Choosing an Automotive Scan Tool -EricTheCarGuy

I’ve been asked about what scanner to buy for some time. Since ScannerDanner aka Paul Danner, stopped by the shop, I thought I would take the opportunity to have him help me out with this question. It is his namesake after all. The first step in choosing a scanner is to figure out what it is you really NEED in a scanner. Once you’ve done that, it’s a matter of looking at the spec sheet for the tool you’re considering and see if it meets those needs. Look for things like ABS capability, even SRS capabilities, manufacturer specific code capabilities, perhaps a ‘help’ database, and if the tool is ‘bidirectional’. Also, for high end scanners, check out their help and training features that may come with your purchase. I know we used a lot of Snap-on scanners in this video, and we talked extensively on their features, however, there are other scan tool manufactures out there that make equally good tools. Paul and I only like to talk about what we know so sorry if this one seemed Snap-on bias. Also, the retail for the Verus is closer to $6K, not $10K as Paul said in the video. So don’t beat us up too bad over that little flub. I’ll post some links to some alternative tools that you might also want to check out that have similar capabilities.

Here’s the links.

ScannerDanner channel:

Engine Performance Diagnostics by Paul Danner:

Snap-on scanners:

Snap on ‘brick’:

OTC scan tools:

Link to U-Scan review:

Scan tools:

For other tools and deals check out the Tools page at

Discussion about this video:

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Due to factors beyond the control of EricTheCarGuy, it cannot guarantee against unauthorized modifications of this information, or improper use of this information.  EricTheCarGuy assumes no liability for property damage or injury incurred as a result of any of the information contained in this video. EricTheCarGuy recommends safe practices when working with power tools, automotive lifts, lifting tools, jack stands, electrical equipment, blunt instruments, chemicals, lubricants, or any other tools or equipment seen or implied in this video.  Due to factors beyond the control of EricTheCarGuy, no information contained in this video shall create any express or implied warranty or guarantee of any particular result.  Any injury, damage or loss that may result from improper use of these tools, equipment, or the information contained in this video is the sole responsibility of the user and not EricTheCarGuy.


Jay Goldsmann says:

Hey Eric, I have a question,
None of the gauges work on my obd II reader. How do I get it to work?

I have a Bluetooth OBD-II reader. I plugged it in and connected to my phone. It can read coolant temp, mpg, horsepower, load %, short term fuel trim, etc… When plugged in a 2001 Chrysler, 2006 Pontiac, 2003 Ford, and 2013 Scion. The gauges were displayed on all those cars. However, none of the gauges work for my vehicle. I have a 1999 Ford Expedition. Is it because my vehicle is older? I believe it can’t be all the sensors. There’s no way all the sensors could go bad. Besides I would get a check engine light, if that was the case. Wouldn’t I? But it’s funny it can read check engine light codes. It reads 8 complete checks.

Andrew Wilson says:

Very nice scanner, nicer if you ain’t the guy paying for it! Am I correct in thinking the is also a subscription to be paid for? I use a cheaper scanner and put my faith in my pics scope. I like the flexibility this setup gives me. There is no substitute for good knowledge,training and skills?

Marck Martin says:

Eric what do you think about this article? (I don’t know anything, so I’m asking you Eric.)

TheCoatneyadkins says:

I remember the first time I plugged in a “higher end” scanner into a vehicle while in school….I didn’t know how to interpret the data at all, I don’t think my instructor did either, it was throwing all kinds of codes like MAF, BANK 1/1 LEAN, HO2S, P0300 MISFIRES among others…..I was chasing a bad maf, bad o2, looking at coils, plugs, boots….. turns out several months later the girl who owned the car stopped by my house and she was saying the car was getting worse … I could actually hear the vacuum leak this time clear as day … and then it ALL hit me (I had been studying scanner danner’s book actually since the first time I had looked at her car) the data was clearly telling me to suspect a vacuum leak. ya really do have to know what your looking for. and before that you really need to know in depth how an engine works in the first place.

CP H says:

I really would like to have seen something in the middle, not too many people will buy a 10K + scan tool, 300-400 yes.

Anthony G says:

1994 & 1995 Mitsubishi – 3000GT’s at least, had an OBD2 16-pin DLC Connector. It would be able to read codes with a Generic Scan Tool when the CEL ever came on, on the dashboard. Also 1991-1993 (pre-1994 3KGT’s) had a traditional Check Engine Light on the Dashboard for alerting you of possible problems or issues. This car had a 3.0L V6 Twin Turbo, with a 6spd AWD MT with a center locking differential amd rear locking Diff.
Engine code: (6G72DE-TT)
Also to top it all off, the wiring was all there that even a 1991 3000GT SL – VR4 could be ecu map flashed with an ECU swap from a 1999 3000GT.
This allowed you to do USB – ECU 3D table flashing and live feed Datalogging as well as Datalogging record.

So i guess Mitsubishi, had it pretty well figured out and planned out back in 1991-1995, before OBD2 became standard in 1996 & Newer Model Vehicles…

Eric Hansen says:

I have this Autel AL519 and I want to do the print out report but not have it in raw data, what do I do?


