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Old 04-11-2011, 10:32 PM
 
3,071 posts, read 7,446,659 times
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I saw a tv commercial where they were selling a product called CAR MD. For about 150 bucks you would get your own scanner to pull codes and a dvd for you computer that would tell you just from the code exactly what was wrong with the car and how much it should cost, They said it would keep you from ever being ripped off by a mechanic and you would know exactly what was wrong with the car before you even went to a mechanic....Has anyone else seen this add.? I think many people who buy this will be greatly surprised the first time they try to tell a real mechanic they know as much as he does about what is wrong with their car,,,,
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Old 04-11-2011, 10:52 PM
 
Location: Pomona
1,955 posts, read 9,203,457 times
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Code scanners can be had for under $30. What the codes mean, that's widely available on the net. What it should cost ... how is it going to factor different labor rates and different parts prices?

Like many "as seen on TV" items, I'd avoid it.
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Old 04-12-2011, 07:12 AM
 
10,714 posts, read 11,416,913 times
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The Carmd is nothing more than an OBD-II scanner that you can get inexpensively pretty much anywhere.
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Old 04-12-2011, 07:16 AM
 
3,129 posts, read 5,144,177 times
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^^^ Yup.

Hell you can go to an auto parts store and they will run the codes for free for you.
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Old 04-12-2011, 07:31 AM
 
14,777 posts, read 34,516,591 times
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They're basically bundling an OBD-II scanner with a labor time/parts book, think Mitchells. I personally think it's a waste for a couple reasons:

1. You can get a plain scanner much cheaper and look the codes up online, or even go to a parts store and have the codes read.

2. Unless the labor/parts guide is updated regularly the pricing information will be off and newer models won't be represented.

3. It is impossible to get an accurate diagnosis for all problems from a code alone. Looking at their website they even admit to this. One guy had a misfire and he was thrilled when they presented him with several options as to what it could be.

It's not a bad deal for a scanner and labor/parts book if it's regularly updated. You can spend a lot less and get the same results if you dig around online. I think it has really limited use for most people.
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Old 04-12-2011, 02:04 PM
 
3,071 posts, read 7,446,659 times
Reputation: 1619
The TV commercial would people to believe that the car repair questions would be over. It does have its merits to someone who has a basic knowledge of the OBD11 system. I think many who buy this will find it offers little help for them. The real solutions for car problems will be just too technical for them to be able to discuss repairs with a mechanic and still not be able to be ripped.
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Old 04-12-2011, 07:07 PM
 
10,683 posts, read 17,032,722 times
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Knowing the code does not necessarilly tell you what's wrong, different issues can throw the same code, and the code does not say hey, this part is bad, most of the time it requires troubleshooting and testing.
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Old 04-12-2011, 07:10 PM
 
Location: The High Seas
7,146 posts, read 12,737,963 times
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Just go to Auto Zone, ask for the OBD2 scanner, leave your credit card (they'll ask you for this, so you don't run off with their $100 gadget) and plug into the computer of your car (generally on the dash under the steering column). If you get a code, write it down and google on your computer.
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Old 04-12-2011, 07:27 PM
 
8,402 posts, read 19,542,474 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
They're basically bundling an OBD-II scanner with a labor time/parts book, think Mitchells. I personally think it's a waste for a couple reasons:

1. You can get a plain scanner much cheaper and look the codes up online, or even go to a parts store and have the codes read.

2. Unless the labor/parts guide is updated regularly the pricing information will be off and newer models won't be represented.

3. It is impossible to get an accurate diagnosis for all problems from a code alone. Looking at their website they even admit to this. One guy had a misfire and he was thrilled when they presented him with several options as to what it could be.

It's not a bad deal for a scanner and labor/parts book if it's regularly updated. You can spend a lot less and get the same results if you dig around online. I think it has really limited use for most people.
I agree, especially with the part reiterated here...

Quote:
Originally Posted by NHDave View Post
Knowing the code does not necessarilly tell you what's wrong, different issues can throw the same code, and the code does not say hey, this part is bad, most of the time it requires troubleshooting and testing.
My GTO CEL lit up about a block before I was about to pass an AutoZone, so I whipped in and had them run the codes. I looked them up and found two O2 sensors has apparently failed at exactly the same time. I knew that was unlikely, and remembered the animals yanking on my aftermarket ram-air cleaner when flushing the cooling system earlier that day. Sure enough, they'd gotten something on the MAF sensor. I took it off, cleaned it, and a couple hours of driving later, the CEL went off.

Knowledge is power, but you need to know how to use it.
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Old 04-13-2011, 07:42 AM
 
14,777 posts, read 34,516,591 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vmaxnc View Post
I agree, especially with the part reiterated here...

My GTO CEL lit up about a block before I was about to pass an AutoZone, so I whipped in and had them run the codes. I looked them up and found two O2 sensors has apparently failed at exactly the same time. I knew that was unlikely, and remembered the animals yanking on my aftermarket ram-air cleaner when flushing the cooling system earlier that day. Sure enough, they'd gotten something on the MAF sensor. I took it off, cleaned it, and a couple hours of driving later, the CEL went off.

Knowledge is power, but you need to know how to use it.
An O2 sensor fault is the perfect example of the limitation of code scanners with diagnostic tools. The sensor sets a fault, but it could literally be dozens of different things that are actually wrong with the car.
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