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OBDII code reader advice?


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18 replies to this topic

#1 heartless

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 09:11 AM

ok, so we have finally moved into the world of OBDII vehicles here
and I am looking for advice on getting a reasonably priced, fairly easy to use code reader.

does not need to be anything real fancy - the vehicle in question is a 2004 Mercury Sable. . .yeah, yeah, i know, not a Subaru - couldnt find one we wanted in our price range near enough to us that didnt have a salvage title (the bank would not go for salvage, and to be honest, We're not too thrilled with the idea of salvage either)

so, info on brands - who to look for, who to stay away from, ease of use, etc would be greatly appreciated.

#2 davebugs

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 09:33 AM

Got mine new off Ebay years ago.

I got the cheap 50.00 Orange one (may be cheaper now).

Comes with a booklet and CD to install the software to look up the code (that you'll end up looking up onthe internet anyways).

I purposely go tthis reader that only gives codes (the P9999). Because it fits in a jacket pocket. The one for another 20 bucks displayed a little more info but not enough to be real helpful anyways.

It was my forst purchase on Ebay and saved me 20 bucks versus buying it at Advance Auto Parts at the time.

Good luck - you're long overdue to get one.

#3 grossgary

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 09:36 AM

i like the cheap ones off ebay since i travel with them and take them places, in my work bag often, etc. if it breaks, no big deal, just buy another one. i've gotten them as cheap as $35 before. i'd buy nicer ones if i wasn't so mobile and rough on them.

some ready the code only and don't tell you what it is. if that annoys you, you don't have a list of codes, will be working on multiple different kinds of vehicles, or don't have internet access - you might want the kinds that tell you what the codes are verses just the number.

if you're just working on one or two vehicles, just print the lists of codes out and put them in the owners manual in the glove box and it doesnt' matter.

#4 heartless

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Posted 19 October 2011 - 09:36 PM

ok, thanks for the advice guys - i knew i would get sound advice asking here! ;)

#5 xbeerd

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 01:38 PM

i have the Actron one from Autozone (was like $60) just reads the code. also i have a USB/obd2 adapter (bout $35+shipping). both work great, i usually just read the codes, write them down and take them inside to the computer, http://www.obd-codes.../trouble_codes/
they also have manufacturer specific codes on there too.

#6 bheinen74

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 02:20 PM

I got a harbor freight one for i think 42.99 it reads the code and tells you what the code is. It is red and black color of the reader. I no longer have a vehcile new enough that has obdii, I find myself reading and resetting my friends cars alot.

#7 porcupine73

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Posted 17 November 2011 - 04:35 PM

You should be able to find decent used ODBII readers readily on craigslist and eBay. Many people probably have these laying around since the newer vehicles are canbus. Having it show the code meaning can be convenient but not necessary. The P1nnn and higher codes you have to look up for that specific vehicle anyway.

I've had these two for many years and have fit my needs for Subaru's quite well:

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#8 Fairtax4me

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 12:23 AM

Equus Innova makes great easy to use scanners, and their research department has probably the most extensive list of manufacturer specific codes. Whether it's a Ford, Acrua, Subaru, Mercedes, Toyota, or what-have-you, chances are they have the correct code definitions already in the scanner. Their stuff is pricey on their website, but you can find any of their scanners for around half price on Amazon.
They do also have a cheaper model that doesn't display the definitions, but you get a CD with all of their current definitions.

Canobd2.com

#9 heartless

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 07:29 AM

just to update - we found an Actron, model CP9175 at a local pawn shop (dumping some old jewelry for a little cash) price was $40 so we grabbed it.

havent actually used it yet, but looking at the manual for it, it should do everything we need it to do and then some - LOL

Thanks again for all the suggestions guys. :D

... you're long overdue to get one.


as far as that goes (assuming you are referring to the code reader) - never needed one - when ya dont have any OBD-II cars, whats the point in getting one?
Until the Mercury - the newest vehicle here was a 95 Dodge Ram 1500 that rarely gets driven.
Every Subaru that has been thru here was too old to need a code reader. . . (late 80's GL's to first gen Legacy's)

Honestly - I like my 21 yr old Subaru...dont need fancy tools to work on it, can still get 28-30 mpg out of it (which is better than some much newer cars), it hauls almost everything I need to haul, always starts & gets me to where I need to go. So why would I "need" to get something newer, that I can't really afford?

