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scanner really NEEDED?

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 15 Oct 2015, 09:57 am
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Location: darien il
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Default scanner really NEEDED?

the scanner is a nifty tool if you're lucky enough to have one, but i think some here exaggerate a bit on the NEED to use them. i've never had an issue clearing codes without it. i have read, and cleared evap, egr, iac, o2, misfire, and cam sensor codes, all by disconnecting the battery and stepping on the brake.

at the same time, i'm interested to know which codes can't be read with the keydance. i have used a scanner, this scanner, likely far better than any scanner anyone on this forum owns. it's useful for testing when i need bidirectional capability for things like fan testing or reading from the trans module. is that it though? i've used it a few times on the car and it's never reported anything different than the key dance. it is nifty being able to test the fan without turning on the AC.

i only bring this up because i see this written here more and more and to say it is needed is simply not true. ...or if anyone can PROVE it, my eyes are open to learn. show me a code you can't clear with a scanner. i mean besides a P1684 battery code.

at the same time i'm curious to know exactly which codes won't show up with the key dance. i'm thinking it's likely just the trans codes like in the picture i linked to above, but on that note, most of the crappy $50-$500 scanners people seem to have and recommend won't show you those either.

here to learn /politely argue /etc.. anyone? beuller?

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Old 15 Oct 2015, 10:38 am
rckstein's Avatar
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Default Re: scanner really NEEDED?

I'm sure this topic is going to bring some interesting responses!

I have this scan tool:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...=sr_1_1&sr=8-1

I bought it a while back when my PT had rough running issues. I'm certainly no expert in using it but it did help to trouble shoot some codes. It then showed no pending issues. I also went by an O'Reilly and AutoZone stores just to have them confirm and their scan tools also showed no issues. But then when my PT still had issues and I had to take into the dealer, when they check in a vehicle they hook up a pod to the OBD connector and do a quick scan for any pending issues. Even though 3 different scan tools showed no issues, their pod still picked up several items. It's almost like these codes are buried somewhere down deep, and can only be properly cleared by the dealer?



The first two codes don't apply as I was told by the dealer that my PT doesn't have a transmission temperature sensor, so don't even know why those codes would be displaying.
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Old 15 Oct 2015, 12:00 pm
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Default Re: scanner really NEEDED?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob342 View Post
the scanner is a nifty tool if you're lucky enough to have one, but i think some here exaggerate a bit on the NEED to use them. i've never had an issue clearing codes without it. i have read, and cleared evap, egr, iac, o2, misfire, and cam sensor codes, all by disconnecting the battery and stepping on the brake.

at the same time, i'm interested to know which codes can't be read with the keydance. i have used a scanner, this scanner, likely far better than any scanner anyone on this forum owns. it's useful for testing when i need bidirectional capability for things like fan testing or reading from the trans module. is that it though? i've used it a few times on the car and it's never reported anything different than the key dance. it is nifty being able to test the fan without turning on the AC.

i only bring this up because i see this written here more and more and to say it is needed is simply not true. ...or if anyone can PROVE it, my eyes are open to learn. show me a code you can't clear with a scanner. i mean besides a P1684 battery code.

at the same time i'm curious to know exactly which codes won't show up with the key dance. i'm thinking it's likely just the trans codes like in the picture i linked to above, but on that note, most of the crappy $50-$500 scanners people seem to have and recommend won't show you those either.

here to learn /politely argue /etc.. anyone? beuller?

There's two primary reason to own a code reader. First, it's more convenience and dummy-proof than doing the key dance. And the key dance doesn't work the same way or not at all on some other types of cars.

The second reason is to easily clear the codes and then see if any of them return. Trouble codes don't often mean much to me unless I've first cleared them and then they return.

And with the $12 to $20 price from a pretty decent reader that also does readiness, it's really a tool any DIY guy or gal should likely have. And 98% of the time, that's all you need. Some of the more common exceptions would be ABS, tranny codes and PCM registers that record air/fuel adjustments. But again, I wouldn't go out and buy a high-dollar reader for these unless I had a cause to need it. And for most, that rarely comes up.
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Old 15 Oct 2015, 02:43 pm
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Default Re: scanner really NEEDED?

That's kinda what i see, I'm mean that they're a convenience. Why is it constantly posted that people NEED them, like it's the only way do do things?

I'm just trying to figure out why they are the only way, or maybe if they aren't absolutely necessary, to get people to stop pushing the bad info insinuating that they are. Chrysler gave us all a nifty tool, built in, free. I'm trying to figure out why it's no longer recommended that people use the gift Chrysler provided

i guess i'd like to see:
1- a non trans engine related code that a scanner is needed to see
2- a code that won't clear by disconnecting the battery

this should be simple to prove/disprove, i would think.

Last edited by rob342; 15 Oct 2015 at 02:56 pm.
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Old 15 Oct 2015, 08:34 pm
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Default Re: scanner really NEEDED?

One of the main reasons I got the OBDII Scan Tool was the capable readiness access. When I had to smog one of my PT Cruisers I had the engine light come on right before I went to take it to the smog station. I fixed the problem and after checking the readiness access on my OBDII Scan Tool that all components had the green light after checking it for a few days I knew immediately when it was ready to be taken to the smog station and it passed with flying colors.

Another reason is I can get not only the diagnostic trouble code with the OBDII Scan Tool but also what the code represents. I don't need to get a manual or call someone if I am on the highway pulled over trying to fix it. It tells me what component to look at or at least steers me in the right direction.

Last edited by ptcruisersteve; 15 Oct 2015 at 08:39 pm.
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Old 15 Oct 2015, 10:33 pm
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Default Re: scanner really NEEDED?

Rob,
the 2nd biggest reason I have a scanner is to look at real time data. I can watch the O2 sensor voltages and the fuel trim values, not to mention what the ECM thinks the coolant temp and battery voltages are.

I bought a USB connected unit at first (forget the name) with custom software but now I just carry an unactivated android phone with Torque lite installed and a bluetooth OBD2 scanner. I have one screen set up with the DTC status, O2-1 and O2-2 strip charts. It's what enabled me to determine that the CEL on the 2001 PT I just bought was a PCM problem and not a wiring/o2 sensor problem.

The first big reason is of course clearing codes after repairs have been made. Love the DTC readiness screen as I can go in and get smogged as soon as all the monitors are ready.
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Old 15 Oct 2015, 11:14 pm
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Default Re: scanner really NEEDED?

Hey Rob ^^^ good thing I called you LOL
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Old 16 Oct 2015, 11:00 am
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Default Re: scanner really NEEDED?

For anyone.....

The P0700 code is a generic for something wrong in the transmission/transaxle. Will a scanner go deeper to say exactly what the problem is or does another type of scanning device have to be used to find out the real problem like something a trans shop or dealer might have?
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Old 16 Oct 2015, 11:35 am
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Default Re: scanner really NEEDED?

the one i'm privileged to use will. it's always kept up to date and it's expensive enough where i'm always a little nervous touching it. i would never even think about asking to borrow it. this one is even more as they paid to have the mercedes junk added into it so they can diagnose those big sprinters.

https://www1.snapon.com/diagnostics/us/SOLUSUltra



you can see a non generic 733 and 734 above. this was on a dodge(a caravan though).

i'm not sure what the cheapest is to get one that reads the trans stuff, but yes you can do it.
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Old 16 Oct 2015, 03:16 pm
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Default Re: scanner really NEEDED?

For TCM or transmission codes and ABS codes it does require a specific scanner that is capable to access them.

I use a Snap on scanner as well for ABS and TCM diagnostics. But it is an older model. Rob can you send me that one!?
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