I’ve been looking for a replacement scan tool for a while now, and came across the Autel MaxiSys MS906 Scan Tool online recently.
To be honest, I haven’t heard much about this model but I know another shop owner nearby that has the Autel DS708 scan tool, and he has nothing but good things to say about it.
This is apparently their latest and greatest model to replace the DS708, which is slower due to being Windows-based, has a slightly smaller screen with worse resolution, and a limited range of manufacturers it can access.
So, after much research, I took the plunge and bought it online.
Here’s my background.
I’m a small auto repair shop owner in Denver, Colorado.
I’ve been a hands-on technician for over 10 years and have dealt with pretty much every auto repair scenario you can think of.
I have five techs that work with me. We work on all makes and models, and most of my customers have cars less than 10 years old.
I needed a scan tool that was capable of performing every aspect of the job, no matter what make my customer has.
From the description, it looked like the Maxisys MS906 Scanner could do just that.
When The Delivery Arrived?
When the package was delivered, it was well wrapped, but the packaging was a little beat up from the many miles it traveled to get to me. Once I got it open, I was immediately impressed by the hefty, molded black plastic carrying case it was concealed in.
I opened it and found more than I bargained for, that’s for sure.
There’s more than just the Autel Scan Tool in the case. There are over a dozen make-specific connectors clipped into the lid (quite ingenious, actually, to use that otherwise empty space) as well as a stack of books and the cable in the bottom. The MS906 Autel Scan Tool was strapped in with a Velcro strap, protecting it from being damaged not only during shipping but in everyday use as well.
First Time Using Autel MaxiSys MS906
Like a kid in a candy store, I had to test it out. Being that the Autel MaxiSYS MS906 was supposed to be able to do everything the dealer-specific scanners can, I decided to check out a customer’s engine light on their Ford Escape. Like any professional grade scan tool, you have to connect the cable just like a computer cable with those little screws before you can use it, but once it was connected, I plugged the scan tool in.
Nothing happened. Unlike most OBD2 scan tools, you have to power up the MS906 on your own. I pressed the button and the screen lit up. It was only a few seconds until the main screen was displayed, and it really didn’t take long at all to figure out how to check the code. I scrolled through to the Ford button, pressed it, and pressed the “EOBD” or engine light icon. It literally walks you through the process to read the codes, and I found out the Escape needed an upstream oxygen sensor.
Out of curiosity, while I was checking the scanner out, I looked at the MaxiFix tab and was astonished to see that there was diagnostic and repair information for virtually every make and model out there. Just because I was curious, I looked up the upstream oxygen sensor procedure for my customer’s Ford Escape, and it looks to be correct.
Definitely, this information will come in handy.
More Tool Than I Expected
It’s both a good thing and a bad thing, but there is way more to the Autel MS906 thank I expected. While there are intuitive functions, you can miss out on so much if you don’t spend a couple of hours reading over the manual. That in itself is a problem – the owner’s manual is 104 pages long!
I don’t know a single tech that’s going to take the time to learn the tool that well. It can be used as a shop manager as well, but that’s something every shop owner already has, and one you won’t be switching just because you got a new scan tool. Another thing is your unlikely to use most of the adapters that come with it in the case. It’s just needless. They should probably sell those separately.
The Good Stuff
The Autel MaxiSys MS906 has so many features that some are bound to be extremely useful. It has Smart AutoVIN which will detect the VIN number number from your car’s ECU most of the time. If it can’t recognize it, you can manually enter it easily. It can perform functions most shop owners farm out to the dealership like key programming and ECU programming, and it’s even capable of programming tire pressure monitor sensors if you buy the adapter with it.
Like I said before, it’s intuitive for basic functions like checking codes and has a massive 8-inch color touch screen. You’ll need to connect it to Wifi, but once you do you have access to online resources, remote support, and updates. Updates come free for a year for the MS906 according to the website but I haven’t tried it yet.
I’ve used the Snap-On scan tool, another one from MAC Tools, a few of the smaller handheld scan tools, and this one blows them away. Since my first use, my staff and I have put it to the test with dozens of vehicles and haven’t encountered a problem yet. It can sometimes feel a little bulky in the vehicle but the built-in kickstand hangs nicely on the top of the steering wheel to keep it more accessible. It supposedly works on as many as 80 different makes, most of which I’ll never see so it’s hard to say if there could be problems for other users. It’s also great that it uses the Android platform, so a huge segment of users will feel right at home with it.
Great For the Pros
To wrap things up, I’d give the Autel MaxiSYS two greasy technician thumbs up. It performs great for everything I’ve needed it for and should for the foreseeable future. If you’re a home mechanic, save your money and get something cheaper as this one is way overkill. If you’re a small to medium-sized shop, you’ll be satisfied with Autel MaxiSys MS906 Scanner.