One thing that I brought back home was an Autel Maxiscan MS300 OBD-II Code Reader that is used to read diagnostic trouble codes from cars. My father’s aging 2000 Toyota Echo had its check engine light on and bringing it to a mechanic to read the code costs >$70, so we decided to try an inexpensive code reader instead and at around $20 on Amazon, the Autel reader fit the bill. This post contains some pictures of the code reader and how well or not well it worked for us.
The Autel Maxiscan MS300 came with a manual and a CD with a diagnostic trouble code library. The MS300 is a simple device with an attached OBD (OnBoard Diagnostics) connector, a two line display and only two buttons: Enter and Scroll. It’s not nearly as fancy as the code readers used by professional mechanics, but the MS300 can read codes, the Vehicle ID number (VIN), and other information. Most importantly for us, the MS300 can clear the trouble codes and thus turn off the check engine light.
After receiving the MS300 in the mail, I first tried the device on my 2006 Mercedes ML350. My car didn’t have any problems at the moment, but I wanted to check the other functions of the reader. The MS300 is powered by the OBD port, and thus the device turns on once it’s plugged into the port.
To use the device, I have turn my car’s ignition to the “ON” position without starting the engine. After that, I pressed the “Enter” button on the MS300 and it started to scan for information. Once the scan is done, the reader told me how many error codes were there (0 in my case) and displays the menu as shown below.
There are five items in the menu: DTC Code, Erase, I/M Status, VIN, and Rescan. DTC Code displays any trouble codes in the car’s computer; erase clears the trouble codes and turns off the check engine light; I/M Status displays some inspection/emissions info; VIN reads the vehicles’s ID number; and rescan gets the reader to scan for information again. I tried the I/M and VIN functions on my car and both worked.
I brought the reader back home in winter vacation and used it on my father’s 2000 Toyota Echo which had the check engine light on. The MS300 worked as well on the Echo and read the error codes. We know what the error code was and cleared it using the MS300. Hopefully the check engine light doesn’t come back any time soon, but if it does at least we have some idea of what the problem is before my dad has to fix the car. Overall, the Maxiscan MS300 worked as advertised and was easy to use, and that in my eyes makes it a decent purchase.