Reader Question: Code Scan Tool?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Slade asks: I’m looking at an Autel ML619. What do you know about these and is this a good choice? Looking to spend not much more than $100.

My reply: I haven’t used that particular model, but – having looked at the specifications  (here) it looks fine, with one possible caveat: Does it tell you what the OBD codes mean? Some of the lower-priced scan tools will give you the codes, but just the codes. This means you’ll need to look up what the codes mean. No big deal, but something to ask them about.

I like that it is apparently updatable, too.

These things are as essential to have if you are going to service an OBD-equipped car as as a good socket set is necessary to service an pre-OBD car.

Well worth the money – just like a radar detector!

. . .

Got a question about cars – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. I recently saw an ad for FIXD with buyers reviews. They were hyped it gave the codes and the meaning. I think it’s $50 and uses your phone.

  2. Check out Harbor Freight: They always have decent OBD scanners on sale. My recommendation would be to get one that also reads ABS codes, and can reset the ABS light. Those are typically another tier in pricing. Also get one that can play live data, or even plot it. That way, you can test drive whilst playing the data, and can see the d*^%mn engine data when you experience the hiccup!

  3. I bought a cheapo scanner at Autozone about 10 years ago, not even sure of the brand, pretty certain it was made in China. Fifty bucks, nothing fancy, but nonetheless, one of the best investments I’ve ever made. Sometimes have to “Googuhl” stuff to pin down the problem, but in the maybe half dozen times I’ve had to use it to find the problem and then clear the check engine light, it’s probably saved me a couple thousand dollars over taking it to the dealer to figure things out. I’d say just get one, no matter how cheap or simple, in the long run it’ll more than pay for itself


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