Car Diagnostic Scanner

21
Found 30th May 2015
Hi can anyone recommend a decent OBD2 scanner up to about £200.00. I have been looking at the Autel Maxicheck Pro but after posing a question to the UK agent regarding my car, Mazda 6 mk1 2 litre diesel, on Amazon they failed to answer my last question when I pointed out that my car wasn't listed in their compatible vehicles list. They had previously said the tool will perform a forced regeneration of the dpf, a must on my car due to bad design but when I asked them their advert didn't list Mazda, they failed to respond. In fact their answers seem to be written by a robot. Their advert also doesn't say it will do dpf regen yet they told me it did. Now being involved in sales myself I tend to tell customers exactly what products do.

So what I am looking for is a scanner which will do ABS light, Engine Management Light, Traction Control Light and DPF forced regeneration. It would help if it was also Ford compatible too. If anyone has the Maxicheck Pro I would appreciate the feedback as I don't want to part with £209.00 to find it won't do what I want it to.

Thanks
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AskCarScanner
21 Comments
surely if they told you it will do what you want then doesn't, you would be covered by the Amazon guarantee & therefore send it back?
have you asked the local Mazda garage what they recommend as I found them very helpful with my 323 & parts needed & upgrades.
good luck
as long as your car was made after 2001 any obd2 scanner will do.
you can even just get a Bluetooth one off eBay for about 8 quid!
all of them do code reading and sensor readings but I don't think they all do Abs.
Original Poster
taffyevans

surely if they told you it will do what you want then doesn't, you would … surely if they told you it will do what you want then doesn't, you would be covered by the Amazon guarantee & therefore send it back?have you asked the local Mazda garage what they recommend as I found them very helpful with my 323 & parts needed & upgrades.good luck



Yes but I don't see the point in buying something that won't do what I want it to due to lack of information from the seller. One of the pitfalls of buying online which I hate doing on something like this. If they sold this at Halfords I could find out there and then and decide to buy or not. I know I am covered by the distance selling regs and have my question documented on Amazon's website so can return it if it doesn't work but it's just hassle. I never buy anything electronic online in case there is something wrong. Far easier to take it back to a shop but it's not as though I can buy this in a shop. Thanks for your answer. I think the diagnostic equipment the dealer uses will probably cost more to buy than my car is worth and they won't be using any £200 scanners on their vehicles, but you never know until you ask. In fact I have a very good contact at our local Mitsubishi garage so I will ask him.
Original Poster
stefromuk

as long as your car was made after 2001 any obd2 scanner will do. you can … as long as your car was made after 2001 any obd2 scanner will do. you can even just get a Bluetooth one off eBay for about 8 quid! all of them do code reading and sensor readings but I don't think they all do Abs.



Thank you for your answer. Yes I know that any scanner from £4 upwards will read the codes but the cheap scanners won't access more advanced systems such as abs, airbag and traction control. They won't turn lights off either and I want one that will specifically access the dpf to do a forced regeneration. A must for any diesel car owner that has active regeneration.
Have you tried the mazda forums?

People on there can probably recommend the best bet. Are you limiting yourself to standalone devices or are you also looking at PC software?

I have ross tech for audi, genuine tech2 for saab/gm and a couple of others for bmw. All well worth buying, saved me a fortune over the years.
I use a modified ELM327 Cable with my Ford Mondeo, I'm fairly sure it works for a lot of Mazda cars too. I've not got time to look into right now and don't know what year your car is but have a look at the software pages and see if it works for your car.

The cable is under £20...
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ELM327-Diagnostic-Cable-OBDII-Modified-for-Forscan-Elmconfig-Ford-Mazda-CAN-/201357278579?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item2ee1d43d73

I use forscan which is free...
http://forscan.org/download.html

Have a look through to see if it works for your car. For most cars that it works with it offers all the functionality you require.
As a second thought - I have an unused m-VCI unit - it was supposed to work with my volvo but I couldn't get it to talk (but my volvo had a funny issue with the ecu). It was advertised as being specifically for japanese cars Honda/toyota mazda.

I'd be looking for £50 is it worth me checking whats on the software?
For that sort of price it may be worth while having your ecu remapped and your dpf hollowed out, Also have the egr deleted.

