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Why don't car manufacturers include one of those computer readers that mechanics use?

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Why don't car manufacturers include one of those computer readers that mechanics use?

Old 05-24-05, 10:39 AM
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Why don't car manufacturers include one of those computer readers that mechanics use?

one of those computer readers that mechanics use? It would bump the price of the car, what? A whole $100? Or it could even be incorporated into the dash or something. The whole "Check Engine Light" thing is so 70's. Tell me what is wrong with my car so that if I take it to get fixed I know what is wrong and the mechanic can't try and rape me over it.

Just one of those things. The technology is there, and it isn't terribly expensive, why isn't it a feature?
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Old 05-24-05, 10:55 AM
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Because there's far too much money to be made from the mechanics at the dealerships to include something like that.
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Old 05-24-05, 11:07 AM
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You can buy a reader for like $40.00..... It will read all of the codes from the engine.
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Old 05-24-05, 11:28 AM
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You can get codes read and deleted at any Advance Auto / AutoZone / etc. for free.

Plus, what good would it do to get a P401 "EGR Bad Flow"? I'll give you a nickel if you can explain what that means w/o googling it.

Last edited by weargle; 05-24-05 at 11:31 AM.
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Old 05-24-05, 11:40 AM
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My "Check Engine Light" has been on for the past few months...

I've checked the engine, but I don't know what I'm looking for.
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Old 05-24-05, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by weargle
You can get codes read and deleted at any Advance Auto / AutoZone / etc. for free.

Plus, what good would it do to get a P401 "EGR Bad Flow"? I'll give you a nickel if you can explain what that means w/o googling it.
I'd pass on the nickel, google it, then know exactly what is the matter with my car.
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Old 05-24-05, 11:47 AM
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those codes give you very general info.. and many times the info is not correct.. or rather.. stemmed from a different problem. Dont get me wrong it's nice to have.. but not the end all. Find forums were people discuss your car and there is most likely a way to check the codes manually without the reader.
welcome to the 21st century.
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Old 05-24-05, 11:47 AM
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Are these readers actually good for non-mechanics?
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Old 05-24-05, 11:54 AM
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My 2002 Celica has had the Check Engine light on since about a month after I bought it (which was 2002!). I called Toyota, they said it most likely needed just reset, but I'd have to make an appointment to have it done. With my job, I can't keep appointments ninety percent of the time, so I never bothered goin' in. Now I have to go trade in the car soon (have twins comin'), so I'm sure whoever takes the car will devalue it a bit just because of that stupid little light.

Point being?
Dealers make a ton off of those little things. If everyday joe could just fix it, it would hurt the business.
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Old 05-24-05, 11:54 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveNinja
Are these readers actually good for non-mechanics?
They could be. I went in to get the "check engine" light checked out at my dealership once, and they were able to determine the problem was my gas cap wasn't on tight enough. If, instead of check engine light, your car had the computer and a small LED screen that said "Check Gas Cap" I wouldn't have had to take it into the shop. Luckily, it was still under warrenty, and I didn't have to pay anything.
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Old 05-24-05, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by weargle
You can get codes read and deleted at any Advance Auto / AutoZone / etc. for free.

Plus, what good would it do to get a P401 "EGR Bad Flow"? I'll give you a nickel if you can explain what that means w/o googling it.
My closest autozone is a 45 min drive away.


I could tell you what it means, but I have above normal knowledge of cars.

But even if I didn't know, I WOULD google it and get a better wealth of knowledge on the subject than many individual mechanics would have.

I would also look in the shop manual under EGR and could probably find troubleshooting steps to determine what it may be. At the very least it would give me a leg up to know if the mechanic/dealer was trying to screw me on the repair.

On the subject, cars don't have to include one. They are so cheap (and somewhat standardized) to buy that there really isn't a point to include one. Those so inclined will buy one and those that aren't won't.

If you own 6 cars, why buy the same device 6 times in the price of the car?
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Old 05-24-05, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by LivingINClip
My 2002 Celica has had the Check Engine light on since about a month after I bought it (which was 2002!). I called Toyota, they said it most likely needed just reset, but I'd have to make an appointment to have it done. With my job, I can't keep appointments ninety percent of the time, so I never bothered goin' in. Now I have to go trade in the car soon (have twins comin'), so I'm sure whoever takes the car will devalue it a bit just because of that stupid little light.

