We have a little cheapie code scanner — actually a couple of them — around the Toolmonger shop, but we aspire to one day pick up a serious unit, like Snap-on’s Ethos. It’s the real deal, not only handling the standard OBDII codes, but reading pretty much anything a post 1980 car can send.
It features a 4.7″ black and white display — high vis for the shop, as opposed to fancy color that’s hard to read in bright light — the ability to display up to four parameters graphically, and a vehicle power adapter so you don’t have to sweat batteries or find an outlet.
Besides the basic 1996+ OBD communication (including all nine modes of OBDII), Snap-on also offers vehicle-specific communication software that lets you read systems beyond the engine, like transmission, transfer case, ABS, airbag, body, occupant classification modules, and so on. Currently they offer a version for 1983-2005 Chryslers, 1981-2005 Fords, 1980-2005 GMs, and 1983-2005 Asian imports.
The deluxe kit goes for $1,695. That may seem like a lot, but when you consider that it pretty much does the job of that $10,000 big-ass unit you see at the dealer, it’s a deal — and a small price to pay for a shop that intends to work on modern cars.
The ETHOS Scanner System, Deluxe Kit [Snap-on]