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Which OBD code reader to buy?

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Old 26 Aug 2017, 05:31 pm
Young Cruiser
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 89
Default Which OBD code reader to buy?

I don't know what to get. I prefer cheap and easy to operate.
What do you have?
2003 GT Turbo AT
111,111 miles +
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Old 26 Aug 2017, 07:05 pm
Handy_Cruiser's Avatar
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Location: Arkansas
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Default Re: Which OBD code reader to buy?

Here's the one I use. It does the trick 99% percent of the time.
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Old 26 Aug 2017, 08:03 pm
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Default Re: Which OBD code reader to buy?

There are more members that own and use one of the Harbor Freights versions. Personally I like this model this one.

Really an overall better choice would be to get an Ultra Gauge.

UltraGauge OBDII Scan tool & Information Center
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Old 26 Aug 2017, 10:22 pm
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Default Re: Which OBD code reader to buy?

Here's mine. Same one that NitoPT has. Works fine.

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2006 Limited Edition, Inferno Red, 5-speed, Bassani dual exhaust, Chrome backup light bezels, taillight trim, fuel door, antenna mount, Ventiports, door spear covers & hood prop. Silver painted lower front grille. American Racing 383 Casino wheels, w/Chrysler emblems, '02 engine cover, PT Cruiser mudguards, cargo mat. EGR Window Visors, dark gray lock pulls, dual horns, Fuzzy Dice, flames and MOPAR emblems added to front door logos, gold Chrysler emblem on rear hatch. Upgraded to RAK radio with 6 CD changer, Cassette Tape and RDS info. Name: "FIREBALL" I bought it Aug 10, 2015, with just over 35,600 miles on it.
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Old 26 Aug 2017, 10:27 pm
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Default Re: Which OBD code reader to buy?

I have an Autel, same as Handy. Got it off eBay. Works great on both my Cruiser and my wife's Chevy Cruze.
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Old 23 Sep 2017, 01:06 pm
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Default Re: Which OBD code reader to buy?

Is there one that would let you program keys and remotes?
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Old 30 Sep 2017, 05:07 pm
Young Cruiser
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: plant city fl.
Posts: 73
Default Re: Which OBD code reader to buy?

the cheapest one.. their just code readers.. it would be a tie between harbor freight and autozone, whichever one has them on sale .. the one I want is a snap on modis, which are around $8800.00, but it's a scanner too, but since Im retired, I will just keep wanting
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Old 30 Sep 2017, 05:46 pm
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Default Re: Which OBD code reader to buy?

Originally Posted by Alhartman6 View Post
Is there one that would let you program keys and remotes?
No. This ability starts at the higher end Shop-level diagnostic two-way scanners and the OEM-level devices like the dealership has. Locksmiths also have devices to do this. If you cannot find a work-around, the locksmith is often the most reasonably priced.

Here's what retail OBDII Core Readers and scanners can usually do. There's lots of crossover between groups. But this is generally what you find from units you can readily by over the counter or online:

1. Basic OBDII Code Reader - These have really improved in the last couple of years and most (even the cheapest now often come with these functions): retrieve power train code, retrieve some body control module codes, erase codes and show Readiness Monitor results. Many of even the cheapest will now also give the definition of the codes. You can have all this for $18.95 on Amazon:

2. Advance OBDII Code Scanner - Everything the basic code reader has plus, ABS and additional transmission and body control module codes for some cars. Some have additional items beyond basic readiness related to smog control. It may also give real time sensor readout and even data log similar to a Utraguage or a Diablosport. But it's one-way communication from the car to the device.

3. Shop-Level Diagnostic Scanner - This is what a few member here boast having access too. These do everything listed so far and can also do deeper diagnostics. Some can show and log fuel trim and a list of other items depending on the car. They also have limited two-way communication. Most can run cycles on the ABS pump and do a whole grocery list of things you may read about in the service manuals, but not everything. Some are near the level of an OEM scanner while others are more like advance coder scanner plus a few extra diagnostic and two-way routines necessary to make certain repairs. These can be handheld devices, tablets or may be "pass thru" devices that connect to a PC or laptop. The capabilities of these vary greatly. Some have the ability to program keys and fobs while other's don't. Some can flash PCM's and change VIN's as well and others don't. Some can interface with "Tech Authority" online if the Shop has an account and download PCM and other updates directly. Cost run from around $500 for some Chinese-made pass thru devices to several thousand dollars or more. This kind of device is a necessity at most shops nowadays. Some individual mechanics even have their own and consider it a tool of the trade.

4. Beyond this is OEM-level devices and clones of them. There's many clones of older systems now available online with varying degrees of abilities.

Last edited by Handy_Cruiser; 30 Sep 2017 at 06:01 pm.
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