I'm not sure what diagnostics software Mazda use but as recommended Mazda forums would be your best bet.

I've got VCDS/Vagcom for my car and I was lucky I could use cracked software and a cheap cable from ebay.

However if you're going to be keeping the car, Paying £200-£300 for diagnostics kit might be worthwhile if you use it a few times it's paid for itself plus you could resell when you no longer have the car.
Original Poster
mas99

Have you tried the mazda forums?People on there can probably recommend … Have you tried the mazda forums?People on there can probably recommend the best bet. Are you limiting yourself to standalone devices or are you also looking at PC software?I have ross tech for audi, genuine tech2 for saab/gm and a couple of others for bmw. All well worth buying, saved me a fortune over the years.



Thanks. I have tried the Mazda forums but no response as yet so thought I would try on here as hotukdeals probably has a greater audience. Yours was the type of answer I was looking for as it is dedicated for the vehicle manufacturer. I think I have found one for the Mazda. It is a Rotunda VCM. Its not cheap for a diagnostic plug in at £120.00 and then I need to get the software to work on the laptop. Allegedly it will do what the stealers can do. TBH it's not surprising they charge so much for a diagnostic plug in providing of course they are using the genuine equipment and not cheap knock offs (or not so cheap where Rotunda is concerned) from the far east. The cost is 100's/1,000's of £. You can't stop people hacking and copying stuff so why not just make it cheap enough for all to buy.
Original Poster
mas99

As a second thought - I have an unused m-VCI unit - it was supposed to … As a second thought - I have an unused m-VCI unit - it was supposed to work with my volvo but I couldn't get it to talk (but my volvo had a funny issue with the ecu). It was advertised as being specifically for japanese cars Honda/toyota mazda.I'd be looking for £50 is it worth me checking whats on the software?



Thanks. The m-VCI is not suitable for Mazda. Looks like it is dedicated for Bosch systems which the Mazda isn't. Looks like the sort of kit I am looking for but believe I have found it with the Rotunda VCM. My only issue here is I would have preferred a hand held instead of using the laptop but maybe I am asking too much for too little a price. I would be interested to know if anyone has any Autel products though.
Original Poster
shauneco

For that sort of price it may be worth while having your ecu remapped and … For that sort of price it may be worth while having your ecu remapped and your dpf hollowed out, Also have the egr deleted. I'm not sure what diagnostics software Mazda use but as recommended Mazda forums would be your best bet. I've got VCDS/Vagcom for my car and I was lucky I could use cracked software and a cheap cable from ebay.However if you're going to be keeping the car, Paying £200-£300 for diagnostics kit might be worthwhile if you use it a few times it's paid for itself plus you could resell when you no longer have the car.



Thanks. I have looked at have the dpf removed and ecu remapped. The ecu bit is really easy on the Mazda although the re-mappers won't tell you that. They want £400 where I live to do it which seems a bit expensive for 4 hours work. It also incurs future problems as if they introduce an emission test for diesels I will be screwed. At present the tester only has to do a visual check. This could change. It also validates your insurance if you don't tell them you have removed it as it's classed as a modification but the main issue is that technically it is illegal to remove the dpf. The dpf was a quick fix to satisfy the Euro 4 / 5, not sure which but it is not the answer as it just passes more problems onto the motorist and since there have been 1,000's of issues with dpf's clogging and not regenerating properly. For some strange reason the 'clever boys' who invented the active system seem to think it should be up to the car when it should regenerate....errm no I think it should be up to me and a nice big red button on the dash would be really easy to press when I am doing 70mph on the motorway. Chances are the dpf will want to regenerate when you come to the end of your journey and not the start of it meaning dpf comes on just as you drop into a 40/30 zone. If you can't clear it, the light starts flashing and car goes into limp and another trip to the stealer. This has happened quite a few times now and apart from the last time I have never got the light to go off and it goes into limp. Luckily last time I was on a motorway just coming out of a services, light came on and I just held it in 4th gear at 3,500 revs and it cleared in 10 minutes. No problem since until the next time.
Smartguy1

