Tool Review: Matco Tools maxME

April 14, 2016
The reviewer says this scan tool is a great add-on for a specialty shop or a single technician.

The Matco Tools maxME bi-directional scan tool features a patented, pay-as-you-go software subscription service. Designed to be both affordable and customizable, the maxME allows users to only pay for the car makes they work on. Subscriptions start as low as $20 a month and are offered by car make, region (Asian, European or domestic) or one that covers everything. At any time, users can add, delete or update makes, right from the tablet’s screen. In addition to being an advanced diagnostic tool, it’s also a full-featured, personal tablet. Troubleshoot engine codes, stream music and play apps — all from one tool.

The Review

Barry Hoyland, owner of Vehicle Service Solutions of California, says the Matco Tools maxME has a quick boot-up, which allows for fast access to information.

In his shop, Hoyland services all types of vehicles, but for this review, he used the maxME for general scan diagnostics, oxygen sensor graphing and more. Specifically, he used this scan tool to perform multiple bi-directional controls on a 2011 Cadillac SRX to determine the bi-directional control functionality, “or to see the capability of the tool,” he says. “I put it through its paces to see what information I could get out. For example, if I wanted to operate a window, I command the scan tool to open and close the window.”

He also used this scan tool on a Dodge pickup truck with a Cummins diesel engine to diagnose an emission failure. “The helpful part was that it had enough PIDs available to get to the root of the problem.”

The maxME is a monthly subscription-based, and to use, Hoyland says you need to download the subscription for the specific vehicle platform you choose to work on. “The tool offers global OBD-II embedded in the tool. If you want enhanced capabilities, then you subscribe to the individual manufacturers that you choose.”

An advantage of the tool is that you’re not paying for things that you don’t need, Hoyland says, but you have the ability to obtain that information if and when necessary.

“This makes this tool a great add-on for a specialty shop or a single technician. Purchasing software on an as-needed basis could save quite a bit of money annually.”

The maxME comes packaged in a leather protective pouch and includes an on-board battery, a USB charger and the VCI.

Hoyland says that once you learn the navigation features of the tool, it is relatively easy to use. He likes that the functionality is similar to other Android products by this manufacturer, which also improves ease-of-use.

He also liked the Bluetooth adapter, which allows wireless connection to the vehicle. Overall, Hoyland says this tool provides users with “good data coverage and bi-directional ability for the vehicles tested.”

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