Tool Review: FCAR F506 HD Code Reader Pro

Feb. 15, 2018
An easy-to-use, quick reference tool that covers a wide range of heavy duty vehicles.

The FCAR Tech F506 HD Code Reader Pro is designed for truck repair, fleet management and maintenance staff to have quick and easy access to vehicle electronic control units and all supported sensors. This code reader can read and remove fault codes, analyze live sensor data and save or export into an excel sheet. The code reader pro covers all major trucks, with imported truck OEM level coverage for Isuzu, UD, Hino, Fuso and OBD-II for all passenger vehicles, the company says.     

The Review

Stephen Kod Jr. is a master certified truck technician at Mobile Dredging & Video Pipe, Inc. in Beltsville, Maryland. The business cleans and repairs city-owned storm drains and pipes. (There are about 30 Mobile Dredging & Video Pipe locations across the country.) Kod manages the 125-truck fleet that haul the equipment that helps to clean and repair storm drains and sewer systems at the Maryland location.

Kod says his garage tries to fix everything they can in-house. Some of the trucks he maintains are old-school mechanical, but most require some form of scanner. The FCAR F506 HD Code Reader Pro helps Kod and his fellow technicians get one-step closer to the problem.

“It is a simple check-engine light reader,” Kod says. “You’re on the fly, in a hurry, want to check something out, nine times out of ten this happens in the worst situation - at a jobsite, on the side of the road, someone comes in the last minute of the day and the truck’s running [badly] … you can throw this in real fast and it gives you a quick answer telling you what kind of decision you need to make and where you need to go.”

“I treat most [repairs] like a battlefield; I need to know what hill to attack first,” Kod says.

He adds with the code reader he can be more precise. For example, it might help him to decide whether to tow a vehicle to the dealer, or back to the shop for an in-house fix.

After using the code reader, Kod and fellow technicians follow-up with the FCAR scan tool for heavy duty.

“The best part is, it’s so universal,” Kod says.

“We are more diesel, Duramax stuff and up (Duramax, Caterpillar, Cummins, Internationals, etc.),” Kod says. “We get an array of engines that we have to go looking into. Diesel’s have always lagged behind in being able to read the injectors, parameters, and things of that nature. You had to have a scanner for almost every manufacturer. Back in the day, eight, 10 years ago, we’d be reaching for two scanners.”

He says the budget-friendly code reader (and scanner) covers a wide variety of vehicles, including cars and trucks (gas and diesel). That fact alone makes him very happy.

The code reader is also straightforward and easy-to-use - like a code-reader should be.

“You don’t need a manual; if I had any problems or questions I felt comfortable calling the company,” Kod says. “The customer relationship [with FCAR] is very useful and helpful.”

He found the F506 code reader is particularly handy to have in the service truck.

“If a technician’s in the field and has a problem where a vehicle shuts down, [the code reader] will get us in the ballpark of where we need to be. It gets us closer and then the scanner tells us fine details.”

The unit’s small size and portability is another advantage. The F506 is about the size of a small tablet: “We’re not hauling around a very expensive unit that doesn’t need to be in the service truck full-time,” Kod says.

“I’ve used code readers all my life,” Kod says. “The little one’s perfect for a truck. Plug it in, it gives you what you need.”

The tool’s strengths are the range of vehicles it can service, time savings, and its affordability.

About the Author

Sara Scullin | Editor | PTEN and Professional Distributor

Sara Scullin is the editor of PTEN and Professional Distributor magazines. These publications are part of the Endeavor Business Media Vehicle Repair Group, which includes Fleet Maintenance, Professional Tool & Equipment News (PTEN), Professional Distributor magazines and VehicleServicePros.com.

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