Thanks. I have looked at have the dpf removed and ecu remapped. The ecu … Thanks. I have looked at have the dpf removed and ecu remapped. The ecu bit is really easy on the Mazda although the re-mappers won't tell you that. They want £400 where I live to do it which seems a bit expensive for 4 hours work. It also incurs future problems as if they introduce an emission test for diesels I will be screwed. At present the tester only has to do a visual check. This could change. It also validates your insurance if you don't tell them you have removed it as it's classed as a modification but the main issue is that technically it is illegal to remove the dpf. The dpf was a quick fix to satisfy the Euro 4 / 5, not sure which but it is not the answer as it just passes more problems onto the motorist and since there have been 1,000's of issues with dpf's clogging and not regenerating properly. For some strange reason the 'clever boys' who invented the active system seem to think it should be up to the car when it should regenerate....errm no I think it should be up to me and a nice big red button on the dash would be really easy to press when I am doing 70mph on the motorway. Chances are the dpf will want to regenerate when you come to the end of your journey and not the start of it meaning dpf comes on just as you drop into a 40/30 zone. If you can't clear it, the light starts flashing and car goes into limp and another trip to the stealer. This has happened quite a few times now and apart from the last time I have never got the light to go off and it goes into limp. Luckily last time I was on a motorway just coming out of a services, light came on and I just held it in 4th gear at 3,500 revs and it cleared in 10 minutes. No problem since until the next time.



This is the problem with dpf's, The solution I suggested may cause problems in the future I agree and would be costly to reverse the procedure as you'd need a new dpf, I doubt for the current generation of diesels would they test the emissions, It would be the next generation if they was to impose that, I know that they've changed the mot procedure to imply that if it's fitted as standard then they must be fitted hence having it hollowed out.

You could buy a second hand faulty dpf and have that hollowed out instead saving the current one?.

I'm not sure it's illegal as such, How would they know as they don't currently test emissions?.

I guess you do alot of town driving?, Have you considered a petrol?.

Your solution of forcing regen would be a good idea but eventually your dpf will go beyond regeneration which would require a new dpf.

I'm not sure what method Mazda use, Peugeot for example use a fluid as an additive and topping up requires a complex procedure which also involves resetting the ecu.
Smartguy1

My only issue here is I would have preferred a hand held instead of using … My only issue here is I would have preferred a hand held instead of using the laptop but maybe I am asking too much for too little a price. I would be interested to know if anyone has any Autel products though.



My dad has one of the entry level autel maxdiag units (does a fair bit but not dpf) seems a decent bit of kit.

TBH I don't think DPFs are as big an issue as people think. The problem generally is that so few people (and garages) understand how they work, so you get a lot of botching and ineffective messing around.

The useful thing about being able to force a regen is that it will then flag up whatever issue might be stopping the regen from happening in normal use.

I've never had a mazda and I'm not familiar with their engines but generally its fairly easy to strip down and clean an EGR and if you make sure the glow plugs and thermostats are good then you should be ok. The problems I've seen have all come down to being issues with keeping the temperature high enough for the regen to work.
shauneco

I'm not sure what method Mazda use, Peugeot for example use a fluid as an … I'm not sure what method Mazda use, Peugeot for example use a fluid as an additive and topping up requires a complex procedure which also involves resetting the ecu.



I think mazda inject extra fuel after the burn which is supposed to burn in the dpf. I remember reading about issues with the oil getting diluted with diesel when regen keeps failing and the car keeps trying. You're supposed to keep a check on the oil level and worry if it goes up.


I had problems with my Saab DPF last year and it was nice to be able to drive along with the tech2 showing the exhaust temp and the DPF pressure and watching it regen.
Original Poster
Hi guys, thanks for all of your comments and suggestions. Better results on here than on the Mazda forums so far, The Maxda dpf sytem is not a good one and I advise anyone looking at a diesel to enquire if it has an active or passive dpf system. If it has an active system DO NOT BUY THE CAR. An active system such as the Mazda diesel mk1, not sure about mk2, uses an active system. The car determines when the dpf regenerates. There is a lot of criteria to take into account when this can happen. It uses extra diesel to generate a higher exhaust temperature to burn the particles off the filter. It's a rubbish system and should never have been allowed. Diesel that is not burnt end up in the sump diluting your oil. If it reaches too higher a level your engine will start to eat it's own oil and destroy the engine if you don't stop it. It isn't just Mazda who have gone this route. The best system is a passive system which uses an additive to mix with the diesel. No such rising oil issues.