Point being?
Dealers make a ton off of those little things. If everyday joe could just fix it, it would hurt the business.
Here is a tip, pull the negative lead to the battery for 30 seconds, it will clear the light. Now if the light was caused by a 'real' problem, it will come right back on as the 'real' problem has not been fixed and therefore the car should have a lower value. If it is a false light, the battery cable trick wil fix you up.
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Old 05-24-05, 12:34 PM
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I have one, and it likes to tell me I have exhaust/cat issues. It has saved me money, but you need to know what the codes really mean. Usually its a stupid sensor thats dirty, or somethings malfunctioning. I saved myself $200+ parts/repair after pulling a code and doing a little forum reading.
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Old 05-24-05, 12:44 PM
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why require a reader at all? have a code shown through the radio display. or through the odometer.
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Old 05-24-05, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by joeblow69
They could be. I went in to get the "check engine" light checked out at my dealership once, and they were able to determine the problem was my gas cap wasn't on tight enough. If, instead of check engine light, your car had the computer and a small LED screen that said "Check Gas Cap" I wouldn't have had to take it into the shop. Luckily, it was still under warrenty, and I didn't have to pay anything.
Dealers/manufactures want you to take the car in for repair. I doubt it would be a manufactures LED screen. Aftermarket could work but would only give you an indication of the problem. I don't think it could be that specific unless you had 300 sensors around your car, and a ODB V system. Repair shops pull the code, then look up in there repair manuals and do a series of steps to determine the problem (if its not a common code).

I had at malfunc. TPS sensor- high voltage code. Turns out it was sending the wrong signals to the cpu and giving me the wrong fuel/air mixture. To me it felt like it was misfiring, and I changed out the plugs wires a few times. Doh!
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Old 05-24-05, 01:10 PM
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To reset it just unhook the battery for 20 minutes then hook it back up.
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Old 05-24-05, 01:19 PM
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So are there a bunch of different readers for different makes of car or do all cars have a standard plug in port? Like what one would work with my 2002 subaru outback?
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Old 05-24-05, 01:25 PM
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This is a good ODB-II reader and it comes with software to hook up to your laptop.

http://www.obddiagnostics.com/
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Old 05-24-05, 01:26 PM
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My car wouldn't pass inspection because the check engine light was on. The guy at the inspection place, instead of charging me for a full inspection, which he could have done, gave me the print out with the error code on it. I Googled it and also looked it up in the book I have for my car, and was able to replace the sensor on the catalytic converter. The sensor cost me about $80. No telling what the labor cost would have been if a mechanic had done it. I didn't know Autozone could check the codes for you, I'll have to remember that.
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Old 05-24-05, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by tbird2340
To reset it just unhook the battery for 20 minutes then hook it back up.
just make sure you know the security code (if you have one) for your radio
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Old 05-24-05, 01:31 PM
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The ODB-II wouldnt work easily for me because i dont have a windows computer too hook it to. Is there one that just spits out the results on a LCD screen?
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Old 05-24-05, 01:55 PM
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That's what OBD-II readers do. (On-Board Diagnostic system version 2).



Now if you have an OBD-I car, you get to do a LED jumper thingy. That's cool. Not.
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Old 05-24-05, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by scottall
I'd pass on the nickel, google it, then know exactly what is the matter with my car.
Exactly. Why do I have to be a mechanic to understand when google is at my fingertips?

Originally Posted by DaveNinja
So are there a bunch of different readers for different makes of car or do all cars have a standard plug in port? Like what one would work with my 2002 subaru outback?

That is what I was under the impression. Anyone?

So it sounds like a decent idea. Especially for all the dumb things that make the light go on. Why bother making a trip to Auto Zone if it is something like the gas cap or something silly that can be done w/o leaving the house? And who says the Auto Zone guy won't sell you something you don't need either?

Why should I buy an aftermarket device when it should be included in this day and age?
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Old 05-24-05, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Corvin
Why should I buy an aftermarket device when it should be included in this day and age?

Because it's not included and you don't want to drive to Auto Zone.
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Old 05-24-05, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveNinja
So are there a bunch of different readers for different makes of car or do all cars have a standard plug in port? Like what one would work with my 2002 subaru outback?
Originally Posted by Michael Corvin
That is what I was under the impression. Anyone?
All cars 1996 and newer have an ODB II compliant port (some 1995's have it as well). There are some slightly different flavors though

Again google is your friend

http://www.obdii.com/


Originally Posted by Michael Corvin

Why should I buy an aftermarket device when it should be included in this day and age?

You should blame the SAE, the EPA and CARB.
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