You need to see a mechanic for the scanner unless you plan on using it often. For a vehicle of the age you and I are driving you can find a pile of decent scanners on eBay for less than a few hundred dollars. I have a Monitor 4000 for my older cars. I also have a Chrysler DRB3 with extra plug-in cards that let it work on cars back to '83 models. A lot of independent shops bought them because with one of those cards it will work on all brands of cars sold in the U.S. '96 and newer up to around 2004 to 2008, depending on model.
For something a little more sophisticated than the earliest scanners, look for a used Snapon MT2500. We call that scanner "the red brick" because it looks like one. Snapon is very proud of their stuff, and they charge accordingly for the very expensive updates every year, but this scanner is old enough that most shops consider them to be obsolete. Newer scanners do everything this one does, plus a whole lot more. This one is updated by replacing the plug-in cartridges. A lot of the kits will have a bunch of cartridges. You need two that work with the vehicles you want to use it on. I never used these scanners very much, but I'm familiar enough with them to know one cartridge needs to be for "Chrysler, GM, and Ford domestic", and the second cartridge is a troubleshooter for the same vehicles. By reading some of the listings on eBay, it won't take long for you to be more familiar with them than I am.
You can also check at auto parts store that rent or borrow tools to see if they have a scanner to loan out, but you have to be sure it will work on your truck. Up through 1995 Ford had a real bizarre way of reading fault codes and viewing data, so you have to be sure the scanner will work with your year and model. If you can save one trip to the shop, consider the scanner a good investment.
Monday, November 30th, 2015 AT 7:12 PM