Snap-on the Better Scan Tool?

Travis Mobile Technician Wisconsin Posted   Latest  

When Autel started making waves years ago with its ability to do random resets, tests, and programming that no other tool could do made them really stand out. Lately I have been running into a lot of holes in Autel and Launch that my Snap-on tool had much more functionality. Anyone else running into this? I know you will always need multiple tools and each serves its purpose but it seems like Snap-on is taking a lead again. 

I would love to hear what others are seeing and what your first go to tool is. 

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Milos Technician
Ontario
Milos
 

I hope so… They have a LOT of work and catching up to do. I could write a book about how gimicky and kinda useless the snap on is for the price. “Intelligent diagnostics” Yeah because I need to know the possible causes of an evap leak on a GM lmao… Yes I need my hand held for that. They dont tell you the 'intelligent diagnostics" part has no data 95% of the time you actually need it when they…

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Travis Mobile Technician
Wisconsin
Travis
 

I can agree with you on that. I am using the Verus so I don't have to worry about their “Intelligent diagnostics” lol.

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Marlin Technician
Oregon
Marlin
 

A few years ago when the Apollo D8 was new, I bought it instead of the Autel that I was planning to buy. I frequently think that I probably should have bought the Autel instead. Not that the D8 is a terrible tool, especially since it was low cost; it is just very slow, tedious to use graphing, missing or doesn't work for many bi-directional controls, missing basic functions like key programming…

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Richard Diagnostician
Oregon
Richard
   

I have a SnapOn Zeus, Autel MaxisysPro, Vantage w/Kv module and test DB software through 2004, Autodiagnos Multitester Pro with software carts from Europe and VD2 bidirectional module for Volvo, SnapOn Prolink Edge for HD trucks, and a Mac Tools MDT 10. Ranked in order of go-to. SnapOn Intelligent diagnostics is a joke. Most of the time it won't show any relevant PID data. Snap on also fails to…

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Adam Owner
Arizona
Adam
 

Which of the Autels gives the most bang for the buck? Several have pass-thru capability. Some shops are using MS 808, some the 906, others 909. Just wondering by polling, which one has been found to be the most all-around useful. Seems like every scanner made has it's pluses and minuses.

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Richard Diagnostician
Oregon
Richard
 

Mine is a MS908P with a pass-through. I think it's been the most help in the realm of European cars, and oddly well with Mercedes-based Sprinter vans. I learned to quickly identify faults in diesel exhaust aftertreatment systems thanks to the Autel. Concise formatting and presentation of relevant live data are the first things I look for in a good scan tool. Autel does a good job of keeping PID…

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Michael Technician
Indiana
Michael
 

Adam, I have used the maxisys elite for the past 2 years, I have upgraded to the Ultra. They have fixed the problem with not being able to merge more than three pids into the same graph. I used to hate that, Looking at wheel speed sensors and you have to decide which sensor to leave out of the main graph you are looking at. It is super fast, it boots up before you can plug into the car. I…

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Tommy Owner/Technician
Oklahoma
Tommy
 

Are there any scanners that do like the old vantage? pico has the automotive guide…

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Glenn Owner/Technician
Texas
Glenn
 

Hi Tommy, The Vantage was a stand alone unit that worked well when the MT2500 scanner was also used. The old Vantage by Snap On was basically a digital DVOM with a component testing database. It was not a scanner. On early MODIS and Verus models, they basically incorporated the component testing database into a scanner and scope platform. The Vantage pro was an updated version with some…

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Tommy Owner/Technician
Oklahoma
Tommy
 

I loved the old vantage. My escope is a way better scope but miss that guided hand snap on had in the vantage…

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Laird Owner/Technician
Nova Scotia
Laird
 

It is in any snap on product with a scope. The Zeus, Verus, Modis, triton and the Vantage. I agree it is a very helpful and nice thing to have on the tool

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Glenn Owner/Technician
Texas
Glenn
 

Hi Laird, Back years ago, my Snap On scanner MT2500 and My Vantage were the “Go to” combination for difficult troubleshoots. I liked that combo for the years I used them, but it also meant having multiple tooling and setup. I appreciated that approach because it actually afforded me the time to reflect (think about) on my diagnostic approach and methods. This prevented a lot of rushed and often…

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Sorunke Mobile Technician
Nigeria
Sorunke
 

Thank you, this is helpful.

