Linux. To that CASO end (Cheap A$$ Scanner Owner) I have a $5 laptop with my Elm 327 in the trunk that runs free Linux (Mint) so I can have the less encumbering HF scanner in the wife's car (she needs all the glove box space she can get).
    '64 Lark Type, powered by '85 Corvette L-69 (carburetor), 700R4, - CASO to the Max.

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    Why bother buying one. As mentioned in post #4 just go to o'Reilly or Advance Auto or Auto Zone. They offer the service for free and you'll be right there to get the sensor or whatever you need. Simple enough.

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    Bought mine on the Mac tool truck for around $80. I like to take it along when we travel, so that if problems come up I can see what is going on, and clear the code on the road. It only gives you the code, and then you have to google it to get the meaning of it. Some "limp home" problems can be taken care of on the side of the road.

  8. #8
    President Member 53commander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.J. lavallee View Post
    Why bother buying one. As mentioned in post #4 just go to o'Reilly or Advance Auto or Auto Zone. They offer the service for free and you'll be right there to get the sensor or whatever you need. Simple enough.
    Quote Originally Posted by tsenecal View Post
    Bought mine on the Mac tool truck for around $80. I like to take it along when we travel, so that if problems come up I can see what is going on, and clear the code on the road. It only gives you the code, and then you have to google it to get the meaning of it. Some "limp home" problems can be taken care of on the side of the road.
    What he said

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.J. lavallee View Post
    Why bother buying one. As mentioned in post #4 just go to o'Reilly or Advance Auto or Auto Zone. They offer the service for free and you'll be right there to get the sensor or whatever you need. Simple enough.
    Not so simple when you are not anywhere near an O'Reilly, Advance Auto or Auto Zone etc. store, they are closed in the middle of the night, or your car just doesn't run well enough to get there. About $12 seems a small price to pay for an Elm 327 that Bluetooth's to your 'always with you' smart phone. It reads the code and allows you to clear it (if desirable). Knowing the code can be the difference of driving no further and prevent damage, or realizing that the gas cap just wasn't tightened enough. It can also help with travel plans knowing that it is a simple fix or you may need a rental car.
    '64 Lark Type, powered by '85 Corvette L-69 (carburetor), 700R4, - CASO to the Max.

  10. #10
    President Member Xcalibur's Avatar
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    I have one that was something like $24.99 and works perfectly well. I've used it to diagnose several different manufacture's vehicles' issues. And, remove the codes. Also, it's interesting to snoop in the vehicle's data. It is an Autel MaxiScan MS309.

  11. #11
    President Member 63 R2 Hawk's Avatar
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    I bought a used Innova, was originally over $120 for $50, it is a better one, shows hidden codes. I carry it in my truck and have used it to diagnose a glow plug controller and a few other ETCs. I have also used it to help fellow motorists and RV owners on the road. I find it a lot more convenient than using my ELM327 and ipad.

  12. #12
    Speedster Member greyben's Avatar
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    I ended up buying a D900 version 2016 off ebay for about $27. It seems to do what I want. My 2005 Dakota had a check engine light that wouldn't clear which was the initiator for needing the reader. It was still in the mail when I filled the gas tank. The light cleared when the truck was restarted. The cap was removed and screwed back on several times before that to no avail. The unit came with the manual on a small CD which my computer doesn't support, but operation is pretty straight forward.

    Initially an attempt was made to purchase another unit. Paypal wouldn't accept payment and gave me a circular computer message. Also the "contact seller" feature wouldn't work. It was then a line in the instructions was noticed to the effect the item was from a foreign site and the seller may not understand english. The seller was listed as being in California. I couldn't find any evidence that California was now considered a foreign country. Maybe someone from there can give some verification on this.

    After all this Ebay dinged me for being a nonpaying bidder. I wonder if Ebay really has any humans working for it or if it is just one big computer with the power to pass judgement on users.
    In the end Ignorance will have conquered all adversaries

    Don't hasten the end

  13. #13
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    I have an Actron CP9125. It was one of the first cheapies (I think $29.95), and all it does is read and erase codes. They are handy to have around, and they came with a nice little OBDII code book. Mine is old enough it doesn't have USB ports or the like. Just a reader and eraser. Someone that bought a more sophisticated reader may have one listed for sale somewhere. Mine isn't for sale.

  14. #14
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    While far from being the cheapest at $90, I have an OBDCOM laptop based reader that not only reads all of the codes but also monitors sensors and engine data in real time. It even shows parameters in gauge style on your laptop's screen if selected. It resets the check engine light once the problem is fixed and also includes free lifetime updates to include new vehicles and 24/7 support.

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