What Decent Key Programmers to Invest in 2020

Planning to shop decent key programmers which can cover most car makes and help make lots of money. New Renault and Ford would be good.


Expert advice 1:

one man best tool isn’t the same as the next man’s best tool .

you need the best tool for your needs , and only you know what this is , so simple exercise to get your answers ;

1) work out the reliable coverage that you lack at present
2) priorities it in its value to you , ie how much you need it and will use it
3) i doubt 1 tool will do it , so from points 1 and 2 draw up the tools that meet your needs then you have narrowed it down to exactly what you need and want to find then which tool best suits you needs, then which has the most earning potential to determine the order you buy them in.

It’s an impossible question to answer if not clear about the coverage you want , you could get many answers , others will tell you that tool is shit and you need this tool instead , then another will tell you how crap that one is and need this one , oops there’s your mixed reports again , and which one fits your needs and brings worth to the table especially as mixed reports.

abrites is always useful
zedfull may prove useful
Autel IM608 may prove useful
Lonsdor K518ISE may prove useful
TDB1000 is making inroads

So many general units around , no matter what the unit is you will read mixed reports on it , that’s forums , groups and people, never agree , all like or loathe, one man go to tool is another dust catcher a tool one likes another hates , so mixed reports as you put it is the norm. I don’t know any tool that doesn’t have its haters and its negatives and have those that voice the negatives , another issue with forums and groups , you only read negatives as far fewer post on the positives, that’s the net. i doubt you will find any tool that doesn’t have mixed reports from users or those that pretend to be users . the hard work on the negative reports is weeding out the genuine from the procedure errors.
then what is the point of same coverage as a number of tools you already have and probably prefer , surely it makes more sense to look to fill gaps where you don’t already have token free reliable coverage already , this then opens up dealer tools , specialist make tools and so much more , what’s the point in another tool that just covers what you already have on a number of machines , and as some of these machines copy each other , you know the ones , then it reduces their need even further .

Autel is decent kit by all accounts , but is copied by Lonsdor and obdstar quite quickly , all 3 of these seem to release new coverage at similar time. Autel has some coverage others don’t , but at cost of tool and £700 a year for updates will you get to use it enough when you have a lot of its coverage elsewhere.

smart pro is very good on new fords and does a good few of the new Renaults, but those tokens can hurt , and would you use it enough to make annual utp pay .

abrites are close to releasing akl on Renault traffic im told too , so if buying from a developer as seems the way now then won’t be long before others have it .

Lonsdor does a lot of what autel does , both have their fails and both have their issues as with any tool .


Expert advice 2:

I’m at that junction now where can cover most but looking to plug holes and get into eeprom and newer models.

Have Yanhua Mini ACDP done a few LR, Jags and BMW

Eeprom work is tough here unless doing the likes of Mercedes or BMW AKL as rates aren’t great for this work so looking at newer Renault and Ford OBD if possible avoiding the dreaded tokens


Expert advice 3:

I have a lot of Autel tools and they have been really good for me in the field so naturally the IM608 was my go-to for a starter. The subscription doesn’t deter me as it might for others because I ended my snap-on subscriptions now that I’ve outgrown their capability. Compared to snap-on subscription prices, Autel is a drop in the bucket.
So far it hasn’t left me completely empty handed. I had a 2008 Hyundai Azera it refused to pull a PIN code from so I had to buy one. Have a Jeep Commander it refuses to change the PCM VIN over OBD2 on even though it’s worked on many others.. Ended up just changing the WCM VIN so that they would sync and that was okay for the customer as we don’t do emissions testing. 2008 Saab 9-3 it wouldn’t pull a PIN code from.

I have a vvdi key tool max on the way, and the vvdi mini obd should be another month or so, got a deep discount when buying the dolphin machine so figured I would be another weapon in the arsenal.

Currently trying to figure out where to get the best Micropod II clone because I do A LOT of Chrysler work and it would be nice to have for locksmithing, and programming/flashing.

To be upgrading…

Credits to @ rapidlocksmiths.


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