Technician Talk

scan tools

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Trying to decipher what is the best way to go with scan tools. If I'm setting up a shop for my techs, which scan tool(s) will I get the most bang for my buck, or which should I recommend that my techs look at purchasing? How do I get the most universal coverage and the most information from which scan tool software?

Verified Answer
  • If you are looking to purchase a non OE professional scanner here are some of the choices, OTC Genesis / Mac Mentor, the Snap-On Modis, and many others. They all can be subject to slight problems and missing data and/or information. These scanners usually cost between $2500 & $6000 -- in many cases as much or more than OE level scanners. Their strength lies in the ability to provide more than just codes with many makes and models of cars. However, they never provide as much functionality as the OE scanners. These scanners are a good choice for shops that do not specialize in one make of car. Features usually include code descriptions and diagnostic tips, live data, limited bi-directional control, oscilloscope, and limited access to systems other than engine control. I have personally used the OTC Genesis and Snap-On Modis. Here is one that I have had my eye on but have never actually used. It is made by the Hanatech Company and called the UltraScan PRO. 

    Some claims can be misleading. And a vendor may say their product or software package covers a long list of makes and models, but it may be only generic OBD II information. They may not even have enhanced codes for the applications listed. Others may provide all the OBD II codes but no additional codes for ABS, air bags or other systems beyond the engine and powertrain. Some may have limited diagnostics and not include all the factory tests or procedures. If you are not sure exactly what is or is not included, ask before you buy.

    Good Luck on your choice.

    - Gene, Chilton Editor

All Replies
  • If you are looking to purchase a non OE professional scanner here are some of the choices, OTC Genesis / Mac Mentor, the Snap-On Modis, and many others. They all can be subject to slight problems and missing data and/or information. These scanners usually cost between $2500 & $6000 -- in many cases as much or more than OE level scanners. Their strength lies in the ability to provide more than just codes with many makes and models of cars. However, they never provide as much functionality as the OE scanners. These scanners are a good choice for shops that do not specialize in one make of car. Features usually include code descriptions and diagnostic tips, live data, limited bi-directional control, oscilloscope, and limited access to systems other than engine control. I have personally used the OTC Genesis and Snap-On Modis. Here is one that I have had my eye on but have never actually used. It is made by the Hanatech Company and called the UltraScan PRO. 

    Some claims can be misleading. And a vendor may say their product or software package covers a long list of makes and models, but it may be only generic OBD II information. They may not even have enhanced codes for the applications listed. Others may provide all the OBD II codes but no additional codes for ABS, air bags or other systems beyond the engine and powertrain. Some may have limited diagnostics and not include all the factory tests or procedures. If you are not sure exactly what is or is not included, ask before you buy.

    Good Luck on your choice.

    - Gene, Chilton Editor