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Glenn Owner/Technician
Texas
Glenn
 

Hi Travis, What Autel are you using, there are many with different levels of diagnostic capabilities? Snap On is similar. Which specific units are you making this comparison on? The reality of all this there is no one tool that can do everything, there never will be. Manufacturers are constantly changing there strategies, so scanners are always changing. Even on the dealer level, changes are…

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Travis Mobile Technician
Wisconsin
Travis
 

I am using the Autel Maxisys Elite.

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Glenn Owner/Technician
Texas
Glenn
 

Hi Travis, Currently I use an Autel 906BT, a Snap On Verus and an older Snap On MODIS. I don't work on the newest vehicles, so I have real good coverage for now. I have been checking out the new Autel Ultra and I use one that a fellow shop owner has from time to time. It's pretty impressive.

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Tommy Owner/Technician
Oklahoma
Tommy
 

Well we have a oem Honda, Toyota, Snap on Triton, Escan, Escope, Launch mini, Autel Maxisys and just bought the new Thinktool Platinum s20. For me the Thinktool smokes them all. Love the online programming from the machine. Always no tool does it all but it has been really great so far….

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Darren Technician
Wisconsin
Darren
 

I have the zeus, new Autel , escan , and drive pro. The Zeus is still my go to, don’t know why?

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Jamie Owner/Technician
Ontario
Jamie
 

I love my autel Elite. 95% of the jobs I roll up on for programming or Diag issues has a Snap On sitting on the driver's seat. Don't get me wrong Snap On used to be “the” tool and I've owned a few from the brick on up. However, since buying the autel there's no looking back for me. I wouldn't be surprised if Snap On exited the scan tool market in the next few years as they aren't keeping up.

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Jim Owner/Technician
Ohio
Jim
   

This has been my experience as well. When I arrive at a shop, a Snap On will be plugged in to the waiting vehicle at least 95% of the time. The first thing I do is disconnect it. I am not a fan of any Snap On menu system. I have never found it to be very intuitive. I have OE for GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, and Honda. However, the first tool I grab is always the 906BT. It's easy to use, fairly…

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Michael Technician
Indiana
Michael
 

Jim, There is one thing I didn't understand about the Autel line up, I worked at a tire shop that used the 906. After leaving, The next shop didn't have any scan tools. In need of a tool and as usual wanting to save as much as possible I purchased an Autel MK808bt, It's is just a smaller tablet than the 906bt. All the software looked the same. Until the first time I needed it to do an actual…

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Laird Owner/Technician
Nova Scotia
Laird
 

I am surprised it didn't do it. Did you contact autel to see if there is a patch or update. I just went from a elite to an ultra also, hope I didn't make a mistake. I was under the impression that it was an improvement from the elite as there flagship diagnostic tool

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Michael Technician
Indiana
Michael
 

it does PMI on every other module on that car EXCEPT PCM. I didn't contact customer support because the link on support said the tool does not do it. I guess they could have left it out by mistake. No, I din't think we made a mistake by any means, the topology and the improved graphing capabilities are wonderful. All of these tools have their shortcomings. That's why we all have five in our…

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Jim Owner/Technician
Ohio
Jim
 

Michael, The level 1 tools are very basic. I usually only recommend them for body shops to do pre and post scans. I believe the level 2 and 3 tools have the same capabilities with the exception that level 3 includes J2534. I own the IM508. When I bought it, I considered the IM608, but it wouldn't have made any sense because I don't work on euro and the diagnostics side of the 608 is supposed to…

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Michael Technician
Indiana
Michael
 

Jim, I wish Autel was clearer on these things. Two of the local car lots, I do service for, both have 906bt's. I've scolded both of them, for bothering me with some reset, that they had the capability to do. For instance, say a occupant Classification. They have brought me there tool, so I could show them where it was. Low and behold, Not there, missing, both times, I couldn't believe it. So…

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Jim Owner/Technician
Ohio
Jim
 

