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A device for car diagnostics is a highly specialized device that does not have a direct dependence of utility on its price, quality and functionality, and its purchase should be approached rationally.

That is, these are not mobile phones, where the price is directly proportional to the “tricked out” and conditional usefulness of the device for its owner, and he cannot do any harm with his functionality, because all mobile phones are designed as a means of communication for use by the broad masses.

With auto scanners is a completely different situation.

Here the professionalism of the device owner is given a very significant role. Because if an amateur will diagnose a car with any professional scanner, he can be harmful to her if he begins to read more information and experiment with settings or other similar options.

Typical example

For example, the dealer scanner-specifier of the BMW ICOM A3, for the diagnosis of a BMW auto company and costing 1 thousand y. e., there can be a lot of things, including flashing the on-board computer, etc. Naturally, such a device is simply not necessary for a non-professional, moreover – in his hands it is dangerous and it is better not to risk using it without having the appropriate skills!

Read more about how to choose the best obd2 scanner

But the universal multi-brand auto scanner “Smart Scan Tool”, just 30 y. e., despite the rather wide functionality, designed so that its use is available to any driver and is completely safe for the car.

Car elm327

This is what rationality means when choosing an auto scanner: it must correspond not only to the financial capabilities of the buyer, but also to his knowledge in this area.

So, what kind of autoscanners are there, and how to navigate in their varieties in order to get exactly what you need, and without extra overpayments?

Let’s see.

Useful historical background


The homeland of autoscanning is the United States, where in the early 80s the concern General Motors introduced this technology as a kind of improvement in controlling the output quality of the assembly of its cars.

Then the automobile ECU (electronic control unit) taught self-diagnostics, and the inspector of the state “OTK” could read the data of the car that came off the assembly line with a special device (the prototype of the current auto-scanner) using the original ALDL protocol.

After some time, General Motors improved the scanning technology and adapted it for widespread use at branded and authorized maintenance sites.

In the footsteps of GM, competitors did not fail to go: the Ford concern released the auto-scanner-specifier Star, and the company Chrysler the device DRB. And so it went: other automakers around the world began to acquire similar scanners.

German curiosity

It is noteworthy that the European auto industry of the USA was forced to introduce a new technology by force – stubborn Germans did not want to bother yet another staff whim, arguing that their products, by definition, are always high-quality and do not need any scanning technologies there, well, and incidental costs for it , in their opinion, adversely affect the price-competitive position of German cars.

BMW building

In response, the United States and Canada introduced a law on the mandatory availability of self-diagnosis technology in all cars imported from Europe. After that, the Germans capitulated, and behind them all the rest.

Now, after years, it is ridiculous to find out how the honorable burghers, because of their traditional hardship, opposed the general progress to the detriment of the development of their own automobile industry. 😉

The problem of price and versatility

In the first 20 years, autoscan technology evolved mainly within the separate frameworks of each automaker. There were no universal scanners: these devices could work with related brands or brands (for example, Volkswagen Group).

The problem was in the uniqueness of software coding – different teams of developers worked on different scanners and their methods and solutions had little in common with each other. As a result, there appeared a mass of scanner-specifiers, intended only for narrow use, which are still available today.

But there was a huge demand for autodiagnostics universality, and he naturally gave birth to a proposal: universal devices appeared, but they could not withstand price competition, since for their release it was necessary to acquire a lot of patent information at exorbitant prices.

Then all sorts of companies and firms took up the business, including individual craftsmen, who worked diligently on hacking and adapting original software codes (exchange protocols) for unified devices. And the price of universal scanners, without cheating the value of intellectual property of programmers from various automakers, has now become quite acceptable.

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