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Right To Repair - A Hot Issue or Big Problem?



  • rockfish1rockfish1 Posts: 113
    In reviewing, on the manufacturers web sites, the capabilities of the Actron CP9190 and the Autoxray 4000 they seem to be able to detect most if not all codes and function on the cars I would work on. They also seem to offer internet updates to keep the scanner current. Do you have any insight on these for the DIY'er that enjoys trying to fix the problem before needing the repair shop.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,620
    Well, I had a whole thing all written out and for some reason the page went to one of those ones where you have to refresh it. I lost the whole thing.

    So, anyway................
    The Actron 9190 and the AutoXray 6000 are pretty comparable units. They both will do quite a bit. They have monitor capabilities and will do most manufacturer's powertrain diagnostics.
    The next step down is the Actron 9150 and AutoXray 5000.
    Both of these still have monitor capabilities, but are a little less than the top ones.

    If you click on my name, you will see my profile and some links. We have articles on a lot of the scanners.
    You may want to consider a scan program, either laptop (PC) based or Palm or Pocket PC based.
    One of my favorites is Injectoclean's (now Injectronic) New CJ4 scan tool, which we are testing and reviewing in the near future. It is a full on scanner with labscope that is competitively priced for the DIYer. Last I checked with them, they are selling for around $400.

    Remember that there are differences in a lot of the scanners and some that say they are scanners are really only code readers. Scanners will provide diagnostic information and code readers only read the codes and clear codes. While some folks, code readers are sufficient, but for anyone who wishes to do any kind of diagnostics, a good scanner is the only way to go.

    Also, if you plan on doing any diagnostics on any vehicle, then get a good information system or manual. Since I am biased towards one, I will leave that to you to make the decision which one. but Steve (host) has put together a great page
    My preferance is the first link under the paid sources (AlldataDIY).
    But again, I am biased toward them, so take my opinion for what it is worth.

    Oh yeah, one thing to note.......
    None of these scanners will do SRS (airbag) or Body controls and only a limited amount of ABS.
    So if you are expecting to do any of that, expect to pay premium prices for scanners with those capabilities.
  • rockfish1rockfish1 Posts: 113
    Thanks for the great info. I will be following up on the links.

    Injectronic seem to be a fairly new company - 10 years old and 7 years in the diagnostic business - but are already in 35 countries. Are they profitable enough to stay in business? I would not want an expensive scan tool become obsolete due to lack of support.

    To bad Edmunds doesn't have a undo/redo feature. I've lost messages also.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,683
    Sometimes you can go back in your browser and recover "lost" drafts.

    Amazon has the Actron CP9135 on sale for ~$73 but it sounds like it's not CAN protocol and may not work on cars newer than around 2004. So I won't mention it. ;) The CP9175 is about $110.

    Upgradeable via USB link sounds like the latest must have feature?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    Okay...let's say you want to buy a scanner that works not only on your own car, but is likely to work on friends/neighbor's cars as well. Is this realistic that one could find a consumer product that will access perhaps 90% of all cars?

    Or would we be cast into the rather ironic situation of attacking proprietary automakers' codes by having to buy 3 or 4 proprietary scanners?

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  • pmurraypmurray Posts: 10
    Back to the original question. Yes I think the information should be available. The independent shop and owners need to be able to work on and compete in a free market. If the dealer knows the customer has no choice they can charge what ever they want. I currently own a Honda Odessey and a Chev. Colorado. Both have oil service lights. The Honda owners manual tells you how to reset, with Chev. it is top secret. When I called my dealer they put me on hold forever and told me no one knew how. That is either scarry or.....just annoying.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,620
    Injectronic is on their 5th generation scan tools and they seem to be backing their products really well.
    One of the scanners I have from them is about 7 years old and upgrading hasn't been a problem so far.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,620
    I currently own a Honda Odessey and a Chev. Colorado. Both have oil service lights. The Honda owners manual tells you how to reset, with Chev. it is top secret. When I called my dealer they put me on hold forever and told me no one knew how. That is either scarry or.....just annoying.
    The Chevy oil change reset on post 96 vehicles is in the owners manual.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,620
    As far as OBD2 scanners and code readers, you should be able to pull generic codes on most vehicles. "
    Generic codes are P0100-P1000 diagnostic codes.

