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Old 09-25-2009, 11:13 PM   #1
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$30 code reader

I bought a $30 OBDII code reader from harbor freight to clear my CEL in my 98 TJ, best money I have spent so far. Not only does it tell you the code but it spells out what it is, no having to get the code then go to the forum and try to match it up. Very simple to operate and it took all of 2 min to check and clear my 02 sensor, plus its about the size of a regular wallet so you can stick it just about anywhere for later use.

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Old 09-26-2009, 07:23 AM   #2
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so did you fix the problem, or just cleared the code?

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Old 09-26-2009, 07:49 AM   #3
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Very cool, I might have to look into one of those. Do you know if they are generic (ie will it work for the jeep and my other car)?
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Old 09-26-2009, 08:47 AM   #4
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they are generic for all cars 1996 and newer, obd2 universal coverage was mandatory. but it really doesn't do you any good just to clear codes, the light goes on for a reason.
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Old 09-26-2009, 09:03 AM   #5
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... but it really doesn't do you any good just to clear codes, the light goes on for a reason.
Oh there you go again...Trying to be the voice of reason.
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Old 09-26-2009, 11:06 AM   #6
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Still sounds like a good idea to have around, esp for $30. Best case scenario I can fix the problem then clear it myself. Worst case scenario I have an idea what is wrong because of the code and can do some research before taking it in to the mechanic, that way when he says my <insert obscure part here> needs to be replaced, I can respectfully disagree, and not go visit him anymore.
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Old 09-26-2009, 11:12 AM   #7
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^yep, i agree.
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Old 09-26-2009, 02:03 PM   #8
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Still sounds like a good idea to have around, esp for $30. Best case scenario I can fix the problem then clear it myself. Worst case scenario I have an idea what is wrong because of the code and can do some research before taking it in to the mechanic, that way when he says my <insert obscure part here> needs to be replaced, I can respectfully disagree, and not go visit him anymore.
No no no... He isn't trying to rip you off - Your Flux Capacitor really is bad!
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Old 09-26-2009, 02:06 PM   #9
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I just searched Harbor freights website and found no code reader for less than $70-80 was it one that was on sale???
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Old 09-26-2009, 02:11 PM   #10
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light goes on for a reason.
You think?!
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Old 09-26-2009, 03:13 PM   #11
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they are generic for all cars 1996 and newer, obd2 universal coverage was mandatory. but it really doesn't do you any good just to clear codes, the light goes on for a reason.
I'ts the 02 sensor, I don't really care if it works or not, so no I did not fix it.

I bought it in Baumont and yes it was on sale, reg $45.00 its the smallest and most simple one they had, its the CEN-TECH model 98568. For vehicles 1996 and newer.
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Old 09-26-2009, 03:16 PM   #12
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- Harbor Freight Tools - Quality Tools at the Lowest Prices
Found it on the site, I prolly would have still payed $60 for it... I would check in store if you have a local one, if not, then PM me if you want one and I'll see if they have any more on monday.
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Old 09-26-2009, 04:31 PM   #13
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I forget what I paid for mine -- maybe $60 shipped (at most) off eBay, and had a check engine light within 3 days. It was the dreaded "evaporation canister leak". I reset it and tighted the gas cap. It came back, I bought a new gas cap. Having the dealer clear that code and fix the issues was $48. Do that twice and cover my cost. 2 days later, I realized the glove box was locked and needed my garage door remote. I shut it off and started it up again two quickly (it likes a little warm-up time) causing a cylinder misfire. I knew what the problem was, but was able to clear the code -- reader paid for. Definitely worth it.
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Old 09-27-2009, 05:11 AM   #14
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If the problem was fixed, codes will clear themselves after so many starts. The low end readers just read the OBD2 generic codes. These are the codes that are required to be numbered the same, reguardless of manufacturer, the P0--- codes. Higher end readers and scanners will also read the manufacturer specific codes, P1--- codes. And some will also talk to every module the car will have.
I have a OTC Nemisys. It will read every module, including the radio, in my Dodge Caliber. I bought it for 400 bucks off ebay to repair a airbag problem on my Olds Bravada. I'd rather buy the tools I need, then pay to have stuff repaired. The cost is always lower, overall, plus I get a new tool and learn something new.
Anyone around the Pittsburgh area that's needs something scanned, get a hold of me. I'll help ya out.
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Old 09-27-2009, 07:47 AM   #15
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Rammer's right. It only reads the emissions related generic codes. That's only the tip of the iceberg.

You can easily get misled with it's interpretations. ie: It may say TPS, so you'll replace the TPS - but if you look up the entire code in may tell you TPS voltage is too high - like a bad ground.

A code only tells you it's something unusual in that circuit, not necessarily a specific component.

That's why you see so many on here replace something, then the same code comes back.

Always look up the meaning of the code - there's many places on the internet that will define it - and show you the procedure to find out why that code was set. It's fine for getting the codes, it's a start, but not definitive.
Best way is the manufacturers service manual for that specific vehicle. Generic manuals found in parts houses are usually close to useless.

Resetting is only a partial reset too. It clears the CEL, but not the deep memory.
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Old 09-27-2009, 09:58 AM   #16
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But, as already pointed out, it WILL give you some sense of the problem, so if the repair shop tries to rake you over the coals, you have some idea that they are doing it. In that sense, it's still short money. Not everybody has the aptitude, skills, or resources to do all the work themselves. A cheap code reader can at least help you make an informed decision in most cases when dealing with a repair shop.
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Old 09-27-2009, 01:11 PM   #17
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Oh I'm not saying it's useless at all. They are handy to have - and will work on many vehicles.

What I am saying is the generic code reader gives an indication as to what's wrong. For example - "O2 sensor" does not necessarily mean the O2 sensor itself is bad. It indicates something is awry in that circuit. Things like wiring, a vacuum leak, exhaust leak, a bad plug, etc. can set that same code. Anything that causes the O2 sensor to not read in it's normal range can set it. Blindly replacing the O2 sensor isn't always the answer - even if you do it several times.

It's like saying the treasure is in Los Angeles somewhere, not definitive enough to find it. Looking the code up further and doing additional tests can help you identify it's on the corner of Hollywood and Vine, under the mailbox. Then you have enough information to find it. Otherwise you may just chase your tail.

I have and use one too. It's a good place to start.

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