Bulletin TB-80025
September, 2010

Gary Stamberger – Training Director
MagnaFlow Exhaust Products

Last month, as part of our continuing program of Tech Support for the industry, we produced a "Scan Tool List". This was in response to several requests we have been receiving from many of our customers. This month we would like to expand that discussion with some "Tips and Tricks" for getting the right tool for your specific needs.

As we had mentioned in the previous bulletin, this "list" was by no means complete and was in no way to be construed as an endorsement of any one product or Manufacturer. Our intent was to give an overview of the range of tools and an example of the variation in functionality each Manufacturer makes available. Our original list consists of only 4 companies but has a total of 12 different tools and this is not a complete list from each.

There are also many PC based software systems on the market such as Automotive Test Solutions (ATS), AutoEnginuity, and Ease Diagnostics to name a few. Cost is the greatest benefit here but the user needs to be PC savvy. Many of these systems as well as some of the top line stand-alones are WIFI capable giving the technician greater mobility and access to additional information and data.

As with any purchase, there are many questions that you should ask yourself before making an investment. What do I need this tool for right now? What is my goal for diagnostic work? Do I have a technician capable of getting the most from it? Do I want to use it and do I have the time to learn? Is it a necessity for my business to survive and grow? What is my competition doing?

I have had the opportunity to use many different scan tools over the course of my career and as you know there are pros and cons with every piece of equipment. In an effort to limit the amount of buyers' remorse you may experience I have included a list of questions to ask before investing in any scan tool.

Questions to ask:

  • Is this tool for domestic vehicles only?
  • Bi-Directional Control?
  • How easily can I add Imports?
  • Does it have a Lab Scope and/or DVOM?
  • Is it OBD II only?
  • Is it CAN compatible? (Controller Area Network)
  • Can I add OBD I applications?
  • Are there free updates?
  • What other Functions does it have?
  • Can I update via the Internet?
  • Recording?
  • Is there Training available? Cost?
  • Graphing?
  • Do you have Tech Support available? Is it Live? Cost?

Cleaning up the converter at a time