Customer Review

351 of 376 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The secret auto mechanics don't want you to know, October 8, 2010
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This review is from: Autel MaxiScan MS300 CAN Diagnostic Scan Tool for OBDII Vehicles (Automotive)
I bought this to investigate the occasional engine light codes on our family's two cars ('99 BMW 323i and 2005 Toyota Corolla). Considering I've used it about a half dozen times so far, it's already paid for itself and then some. All of the problems so far have been simple and easy to fix myself- loose gas cap, dirty MAF sensor, bad spark plugs, etc. I would have paid thousands of dollars for a mechanic to diagnose and repair these problems if I didn't have this reader. I've also used this on my friends' 2004 Accord and '98 Protege, again saving them hundreds of dollars. This is the secret auto mechanics don't want you to know. The $100 they are charging you to "read" or "diagnose" your engine light literally involves 5 minutes of labor and an OBD reader that is fundamentally no different than this one. They would like to keep everyone in the dark and pay their exorbitant fees, but fortunately you don't have to be a victim. Even if you never own a single wrench, this is the best investment you can possibly make to maintain your vehicle and will save you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in labor charges alone.

Most of the features have been covered extensively in the ~180 reviews here, so I won't reiterate them here. I will say that despite only having two buttons, it's easy to navigate the menus once you play with it for a few minutes. This unit is powered by the OBD-II port itself, so you don't have to worry about batteries. It does allow you to reset your 'check engine' light. As far as the CD is concerned, I knew it would be a POS so I automatically threw it out. All you need is to write down the code(s) it generates, and then type them into Google and you will have you answer (and often the solution!). You can also go to a vehicle forum specific for your make (e.g. toyotanation.com) with your code(s) and ask what to next, people are generally very helpful on these forums. Even if it's something you can't fix yourself, at least you will have an idea what is going on with your car so your mechanic can't take advantage of you and overcharge you for parts/services you don't need. Lastly, it's important to understand that all these OBD-II readers will only read OBD-II codes as generated by your vehicle as required by law. If you are having a very technical issue, no generic OBD-II reader will read the manufacturer-specific codes that are generated separately from the OBD-II codes. To read these manufacturer-specific codes, you will need to go to your dealer or a certified mechanic with an appropriate computer/reader. Similarly, a generic OBD-II reader will generally not allow you to reset other diagnostic lights like your airbag sensor or ABS brakes; again, you will need a manufacturer-specific diagnostic tool to do this. However, if you are having those kinds of problems, you will most likely be visiting a professional mechanic anyways. Use this reader to figure out when can fix things by yourself and when you need to seek a professional.
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Comments

Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 16 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 21, 2012 10:47:55 AM PDT
Zombie says:
I agree that an OBD-II scanner is an extremely useful tool if you do any of your own diagnostic work. I don't agree that this fact is somehow a 'secret' or that mechanics don't want you to know this. The title sounds like a cheap come-on ad for wrinkle cream or something.

Posted on Apr 11, 2012 7:45:09 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 11, 2012 7:45:55 PM PDT
Thousands of dollars for "a mechanic to diagnose and repair these problems if I didn't have this reader"..???

For those who don't know, parts shop personnel from places like Advanced Auto and AutoZone will walk out in the parking lot and perform this function for free, any day, any time. They do it because they hope the diagnosis will result in you DIY'ers ultimately buying the necessary part to correct it from them.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 14, 2013 2:43:07 PM PDT
JetpackJesus says:
Unless you live in California or Hawaii where they can't offer free code reading by law.

Posted on Mar 24, 2013 10:43:39 AM PDT
famousperson says:
In spite of what the reviewer claims, MANY generic OBD-II readers will read manufacturer specific codes. The Autel AULAL519 for under $100 is just one example.

Posted on Sep 23, 2013 5:35:24 PM PDT
Mike M. says:
The $100 they are charging you to "read" or "diagnose" your engine light literally involves 5 minutes of labor and an OBD reader that is fundamentally no different than this one.

This is a simple code reader not a scanner my snap on scanner is 6500.00 and costs me 1000.00 a year to get required updates yes sometimes you can read a code and if it is a simple hard code you can replace a part and repair your vehicle and it is handy to clear/erase your code if you was working on your vehicle and left something unplugged yes you can buy this and save some money in some cases .You can also buy a hammer and nails and be a carpenter instead of calling a carpenter or you can get online and find medical tools ex. scalpel sutures etc. and be a doctor . Sometimes a part will fail and set a unrelated code some electrical parts are hundreds and thousands of dollars and I have seen time after time people change a 500 dollar part that wasn't bad because a code was set and without pinning out a circuit replaced the part it didn't fix the car and then they keep replaceing parts till they hit the jackpot or they say it cant be fixed if your check engine light is on there is other systems that shut down that could be saving you gas and believe it or not most repair shops do the same thing but they keep putting on parts until they hit the right part that fixes the vehicle. so yes this is a good tool I have a small code reader to read codes and clear codes when its too troublesome to do a complete setup with a scan tool..,..... but if your unsure seek a professional its not worth breaking down when you need to be somewhere or having a loved one break down late at nite or in a bad part of town..........

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 23, 2013 5:42:23 PM PDT
Mike M. says:
in West Virgina now advance auto wont clear your code someone had a accident and said it was because advance automotive turned off their check engine light and it caused the vehicle to malfunction and they won

Posted on Oct 1, 2013 3:20:49 AM PDT
J. Underwood says:
Thanks for the great review. All I need is a scanner to give me the OBD code. I can look up on Google what it means, like you said. I think I will get it.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2013 4:46:27 PM PST
sean says:
indeed, i have ms509 I bought it for 3 months and I have Abs problem with my 2003 dodge minivan and 99 VW and transmission problem with my minivan.
so far could not make this problem daignostic with my own scanner. i took my car two times to mechanic and he use his own scanner and took care of my transmission problem.
i do agree with you that the above article is too cheesy

Posted on Feb 14, 2014 4:37:49 PM PST
Bghurc says:
Advance, autozone, and many other parts stores will read codes for free. It's legal in ALL 50 states, they can't clear codes however. these tools are good to prevent you from going back an forth to the store when you are replacing parts and troubleshooting.

In reply to an earlier post on May 17, 2014 7:14:11 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 17, 2014 7:15:34 PM PDT
Charles says:
I doubt they'll clear it anywhere after that. Talked the kid in Pa into clearing mine though. Won't say where exactly. :)
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