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nc211

Is A Code Reader Worth It?

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I'm thinking about buying a odbII scanner for the tool box. But, are they really worth the $200 +/- to have? I have never had a CEL on any one of my cars, ever. So, I'm curious why would I want/need one? Are they used primarily when that light comes on to decode a problem, or can they be used to check other things that might me lurking, but just not bad enough to trigger the cel light?

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Hmm, I guess it all depends on the unit your talking about getting and how much work you do on the car yourself.

When it comes to the scanner, There are alot of differrent models available with different features. Most retail scanners for the diyr's only read trouble codes and have the ability to clear them. Those are generally 60-150 bucks. Then if you want to be able to read the enhanced codes and on screen definittions you'll need to spend in the 250 to 350 range. Then you can also get freeze frame data logging and realtime sensor graphs. We have a scanner that interprets all 3 Proprietary Sensor reads which include ABS, fuel adaptaions,fuel injection pulse band width, MAF, ignition timing and all Lambda readings. But those scanners are generally proffesional tech use and cost around a thousand dollars. If I were you I would get one that has freeze frame, and enhanced code, Engine data logging, and memory functions. You should be able to get one of those for under 300 bucks. That would be your best bet.

And yes it's good to have one. You see, sensors read and monitor the engine and send the info to the ecu all the time. If you hook up a good odbII scanner, you can actually read the info for yourself, and make adjustments, (if you work on the car yourself and understand it.) Generally speaking, the ECU won't throw up a cel until a sensor has sent a perameter data read several times. The ECU is not a warning system, it's a data logging system. So by hooking up a scanner regularly you can interpret the data and see what's really going on way before any cel ever goes up.

I am running the AEM fic in conjuction with the stock ECU. SO I datalog and fine tune alot. I look at light load setting, wide open throttle air fuel mixture reads, and I am allways adjusting and tuning. That's the fun part about being heavily modded. You have to have a passion for it at this level. But a good scanner can save you money in the long run even on a no mod stock ride.

Well, those are my opnions and I'm stickin to em. :)

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This is the one I'm thinking about getting. I've read great reviews about it so far.

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_0...sting+Equipment

Basically, what I'm hoping it can do, is give me a heads-up to something coming, like a worn out O2 sensor, or tell me the coolant is close to needing replacement, etc... And, after learning from greedy mechanics on the LS, knowledge is key before showing up at a shop. I had the best service on that car when I knew what was wrong before they got their hands on it. If I didn't know, and left it in their hands to tell me, it never seemed to get fixed the first time "or first $300". The 95' LS was "old school" in comparision to today's cars, with sensors everywhere. I miss the old school actually, thought it was more fun. But, as sand through an hour glass, NCdrama gotta' catch up to the times.

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I bought one of the cheap ones at Walmart, It payed for itself in being able to diagnose problems and fix them. I dont know about the freeze frame etc. But I have fixed four friends cars with mine.

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I bought one of the cheap ones at Walmart, It payed for itself in being able to diagnose problems and fix them. I dont know about the freeze frame etc. But I have fixed four friends cars with mine.

Freeze frame is a feature that allows you to read an error as it happens, then freeze it for analysis. So you don't have to continually reproduce the error over and over again to see whats going on. For example, on cylinder 6 you get an occasional misfire. As your data logging, the misfire occurs. You can then freeze that frame and look at the timing, air fuel mix, 02 sensor reads, etc.etc. at the very moment the misfire occured to determine what is causing it rather than having to check each reading individually, and then sitting there and waiting for the misfire to happen again to check the next read.

So again, it comes down to fixing problems with it, as you have stated yours has fixed some problems. You hooked it up to your freinds car, it read what the code was, if the 02 sensor was bad or what not. And they then replaced or repaired that item, and you were able to clear the DTC code. That is what most of the ODBII scanners can do. BUt for a few bucks more, you can go to your car before there is ever a problem, hook it up and datalog the motor as it running, and determine that cleaning or replacing a bank 2 sensor will give you better gas mileage. During your datalogging you notice an occassional knock read. Or the battery is starting to fluctauate in voltage, and or your engine temp. is now 3 degrees above normal operating range. Hmm, could be a sign of things to come. Maybe look at the t-stat and see at what temp it's opening and closing. Also you can read engine data under throttle conditions. For example the car hesitates from take off. But there is no cel that comes up. You can hook up the ODBII scanner, take the car out for a drive and then get back home and freeze the data to read what is going on to find out what the problem is.

Of course it's more involved, but if you want to be more involved, then this is how you do it.

Oh, and one other thing you'll need that no one ever thinks about, is a Lexus part number catalog. There are alot of dealer part only's. And when you go to the parts counter, the first thing they need is a part number. MOst of the time they can just look it up for you, but if you want say, the Denso stock spark plug, but 1 heat range colder, you'll need the part number then because they have know way to look up stuff like that. I don't know if he can give out the catalog, but twinturbo2jz, a member here works for lexus and can get the part numbers for you if you need.

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This is the one I'm thinking about getting. I've read great reviews about it so far.

http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_0...sting+Equipment

Basically, what I'm hoping it can do, is give me a heads-up to something coming, like a worn out O2 sensor, or tell me the coolant is close to needing replacement, etc... And, after learning from greedy mechanics on the LS, knowledge is key before showing up at a shop. I had the best service on that car when I knew what was wrong before they got their hands on it. If I didn't know, and left it in their hands to tell me, it never seemed to get fixed the first time "or first $300". The 95' LS was "old school" in comparision to today's cars, with sensors everywhere. I miss the old school actually, thought it was more fun. But, as sand through an hour glass, NCdrama gotta' catch up to the times.

I just looked at the scanner you have listed. That's an ok one. I didn't see anything about enhanced code reading and mfgr specific code interpretation, but that's doesn't mean it doesn't do those. It does have freeze frame and datalog on it, so that's good. It should also detect impending codes so, for less than 200 bucks, and from what you describe your needs as, I think that unit would suit you fine. If you have emmissions controls in your state, then this unit could prove even more useful to you.

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