A scan tool is a must-have tool if you want to diagnose a check engine light is ‘On’ condition, on your vehicle.
Since there are so many to choose from, this article will review the Equus 3140 Innova Diagnostic Code Scanner for OBDI and OBDII vehicles.
Contents of this tutorial:
Let me jump into the most important features of this tool right off the bat:
If your vehicle is 1995 or newer (which means it's OBD II equipped), this scan tool will help you read diagnostic trouble codes and let you see Live Data from the PCM.
If your vehicle is OBD II equipped, you'll be able to check to see if the Emission Monitors (known as the I/M Monitors or Readiness Monitors) have been set or not. As you may already know, if they're not set, you'll have to drive the vehicle some miles to get them to complete before going or returning to the state emission's inspection station.
If you've ever wondered what I/M stands for, it's part of the phrase Enhanced Inspection and Maintenance.
If your vehicle is 1994 and older (which means it's OBD I equipped) GM, Chrysler, Ford, Jeep or Toyota, you'll be able to read diagnostic trouble codes.
You can connect the Equus 3140 to your PC or laptop (with the included cables and software) to generate, print, and save detailed diagnostic reports. This feature also lets you keep the Equus 3140 current since you can update it via the Internet.
For the advanced DIY'er or automotive tech, you can capture and display freeze frame data that will help you pinpoint and troubleshoot problems.
This scan tool will let you read generic codes (P0, P2, P3, and U0) and more importantly manufacturer specific codes (P1, P3, and U1). The capability to read manufacturer specific codes is critical, since the generic codes really aren't very helpful.
For the advanced DIY'er or automotive tech, the Equus 3140 will let you read OEM Enhanced & Transmission Codes.
Who Is This Scan Tool For?
At around $190 (US), the Equus 3140 Innova Diagnostic Code Scanner for OBDI and OBDII Vehicles will help the serious Do-It-Yourselfer (DIY), the auto tech and the average car owner troubleshoot older OBD I (GM, Ford, Chrysler, Jeep, and Toyota vehicles) and newer OBD II equipped vehicles.
In no particular order, this Scan Tool would help:
The weekend mechanic that doesn't get too involved with the car repair but yet tinkers enough with it that a scan tool is starting to feel like a need and not a want.
The Do-It-Yourselfer that's tired of having to run down to AutoZone to get his or her car scanned for codes.
The Do-It-Yourselfer that has some or a lot of experience under the belt troubleshooting check engine light problems but would never consider buying a $2K to $5K Professional scan tool.
The auto tech who is used to a professional scan tool that the shop provides. Altho' the Equus 3140 doesn't even come close to comparing to a professional scan tool, with your level of knowledge and experience, you're not gonna' be too unhappy with this tool.
The average consumer that is interested in saving some money. If this is you, you're not into diagnosing and repairing your own vehicle. The car breaks down, you take it to the shop.
But having an idea of what is causing the check engine light to come on, will save you money. How? By researching the diagnostic trouble code definition and what might need to be replaced. Armed with this knowledge, you could possibly negotiate a better price on the repair. If anything else, you can avoid extra services the shop always tries to include and that you really can't afford (and which are not causing the check engine light to come on).
Who Is This Tool NOT For?
Here a some things to consider that should keep you from buying this tool:
If you own an OBD I vehicle that is not on the list of vehicles this tool can service. So it's critical to check the list to see if your vehicle is on it, otherwise you're gonna' be one unhappy camper and you'll have to send it back.
This list is a very short one and you can find it in the section: List Of OBD I Vehicles The Equus 3140 Services.
You want to buy a code reader only (a code reader only reads diagnostic trouble codes), not a tool that will give you Live Data from the PCM like the Equus 3140 does.
You want to buy a scan tool with less features and/or one that may be easier to use. Don't get me wrong, you don't need a degree in automotive technology to use this tool but it does take some getting use to (in the beginning that is), since this tool has many different features you'll need to learn to navigate.
You want to scan ABS diagnostic trouble codes. This scan tool does not read ABS Codes.
Someone with little to no interest in troubleshooting a check engine light is on condition.
Someone who needs a professional level automotive scan tool to work on American but especially Asian and European OBD II and OBD I equipped vehicles.
Personal Dislikes About This Tool
I personally think this is a good tool, but I do have some minor complaints and they are:
If you want to connect the scan tool to your laptop to print a simple diagnostic report (and your laptop is a modern one with no serial port), you're gonna' need to buy a Serial Port to USB adaptor. This adaptor is not included.
The controls are not very intuitive to use. Specifically, the same buttons control many different features, depending on what screen you're currently on and in the beginning, this can be confusing and annoying. This is one tool that you've got to read the instruction manual first or you won't get the hang of it.
In all fairness to Equus, this is true of all scan tools no matter which one you use or buy.
There is no Live Data for the OBD I vehicles. But then again, for this price I guess I really can't complain about this too much but it sure would be nice to have this as a feature.