Reader asks about what scan tool to purchase for a Ford

Wheels: W.G. asks by email:

“I am wanting to purchase a code reader so I can read and erase trouble codes that seem to occur often. I am not looking for an expensive one and I have seen several videos on YouTube, and most are using a Zurich Zr4s, OBD 2. It is available at Harbor Freight for about $60. My brother told me that some of the code readers will not work on Ford products. The YouTube videos that used the Zurich were Ford repair videos. I do not have the funds to go overboard but want a basic one that will do more than the ultra-simple ones.”

Halderman: Cars and light trucks and sport utility vehicles are equipped with On-Board Diagnosis-second generation, abbreviated OBD 2. The diagnosis is achieved by plugging in a scan tool to the data link connector (DLC), which is usually located under the dash on the driver side. Most code readers can retrieve and erase emission-related diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) and some like the Zurich Zr4s can also read antilock brake (ABS) diagnostic trouble codes. OBD 2 has two computers. One is called global or generic and the other is enhanced or vehicle specific. The low-cost scan tools can only read global codes. To be able to read vehicle data and codes that are specific to that make, model and year, a factory or a factory-level aftermarket scan tool is required that cost many thousands of dollars.

Therefore, you can purchase any global scan tool — often called a code reader — at most automotive parts stores or online. And yes, they all work on Fords.

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