What OBD-II code readers do y’all recommend?
way2blu last edited by
Looking to diagnose a CEL on my ‘06 Mercedes C230 Sport 6MT, but there seem to be metric dozens of OBD-II code readers out there.
(For the record, this CEL was probably completely avoidable. The car has been due for a tune up and new spark plugs but hasn’t yet received the maintenance. I’m not the car’s primary driver currently so my advice of please get it serviced fell on deaf ears. Hopefully the tune up is all Snowball really needs, and nothing catastrophic has happened.)
Is there any specific diagnostic equipment I should look at for the Benz, or will a basic code reader work just fine? I’m planning on ordering a factory service manual for the car soon too.
I understand a car like this shouldn’t be too difficult to do my own basic services on, at least by German Car standards. Any advice would be quite welcome.
Pic of when when the car gods first beamed it down from Valhalla for your time:
@way2blu I got a bluetooth ODB unit off of amazon and used a BMW specific app. Personally, I'd go that route, heard there are some good generic readers out there.
way2blu last edited by
@e90m3 ah that’s a good point, there’s gotta be a Mercedes app that’ll work with one of those.
ToniCipriani last edited by
@tonicipriani That would work.
Smallbear last edited by
@way2blu Cheap ELM327 and Torque Pro.
Qaaaaa last edited by
Anymore they're pretty much all the same. I've found that the bluetooth app ones tend to be a little laggier if you're planning to pull data in real time (ie, you want to compare outputs for throttle position, RPM, and spark advance simultaneously), but if you're just pulling codes, anything works.
If you want to do hardcore data analysis, get some flavor of CANBUS enabled interface and a software that will work with it on a laptop.
TexturedSoyProtein last edited by
I have several, a handheld reader from Harbor Freight, a Bluetooth dongle with Torque Pro, and then on my 335xi my MHD tuner app connected my phone to the OBD port with a K+DCAN cable. I preferred using MHD because it read the manufacturer specific codes and displayed detailed descriptions. I wouldn't get something too manufacturer specific where you can't use it on other cars, but it's helpful to get that extra level of detail.
dieseldub last edited by
It all depends on what level of capability you want. Generic OBD2 is just standardized sets of codes and live data for the engine and transmission, that's all.
When you get into manufacturer specific protocols, you gain access to manufacturer specific codes, additional live data outside the scope of t he standardized OBD2 requirements as well as the ability to perform calibrations/adaptations, output tests to help more accurately diagnose problems and even some coding.
Not to mention, a manufacturer specific scan tool also gets you access to much, much more than just engine and transmission computers. Central electrics/convenience systems, immobilizer, ABS, air bag, instrument cluster, the list goes on and on. Most cars have diagnostic capable computers for every system.
I have an Autel scan tool that does a decent job to access all these additional modules on almost all makes and models--and is really fantastic for its price point in the grand scheme of things, when I plugged it into a neighbor's 2019 Prius and there were no less than 30 different modules it could talk to.
I keep hearing that some of the newer Mercedes and BMW high end cars have upwards of 70 diagnostic capable modules.... So, depending on how deep you intend to go into working on cars will determine what level of scan tool you can opt for. The more serious you get, the more you find the basic, generic OBD2 scanners are very inadequate and you end up buying multiple scan tools over the years trying to find one that does all you really need it to.
FWIW, the best value on the market for one scan tool that covers most of the OE protocols pretty well (not perfectly, but it's pretty damn good) for all brands is Autel's MaxiDAS DS808 or MP808. Expect to pay near enough to $800 for it. Most other tools that have similar capabilities for all brands tend to run more than double that to start, and many exceed $3000....
Steep for a hobbyist/tinkerer, but that's the reality of what shops are looking at. It's either that or they pay whatever large sum of money for the factory software on a laptop, and each brand you want to work on has its own software you purchase individually, and then there's a hefty subscription fee for each as well. But you would then effectively be using the same software the dealers do, which will cover all the little niggly things the Autel tools can't do.
His_Stigness last edited by
So the answer to your question depends on how much data you want.
Scanners are sorted into three basic categories:
Code reader: this can only pull codes from the ECM and display live data, aka OBD Modes $01-$04, Mode $07, Mode $09, and on 2009 and newer Mode $0A
Then there's your prosumer category where they generally run around $800 can do all OBD Modes and depending on the make, have access to other modules and you have bi-directional control.
And then there's the manufacturer level or aftermarket equivalent where the machine costs $5,000 or more and requires a multi hundred dollar a month subscription.
In between categories one and two there are PLETHORA of snake oil shit that include useless things like ECM/ABS/SRS reading capability. Unless you're constantly dealing with ABS and SRS issues, you're throwing your money away. Some are ECM/TPMS, or any combination of those things.
Just get a basic code reader like this. That's what I end up using for most cars because I only need simple data. Very rarely do I need to get into other modules or need bi-directional control. But when I do, I generally have access to a category three tool.