Actron CP9580 Scan Tool Review

Actron CP9580 Scan Tool Review

The Actron CP9580 Auto Scanner with CodeConnect is one of the most popular and cost-effective scan tools on the market at the moment.

If you're in the market for an automotive scan tool that can read LIVE DATA, this might be the one to fill your needs.

NOTE: The Actron CP9580 has been superseded by the Actron CP9680 AUTOSCANNER Plus.

Important Features

Let me jump into the most important features of this tool right off the bat:

  1. 1

    This scan tool will help you read diagnostic trouble codes (DTC) and let you see Live Data from the PCM on OBD II equipped vehicles (which means vehicles that are 1995 and newer). You'll also be able to read ABS diagnostic trouble codes on select 1995 and newer GM, Ford, and Chrysler vehicles.

  2. 2

    You'll be able to check the status of the I/M Readiness Monitors to see if the 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.

  3. 3

    Reads generic codes and more importantly manufacturer specific codes. The manufacturer specific codes are the ones that really give you the info to find the problem.

  4. 4

    Diagnostic trouble code definitions with CodeConnect. Which means that you get a detailed description of the code being displayed and the most popular fixes to solve the diagnostic trouble code.

    CodeConnect is a really handy feature that's not available in any other type of scan tool (of this price range). It's almost like having an experienced tech (within limits, of course) give you his or her opinion on what the solution might be for the trouble code that just popped up.

  5. 5

    For the advanced DIY'er or automotive tech, you can capture and display freeze frame data that will help you pinpoint and troubleshoot problems.

  6. 6

    In my opinion, this is one of the most people friendly generic scan tools I have used. With some scan tools, it feels like you need a training course to use it, not the Actron CP9580.

  7. 7

    The cable is long enough, that you'll be able to take the scan tool into the engine compartment (to view Live Data, etc) without complications (see photo below).

Who Is This Scan Tool For?

At around $150-$200 (US), the Actron CP9680 AutoScanner Plus OBD II Scan Tool for All 1996 And Newer And Select 1994-95 Vehicles - Includes ABS And Airbag Features For Select Applications is a tool anyone can afford and make serious use of.

Although the Actron CP9580 is not a professional level scan tool (like the $5K ones automotive repair shop have), it will help you. Whether you're a serious Do-It-Yourselfer (DIY), a weekend mechanic, an auto tech or just an average car owner troubleshooting a newer OBD II equipped vehicle, this tool is a must.

I can tell you from personal experience that the Actron CP9580 is easy to use. In conjunction with specific testing information, such as found in auto repair manuals or online research, this tool will help you solve the problem lighting up the check engine light.

Who Is This Tool NOT For?

This tool doesn't do it all and it does have some drawbacks. Here a some things to consider that should keep you from buying this tool:

  1. 1

    If you need to scan for ABS diagnostic trouble codes and your vehicle is not covered by this scan tool. The list of vehicles this tool services boils down to: most, but not all 1996 and newer GM, Ford and Chrysler vehicles.

  2. 2

    You need a cheap $40 code reader that does not have a Live Data feature.

  3. 3

    You need enhanced manufacturer Live Data for Asian and/or European vehicles. This is only available on the $2K-$5K(US) professional level scan tools.

  4. 4

    You want to scan ABS diagnostic trouble codes, and your vehicle is not on the list of applications this tool can service.

  5. 5

    Someone with little to no interest in troubleshooting a check engine light is on condition.

Review: Actron CP9580 Auto Scanner With CodeConnect Trilingual OBD II, CAN And ABS Scan Tool

Personal Dislikes About This Tool

I personally think this is a good tool, but I do have some minor complaints and they are:

  1. 1

    There's no case to put the scan tool in after use. This is after all a tool that runs about $150 to $300(US), at this price, Actron should have included at least a vinyl pouch to store it in.

  2. 2

    The enhanced features are only available for GM, Ford, Chrysler and Toyota.

    This, in my opinion, is probably due to licensing issues with the other manufacturers and their cost (which would tremendously drive up the cost of the tool).

Where To Buy The Actron CP9580 Scan Tool?

You can buy the Actron CP9580 just about anywhere. Since this is one of the most popular DIY type scan tools on the market, even your local auto parts store will have it for sale but you'll end up paying a whole more for it.

The one place I recommend to buy (and where I buy all of my stuff) is on You'll find the best price there and will usually ship for free. It doesn't get better than that. To get there, you can follow this link: Actron CP9680 AutoScanner Plus OBD II Scan Tool for All 1996 And Newer And Select 1994-95 Vehicles - Includes ABS And Airbag Features For Select Applications.

Buying a scan tool is an investment that will save you money in the short run and in the long run. A scan tool is a tool that usually doesn't gather dust since as long as you're driving you car (mini-van, pick up, SUV), the check engine light (CEL) will eventually come on.

The Actron CP9580 will fit your needs if you own a newer OBD II equipped vehicle.

Actron CP9580 Scan Tool Review