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Old 04-02-2004, 07:01 PM   #1
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'Check Engine' code reader question

I don't know what the term is for the electronic diagnostic tool that's used to plug into your car and check out what's causing the 'check engine' light to come on, but that's what I want.

I went to AutoZone and the only one they had was $150. Advance has some crappy one with no LCD for $30 and a good one for $150 also.

Any recommendations?

Thanks in advance.


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Old 04-02-2004, 07:06 PM   #2
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if you just want a scan tool for codes, check out www.harborfreight.com ...they have one very cheap that will get you the codes, now if u want a scan tool with scope or something to help out with diagnosis, you may want to spend some money.
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Old 04-03-2004, 01:49 PM   #3
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I don't know if it shows all the DCT's, but you can flash them on the instrument cluster LCD (even though my Haynes manual specifically said this wasn't possible). They showed how to do it at focushacks.com, I think.

Put the key in the ignition, then push and hold the trip odometer reset button. While still holding the button, move the key to the "RUN" position. When the LCD reads"test", release the odo button. Now each press of the odo reset button will move to a different function (rpm, mph, kph, PCM ROM version, etc.). The DTC function will say "dtc" and then flash the codes, I guess. Mine flashes "dtc" and then "none" alternately.

I'm gonna' goof around with mine to see what codes it shows, but not until after I get my annual inspection this month (I have no way to clear codes).

If you want to read live engine data, erase codes, etc., then you'll need more than a simple code reader. HotRodWagon showed a pretty cool one that connects to a PDA. It's made by Auterra. I'm looking to buy a scan tool myself, but I haven't decided yet. The AutoXray model 4000 looks good for my purposes, but I can't tell how it compares with the Auterra scanner. It appears that even if I buy a PDA to use with the Auterra, it might still be a good deal.

Amazon seems to have the best price on Actron's code reader at $140. I've read that Actron's reader is not very intuitive, though, and it doesn't read live data. It will reset the MIL, though.

Hope that helps.
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