I was advised by a Mazda agent to run the car at 80mph. Not ideal in lots of circumstances unless motorways are quiet. Interesting that they advised me to break the law in order to keep my dpf free of soot.

To remove the dpf is the answer. However if my car's dpf is removed it will produce more emissions than it was originally intended. A higher emission vehicle would command more in road tax as it would be in a higher road tax band. That is why to remove it would be illegal and if my car ever got pulled I could be prosecuted. Chances are very unlikely but the dpf was brought in to stop all of the harmful emissions produced when diesels are cold.

I had thought of the idea of removing the dpf with one that was broken, hollow it out and if the law ever changed in the future I could swap the pipes back over. I understand the mapping of the ecu is just a question of removing a tick in a box telling the car either to perform regen or not.

Many thanks for your help guys.
Sometimes it's more complex than ticking a box in the ecu for regen or no regen, For example having the dpf hollowed out creates less back pressure than the car expects = fault code/light on dash and/or limp mode. Sometimes several adjustments need to be made to totally delete dpf from the system. Indeed simply telling it not to regen might be fine on the Mazda depending on how strict they are with it.



Edited by: ".MUFC." 31st May 2015
Original Poster
shauneco

Sometimes it's more complex than ticking a box in the ecu for regen or no … Sometimes it's more complex than ticking a box in the ecu for regen or no regen, For example having the dpf hollowed out creates less back pressure than the car expects = fault code/light on dash and/or limp mode. Sometimes several adjustments need to be made to totally delete dpf from the system. Indeed simply telling it not to regen might be fine on the Mazda depending on how strict they are with it.



That's a good point thank you. Looks like I am going to get the Rotunda module for the car. It's not cheap seeing you can get a modded EM327 for Ford for £20.00 so I may buy that first and use Forscan like the other post said. It will be worth it to try as the Rotunda one is like £130.00. It is Ford based but does Mazda also. I have downloaded the software which looks quite interesting. Software booted up ok. So far so good although I would have preferred a hand-held instead of using a laptop.
Edited by: "Smartguy1" 31st May 2015
The eolys (sp?) systems have plenty of issues as well.

I'd suggest that you start with checking egr/glow plugs and thermostats. Might be worth a word with the local mazda dealer to see if the ecu software has been revised - saab certainly changed the regen rules several times over the years. Made it easier to get a regen to happen - earlier software only did it after quite a long high speed run, later software would regen even at moderate speeds.

There are probably on line instructions for cleaning the egr and inlet manifold
Edited by: "mas99" 2nd Jun 2015
Original Poster
mas99

The eolys (sp?) systems have plenty of issues as well.I'd suggest that … The eolys (sp?) systems have plenty of issues as well.I'd suggest that you start with checking egr/glow plugs and thermostats. Might be worth a word with the local mazda dealer to see if the ecu software has been revised - saab certainly changed the regen rules several times over the years. Made it easier to get a regen to happen - earlier software only did it after quite a long high speed run, later software would regen even at moderate speeds.There are probably on line instructions for cleaning the egr and inlet manifold



Yes you have a good point but unfortunately I knew nothing of dpf systems before I bought my car. It was only after watching a watchdog advert a week later that I realised potential issues. Had I known then what I know now I would have bought an older diesel without dpf or petrol. The problem with active regen is the dpf regeneration on the mazda seems to be a major issue. Forums are full of complaints and the same with Renault also on their Laguna with reports of engines exploding due to breathing it's own oil, hence a weekly check on the oil level. I had a warning on mine once when the oil was high. I accelerated past 3,000 rpm and the car started to rev harder and didn't sound too nice due to mis-fire. I checked the oil and it was just above the X mark which is the cue to change it. I changed the oil and emptied just short of 8 litres from a 4 litre sump. I guess all that diesel in the oil keeps the components nice and clean hopefully the additives in the oil are doing their job by stopping the the pistons welding themselves to the block.