    The part where it gets sticky is the proprietary or manufacturer specific codes. Those are parts that are proprietary to the specific manufacturer.

    A lot of the newer scanners in the $300-$600 range will have the manufacturer codes for at least Ford, GM and Chrysler. Some are now carrying the manufacturer codes for Toyota and there are a few that carry the manufacturer specific code information for Honda.

    For the most part, emissions codes are in the P0100-P1000 range, so most scanners will handle them.
  • rockfish1rockfish1 Posts: 113
    Injectronic is on their 5th generation scan tools and they seem to be backing their products really well.
    One of the scanners I have from them is about 7 years old and upgrading hasn't been a problem so far.

    Thanks again for the vote of confidence on Injectronic. I will add the their 9240 CJ4 Scantool/Oscilloscope to the Actron CP9190 and the AutoXray 4000. I need to do more homework on which to buy and where. I want them to cover Dodge, Ford, Saturn and Honda with GMC possibly replacing the Dodge in a year. All are ODB II vehicles.

    But I still have time since I need to pull the money together first.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    I am not a mechanic, but I have had success with code readers and factory shop manuals. My two Accords (92 & 03) have never been to the dealer, or any other machanic. I do all my own maintenance and repairs (which gladly are not many) You get the code, look it up in the shop manual, and go through the flow-charts. It has worked for me, since 91. I probably know more about my car than some of the dealer techs do. Sure the dealer techs work on Hondas every day, but they don't know my car as well as I do.
  • aaronr121aaronr121 Posts: 91
    So, telling the driver that his 0s sensor is unhappy doesn't really tell him a whole lot. He could replace the 02 sensor and solve nothing.

    You are right about this, you don't see the problem, you see the byproduct of the problem. Could be the reason the O2 sensor is giving a wonky signal is because the vehicle is running too rich because the Mass Air meter is bad. But if you can't understand the data, you won't know.

    Autozone offers the free service of pulling codes and resetting the light and OBD II code pullers are getting awfully cheap.

    OBD II is such an improvement over the old diagnotic systems. Each manufacturer was different and that made life a pain.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    Someday, in a bright and sunny land of the future where jelly beans grow on trees, automakers will STANDARDIZE a lot of parts for us that have nothing to do with styling, etc. We do not need 350 kinds of mufflers and 67 types of hose clamp and 16 types of O2 sensor.

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  • aaronr121aaronr121 Posts: 91
    That would be WONDERFUL! It really would!

    Not only would it save us money, but it would save them money, effort and R&D too!

    Had that problem last week when trying to fix an A/C compressor. I tried swapping the reed valves between one Sanden and another Sanden. They were just fractions of a millimeter off. WHY!?!?! I can live with different cases, pulleys and heads on them. But why in the world are internals slightly different?
  • w9cww9cw Posts: 888
    A number of manufacturer's should follow Hyundai's practice for the D-I-Yer. The 10yr/100K warranty remains valid for any D-I-Yer as long as you have supported receipts, the Owner's Manual has a dedicated section for owner-provided maintenance, and the Hyundai website has ALL service and tech information available for all owners, including all DTC codes - generic and proprietary. Plus, they have internet-based ordering of parts, shipped to your dealer of record - directly from their Parts website.

    As one who's owned primarily European cars in the past, and appreciated the generally well-written, arranged, and thorough shops manuals for those who prefer doing their own work, the Hyundai approach is refreshing.

    One of the better, and yet affordable, OBD-II diagnostic scanners is the Equus Innova 3130, typically available brand new on eBay for around $160. It's compatible with all current communications protocols.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    People think if they have the code and the description, the problem is solved. Not even close. You need to have a shop manual, some minor diagnostic tools (multimeter, vacume pump/gauge), and other basic tools. The code only narrows down the possibilities. You still have to do some troubleshooting.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    There isn't a computer in the world that can tell you exactly which component has failed. Someday maybe.

