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Vintage Rider
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First of all, be aware that these scanners will not work with most European vehicles. Many of those have their own system, and you have to take them to a dealer. Just another way to rip off customers. MB is the worst.

Second, there are a LOT of codes. Even with a decent code reader and a service manual (an absolute must) it will not necessarily tell you what the problem is. You may get a code that says a certain cylinder or cylinders are misfiring. That's it. You will have to figure out why. The codes will rarely tell you what parts need to be replaced. For that you need a very expensive piece of diagnostic equipment (several thousand dollars) and the vehicle manufacturers specific software for your vehicle. I have had the check engine light come on in my '01 Chevy Malibu several times, and would get a meaningless code that showed that one of several dozen parameters had been exceeded. In every case the light went out when the system was reset, and never came back.
 

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Vintage Rider
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2,410 Posts
Twice before I had a scanner, and the check engine light came on, I disconnected the battery for about 15 minutes. This resets the computer. If the problem was temporary, the light won't come back on.

All this is one of the reasons I love old vehicles. You can check anything with a simple multimeter. And you won't find 32 pin connectors on them. My old Fairlane must have about 20 twist on wire connectors (wire nuts) on it. Runs fine. The biggest problems I've had with my 1200LTD were electrical, and had something to do with connections to the main ECM.
 
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