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Opinion on an automotive Diagnostic/Scanner

Home Forums Stay Dirty Lounge Tool Talk Opinion on an automotive Diagnostic/Scanner

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  • #859045
    Donald HollumsDonald Hollums

      For all you higher capability and talented mechanic/technicians I have a question. When I look for an automotive diagnostic/scanner what features should I be looking for? Obviously not all the various ones available do same things, right? I have an OBD2 code scanner but I know that only scratches the surface. I watched the tool review film Eric did on the OTC Encore I reckon that style is pretty much the kind to go with. What about a previously used diagnostic/scanner, are they worth the money? Harbor Freight sells one that is more affordable being that I’ve seen used Snap-On ones on eBay still go for well over $1000.00.
      My goal, Lord willing, is when I retire from my State law enforcement job. I want to wrench on cars again on the side to stay busy and I like cars anyway. I did light mechanic work back in the early ’90s, and I would like to take some courses at the local tech school to get caught up on things automotive-wise.

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    • #859820
      Jeff KetchemJeff Ketchem

        Depends on what you’re looking for in a way. I saw and assume you’re talking about the Autel that harbor freight sells? I played with that one when it first came out, I liked it, it had some missing features though that you didn’t notice till you went under the menu and realized it kinda just kicked you back out. I have a Matco Maximus 2.0 and a Snap-on Modis Ultra. Neither are silver bullets but they do pretty good. How much are you looking to spend? Updates are also something to look at and figure into your total cost.

        Jason WhiteJason White

          A scanner isn’t like a wrench, don’t buy now for the future because they are like any other electronic device. Honestly, the hard answer is that the dealer scanner is going to be the best, everything from there down is going to be hit or miss, and generally you get what you pay for. If I were to buy an aftermarket scan tool right now it would probably be an Autell Maxisys 908P but Lunch ProPad would be a good consideration. If I were mostly on domestics and especially a novice tech you can’t go wrong with Snap-On. You really can’t beat the ease of use and logic of the snap on, plus it will help you through the diagnostic procedure. Now that I work for a dealer, nothing I want touching a Nissan than a Consult III+ with a Consult II on the side.


            I’ve used the Verus and it’s a nice machine. But once you have to update the software it’s a killer. I’m not sure how it works to only update it occasionally, but the shop I was at was paying about $2000 a year for updates.

            If you watch Eric’s videos on the OTC Encore, there’s numerous tablets from numerous companies in that price and performance range. I’ve also used an Autel Maxisys Pro. It has most of the same relearn capabilities that the Verus does. I would also suspect most of the similar units would have similar capabilities.

            Jeff KetchemJeff Ketchem

              Good point was brought up about the Snap-on machines. The troubleshooter and suretrack ( suretrack with a current upgrade) are great to help point you in a direction. The dealer stuff is very good but there are still holes. I do mobile diagnostics and I generally start my diagnosis in generic OBD I I. From generic most everything is standardized and you won’t have to worry about what’s called substituted values (more on that later and not trying to scare you away) the aftermarket ones that have been mentioned will give you enhanced (factory codes, some data) but for what your looking for and what you’re wanting to do. I’d wait for later on as suggested to pick up something. Oh yeah the great thing to about some of the Snap-on stuff is you have a built in labscope, multimeter and graphing multimeter which are pretty much a necessity anymore. I own two other scopes and I reach for the modis more because of the ease of setup and if you’re just starting out/getting your feet wet again there is guided component test that automatically sets the scales up.

              Isaias AlmanzaIsaias Almanza

                I just picked up a Launch Pad II x-431 and it has been great. I got the docking station with it which helps keeping it charged. 85% of the time it stays in the docking station and I work it from there, right next to my laptop on my toolbox. The other tech has a new Snap On Verus Edge which is a nice machine but way overpriced. He had to borrow mine to do PATS programming on a Mazda the other day so they all lack something. Having a few in your arsenal is the only solution. My x-431 Pad II cost me $2500. His Verus Edge cost him $8500. 3 weeks after I bought mine he said to me “I should have just bought one of those”. LOL Yep. Especially considering in 4-5 years you will probably be looking at a newer one.

                I have a Tech 2, the Launch, an Autel MaxiDas, a DrewTech Mongoose Pro for Toyota/Lexus running Toyota Techstream 100% and a few handheld ones I use for quick I/M monitor checks and such. For a scope I have a Snap On Vantage pro I picked up used for $450. Looking at getting an Autologic for the Euro stuff but the Launch does really well with them. Even the Snap-On dealer said the Launch was superior with the Euro stuff.


                  You need to consider what kind of car lines you will be working on and if the scan tool sufficiently covers your needs.
                  I have 3 different ones for my shop and just sold my older ones.

                  Snap on is good for Domestic and Asian. It usually covers what a general tech will encounter in an average shop. It is fairly consistent in the way its interface and functions are displayed throughout the model ranges.
                  I just bought the Ethos Edge and like it as the first tool to grab usually.

                  Watch out on the prices of used ones. They are often obsolete and the software is usually out of date. If you add the purchase price plus the update cost they often are not worthwhile.
                  Or if you get a deal on one and it covers what you need for a while and can live with that, then upgrade to a new tool at a later date.
                  They can become obsolete in as little as 2-3 years.

                  Autel offers a few models.
                  The 808 is the replacement for the Maxidas 708.
                  This is the cheapest and may be the best for DIY or enthusiast.
                  The 906 has a lot of bi directional and functionality and is affordable.
                  I have the 906 and like it.
                  The 908, has more, the 908 pro can program certain vehicles.
                  The 908 elite has the best hardware.

                  Launch x431 pro is good and affordable.
                  It is pretty good, may be lacking a few bi directional in certain domestic models, as what I have read but I have the newest software and did not encounter any yet.
                  It makes a good 2nd tool.

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