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Total Car Diagnostics Reviews (Scam?)

Updated on March 30, 2013

TOAD OBD-2 Car Scanner/Reader Software


My Review of TOAD OBD Diagnostics Software

(I'm writing this review as Total Car Diagnostics deserves it considering they dedicated 3 full hours on the phone helping me with cylinder misfire issue on our customers vehicle. Then doing a online search for them, I noticed they hardly have any written reviews. So I though I write one. For starters - their offer certainly is not a scam.)

Over the last 5 years I've dealt and fixed at least 2500 cars, working as a European Vehicles mechanic.

And used my 2 favorite car tools; AutoBoss V30 for diagnosis, and Alientech KESSv2, for tuning our customer cars. I've also used RossTech product, which by far, for VAG cars, it's top-notch compared to anything out there! And I highly recommend it to car enthusiasts or mechanics who solely deal with European vehicles.

However a big problem in my opinion with almost any scan tool is it's main focus is on DTC codes. So if for example you have a cylinder misfire, that's all the info you'll get. A cylinder misfire code. Of course there's more to it as any experienced scan tool user knows.

However TOAD takes it to the next level. Without boring you with details; it makes everything easy to understand. It goes a lot deeper into each system. And makes it a lot simpler to pinpoint problems are unseen with traditional scanners, including AutoBoss (which is one of the highest grade scanners in the world).

Basically the apparent hype written at TOAD website is... (I have to shamefully admit) true. It really does what it claims. So go read it if you want to know what I mean by "to the next level" above.

Now for the downside of TOAD....

It's not as easy to install as you may imagine. The sales pitch makes it sound like walk in the park. It's not! You'll have to first install the ELM327 interface to Windows. Which you get instructions for ofcourse. So if you are a computer beginner, good luck! In which case, either phone them for support or contact their support center for help. They'll certainly guide you step by step.

Other downside is: disc is loaded with several software for different cars and purposes. Hence it's confusing as to where to start. Loading it up at first, I was overwhelmed. (EDIT: They fixed this with the next 2013 version that guides users immediately to the main software with simple getting-started instructions).

Otherwise, we use TOAD in conjunction with other scan tools here in the shop. There is no "best" out there from point of view of mechanic who deals with many cars and purposes. They all have their strengths and weaknesses.

Should you get it? In short: Yes. It easily rivals top high-end professional scanners, and provides in some cases even more useful information you can work with.

Also, I don't think TOAD can take away business from mechanics. It only makes the transaction more fair and honest. Because consumers (ordinary car owners) will always needs us mechanics anyway.

TOAD will only give consumer more options of either:

  1. Allowing them to fix the problem themselves because they'll know what the problem is, or

  2. They'll know what the problem is and hence will get opportunity to seek out car shops that will fix the job for the least cost.

So everyone wins here! :)


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