When you want to buy an engine fault code reader, you need to know the right type of code reader that you should buy. There are several factors that may affect your decision concerning which code reader type to pick, including your budget, your experience and enthusiasm in car maintenance, and your expertise. Based on those factors, the code readers that you can buy on the market can be categorized into the following three categories.n
Basic Engine Fault Code Reader
If you have a limited budget, have little to zero experience or enthusiasm in car maintenance, and need an engine fault code reader only to make sure that you know the problem before a mechanic takes care of your car, a basic code reader is enough for you. This basic code reader generally costs between $10 and $50, with the majority of the models costing only about $15.
As the most basic code reader available on the market, it is generally capable only to read and display codes, to clear the codes, and to reset the check engine light. If they have some extra features, these extras are not considered advanced enough. Some models may be able to interpret the codes into understandable phrases, read and display live data, display and reset readiness monitors, and show freeze frame data. Nothing more advanced can be achieved by this engine fault code reader.
ELM327 Scan Tool
This engine fault code reader is basically a Bluetooth dongle that is attached to your car’s DLC forever. It retrieves codes from your car’s OBD2 system and transmits them wirelessly to your smartphone so that you can read the data using a relevant app.
The scope of features that this scan tool offers ranges from basic features that are offered by a basic engine fault code reader to very advanced features that you can exploit when using a professional-grade scan tool. The price range of this scan tool is thus quite wide, with some models having cost comparable with the cost of a basic code reader and some others that can be very expensive. The convenience of using this scan tool lies in its wireless infrastructure. And because the dongle is constantly connected to the DLC, it doesn’t need recharging because the car will constantly charge it. Buy the cheaper model if you are a casual car user or the more advanced one if you are a true car enthusiast.
Professional OBD2 Scanner
A professional-grade engine fault code reader is the real scanner for the real car enthusiasts. It is rarely owned by ordinary car owners and more often found in car repair shops and racers’ garages. Among the advanced features that it offers, besides the basic scanning functions, generally include the ability to save data, support to a large assortment of connectors, and ability to do ECU programming and ECU adaptations.
The price of this engine fault code reader is obviously very expensive; however, in terms of cost-effectiveness, it can be more cost-effective than a basic scanner, especially if you know how to fix your car based on the information that this scanner provides. Because this scanner can provide you with comprehensive diagnostic data, it will pay for itself eventually because you don’t need to visit a car repair shop or to hire a mechanic
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