Craig Truglia, assistant editor
One of the best things about owning a repair shop in a training facility is that I get to play around with many tools, including the one and only, Autologic.
The Autologic is to scan tools as the Bugatti is to automobiles. It is probably my personal favorite tools, but like a Bugatti the scan tool is often not within many shop's price ranges. Each car line costs about $10,000 making the scan tool more than $60,000 fully loaded.
To me, the tool really is a thing of beauty. It is fast, easy to use, and intuitive. It is extremely easy to reflash with. It really has OE-level capabilities on particularly BMW and Mercedes. The tool is otherwise extremely strong on other manufacturers. It has never left anything to be desired on a Land Rover, Porsche or Jaguar for me.
That is not to say the tool is perfect, because nothing is. It's particularly strong on Volvo, more than any other aftermarket tool, but I have had a few hiccups with it. I have had a service reset fail on a S40, though the manual procedure did not work either so the vehicle might have had a cluster problem.
To the Autologic's credit, we had a S80 that the factory scan tool could not communicate to the new throttle body. The factory tool always reflashes the ETM, PCM and TCM all together, and because the ETM was new and not communicating the factory tool just could not get the vehicle to jive with it. The Autologic functions differently and was able to reflash just the ETM, which subsequently allowed the factory tool to communicate and then update the PCM and TCM accordingly.
Furthermore, I have had the Autologic succeed and fail on some Volkswagens. I was able to get the Autologic to do a cam-crank relearn on a 09 VW Jetta, but not even communicate to an 04 Audi A4 3.0L PCM. Volkswagen is probably their weakest link, but it is the only aftermarket scan tool that can reflash most of these vehicles, which makes it very valuable to the Euroshop.
The tool really just does what they advertise, which is a rare thing these days. I have even found it preferable at times to factory equipment. I have even found it preferable at times to factory equipment, which you can see in this video when the Autologic squares off against the Land Rover T4 in a shootout.
However, the days of the Autologic being that exotic, out-of-reach tool might soon be ending. As Mercedes and BMW keep updating their OE interfaces with ever-more expensive equipment, even the European specialty shops are starting to balk. So, while an Autologic with six car lines might still be a $60,000 scan tool, the new Mercedes factory scan tool, the Compact4, is only half the price. And, the Autologic's interface does not expire every five years.
Plus, Autologic now allows for the tool to be financed instead of being paid for outright, though I have heard that there are some problems with Direct Capital on the Worldpac Forums. So, for about $400 a month you can have OE-level scanning capability for BMW and Mercedes allowing you to do relearns, reflashes, keys and et cetera. Add a Ross-Tech VCDS and you have the ability to work on any German car.
Personally, I think we are entering the age of Autologic. Do you think the Autologic is about to hit the mainstream? Is it a realistic buy for a lot of shops?