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What Is The Right Scan Tool?

That’s a question that has plagued technicians and shop owners for years.  Choosing a scan tool is not only a matter of coverage, but also a matter of cost.  Factory tooling often offers the ideal coverage but is obviously limited to that manufacturer. Aftermarket tooling may offer more vehicle coverage, but not always to the depth a particular shop wants or needs.  What if there was one place you could go to compare?  There just may soon be such a place.


This past Wednesday, I was invited to listen in as representatives from the aftermarket and OEMs, along with working techs and shop owners, began to outline an ambitious new project overseen by NASTF’s Tool and Equipment Committee.


The project’s stated goal is to collect and publish information on OE scan tools to include:

            Information for ordering

            Required update method            

            Licensing fees, if any

            Tasks requiring SDRM access           

            Whether a PC-based or stand alone platform

            If PC-based, what are the operating system requirements

            Ability to perform flash programming, or is an additional interface needed

            Year/model compatibility

            Any companion devices available/needed

            Integration with OE service information site available/cost

            Items available on the dealer version that are not available to the aftermarket


In addition, the committee has designed a feature matrix that it intends to incorporate for each tool, with as many details as it can list about the tool’s abilities and functions.  The committee also wants to include a comments section where experienced users and the OEs can share tips or other information about the tool and its use.


While the initial focus will be on compiling a comparative listing of the OE tooling, the subject of including the aftermarket scan tools was raised during the discussion.  Some shop owners commented that, for their business, they didn’t need the full capability of an OE tool and it would be a help if they could compare an aftermarket offering as well.  Aftermarket reps quickly responded, saying that their tools’ features were being constantly updated and expanded on, and that such a comparison would be outdated almost as fast as it was published.  As one rep put it, it would be “a constantly moving target that you’re never going to hit.”


According to Donny Seyfer of Seyfer Automotive, and co-chair of the committee, “Let’s call this version 1.0 and flesh out more detailed versions as we go along”.  With co-chair Greg Potter, individual team leaders have been assigned to begin the process of assembling all this information.  The team leaders are Tom Piioppo of Tri County Motors, Douglass Kirchendorfer of Downing Street Garage, Bill Moss of Ferris Automotive and Howard Pitkow of Wagen Werx.  Together with Seyfer, they will head the teams of working technicians in turning this dream into a reality. 


They are all volunteers and they need your help.  If you have experience in the use of ANY factory scan tool platform and would like to offer your assistance, contact Donny Seyfer via email at donnysey@mac.com.            

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  • As an independent shop.We felt the need for oe scan tools was right for us.The infomation is better.Some of the oes are connecting there scan tooling to there information site as well.And with an lsid you can get upgraded softwear for most of the tooling also.We have about 90% oe coverage,This was a large investment but is gives us an edge over those that go with the aftermarket.Which we will still use some of the time.like Ease,Ats,Auto logic to name a few.

    ambler, 4 years ago | Flag

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