Updated: May 27, 2015

Equus Code Reader - OBD II Diagnostic Code Scanner:

Often I wish I could have back all the money I have spent over the years on getting my car checked out for potential maintenance problems. The good news is that in recent years tools have been developed that allow anyone to check what the mysterious codes on their cars actually mean. For instance, if you get the "check engine" light, you can actually see what may be wrong with your car on your own before rushing off to go see the mechanic. Sometimes the problems can easily be fixed at home without spending $100's on car diagnostic tests. As a result, you can avoid being "taken to the cleaners" by potentially unscrupulous auto mechanics looking for a quick buck. Equus is a manufacturer of automotive products that help with diagnosing problems with cars; these tools include test equipment, gauges and tachometers. INNOVA is another line of products that is manufactured by the same company. The difference is that Equus products target the "do-it-yourselfer" and INNOVA is the research and development arm for automotive original equipment manufacturers. Equus and INNOVA have facilities in China, Taiwan and the US. All products distributed in US are made at the Fountain Valley, CA facility.
equus code reader

You can see an INNOVA video with a great overview of some of the company's most popular diagnostic tools by watching the video below:

How do Equus Code Scanners Work?

If you are just starting to look into car diagnostic tools, this is a great place to start. This video also shows the display on a code reader and explains what the codes mean. For example, the Equus tool has a code broken down into a letter and four numbers. The letter shows the system with the failure, and the numbers show the component that failed. The devices, of course, also comes with a manual of code definitions. You can browse the top selling Equus code readers online here. What is the difference between a code reader and a code scanner? They are both diagnostic tools for automobiles with a great deal in common. However, scanners also provide real-time voltage and current output readings. This means, in essence, that code scanners are more advanced tools than code readers and if you are just starting out with diagnostic tools, a code reader may suffice for your needs.

OBD II Diagnostic Code Scanners:

What does OBD mean? This term stands for "on board diagnostics," and you will hear it quite a bit when surveying these diagnostic tools. The OBD II was instituted as part of the way to lower vehicle emissions. It works on all cars made after 1996 and detects an array of failures. Along with helping to understand why the "check engine" light is on, the OBD gives a diagnostic code to show where there is a problem. These facts give people a starting point for where to repair. The OBD2 Diagnostic scanner is compatible with any car made after 1996. This scanner has a very thorough and easy to view LED display. To use a OBD II scanner, you simply plug it into the car, push the link and then view the LED display.

The Equus 3030 CanOBD2 Car Reader is about $65 and works on cars made after 1996. The 3030 CanOBD2 Car Reader is the perfect tool for entry-level users and really empowers people to understand what is going on with their cars. Other features on this device include links to OBDII protocols including check engine light. Like most Equus readers, this car reader also automatically refreshes and updates data every 30 seconds. This allows users to monitor any potential changes in the car. In our overview of Amazon reviews, we saw that users loved that they could instantly save money by avoiding going to the shop. Many people often mentioned that this reader was easier to understand than some other code readers due to the very comprehensive display and user-friendly icons

Equus Innova Scan Tool - Equus 3100 and Equus 3140:

Perhaps the most extensive option is the Equus 3140 Innova Diagnostic Code Scanner for OBDI and OBDII Vehicles which sells for $200. This has a display, which shows 25 parameters at once so the user doesn't have to scroll through menus. It also has colors on the display and "hot key" tools that lets users jump between functions. One of the top selling diagnostic tools is the Equus 3100 Innova CanOBD2 Diagnostic Tool. According to Equus, this tool is the most popular code reader on the market today and has sold more than 250,000 units. Several unsolicited reviews of the INNOVA 3100 are posted on the company's website. Reviewers say that the reader is great for those who have run out of warranty repairs on their car. They also say it is easy to use and saved them money that would have been spent at the dealer. People also like the detachable cable and the fact that the reader isn't auto specific. The review on Automotive.com says of the Equus 3100 code reader, "If information is power, this unit is an excellent candidate for the savvy enthusiast's toolbox." The Equus 3100 Innova CanOBD2 Diagnostic Tool sells on Amazon for less than $100. This is a huge cost savings over the normal price of $192. This product has received over a hundred positive reviews on Amazon.com. (Equus 3100 Innova reviews here). The Equus 3100 also helps diagnose problems on cars made after 1996. It has a built in memory and automatically refreshes. It quickly reveals why the Check engine light is on and fully upgradeable via a standard Windows-based PC. About.com recently reviewed this product and also gave it a great rating. The reviewer thought this product was a "great and easy to use tool". He especially recommended it considering the price point. Clearly, it is hard to find any fault with the INNOVA/ Equus 3100. The cost for this tool can easily be compensated for by saving one or two trips to the mechanic.