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  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    That would be great. The car would display exactly what is going out. Ex: Your battery is about to go out. Estimated time of demise, one month. It would give you time to shop for another battery. Of course a car this smart would not be affordable, at least not by me. :cry:
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,620
    Sometimes the first step should be a visual inspection.
    I've tried to get this through many young mechanic's heads that no matter what, a visual inspection should be the first check, then if it is a performance issue [check engine light on], then pull the code and do another visual inspection.

    I have had many vehicles that the check engine light was on and the visual inspection caught the broken vacuum hose or disconnected sensor connector.

    And even guys who have dealt with the same vehicles over and over need a good diagnostic chart for trouble codes.
  • rockfish1rockfish1 Posts: 113
    And even guys who have dealt with the same vehicles over and over need a good diagnostic chart for trouble codes.

    Do you have suggestions on manuals or websites that have "Good Diagnostic Charts" that will help when multiple or intermittent codes are showing.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,620
    Absolutely. At teh risk of coming off as an advertisement.........
    $24.95/year for the first vehicle, $14.95/month per additional vehicle or renewals.
    This is the same factory information that shops have.

    Another site is, there is a ton of repair information on that site, but you have to search it pretty good.

    Check out Steve's page.
  • rockfish1rockfish1 Posts: 113
    Thanks for the site info.
    I have found that some tech forums on specific models can provide pretty good repair help. I have been successful asking questions about Saturn ION and Dodge Grand Caravan.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,620
    The one word of caution about vehicle specific sites.
    Remember that most of those sites are enthusiasts, not mechanics.

    So use a bit of caution in what information you often get.
    There are so many times that the group of guys, I deal with, run into people who were told to replace this and that and find out that they should have done the diagnostics instead of listening to people who are weekend mechanics. A prime example is several people who post a reply to a check engine light to check the gas cap.

    While the gas cap loose can turn the light on, that is their answer for everything.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    I think the vehicle specific sites are much better for asking about the LOCATION/PRICE/FAILURE RATE of components than they are at Internet diagnostics. It's hard enough diagnosing a REAL car in front of you, much less trying to do it remotely.

    Sometimes I go to the automotive section of Yahoo Answers just so I can butt in and say "NO DON'T DO WHAT'S POSTED HERE!!!"

    But here at Edmunds, the advice tends to be far more sober, even if it sometimes leaves something to be desired. People are trying to be helpful and that is commendable. It's up to the car owner to judge the offerings.

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,425
    They had a brand new Trek, gas powered, motor coach and the "Check Engine" light was on. I was asked of my opinion.

    First, I made a visual check under the hood and the only thing I could find was the coolant overflow was needing fluid. After adding some H2O to the overflow container, the "Check Engine" light was off. You're right, visual 1st.
  • 0patience0patience Oregon CoastPosts: 1,620
    But here at Edmunds, the advice tends to be far more sober, even if it sometimes leaves something to be desired.

    That is where quality moderation comes in.
  • rockfish1rockfish1 Posts: 113
    You are correct with using caution and common sense on some of the vehicle specific site but I have benefited with actual fixes at times. The last "Great" info I received was for my daughter's '04 Saturn Ion that had an intermittent starting problem. By reviewing the history on the Saturn site for fans I was able to find multiple hits on the same problem. I asked about it and was given part numbers and complete instructions. It cost me about $30 to fix this problem.

    I agree with you that you can not just blindly follow somebody's suggestions. You do have to do research and use a lot of common sense but for some problems that seem to be endemic with a car these site specific forums are helpful.
  • elroy5elroy5 Posts: 3,741
    Most experienced techs will say test this part, or ask questions, in an effort to narrow the possibilities. And many people will just guess which part is the problem, and do no testing to verify the part is bad. This is referred to as "throwing parts" at the problem. This can be a very costly practice, when you keep guessing the wrong part.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    you can't assume anything. You can't even assume that the new part you just took out of the box was good.

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  • rockfish1rockfish1 Posts: 113
    While you can't assume anything, when you research your symptoms and

    Find multiple sources pointing to the same problem.

    The same part is ID'd - the ignition switch.

    When I get the part from Saturn and the parts guy says yet we have lots of those.

    And when the part is replaced the problem is solved.

    I am happy :)
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