There are various "levels" of tools.
The low end tools just read the codes and maybe allows you to clear them. They will not contact the other modules that were not required under the standards. So with those you get P0301 and maybe a definition that it means a misfire detected in cylinder one.
Your Code-Key falls into this area. ($30.00-$50.00).
Next up you have tools that can read the codes from more modules. They also may have limited live data ability. With those you would still get the P0301 but you could go in and see the snapshot data (data that is saved to show what the vehicle was doing when it set the last code detected) As well as being able to see the misfire monitors and other live data like engine temp, throttle position and others.
The Topdon OBDscan+ falls into this group. ($75.00 - $300.00).
Next you get to the lower end pro style tools. These do everything the lower models do, but offer more coverage of modules and live data and some limited abilities with bi-directional control (they can turn on the lights, sweep the dash gauges, reset brake lights and such) Some run on PC with an adapter or are stand alone units.
Something like the AutoXray AX7000 ($400.00-$1000.00) or AutoEnginuitys basic version.
Now you have the tools used in non-dealer shops or as a technicians personal unit in a dealership. These do a lot more than the lower level tools. Giving you access to a majority of the modules and controls for multiple vehicle lines. Plus most have web access and can provide you with links to service sites and help forums as well as programming for the popular modules and some keys.
These are not the typical DIY stuff.
Snap-On Verus or Solus, Macs Determinator, OTC Oncore are in this class. Starting prices of $1,200.00 up to over $10,000.00 for one fully loaded machine.
Last are the true dealer machines. GM Tech2, Tech2 Win, Fords NGS and IDS, WiTech for Chrysler/Jeep are a few of these.
In this class the machines themselves are not real expensive, $5,000.00 to $10,000.00, but they are subscription based. The average price is about $1,200.00 a month for full access and programming abilities. These are the tools when it comes to the makes they support. You can access every module, hidden OEM codes, program anything you need. However, unless you are a dealer and need all that ability it is a very expensive tool.
As for me I have a couple of the second tier units to do quick field scans of auction or used cars just to see what codes may be hiding or if everything is reset, that maybe I should pass.
I also have a Verus Pro and a new Autel that I am playing with. So far they are neck and neck. The big difference is price and support. They each have things they do better than the other.
What would I recommend? That you read up on what you need a tool to do and decide how much do you want to learn about what all the data means. That can take a while.
Tuesday, January 24th, 2017 AT 11:53 AM