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· Vaguely badass...
7,648 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Found these two options - if you've got an OBD-II vehicle - generally 1996 and newer - you should really have something that can read the codes. Claiming they are expensive isn't an excuse any more.

OBDII Check Engine Auto Scanner Trouble Code Reader CANBUS - $19.99 & free shipping
Advanced Canbus OBD2 Reader for most cars after 1996
The MaxiScan® MS300 code reader supports all OBD II protocols, including the newly released Controller Area Network (CAN) protocol. Though it is small, it is able to retrieve same information as large expensive scanners! Works with all 1996 and newer vehicles that are OBD II compliant (including CAN)
  • Read and clear generic and manufacturer specific Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) and turn off check engine light
  • Support multiple trouble code requests: generic codes, pending codes and manufacturer specific codes
  • Review the emission readiness status of OBD monitors
  • Determine the malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) status
  • Retrieve VIN (Vehicle Identification No.) on 2002 and newer vehicles that support Mode 9
  • Easy to use with one plug-in
  • Free CD software with over 7000 DTC definitions
  • No batteries needed-powered via detachable OBD II cable
For the folks with Bluetooth Android phones and PCs, there's this:
Yongtek ELM 327 Bluetooth Obd2 Scan Tool - For Check Engine Light and Other Diagnostics - Android Compatible - $17.99
THIS SCAN TOOL WILL WORK ON ALL 1996 AND NEWER 0BD2 COMPLIANT VEHICLES! UNLIKE SOME OTHER VERSIONS! Bluetooth scan tool for easy and informative engine scanning! Retrieve trouble codes, reset engine light and read MANY statistics not available with other scanning tools! Connects to your laptop or Android pone with Torque app! (Fee applies for app) Works on all makes and models! Package includes (1) Bluetooth OBD2 adapter and (1) CD with basic scan software - (full versions of software purchased anywhere on-line) Vehicle Coverage Works on all OBD2 Vehicles (1996 onwards in USA) and EOBD vehicles ( Petrol cars from 2001 and diesel cars from 2003/2004 in Europe) CE Certified
Lots of folks won't think twice about dropping $20 or more on a specific tool for their cars, yet they won't drop that same money on a code reader. At under $20, there's no reason not to have one.

1,333 Posts
I actually bought an OBD-I/II reader with adapters to hook up to most of the various OBD-I vehicles. With the parting of the Stratus I'm down to only one OBD-II vehicle in the form of my wife's Acura Integra.

If I were to ever go with a modern-ish drivetrain into an older vehicle I'd probably go OBD-II era though, to simplify emissions equipment and inspection, as well as to make all of the fancy things like overdrive and lockup torque converters work without the difficulty of no good way to diagnose the computer aspects.
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