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By Wayne Colonna. A scan tool can be an effective transmission diagnostic tool. But to understand what’s happening inside the trans, you must be able to properly interpret the raw sensor data the scanner provides.

Communicating with a vehicle’s on-board diagnostic system is essential when trying to diagnose transmission problems. And the way to do that is with a scan tool, a device that gives the eyes needed to determine the appropriate diagnostic approach. Although the tool may provide both information and bidirectional control, the data retrieved still needs to be processed and interpreted.

To make full use of a scan tool, one must understand all the abilities and options it has to offer. No one should expect a generic scan tool to be equivalent to a factory scan tool. The former offers coverage over a broader range of manufacturers, while the latter is designed with a focus on the needs of a single manufacturer. The trade-off is obvious: The manufacturer’s specialized scan tool can do more but covers only that manufacturer’s vehicles, while the generic scan tool may have fewer functions but covers more vehicles. Since most shops work on a slew of different makes, a generic scan tool becomes a necessity.

One of the challenges for a scan tool manufacturer is…

To continue reading, check out the original article from Motor Magazine at

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