Autel MaxiScan MS309 CAN OBD2 Diagnostic Code Scanner Review

The Autel MaxiScan MS309 retrieves both manufacturer specific and generic trouble codes. The device also features a large backlit LCD display screen, trouble code definitions, a standard OBD2 sixteen pin connector, and views freeze frame data. The MS309 works with all OBD2 compliant Asian, European, and US vehicles.

The small compact design makes it convenient to take the scanner with you if you’re shopping around for a used vehicle. The simple user interface and button navigation system is also a big plus for beginners who aren’t very tech-savvy.

We can definitely appreciate the lower price and we were pretty impressed with the scanner’s overall functionality and quality. Not a model you’d want to rely on if you work in a professional garage, still, this scanner has a lot more to offer than just basic code reading capability.

MaxiScan Diagnostic Code Scanner Overview and Features

Autel MaxiScan MS309

This model provides quick and easy access to trouble codes and their definitions on all compliant vehicles that were produced after 1996. While small and compact, this model is powerful enough to retrieve as much information as a larger, more expensive device.

If you have an SUV, truck, or car built after 96, then buying an OBD2 scanner is one of the most important purchases you can make. If you’re not familiar with an OBD2 scanner, it’s a tool that’s used in every auto repair shop in order to determine the trouble codes a vehicle is giving. When the check engine light goes off, it typically means that there’s something going on with your vehicle. Even if a car or truck seems to be running perfectly, there can still be an issue within the vehicle that’s negatively affecting its performance, and it could potentially be an issue that can put you in danger later down the line. By purchasing an OBD2 scanner, you’ll be able to quickly determine the faults and take action to correct them.

When you’re searching for the best scanner, it’s important to keep in mind that there are several different types that can support your type of vehicle. For example, a Mercedes can require one type of OBD2 scanner, while a Chevy can require another. There are plenty of variations regarding the types of codes a model can read, especially when it comes to foreign vehicles, so we recommend using a universal model, which is why we recommend the MS309. This model will deliver the type of performance you’re expecting, it’s compatible with a wider range of vehicles, it’s easy to use and it’s powerful enough to get the job done.

Autel Scanner Pros and Cons

Pros

This is a scanner that’s easy to use. Just plug it into the OBD port followed the instructions and check out any codes that the device retrieves. Choose the read codes tab to get a more detailed explanation for any codes that were picked up.

The MaxiScan is one of Autel’s top selling models. This simple device will provide basic error code info at a price that will work with most budgets. The device is built with a two button layout that’s easy to use. This setup allows for quick access to basic functions such as clearing a vehicle’s computer and reading codes.

While other models, especially higher priced ones, offer multiple buttons and features, the basic exit/enter and scroll buttons make this device one of the easiest to use, while still providing the user with access to important functions that you’d expect from a higher priced code reader. Unlike some scanners, you won’t need any experience in a garage to understand or navigate this device.

By offering a live data stream this model will give users ongoing data while the engine is on. This feature allows you to diagnose issues as they occur and offers users a clear path to the root cause.

While some lower priced models will only provide the trouble code, leaving users to determine the actual problem, this model will provide you with detailed information about the code. As an example, some scanners will simply read the trouble code, this model will display the code while also showing you that the code involves issues with a specific system in the vehicle such as the brakes or airbags. This can save you plenty of time that would otherwise be wasted researching the code yourself.

Cons

While the basic two button system is one of this scanner’s best features, it can also result in confusing, tricky navigation when you’re trying to perform more complex functions. Because there are only a couple of buttons available, there are a number of menus and options that you will have to scroll through in order to use certain features. So, while you won’t need much garage experience to navigate this device, a good memory might come in handy if you have to perform plenty of repeat functions.

Another common complaint about this device is the short cord that runs from the connector to the tool itself. The cord length can make it difficult to handle because you won’t be able to set the scanner down on the vehicle’s seat so you can take notes or use other tools. Other models in this price range have a longer cord that makes multitasking more convenient. 

OBD2 Code Reader Conclusion and Rating

While the MS309 may not be the perfect scanner for professional mechanics, it’s definitely a great buy for the home mechanic. A trained technician would need a more advanced code reader, but everyone else should find this model to be one handy little device.

The Autel MaxiScan is compact, effective, and won’t take up much space in your toolbox. Using this model in a professional capacity would simply be too limiting. But it’s a reliable code scanner for use in your own garage. Priced affordably, and with a reputation for reliability, most consumers can agree that this model is a steal for the price. Consumers who purchased it gave it a rating of four and a half out of five stars for simple design, ease of use, and overall quality.

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