Its heavenly great

Dustin says:

very informative

The Dallas Telegraph says:

1.22 min – cut the sh…t, boys!

Logical Guy says:

Thanks Erik for your clips, I am one of your subscribers for years. HOWEVER … I am in the market for a scanner and looking at all the scanner comparison video’s I can find. What I find is just more and more crap … where Strap-On seems to be paying or sponsoring loads of people to promote their overpriced tools. It would have been nice if this clip had maybe 4 of the top scanners and do an unbiased hands on comparison. This guy is wearing a Snap-On jacket and teaches people to diagnose on Snap-On plus he said he doesn’t know other brands, so he can’t use lines like  “This is the best overall scanner out there, what is he basing his statement on ?…. he must be paid by them in one way or another. That is all good … then just call this video another Snap-On scanner review.

Daniel Ziran-Xu says:

Guys for ten thousand dollars you can buy a wife in Vietnam. Just saying…


Great comparison of diag procedure and tools for your purpose. I have given my kids a simple code reader so when they call my 24/7 road service line, I have more info to help them get their cars going or at least off the highway. DTCS are just a conformation of which fork in the road to take. My MODIS expands the territory i can explore.

Noah Kuzel says:

I feel like I just watched a 30 minute commercial for the Snap On Varus scan tool.

reasomb16 says:

Hi Eric need your help. I have a automotive business and i need help for a good scanner that will work for almost all cars but not very expensive. Thanks a lot.

Jas B says:

37:56 “we don’t think we butt scratched the surface of it” ??? LOL

Cindy Xian says:

2017 latest LAUNCH X-431 Diagun IV car diagnostic tool with 2 years software free update and multi-languages:

TheTarrMan says:

That guy was REALLY trying to sell a Verus.

Kev N says:

make a lot sense thanks again your right for me at home just have regular diagnostic scanner thanks, good points both of you thanks again eric

SuperTomi1979 says:

Yeah, this Snap-on stuff is a a really amazing scanner/scope/laptop combo. Our partners use similar measurement modules (VAS 6356 and VAS 6558) for the VW concern brands.

Melo Melo says:

Thank you for this video Eric I learn a lot from it God bless

Irfan Imran says:

can you help me

Ray Voide says:

I love your channel it always has great info, but you lost me here. We spent way too much time discussing a device most of us will never use. I’d have rather heard the guy review some consumer devices and help us to determine what device(s) might be right for Johnny Backyard.

Alberto Rocha says:

scanner Danner you are an awesome tech Eric is just a grease monkey…haha

Zia Rehman says:

What about smart phone apps???

Martin Kuliza says:

This was a very very informative Video


Eric, as Paul Already Knows, i’m an I.T. Engineer

Paul Referred me to a PicoScope 4225
the problem being that, i already have a Rigol Scope DS2072A which is far superior in specs to the PicoScope,
however the PicoSoftware is a lot more fundamentally useful for Automotive diags apparently

(i’m not a Mechanic, but this is what i am learning)

Now. i’m trying to find software that can interface with my scope and my car (nissan Navarra D40 2010 Turbo Diesel 2.5litre)

i know my scope can do the basics if i have the PicoScope connectors that plug into BNC as they do on the Picoscope

however, i am also realizing that

a) i can use basic probes and Amp Clamps to connect directly to my scope to spit out a waveform and interpret it. that’s fine
b) but clearly, it would beneficial to have Auto Diag software such a PicoScope 6 which is designed for this shit
c) I FULLY AGREE that you cannot trump the Manufacturers Diag software, after all, they built the car and they would have engineered the software to be as efficient as possible, AND AS ALWAYS (Bloody bastards hehe) they would have had proprietry
access to the vehicle that generic software cannot access, or at least, not do that depth that IT CAN.

this is really interesting stuff

anywhoo… it’s 2am here in sydney and now everyone knows.. i have no life HEHE
so… my head is full
and ‘m off to bed, i’m going to pick this up tomorrow


i think i need to take a step back and reprioritise what is relevant now

after all, my goal is
a) help this young bloke along to learn electronics and electrical engineering
b) but at the same time , nurture his passion for cars while increasing my car knowledge to very high levels
for the purpose of saving time and money with mechanics that don’t have a fucking clue
and therefore causing me down time in my business when my car is off the road

Now, i have no issues with taking the car in for stuff that needs expert advice and i would love to be able to tell them
and then have them take over

that’s my personal goal… Knowledge and time efficiency

so yeah
i’m off to bed
this video was invaluable

ALL THE TALK ABOUT THE KEYS and different pin connections for different makes
and… Yes i understood every word.

there’s a lot to consider


Also, i’ve learned something else

Paul knows a shit load more than he is letting on hehe
Paul told me that he didn’t understand scopes very well, and it goes over the top of his head

i can now conclude that’s Bullshit hehe
Paul knows quiet a bit more than he is letting on.. CLEARLY

thanks guys

Audie Cravy says:

automotive diagnosing will be cloud base, as soon as the money is right.

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