Sunday, January 01, 2017

The service light, OBD-II, and the quest for a tool, part 002

(This is part 2 of the story that started here)

So, I searched the Internet for an OBD-II tool. It turns out there are tons of them. I almost couldn't believe it. I thought, why didn't I get one of these tools before? They range from about $40 to well over $1000. Most are called OBD-II scanners. Some just scan and read codes, some can also reset/clear codes. Some are really cool and have a USB interface and software that can be used for advanced diagnostics. The nerd in me got excited about the thought of plugging in the ODB tool to the car and then connecting it to a laptop that would display all sorts of cool graphs and graphical gauges (see screenshot). Many tools I found appeared to be "homemade". Meaning, they're not made by a large commercial manufacturer but by someone who produced them themselves, have a website, and sell them using eBay or paypal or something like that. Many of them appear like they'd work. One of the big selling points is the ability to clear the "Check Engine" light. That wasn't exactly what I was looking for. I couldn't find any that specifically said they clear the "Service" light (I have a "Check Engine" light too). I found many that said they worked with my Volvo year/model... but still not specifically for the "Service" light. I decided to take a chance that since they worked for the "Check Engine" they'd work for the "Service" light. I was on the verge of buying one off the Internet when I discovered that some of the auto parts retail stores carried the tools. I did a search on Kragen website and sure enough they had ODB-II tools. I thought that would be a better approach in case anything went wrong. Returning something bought off the Internet can sometimes be a pain, especially if it's from a "homegrown" manufacturer. I decided I'd stop by the local Kragen to check out the tools in person.

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