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Go Back > Models > Jeep Wrangler Forums > Wrangler General Discussion > Scan tool for non-mechanic?

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Unread 12-27-2011, 01:11 PM   #1
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2008 JK Wrangler 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Chicago
Posts: 132
Scan tool for non-mechanic?

I am very mechanical but have never really worked on cars other than routine maintenance. I would like to pick up a cheep scan tool to start becoming more self sufficient or at least a more educated owner. I have a 2008 4D sahara. Two questions;

The costs range from $30 to 300, what is the entry level tool for a non-mechanic.

Has anybody had a scan tool "pay for itself" by saving you money at the dealer/shop?

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Unread 12-27-2011, 01:26 PM   #2
Web Wheeler
1991 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: 14304 Niagara Falls, NY
Posts: 2,537
Halfway decent tools seem to start around $100, and yes they can pay for themselves the first time you use it to avoid a trip to the dealer. The best ones (more expensive) somply use a long cable to plug into a laptop computer. They tend to give a lot more info and cost a lot more $$$.
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Unread 12-27-2011, 02:18 PM   #3
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1987 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Chalfont, Pennsylvania
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It isn't as elaborate as some of the readers people have here but I got a obdpro serial reader from a fellow jeeper, bought a brand new palm V with all it's accessories from eBay for a grand total of 15 bucks, got this free obd reading palm software and put it on, got a male to make serial adaptor and a null modem serial cable thing and now I can read error codes and a brief description if it has info, reset the engine light, see what the oxygen sensors are showing, directly see the mph, rpms, timing, engine temp and a whole bunch of other stuff directly from the computer.
And if you are someone that cares about speed it can time how fast it can go from 0-60.
Google USB/bluetooth/serial (whatever works for you) obd2 scanners
Incompetence in motion
96 XJ 4dr, 4.0, AW4, NP231,
87 Wrangler, 4.2, TF999, NP231
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Unread 12-27-2011, 03:46 PM   #4
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1997 TJ Wrangler 
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^^^ That's pretty cool.
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Unread 12-27-2011, 06:21 PM   #5
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1989 YJ Wrangler 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: , NJ
Posts: 4,897
Even the basic code reader tool is useful because the check engine light tells you nothing. There are websites that cam give you additional help.

Even if you take it to the dealer, you are in a better position if you know what is happening.

An Android app
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Unread 12-27-2011, 06:52 PM   #6
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2004 WJ 
Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Buffalo, NY
Posts: 134
I have an Innova 3160 hand held scan tool. It will do all OBDII plus ABS codes and freeze frame data. Domestic Asian and European Import, cars, Light trucks and SUVs. Lots of other nice features too. They list for about $400 but you can find them brand new in the box on Ebay for about $200 and free updates from Innova.
I use my scan tool when I go to dealer car auctions. It will also let you know if a check engine light has recently been reset.
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