This is not a good engine design with potential shortened engine life and extra cost being passed onto the motorist. Perhaps greater pressure should have been put on the fuel companies to make diesel a more cleaner fuel. This may come in time perhaps but for now we have quick fix by the motor industry that came up with a bodge called the dpf . It is not the answer. All those precious metals, all those extra trips to the garage. All of those blasts down the motorway that are wasted journeys to clear the dpf and the idea was that the soot should be collected and blown out as ash in areas away from the city. Where are all the garages doing the forced regens situated.....yes, in and around the cities. What about aircraft. There are about 50 million people flying at any one time and their engines burn kerosene which is very very similar to diesel. I wonder if their engines have big soot collector boxes which blow out every 1,000 miles or so. No doubt it's at some point flying over my house lol.

For me Mazda, Renault, Mitsubishi and others have gone the wrong way and I will never buy a car with an active system. My daughter has a 2008 Focus 1.6tdci which is an additive system which has never seen a motorway and never had the dpf light come on. I doubt if it's been removed as she owned the car from a year old. I guess some systems are better than others although I agree eolys have issues too and their static regens are interesting to watch revving their guts out nearly maximum rpm. Least the Mazda does it at just under 2,000 rpm. My boss has just got an Audi A5 which has a separate filler for something called ADBLU. Sounds like something you put in a chemical toilet but it seems to work ok for now. I guess buying Audi, BMW or Mercedes may get you a better class of dpf system as well as a better class of car. I would have put VW in there but one of the guys at work has a Passat and he's had constant problems with his and he drives motorways all the time. We had 3 Mercedes Vito vans at where I used to work and no issues with dpf's but not sure what system they use.

Some may read this and think why don't you just get rid of the car. Well I love the Mazda 6. It is big, feels safe, eats motorway miles and hills and it was a cheap car at 3 years old with only 42k on the clock. Even with dpf issues I have had it has still been cheaper to run than a petrol. A dpf regen tool will probably be the answer. Manufacturers should put one in the boot instead of a compressor and and an aerosol that won't fix your puncture kit. Whoever thought of that must have been a complete idiot and it's nice to see manufacturers are now putting spares back in the boot which is what it should have. I believe the latest Mazda 2.2 diesel uses a different type of dpf system compared to my model. Hopefully a move in the right direction but time will tell and reading the forums it appears there are still issues, but then they will always be issues with any car.

Last month I had the dream trip of a holiday to southern Austria travelling through Holland and Germany. Car was all serviced before leaving including a £400 cambelt change. 150 miles into the journey at speeds of up to 100mph, pulling out of a services (first stop) dpf light comes on. Dropped into 4th, held it a 2,500 rpm and then light flashes and engine management light comes on. Reduced power now. Car will still do 90+ but has no acceleration power. Managed to get car into a Mazda agent and dpf regenerated. Now my car was purchased by me at 3 years old with full Mazda service. The next service was also done by Mazda agent (Nunns Grimsby). The very last service was done by a Mazda specialist and now I change my own oil at a third of what Mazda and the specialist want.

The GERMAN mechanic informed me there was an update for the PCM on my car to help with the dpf regenration and couldn't understand why my car didn't have it. They stopped making my model more than 5 years ago and it has been to a Mazda agent twice in the last 5 years. Could it be the update was never issued to the UK or that it was never issued to the Mazda agents or have the Mazda agents not given the car the update knowing full well it will generate more visits to the local dealer or stealer. What does concern me here is that if updates are given to the manufacturer dealerships only then taking your car to an independent could prove not so cost effective if they don't have access to the updates.The german mechanic was amazing in his knowledge of the car and even told me the wiring going to the pcm was starting to corrode and should be replaced and that I should consider getting the valve clearances checked and at same time to replace the injector seals and he showed me what happens when left with some old parts he had. He also commented that he had looked inside the top of my engine with some fancy camera tool and that my engine was in very good condition. They didn't rip me off and was happy with the bill. I continued on my journey enjoying the rest of my holiday. Travelling back through Holland just leaving a services and the dpf light comes on!!!!!!! Now is this telling me to cane the car. Not easy on a very busy dutch motorway with lots of trucks in both lanes but held it in 3rd and 4th gear at just over 3,000 rpm and after 10 mins the light went off. Now that's the first time it's come on and I managed to get it off again without a trip to the dealer. Looks like the PCM update worked so far because no further issues to report but I know it will come on again. It's just a matter of time.
Original Poster
Sorry I meant to keep it short lol.
Smartguy1

Sorry I meant to keep it short lol.




I feel your frustration good luck with it.
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