My 2001 GMC truck has a problem with the red brake warning light and the yellow ABS lights randomly coming on at the same time. I wanted to find out what code was being set. I quickly learned the local auto parts stores couldn’t read ABS codes. I also learned that the repair shops in my area charged $35-$59 just to use their scanner to check for ABS codes. I thought that was too much for a 5 minute scan so I decided to buy a scan tool that would read ABS and SRS codes as well as OBDII codes.
What I wanted a scan tool to do: I initially set out to find a scan tool that would read ABS, SRS and OBDII codes on all my vehicles, a 1999 S10 Blazer, a 2001 GMC Sierra, a 2012 Equinox and my daughter’s 2009 Camry. I wanted to spend no more than $125. I know that sounds like a lot to hope for but I figured I might be able to do it.
What GMC truck ABS bleeding tools to use:
Foxwell NT630 Plus: works good
Autel ML629: Not work, refund
Topdon Elite: Not work, refund
Innova 5210: Not work, refund
Foxwell NT630 Plus: works good to reset brake and ABS light on for 2001 GMC truck
I decided to get one that would perform the ABS bleed, mainly because I like to flush the brake fluid ever few years. What I ran across for the least $$ to fit what I was looking for is the Foxwell NT630 Plus. Listing made an offer to another listing but they would not budge.
The one I went with came back with $149 (incl. shipping and Tax), it ships from US warehouse. It took right at 3 days to arrive.
Foxwell NT630 Plus you can tell has impression for some of their other style tools to fit…so universal.
The plastic is just like the TPMS reset tools I have. The black “rubber” surround is not very soft and as grippy as i would expect it to be. Not sure what material it is…but it is not rubber as you might think looking at the picture.
The Pros of Foxwell NT630 Plus:
1). I’m pretty impressed with it although it does have some pitfalls. It’s functionality is really good but it isn’t very intuitive to use and the screen can be really hard to read in the sunlight. As Neal says, it does feel a little cheap for a tool that does all it is capable of.
2). On the plus side it does come with a heavy duty detachable, and I assume replaceable, cable that is about 5 feet long. That is great because it allows you to be able to hold it so you can see it from under the hood of your vehicle if needed. The cheaper scan tools usually come with a cable about half that long that are permanently attached.
3). And it does have a good, heavy duty, case that closes securely with sliding latches that should last a long time.
4).Right out of the box before updating it this tool was able to read OBD and ABS codes on all my vehicles. I have a 1999 S10 Blazer, 2001 Sierra, 2012 Equinox (all with V6 engines) and a 2009 T*** Camry (4 cylinder) that my daughter drives. It was able to show live data on all of them for OBD and ABS. It can perform several tests and operations on the ABS motor and valves in the ABS unit. It had no trouble finding the ABS code C0265 in my Sierra that is caused by a bad board in the ABS module. I had it scanned previously by a garage so I knew it was there.
It can also read and reset air bag codes but I didn’t dig into that.
5) Now for the star of the show…
Right out of the box It was able to do the ABS brake bleed procedure on my ’99 Blazer and my 2001 Sierra. I was surprised that it did such a thorough job cycling the brake pedal up and down several times while activating the pump and the valves in the ABS unit. I must say that I was skeptical that it would actually be able to do that but after using it my fears were laid to rest. I didn’t try the ABS brake bleed feature on my newer vehicles. I didn’t want to take a chance on screwing up the vehicles my wife and daughter drive just to test out a scan tool. I would never hear the last of it from them if I did. I have no reason to believe it wouldn’t be able to do equally well on the newer vehicles.
6) Auto-vin and manually input the VIN
Foxwell NT630 scan tools covers every brand of vehicle imaginable. Vehicles were listed in this tool that I had never heard of. The Auto-Vin feature worked perfectly for all my cars but the ’99 Blazer. When I tried to use Auto-VIN for the Blazer and it couldn’t find it – it asked me to enter the VIN in the box shown in the photos below. You had to use the arrow keys on the tool to move the cursor around the keyboard to select each digit of the VIN. The problem with doing that is you cannot see which character the cursor is on. The only indicator of which character the cursor is on is a red box around the character, which is only about 1/8″ square.
After giving up on the keyboard to enter the VIN for the Blazer I discovered you can manually enter it using a menu system that you go through to find your vehicle. It is quite cumbersome to use but it does work better than trying to enter the VIN with the keyboard.