And - I REALLY miss the simplicity of my 44 yr old Pickup (that I had to sell) - talk about simple to work on! and again - it always started and did what I needed it to do.

Edited by heartless, 21 November 2011 - 07:44 AM.


#10 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 08:51 AM

Equus Innova makes great easy to use scanners, and their research department has probably the most extensive list of manufacturer specific codes. Whether it's a Ford, Acrua, Subaru, Mercedes, Toyota, or what-have-you, chances are they have the correct code definitions already in the scanner. Their stuff is pricey on their website, but you can find any of their scanners for around half price on Amazon.
They do also have a cheaper model that doesn't display the definitions, but you get a CD with all of their current definitions.

Canobd2.com



Yeah, I have a mdeium/cheap model and it's been great. Git it from Amazon. FreezeFrame, reads CANbus. - my boss'es $200 scanner couldn't connect to a co-worker's Mercedes, my several year old $90 Innova did. And it hasn't been connected to get updates since I bought it.

(note to self, check for updates to your scanner)

They are nice to have around, but I use it on my friends and kids cars more than my own.

#11 ShawnW

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 06:43 PM

Running my shop I have a Snap-On Solus Pro. Its too much most of the time. I think I will find a cheapie one just for pulling codes and clearing like this.

The Solus does data logging and saves files and graphs and all that and is down right huge and you are afraid of dropping it or scratching it because its thousands of dollars to replace.

#12 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 08:24 PM

Running my shop I have a Snap-On Solus Pro. Its too much most of the time. I think I will find a cheapie one just for pulling codes and clearing like this.

The Solus does data logging and saves files and graphs and all that and is down right huge and you are afraid of dropping it or scratching it because its thousands of dollars to replace.



That is why some people don't like the laptop - based cables, just too much gear to be careful of. Now there IS a unit that has a wireless bluetooth connection to your laptop. Might work with a netbook and maybe a smartphone.

like this; http://www.dealextre...ge-dc-12v-42825

dunno how you get the disc data into a netbook or onto a phone though....

#13 heartless

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 12:32 PM

dunno how you get the disc data into a netbook or onto a phone though....


put the data on a USB thumb drive to transfer to netbook

phone - most come with a usb cable to hook to a pc - hook it up, transfer the data, unhook...pretty simple (depending on your phone LOL).

#14 1 Lucky Texan

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 12:42 PM

put the data on a USB thumb drive to transfer to netbook

phone - most come with a usb cable to hook to a pc - hook it up, transfer the data, unhook...pretty simple (depending on your phone LOL).



I admit to being ignorant about phones. Just pointing out that some of the gear that's easier to haul into the car than a full laptop, may require some xtra steps to set-up for scanning.

#15 Skylar

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 01:32 PM

An OBDII is pretty much what the emissions shops do when you fail emissions right ? I failed emissions yesterday and would rather figure out the problem myself for cheaper than go pay a shop 150 to tell me what's wrong ...

#16 porcupine73

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Posted 23 November 2011 - 06:37 PM

What an emissions test checks depends on where you live. If they're doing a tail pipe sniff test, you can fail that without having the MIL on or any codes stored. You need to look at the printout you got to see why you failed.

#17 xbeerd

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 09:37 AM

where i live (Milwaukee, WI), they just plug into the obd2 port and read it, no sniffer or anything (atleast on awd vehicles). and they only check vehicles 96 and newer. this surely helped me in my decision to buy a 92 :)

of course, because of this, the used car dealer market is pretty jacked up.

#18 porcupine73

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 11:14 AM

Only cars model year '96 and newer have to meet ODBII requirements because that is the first year it was mandated in the U.S. If you happen to find a 1996 model year soob, it is exempt from needing to have the readiness monitors set, because it resets them every time the ignition is turned off. That is convenient if you have a CEL on, because if you can clear the CEL and it stays off when you restart the engine, you can still pass the inspection. :brow:

#19 xbeerd

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 12:12 PM

Only cars model year '96 and newer have to meet ODBII requirements because that is the first year it was mandated in the U.S. If you happen to find a 1996 model year soob, it is exempt from needing to have the readiness monitors set, because it resets them every time the ignition is turned off. That is convenient if you have a CEL on, because if you can clear the CEL and it stays off when you restart the engine, you can still pass the inspection. :brow:


interesting! and handy to know!:clap:




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