Mike, I agree the 906BT is certainly not perfect. I have found that some functions such as OCS/SWS initialization may not be located under the Special Functions menu (where it should be). On some vehicles these resets are only located under the Hot Functions button. There is no rhyme or reason to this either. A particular reset may be in Special functions, Hot Functions, both locations, or…

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Ken Owner
Louisiana
Ken
 

My every day go to tool is the Autel IM608 because it can pull security pin codes, which is necessary for late model module programming. If I need to program a BMW or Mercedes or need a scope I will use the Autel MS919. The MS919 has the same functionality as the Ultra but it is smaller and doesn't have split screen capability. If I am working on a big truck I will use the Autel MS909CV. For…

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Laird Owner/Technician
Nova Scotia
Laird
 

I have a Zeus and an autel maxisys ultra. In the last 4 upgrades I have noticed alot of functionality added to the snap on ability. There have been many times the autel wouldn't do tests it shows it does or doesn't have the test at all and the Zeus did it. When it comes to coding or module swaps like a PMI on a ford it seems snap on doesn't do any of it. The autel does and is awesome on…

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Glenn Owner/Technician
Texas
Glenn
 

Hi Laird and others out there, I ran across some web info that Autel is teaming up with MOTOR repair information, but I think it is just a subscription offering. Anyone know about this with the higher end Autel machines like the Maxisys Ultra?

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Laird Owner/Technician
Nova Scotia
Laird
 

It does have a subscription offering for that. I don't have the tool right now as it started to restart by itself and lock up so it is out for repair (under warranty). Not sure what the price was but I had a free trial and I was not impressed. I have all data and identifix so I am not interested in subscribing for that

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Glenn Owner/Technician
Texas
Glenn
 

Thanks for getting back to me on that Laird, I still use an older version of All Data for most automotive repairs, but generally I have had customer agree to a short term subscription or actual repair CD's for some of the newer vehicles and equipment I work on for them. Most love the idea and understand that there is no way for a technician to have detailed repair information for everything…

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Tommy Owner/Technician
Oklahoma
Tommy
 

think motor is 695 or right around that for the yr. For the 3 top aute units

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Michael Technician
Indiana
Michael
 

Yes Glenn, I just bought the Ultra, It came with a subscription to Motor for 3 months. I have also noticed all of the new subscriptions, that were not in the supply stream already, are 1295.00. A few hundred more than I recall for the old ones. Mike

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Glenn Owner/Technician
Texas
Glenn
 

Thanks Michael, I recall MOTOR being pretty good when they were in boob form back in the 70's and 80's, but I think they kind of fell off after All Data and Mitchell became the preferred choice of many shops. Multiple subscriptions are at a minimum with me. I don't have the automotive volume to justify the cost. Digital information subscriptions have become a real cash cow for these companies.

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Marlin Technician
Oregon
Marlin
 

Proofread before posting. I figured out that you mean “book form”.

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Glenn Owner/Technician
Texas
Glenn
 

Wow! that is an oversite, made you look twice though huh?

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Aaron Diagnostician
Iowa
Aaron
 

Well, that would make them much more popular, haha. Might get more people to read the manual.

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Blaine Technician
Iowa
Blaine
 

I honestly don’t understand all the hate around snap on. I have a verus Edge and Topdon Phoenix. The shop has a solus edge and an older Autel. The verus edge is always my first grab. I think it jsut runs the smoothest and crashes the least. I like the way the graphing works and the scope does most of what I need it do and its fast and simple to use. The Topdon is great for the price but it…

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Jamie Owner/Technician
Ontario
Jamie
   

Fair enough but I visit at least 2 shops per day and sometimes double that. It's my regular experience that my Autel Elite has more capabilities than the Snap On tools the shops are using. I agree that no tool does it all but so far the Autel has given me the most bang for the buck. Your mileage may vary. When it comes to scan tools (or any competitive brand discussion) there are always people…

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Blaine Technician
Iowa
Blaine
 

See that’s where I’m tempted to buy a new Autel to try it out. The general consensus seems to be the autel offers more than snap on but based off what I’ve used that’s not true which makes me believe the newer ones are far better than the ones I’ve had access to. On the other hand a couple of the guys I work with have outdated autels and they love Them even though I think they’re terrible! i…

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Matt Technician
Texas
Matt
 

When you visit those shop are you sure it is a tool issue and not the tech using it? I got a zeus and are very happy with it.