7) Updating Foxwell NT630 Plus is a little clunky but it did work by following the instructions
Updating the tool is a little clunky but it did work by following the instructions that the eBay seller provided. You have to download and install the FoxAssist software on your computer and then do a simple registration that requires an email address but surprisingly it didn’t ask for a name or other personal information. Even at that I scanned my computer with anti-virus and malware detection software every step of the process of updating the scan tool. I’m always leery of installing software on my computer that came from a foreign company that I know nothing about. Especially a Chinese company.
After installing the software and plugging in the scan tool via a provided USB cable, the update went smoothly although it did take a long time to complete. I did have to enter the serial number on the back of the scan tool into the software manually. It was supposed to auto-detect the serial number when I plugged in the scan tool but that didn’t work for me.
After the update I tested the scan tool again, including the ABS bleed procedure. I couldn’t tell that updating changed or helped anything. The FoxAssist software is supposed to allow you to print out reports from the scan tool and do some other things but I’ve not tried any of those features yet.
- All the text on this scanner’s screen is tiny. I have placed a yellow arrow pointing to the character that is highlighted with the red box in the photo. It’s all but impossible to see that red box around a character under any bright light conditions… even with your glasses on. I could only see the red box clearly in the dark.
Over the course of several weeks I have purchased three scan tools and returned each one of them for a refund for reasons I will describe below.
NO.1 – Buying my first scan tool Topdon Elite (Refund it)
I settled on the Topdon Elite scan tool priced at $99.00. With a discount coupon the total price was $89.00 which included Free shipping and no tax.
1) The Topdon Elite comes with a really nice heavy canvas storage case and a USB cable to connect it to you computer for updates (more about that later). The Topdon has a good heavy feel like a quality tool when you hold it in your hand and it has a long, permanently attached cord that allows you to sit in the car and hold it at eye level or you can stand beside the vehicle to use it without bending over. I liked that about it.
2) The Topdon was able to read the codes on all my vehicles. After spending considerable time learning the menu system on the Topdon it quickly found an ABS code C0265 (EBCM relay circuit) on my GMC. From all the reading I’ve done here on this forum, it was just waht I suspected the problem would be. I have an intermittent ABS light on my ’99 Blazer and it found a code that told me the left front ABS sensor was bad. I believe that is correct as well. The Topdon was also able to read ABS, SRS and OBDII codes on the Camry and the Equinox but at first I didn’t think it would. It was very slow on those cars when doing a scan. Maybe because they are newer vehicles and have a lot more parameters to read than my older vehicles.
3) The Topdon can display “Live Data” in the form of text or a graph. I think that would be very helpful when troubleshooting and intermittent problem.
1) When scanning the Equinox the Topdon would just sit there and say “Please Wait” and I thought it had locked up. It wouldn’t respond to pressing any of the buttons so I would disconnect it and start over. Once while scanning the Equinox for OBDII codes the phone rang while it was saying “Please Wait”. When I came back from talking on the phone that scan had completed and it reported no codes were found. It was way too slow but it did work on more attempts if I gave it ample time to complete the scan.
2) I found the menu on the screen hard to read unless you were viewing it in ideal lighting conditions and were holding the screen at the proper angle. The menu on it isn’t very intuitive but I guess you would eventually get use to it if you used it a lot.
3) This is the reason I returned the Topdon for a refund. I found it almost impossible to update this scan tool. You have to go to the Topdon website which seems to me to be poorly designed. I found the process of updating the software for the scan tool to be a nightmare, (I believe it is very important to be able to easily keep the scan tool up to date). You have to go through a registration process to download software to your computer, download the software which took forever, and then go through a process to register your scanner. Then you try to update the scanner with it connected to your computer with the USB cable. None if it was very intuitive and it wasted a lot of my time trying to get it to work. I believe the update process and their website was designed by Chinese who don’t fully understand how to use the English language. I quit trying and decide to return the scanner for a refund hoping to find something better. Returning it to Amazon was quick and easy.
No. 2 – I ordered another scanner.
After doing more research I decided on the Autel MaxiLink ML629. It is the advanced version of the ML619 scanner. It can scan ABS, SRS, and it can do transmission/engine diagnosis. as well as Auto VIN. It was priced at $125 which included Free shipping and no tax. This was the scanner I had been looking for… or so it seemed.
