A car scanner is not a new concept. It was first developed in Japan more than 30 years ago. Back then it was bulky, expensive and required an installation that could only be done by a professional. Today, scanners for cars are much smaller, more affordable and are now easy to install yourself.
Car Scanners Elm. The Elm kit is the most popular scanner available and is also one of the easiest to install as well. The ELM (engine low voltage radio module) lets you scan and hear your car’s internal engine control systems without the clutter of extra wires.
A benefit of purchasing an ELM-based scanner is that it can also detect other pertinent engine diagnostic problems such as misfire indicators, battery relay, exhaust emission signs, idle switch condition, idle voltage and many others. The diagnostic information it provides can also be uploaded to your PC. With this ability, your diagnostic tool becomes a portal between your car’s computer and you. For those with an i-Tune or Sirius satellite radio receiver you can receive diagnostic information from nearly anywhere. All you need is an antenna and compatible equipment and your entire car’s computer system can be scanned.
Popular scanner brands are JML Multimeter and MMC Diagnostic Tool. Some of the features offered are: fuel status, speedometer, digital pressure gauge, speedometer/engine door angle, OBD scan codes, odometer, digital voltage meter, battery charge status, oil pressure and temperature gauge. Some of the features are optional. They include: remote start, ignition assist, airbags and traction control. Some of the diagnostic tools can be used with specific vehicles only.
In order to use some of these diagnostic tools, you must connect your device to the scan tool. Most scanners have built-in Bluetooth so that it can connect directly to the vehicle’s scan port. This feature is important because in some cases codes are not detected by the on-board diagnostics system. These codes are detected by these scanners via Bluetooth. In order to detect codes you may need to update your device.
There are two main manufacturers of these devices, namely JML and MRM. Each manufacturer has a slightly different set of features and functions but both are very popular. Some popular brands of these devices are JML Multimeter and MMC Diagnostic Tool. The main difference between these two brands is the build quality and technology used in producing their products. Some other brands to consider when shopping for an ELM-based or SRS codes scanner are Spy, Kenwood, Sunbeam and Motorola.
The Innova brand is another popular brand in the ELM scanner industry. Innova has been around since 1990 and has a very strong reputation in the industry. These ELM scan tools are produced in China and Japan and are compatible with nearly all makes and models of vehicle. Innova also has a very extensive support system and is willing to help customers if they need any technical support or if there is something wrong with their product.
These handheld automotive scanners are ideal for both the home mechanic and for fleet maintenance. Most of these scanners have a high level of sensitivity and can easily identify even low volume signals. Because of their high degree of sensitivity, they are useful for performing diagnostic tests on all makes of vehicles including trucks. Most models can also perform data recovery and are capable of performing multiple scans at once.
Another name brand scanner to look for is the Veepeak scanner from Zulu. This brand is manufactured by Alpine, and is one of the most popular companies in the scanner industry. The Veepeak scanner is very compact and easy to carry due to its lightweight design. Many of these devices are supported by a fully automatic binary selection process which allows the user to choose codes based on which they need to align themselves. Most models come with an additional database feature which stores diagnostic information and repair codes for many makes and models of vehicles.
Several other manufacturers produce a variety of specialty ELM car code readers for the specific purpose of tracking and diagnosing trouble with these devices. These manufacturers include names like O Athletes, Scan trac, AEMmedics, Ramblers, Proscan, Omega Code Solutions and others. The manufacturer of this scanner is what matters most because a company that manufactures quality devices will generally be more than willing to stand behind their product.
Some scanners have unique features that make them different from other brands. For example, some models support datalogging which allows multiple vehicles to be scanned at once. Some models allow the user to check engine lights for codes when there is a problem. Some scanners use codes to personalize settings and other options like the radio station and CD player volume. Shop carefully so that you will get your money’s worth and be satisfied with your purchase.