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Stephen Owner/Technician
California
Stephen
 

I have a solus ultra, and a top don phoenix. I only got the TD cause they were running a special for life time updates. There are good and bad to both. The snap on, got its last update, and thats it. They wont do anymore. But its fast, love the graphing, and appreciate the troubleshooter. I also like when I do service bay tests, it puls up the pids I need automatically. But theres no excuse why…

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Glenn Owner/Technician
Texas
Glenn
 

Hi Stephen, Not to sound negative on the subject, but I have noticed in recent years most things advertised with “lifetime”, when it comes to warranties or updates, it is just another way of saying…. until they quit making it in 3-5 years (or less). That is an expensive reality.

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Stephen Owner/Technician
California
Stephen
 

I agree Glenn, I expect maybe 5 years if I'm lucky. I'm in it 2k, so I don't feel too soaked.

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Glenn Owner/Technician
Texas
Glenn
 

Hi Stephen, Diagnostic equipment is cheap, right? I enjoy the customers who get flustered when they ask me why I charge to run a code diagnostics. After all, the parts stores do it for free with their Actron scanner. What could be the difference? - Is the quality of the scanner. - Parts stores do not hire seasoned or qualified technicians. - Is the education and the experience of the…

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Stephen Owner/Technician
California
Stephen
 

Ive had a couple of those now and then. I told one, "if you want Google or Siri to fix your car, that's fine, You won't be needing me."

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Justin Owner
Massachusetts
Justin
 

This has turned out to be one of the best quick reviews on many tools I've ever read. And will aid me in my future purchases.

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Tyler Owner
South Carolina
Tyler
 

Are the gaps/issues mainly newer model vehicles by chance?

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Travis Mobile Technician
Wisconsin
Travis
 

For me no, many are …s. One exact example was a 2016 Honda Accord with a SRS light on. No codes shown in Autel Maxisys Elite or Launch Diagun V but my Snapon Versus showed a sub section of the SRS module for the passenger seat and the code. I have seen wrong data in the data PIDs often with Autel as well and the Versus can usually do more actuator tests or resets than the Autel in my…

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Glenn Owner/Technician
Texas
Glenn
 

Hi Travis, I have seen this as well. But on a couple of issues, I did call Autel USA and have them address the problem. They were pretty helpful. Often times they don't know there is an issue unless people report it. They push program Wi-Fi/internet updates on a daily basis, but you have to download only the ones you need for the vehicles you work on. It helps not to download every updates for…

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Deck Owner/Technician
Iowa
Deck
 

I seldom see AutoEngenuity mentioned anywhere. Are they that bad?

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Stephen Owner/Technician
California
Stephen
 

Yes, very. At the time, their claims were far beyond what the tool could actually do. I upgraded a few times with it, but got fed up. Maybe they are better now, but I won't do it again. They seem to be decent with the Ford diesels from what I heard.

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Glenn Owner/Technician
Texas
Glenn
 

Hi Deck, From my limited experience with it, Auto Ingenuity is a generic OBD reader that is used with a laptop (PC based) and it has to have enhanced data purchased and downloaded for each manufacturer you encounter. Even then, it has no bi-directional controls that a I am aware of. I had a fellow shop owner who tried it for a short while, but was disappointed with it. I think it is a tool for…

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Blaine Technician
Iowa
Blaine
 

I just demoed the alldata scan tool because the salesman promised my boss the world. I asked questions when I got to talk to the salesman and he eventually confessed it’s just an autoengenuity with a tie to alldata. I had one of our techs use it for a week and then I tried using it for a week. it was hands down the worst scan tool I’ve ever used. It was slow, hard to navigate, and never seemed…

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Jim Owner/Technician
Ohio
Jim
 

Granted it was about 12 years ago, but I went to a distributor here in Ohio for an AE demo, and it was one of the worst scan tools I've ever seen. It locked up several times, would not communicate with Chrysler hardly at all, and 85% of the bi-directional controls did not work on any domestic vehicle. What got me about this was we were at a demo given by a distributor at his facility. You would…

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