1) It comes with a nice storage case and a long cord that is detachable. That would be a good feature for someone who used the scanner a lot and the cord gets damaged of frayed. You could replace the cord without scrapping the scanner.
2) The scanner is large and had a professional feel to it. It felt like holding a large cellphone that had lots of rubber padding around it prevent it from getting damaged. The buttons have a good feel and the layout of the buttons make since the way they are located on the device. The screen is really clear and populated with icons instead of text that makes it really easy to use.
3) It worked great on my 2012 Equinox and my daughter’s 2009 Camry and it was fast. It told me more than I would ever what to know and it had lots of great live data features including graphing. It displayed the information in a way that was better than any of the other scanners I tested and accessing that information was easier than with the other scanners.
1) This is not a big deal but when this scanner is doing a scan for codes it does weird (and a little scary) things to the instrument panel. All the gauges go crazy and the clock is reset to 1:00. You hear all kinds of noises coming from under the dash. I guess it is testing all the HVAC sensors and actuators.
2) This is why I returned this scan tool. Although it would read OBDII codes just fine, it would not read ABS or SRS codes on my 1999 S10 Blazer or my 2001 GMC both of which have the 4.3 V6. When you try to read ABS and SRS codes the scanners typically ask you to select the fifth digit of your VIN from a list. The fifth digit of the VIN for my GMC and Blazer were missing from the list on this scanner. After searching forever on the Autel website for a compatibility listing for my vehicles I found my Blazer and GMC were not compatible for reading ABS and SRS codes. That information was buried deep in this GM Compatible List on their website. See if you can find my 2001 GMC with a 4.3 in that list. This website is a joke. Another poorly designed Chinese website.
3) Although I didn’t even get far enough along to try it, it appears to me that updating this scan tool would be the same nightmare process that the Topdon Elite scanner was. I figured if it wouldn’t work on my GMC and Blazer there was no reason to try to update it since those vehicles are shown to be incomparable in their GM list of comparable list on their website. This scanner was returned to Amazon for a full refund with no questions asked.
No. 3 – Innova 5210 scan tool purchase
The last scanner I purchased was the Innova 5210. That was $99.99 and one for $179.99 that was out of my price range so I went for the cheaper one. I saw it would read ABS codes and what did I have to lose? The total price including tax was $87.59. Well within my budget.
1) It was able to read ABS codes and OBDII codes quickly on all my vehicles. A scan of ABS codes on my GMC produced a code C0265 just like the Topdon did confirming I do have a EBCM problem.
2) It’s fairly intuitive to use without opening the manual and the scanner fits your hand well.
3) It has live data and can playback and graph the data.
4) it has the ability to test your battery and charging system. You can get the same thing done at your local auto parts store for free but it is a nice feature to have on a scanner.
5) Innova is based in California and their website is really good. You get the feel that the Innova website was built by people who think the way I do about how a website should be designed. Their user manuals (.pdf) are easy to find on the website and appear to have been well written by people who speak English. They can be easily contacted by phone, email and online chat. They also have an online resources page in their support section with lots of items, including videos, that would be helpful to new scan tool users like me. Although I didn’t use it the upgrade process of this scanner looks like it would be much easier than it was for the other scanners.
1) This scanner didn’t come with any storage pouch like the other scanners did. That’s not really a big deal for a DIY guy like me but it does make you feel like you are using a scanner of lesser quality to not have a means of protecting it when it’s not in use.
2) This scanner felt flimsy and lightweight compared to the other scanners and the cable that is permanently attached to the scanner was short compared to the other scanners. I guess you can’t expect too much at this price point..
3) This is the reason I returned this scanner. This scanner has all the features I was looking for with the exception of being able to read SRS (airbag) codes. I decided to return this scanner for that reason. If this scanner had that I could have lived with the other shortcomings because I really like this scanner.
The next step up in Innova scan tools is the 5310 which does all the 5210 will do plus it will read SRS codes. If I found it on sale at a price that is within my budget I would probably by it but first I want to investigate the scanners that are starting to pop up that claim they can activate the ABS system to properly bleed the brakes on ABS systems. So the search for the best scan tool in my price range continues.
To sum up!
Foxwell NT630 Plus is the winner for reset GMC truck brake and ABS light on.