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Early code readers simply reported the specific error code behind that ubiquitous check engine light. Newer ones, however, translate the cryptic alphanumeric code into English (or Spanish), making it a hell of a lot easier to figure out what’s going on — especially after you lose the manual. But Actron takes the concept a step further with their new AutoScanner Plus. It not only reports the code (in human-speak); it also accesses an internal database of over 3,000,000 reported fixes and offers suggestions for how to actually fix the problem behind the code.

Besides that pretty damn sweet feature, it’s a serious scanner as well. It can record and play back live engine data, read the ABS codes for most OBDII GM, Ford, and Chrysler vehicles, graph live data, and (oh yeah) read and erase DTCs.

And while $220 isn’t exactly lunch money, it’s not that much to pay for a full-featured code reader — especially one that might actually point you in the right direction for a fix.

(Note: You can ignore that “available soon” bit above. We just couldn’t find a better picture of it. From what we can see, the CP9580 is available now via a number of online outlets.)

Autoscanner Plus (CP9580) [Actron]
Street Pricing [Google Products]
Via Amazon [What’s This?]


6 Responses to A Code Reader With Answers

  1. techieman33 says:

    No thanks. I’ll skip the generic answers telling me to replace things that may not need to be replaced. I’ve found that looking around on an internet forum specific to your vehicle will give you much better answers 99.9% of the time. And there is usually a pretty good instructional write up to go with it.

  2. Chris W says:

    I agree with techieman33. The forums usually point to the problem, and offer tips on buying and installing parts too.
    I would like to see a full featured scan tool for less than $300. If Harbor Freight can sell a code reader for $30 then a scan tool shouldn’t cost so much.

  3. Andrew says:

    Agreed. Find a forum for you car. The 4runner forum I belong to has saved me time, money and aggravation with detailed step by step guides for diagnosing and fixing problems problems to that specific model. I haven’t used my scan tool in ages.

  4. KMR says:

    The $50 ELM327 based USB OBDII adaptors that sell on eBay are the way to go. Download / buy some of the available OBDII software for your laptop and you have something that just won’t give you codes, but will let you view live data streams and record the sensor data channels also.

  5. Patc131 says:

    Has anyone tried the “power programmers” with code readers built in? Worth it? Pros and Cons?

  6. Ryan says:

    Patc131: they work great as basic scanners.

    I must agree with above posts, if you need the scanner to tell you exactly what part to replace – you’re missing the diagnostic process. Actron has some great products that allow live data viewing and capture as well – very fast and convenient. The little orange scanner actually gets used more often than the Snap-On one…

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