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Have a problem with your car? Bosch’s U-scan

Washington Post Real Wheels car chat

It’s the nagging little light that tells you your car has a problem, but you have no idea what it is, and you have no idea how much it will cost. You are at the mercy of a mechanic and a bunch of numbers that come out of a machine.

Bosch’s Jeff Hudnut, the electronic product manager for Bosch’s automotive aftermarket service solution. Hudnut talked to Lou Ann Hammond, CEO, Driving the Nation at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) about the U-Scan product Bosch has for $79.

A week before I was at CES I was taking questions from a chatter on the Washington Post Real Wheels chat about a sensor and what the problem might be. Other chatters chimed in trying to help figure out the problem. When I saw this device I instantly thought of this chat and talked to Hudnut about U-scan.

U-scan is android and iPhone compatible and uses a VIN decoder to figure out the car year make and model and the problem. You then have the ability to shop around before deciding where to get your car fixed.

On the next Washington Post chat, a comment was made and Bosch supplied the answer,

1/10/2014 9:25 AM PST

You don’t need to spend $80 on the Bosch scan tool. There are plenty of cheap OBDII scanners that will link up with a mobile device or tablet via Bluetooth and allow you to read the same diagnostic codes. Free or cheap applications to use with the OBDII scanner are available in both the Apple and Android app stores. With this route, you can probably spend less than $20 for similar functionality as the Bosch scan tool.
Lou Ann Hammond

1/11/2014 2:41 PM PST
I didn’t see this post otherwise I would have posted it. I did reach out to Bosch to ask them the difference. They replied today (yes, on a Saturday!) If you have more questions or thoughts let me know and I will continue a conversation with them. Thanks for the info. Here is Bosch’s reply:

The difference is simple “ experience-based repair information. Actron’s U-Scan can be used to get the generic OBD code, but unless you are a master car technician, where do you find the fix to resolve the issue?

U-Scan offers professional-grade diagnostics – a CodeConnect® database of 4.3 million ASE verified fixes prioritized by most likely fix, specific to the vehicle’s year, make, model and engine. Users can upgrade to manufacturer-specific code definitions and live data to view and graph engine RPM, coolant temperature, and more for a faster diagnosis and fix. Further differentiating, users can upgrade ABS and airbag code definitions “ previously only available in scan tools at a significantly higher price point.

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.