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Scanner, OBD I or OBD II
04-29-2014, 08:55 PM
Post: #1
Scanner, OBD I or OBD II
While leisurely reading a 3 yr. old post on your website, a reply read (OBD II, '96 and later). I own a '94 Ford and a 2000 Kia. As I begin building up my tool box and shopping for a hand held scanner are there things I need to be aware of about a scanner?
Your website's old and current post for all brands and all symptoms are very informative and often relate to my issues. Keep up the good work.
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04-29-2014, 10:10 PM
Post: #2
RE: Scanner, OBD I or OBD II
Scanners..... Hmmmmm...

The curent scanners out there come in a couple of categories.

The economy units will give you codes and the ability to reset a code. This is what most DIY types buy. The price is right ($50 range) and it will tell you 75% of what you need to know to stay out of trouble.

The next level up will give you more info including "live data" streams, which is only as helpful as the person running the scanner because you have to be somewhat up on what that info means. Many of those will also read mfgr specific codes or "enhanced codes" which is a good thing because there are common issues with tansmissions that can turn on the check engine light. It will also tell you if the various monitors are ok which is helpful to pass state inspections. Most are just over $100 and are usually specific to a range of years and makes. (mine does 96 - 2008) It's what I use in my fleet shop because I only see certain vehicles.

The last category are the "high end" units, which are VERY expensive but can be updated for new vehicles. Expect to pay $500 plus whatever software you need. Most use some type of memory card so buying them for a specific model or year is all you need. OTOH, a repair shop might have to update the entire set of cards for a few grand every few years. This type of unit can tell you EVERYTHING, but again you have to be up on what all that info means.

If the average guy needed a suggestion I would say to stick with something from the first two categories depending on your skill level... and don't jump on the band wagon just because your old car is making you nuts. What I am driving at is your 94 will probably be OBD1 and if you spend the $$$ you may never use it again because your next car will be OBD2. (different scanners) In the meanwhile you can get codes read at your local parts store if that's all you want to do.... and usually for free because they feel you will buy something.
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