Brake System Scan Tools: The New Essential Tool

A vehicle’s brake systems can usually be repaired without needing to use a scan tool, but you only have to run into one car that needs this to make it worth having.  Most vehicles manufactured in the past decade need a scan tool to test/repair the brake system.

Scan Tools And Brake Systems

The two main options of scan tools are a standalone ABS scanner or a full-feature scan tool that has ABS as a software add-on.  It is also important to have the correct connection cables for the scan tool to access the manufacturer specific ABS system connectors. One of the most common repairs is the diagnosis of wheel speed sensors. With a full-feature or factory scan tool, it is possible to look at wheel speed sensor outputs. This information can be more accurate than back probing the connector with a scope because you are seeing how the module interprets the data.  A full-feature scan tool also allows many repairs such as resetting service lights, clearing brake related error codes, and fixing ABS failures.  A full-feature scan tool can also diagnose other modules as well. Scan tools can be used to bleed the ABS system after a hydraulic component has been replaced. This bi-directional control of the modulator can purge air bubbles that can not be purged with conventional bleeding.

Electronic parking brake systems have created a need for a new specific tool for working on European and domestic late-model systems.  The tool is required to retract pistons to replace pads, and teach the on-board controller that it has new brake pads.  This tool also eliminates the chance of doing hundreds or even thousands of dollars worth of damage to an electronic brake system by trying to repair it conventionally.