Automotive Code Reader and Scanner Review

10:50 am Auto Scan Tool, OTC Tool Blog, Tool Comparison


Good – Simple Actron Code Reader CP9125

The CP9125 Actron code reader is a very popular choice for the DIY (Do it Yourself-er) and for many used car dealers that want to read codes before the auction (or clear the codes prior to their car being ran through). The size of this tool makes it easy to carry in your pocket. No frills, just a good basic code reader with about 3,000 definitions for Global OBD 2 codes.

This code reader works on all cars with US emissions, OBD II connector 1996 and up.


Better – Code Reader with Definitions

The Launch CReader is a basic OBD2 code reader that is great for the DIY (Do it Yourself-er) or the auto mechanic that would like to have the convenience of reading and clearing Power Train Codes, without the expense of owning a more elaborate scan tool. The Launch CReader is also capable of working on vehicles with CAN protocol. Controller-Area-Network, or CAN-bus is a new computer network standard that enables multiple control modules to communicate with each other. To illustrate how great a deal this is, consider this; The CAN adapter alone for a Snap On MT2500 Scan Tool is around $250. Without it the Snap On Scanner is unable to communicate with many vehicles. The Launch CReader also allows Freeze Frame Data to be stored and viewed. Freeze Frame Data means that at the time the CEL (Check Engine Light) comes on, sensor readings are recorded. This can be very helpful in cases where a sensor may have an intermittent failure and then be functioning as normal when the diagnoses is attempted. Having Freeze Frame Data with an inexpensive code reader is a real plus. Another useful feature the Launch CReader has is the built in Readiness Monitor. The Readiness Monitor will let let you know when a drive cycle is complete after a repair has been made. Since many conditions have to be met to complete the drive cycle, this indicator takes out the guess work. A Readiness Monitor alone, that indicates when a drive cycle is drive is complete can be priced over a hundred dollars.


Good – Actron CP9190 Scanner Graphs & is Bi-Lingual

The Actron CP9190 scanner has the features of the CP9125 and more. The Actron CP9190 has graphing and printing capability. This scanner in addition to scanning OBDII and CAN protocol vehicles has cables for some OBD I vehicles. So in certain cases this scanner could be more useful especially if your first language is Spanish or if you have a classic (or a work car) in the garage that has OBDI. The larger back lit display is easy to read and this scanner has it’s own batteries that allows the code information to be displayed even after the OBD interface cable has been unplugged.


Better – The OTC 3499 has more enhanced codes

The OTC 3499 Scanner has more enhanced codes including codes for Honda. OTC is one of the largest manufacturers of automotive scan tools, OTC actually owns Actron as well. Actron is tailored to the DIY (Do it Yourself-er) and OTC is marketed more to the professional auto Technician. Also Bi-lingual, the OTC 3499 has a larger display than Actron and also has extra interface cables enabling it’s use to a wider coverage of vehicles in addition to OBD II, it includes OBD I connections for GM, Ford and Chrysler.

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