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I was channel surfing this morning and saw one of the shopping channels hawking a Car MD. Supposedly, this little gadget plugs into a port under the steering wheel to do a diagnostic, and then you read the codes by plugging it into your computer.

They said it worked with ANY car of recent vintage.

Is this true? Does it work with a smart? And do the codes it gives really tell if there is a problem and what that problem might be?

Given all I've read about the need for a STAR machine at MB, it seems unlikely that this $69 device is all that useful.
 

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You can use any OBDII code reader that has the correct plug to read codes from the diagnostic port. Some of the online software may or may not give you the correct information on smart specific codes. Once you have the code number, you can look it up on here.

I use my ScangaugeII to read codes and reset them, I also have an older code reader that resets them too. Some of the codes do require special tools (like ABS or transmission codes) to read and reset them. The MB Starr computer will read and reset all the codes, plus be able to program keys and remotes, and other service related items.

Using my scangaugeII I have successfully repaired voltage on Pos bus error (caused by a charger plugged into power port) Turbo Input shaft fault, and a few spark plug miss errors. It is much easier to fix when you have an idea of what is causing the check engine light to be activated. I have seen readers from $10 to upwards of $700. My first reader (still being used) cost me $19.99 on Ebay 12 years ago.
 

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Took all weekend to figure out what the heck it meant by that one. Error code P0716
Input/Turbine Speed Sensor Circuit Range/Performance


http://www.smartcarofamerica.com/forums/f25/getting-tired-p0716-code-29283/

Obviously it had nothing to do with a TURBO as I don't have one on my Pure but that is what the code was...
That code refers to a automatic transmission turbine shaft or input shaft speed sensor. Probably a code translation error in the scan tool software.
 

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Code translation was taken off the Evilution site, and since I have neither an automatic transmission or a turbine shaft, The only way I had to figure it out was the fact that I lost 1st, 3rd, and 5th gear in the transmission when the code came up. Disconnecting the battery for 1/2 hour would reset the code, but it came back after 5 miles of driving (repeatably) I finally figured out about the connector on the drivers side rear corner, just in front of the bumper, had water in it and when I dried it out and applied dielectric grease, the problem has yet to return.

Dealership had no idea, nor anything on the forum sites. I spent all weekend trying different things and resetting the light. The clue came to me when I thought I had it fixed, and took it through a car wash. the light came back on within a mile of the wash. I had 2 pages of notes as to what I tried so I could figure out what to do next.

I figured the code description is a real generalized idea of where the problem could be from.
 
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