Since the introduction of on-board diagnostics years ago, things have really changed in regard to the way vehicles operate. These days, most systems in a vehicle are controlled by a computer. Some of these systems will share modules with other systems or they’ll operate from their own module. In order for the vehicle’s computer to monitor these systems, it utilizes a variety of sensors. But without the right tool, you won’t know where to start in terms of diagnosing your vehicle’s issues. That’s where models such as the Autel AutoLink AL319 OBD2 scanner comes in.
Our Verdict: This OBD2 scanner by Autel comes with many features that the pros can appreciate, and the DIYer needs in order to accurately determine why the check engine light is on. The scanner is easy to setup and use, thanks to the simple layout and intuitive controls. However, while it may look basic, it’s anything but. You can use this scanner to access freeze frame data, check generic and manufacturer specific codes, or clear and reset codes. Basically, this is a scanner that can do it all and it’s also available at a reasonable price.
Continue reading to learn exactly what makes this model by Autel one of the best OBD2 scanners around, and find out what it has to offer in terms of features, ease of use, and vehicle compatibility.
Overview and Features
The AutoLink scanner is designed to alert you to the root cause of any issues you may have with your vehicle. As an example, once the check engine light pops on, you can hook your vehicle up to the scanner to determine what’s going on. While many people believe that a code from their check engine light is all they need to fix a problem with their vehicle, that’s not always the case because the code will just point you in the general direction in regard to what’s causing the light to turn on. With the right scanner, there won’t be quite as much guesswork involved. This model from Autel takes a more hands on approach to diagnosing exactly what’s going on with your vehicle. This scanner will not only provide you with access to trouble codes, but it also comes equipped with other features that are designed to help aid in pinpointing the codes that are directly related to repair.
Beginner-Friendly and Intuitive Design
This model features the simple Plug and Play design that many of Autel’s scanners are known for. It also supports all vehicles made in 1996 and newer, for both imports and domestic vehicles. The intuitive controls and simple setup makes it a great buy for both beginners and experienced car enthusiasts
How it Works
This is one powerful scanner. It can turn off check engine lights, reset monitors, clear codes, and view freeze frames. Additionally, it’s also able to determine the cause of the check engine light and retrieve both manufacturer specific codes and generic codes. The manufacturer specific codes are the ones you really want to pay attention to in order to determine the exact reason why the check engine light is on. This means you’ll save plenty of cash by bypassing a number of other problems that could also cause the check engine light to switch on, and instead treat the real issue.
Vehicle Readiness Monitors
Your vehicle’s computer will use a variety of monitors in order to inspect all of your vehicle’s components that are controlled electronically. These monitors will run tests in order to tell the computer if and where there’s an issue. If there is a problem with a specific system, the vehicle’s computer will switch on the check engine light. Once you’ve repaired your vehicle, it’s important that the repair be verified. When you correct a check engine light, you need to know that the monitors are complete. In many cases, if the monitors are complete and the diagnostic reading displays “ready” then you can verify that a repair has been completed. This scanner makes it easy to know if a monitor is complete or not, or basically, whether your car’s issue has been successfully repaired.
Will You Pass an Emissions Test?
State inspection is another reason why it’s so important to determine the status of your vehicle’s readiness. Many states now require an emissions inspection. Ensuring that these systems are ready is one of the biggest parts of the inspection. If one or more of the systems isn’t ready, then your vehicle will not pass. When it comes to ensuring that all of your vehicle’s monitors are set and ready to go, this scanner will be an essential tool and one that will give you confidence that your vehicle will pass the emissions inspection with flying colors.
Freeze Frame Data
Your vehicle’s engine temperature, how fast your vehicle was moving, and the fuel trims are some clues that you can use to determine what led to the check engine light turning on. You’ll find this information in the vehicle’s computer at the time the fault occurred. With this type of information, you can pinpoint the situation that triggered the alert. This scanner will give you access to this info, which will help you to narrow down the problem quickly so you can begin repairs immediately.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- Allows you to view freeze frame data
- Supports domestic and import vehicles
- Includes both generic and manufacturer specific error codes
- Not compatible with Windows 10
How it Measures Up to the Competition
The Foxwell NT630 is one of the AL319’s top competing models. Not only can it provide accurate diagnosis of SAS/SRS/ABS, but it can also remove the air from the internal brake fluid chambers. Which is something this Autel model is not capable of doing. But just like the Autel scanner, it also supports both imported and domestic vehicles and can point you in the right direction in terms of the root cause as to why the check engine light is on. However, if you have a Nissan, you’ll definitely want to pass the Foxwell scanner on by, and this is one area where the Autel scanner clearly outshines the competition. Additionally, I found the Autel scanner to be more beginner-friendly, whereas the Foxwell scanner will be right at home in a pro garage or in the hands of the experienced DIYer.