Originally Posted by Loren & Cathy
We are talking about 2 different kinds of scanners. One that you plug in to the vehicles computer to diagnose an engine or brake problem and one that will let you monitor vehicle functions. I wouldn't use the first on on my new truck and don't need the second one as everything can be brought up on the dash screen.
Same port, but yes, there is a range of capabilities in the equipment you can attach to it. The cheapest just display error codes, the next step up provides translations of those codes, another level lets you reset codes (intended to be used after you have addressed the reported condition), and the most functional also let you monitor various parameters... in some cases (not the ScanGauge) with nice dash graphics. I'm pretty sure all of the advanced devices for monitoring can also simply report error codes.
I see no reason to avoid reading error codes (not resetting them) on a new vehicle, other than a lack of desire to understanding a problem (which is understandable, for those who are simply not interested). Reading the codes won't hurt anything. If your vehicle never produces an error code, that's fortunate (none of my OBD-equipped vehicles has ever reported an error
), but not everyone is so lucky.
The range of information available on dash displays varies greatly by model, and even by trim level within the model. I found it interesting that a Dodge Charger which I recently rented was able to precisely display transmission temperature... in a vehicle which is highly unlikely to ever tow anything or carry any significant load. Once the display is there, it's just programming. If the factory doesn't put this capability in for whatever reason - my 2012 Mazda doesn't have a suitable display, for instance - then a separate device is the way to get that information.