Tool Review: Autel MaxiSYS commercial vehicle diagnostic scan tool

March 5, 2019
The reviewer says this scan tool helps reduce the time vehicles spend in the shop.

The Autel MaxiSYS, No. MS908CV, is a wireless, heavy duty, diagnostic scan tool. The 10" touchscreen tablet has bi-directional control and can access all available modules for commercial vehicles Class 1 through Class 9. The MS908CV performs AutoSCAN and AutoVIN (2006+), key programming on supported vehicles and generates printable diagnostic reports. It features advanced coding and adaptations and currently has 25 service functions including ABS brake bleed. It includes Deutsch 9-pin and 6-pin adapters, a full probe set and complete OBDII connector kit. A one-year tool warranty and one year of free software updates are available with purchase.

The review

When it comes to working on heavy duty vehicles and equipment, one of the most important qualities a shop looks for in a tool is its ability to maximize vehicle uptime. Bill Souers, manager of maintenance excellence at Dickinson Fleet Services in Indianapolis, Indiana, found the Autel MaxiSYS commercial vehicle diagnostic scan tool does just that.

"Our goal is to avoid getting [vehicles] out of service and to a shop, because that can be like a big black hole, in a lot of cases," Souers says. “Even if they get it into the shop right away, repairs typically take a couple of days. [With the MaxiSYS] our technicians can do a lot of the OEM software functions that keeps our customers’ trucks out of the shop,” he says.

The MaxiSYS is capable of bi-directional functions, which Souers says is one of the biggest reason Dickinson decided to use that particular product. He notes that functionalities such as advanced parameter settings are advanced for a scan tool. “Typically that's only available with OEM software.”

Souers adds that while lower-priced tools can perform basic functions, the technicians on his team "need to do more than just read codes."

The technicians at Dickinson use the MaxiSYS on a range of vehicles: “Everything from light duty trucks with OBD, to Class 8 Isuzus and everything in between,” Souers says. While he notes that they use the scan tool's OE functionalities for maintenance and repair on “mainly Class 3 and larger” vehicles, the MaxiSYS is capable of these functions on Class 1 through Class 9.

The scan tool comes in a hard plastic case with compartments and velcro straps to hold it and its accessories in place.

“It’s very well packaged and extremely durable,” he says. “They bounce around in our service trucks their whole life, and [the cases] do a great job of protecting the tool.”

There are extra accessories available for purchase, including an oscilloscope and video scope, but Souers notes the MaxiSYS comes with everything needed to use it. Inside the case, users will find new Deutsch 6-pin and 9-pin connectors and a full probe set, plus “the tablet and cables, 12V cigarette lighter adapter; an AC charger … and the OBD adapter.”

The maintenance excellence manager adds that technicians at Dickinson have also found the scan tool’s Android-based operating system and Autel software to be user friendly and “extremely easy” to use.

To add to this ease of use, Autel does not require mandatory updates for their scan tools, so companies such as Dickinson will not have to worry about the tool becoming non-functional or having to backdate a subscription in case of a lapse.

Souers is happy with the value added to the company’s maintenance team with the use of the MaxiSYS. “It comes in very handy for us to be able to service the customer,” he says.

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