Scan tools?

Discussion in 'Garages, Workshops & Tools' started by Chevy 350, Sep 11, 2013.

  1. Chevy 350

    Chevy 350 Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Apr 4, 2007
    So. IL
    What are some good yet affordable scan tools available? I already have a $60 obdII reader but if I wanted to for instance troubleshoot a bad wheel bearing that is preventing me from turning my traction control on
    I assume there is more than one brand on the market and all are not created equal. I see a USB 2.0 adaptor for PC from autoenginuity and looks like one can get it for a little over $100 refurbished. Is this a good brand?
  2. Mike N

    Mike N Administrator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Jan 13, 2002
    Spencerport, NY.
    Things get a little different when you want to scan into the ABS & traction side of things. I know the MAC tool dealers sell a low priced unit called 123 Launch that does regular OBD 2 scanning as well as airbag & ABS. Last I checked the unit was in the $300 range. Be aware though that you still will not have bi-directional capabilities with that unit, so if you ever want to fire injectors or cycle evap solenoids you're out of luck.

    I'm not familiar with autoenginuity so I can't offer an opinion on it. My stuff is primarily Snap On and costs considerably more that anything we're likely to discuss in this thread.
  3. CorkyE

    CorkyE Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    Ringgold, GA
    Mike, what's the entry level price of a bi-directional unit? Friend of mine owns a transmission shop here in Chattanooga & I think he told me he paid $3K+ for one to read trannies.

    (Must scan O2 sensor also) :)
  4. Mike N

    Mike N Administrator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Jan 13, 2002
    Spencerport, NY.
    Corky, I paid $3000 for my Snap On Solus and that does bi-directional testing. I can also scan body control modules, trans, airbag, transfer cases and ABS with it. I would consider that to be entry level, and while it sounds all cool I cannot do any flash programming with it like you can on a factory level unit (GM Tech 2, Chrysler DRB etc...), and it costs me $1000 every other year for updates. I also don't have any European software in it, that's an additional $600. I don't see many Euro cars (thank God) so I can't justify the cost of the upgrade.

    If you're looking for a cheaper unit for kinda older stuff (2005 and earlier) you could find a used Snap On MT 2500 (often called the "Brick") for a few hundred on eBay or Craigslist. The trick with the brick is to get one with the programmable black cartridges, they could be updated to 05 whereas the older cartridges stopped at 01 and were not able to be updated. I paid $300 for my brick with the black carts and it even came with a CAN adapter so I can do specific testing on early CAN equipped cars. I can also use the brick on a generic level on any car to scan for engine codes, but in the generic mode there are no bi directional capabilities.

    And yes, they all scan 02 sensors. :D
  5. The Champ

    The Champ Veteran Member

    Sep 14, 2000
    FWIW - SnapOn tools are overpriced for what they do.

    I work with scan tool dealer out of the Des Moines, IA area that handles scan tools from $2 - 60,000.00. His $2195.00 unit will outperform the SnapOn and comes standard with the ability to work on most foreign and domestic and comes with 1 year of free updates.

    We (my contact in Des Moines and I) have sold this unit to independent repair shops that have literally 10's of thousands of dollars invested in diagnostic equipment.

    If you want me to hook you up with him - let me know.
  6. Mike N

    Mike N Administrator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Jan 13, 2002
    Spencerport, NY.
    I think it goes without saying that Snap On is a little overpriced, especially where their hand tools are concerned. I did manage to get my first batch of updates free with the purchase of my scanner, so it's not like I paid full retail for it.

    The thing with Snappy is they're always going to be around, unlike other tool companies that either go out of business or simply have a shortage of reps in the area to service what we have. I could have the mega super whiz-bang scanner supreme but if I can't get it updated it's useless to me.

    While I appreciate your offer I'll stick with Strap On for now. :)
  7. Lrader99

    Lrader99 Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Sep 18, 2005
    NW Georgia
    The GM Tech-2 is really just a glorified OTC-genisys. You can pick up a genisys for pretty cheap. They are fully updatable and can do all bidirectional testing and have different software packages so as you want to do more in depth testing they have software for that. Since it is also a factory level tool you can get EEPROM software to flash with. IMHO they are the best bang for the buck.
  8. cubangt

    cubangt Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

    Jul 5, 2010
    Katy, Tx

Share This Page