Autel IM508: Must-have key programmer & scan tool review

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The Autel IM508 is an impressive and versatile key programming machine. Along with these functions, it has a host of diagnostic features. This combination makes it a valuable tool to have in any garage.

When it comes to key programmers, Autel is one of the leading names on the market. But what sets the Autel MaxilM IM508 apart from their other models—and for whom is this device made? We’ll answer those questions and give you the full product breakdown below.

Autel IM508 vs. Autel MS906 vs. Autel IM608: Side-by-side comparison

Autel MaxiIM IM508
Autel MaxiIM IM508
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Autel MaxiIM IM608
Autel MaxiIM IM608
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Autel Maxisys MS906
Autel Maxisys MS906
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Customer Rating
4.3
4.3
4.4
PriceAutel MaxiIM IM508 priceAutel MaxiIM IM608 priceAutel Maxisys MS906 price
Product Dimensions21.4" x 16.7" x 6.8"11.8" x 8.7" x 2"10" x 1.4" x 6.9"
Item Weight12.17lbs15.5lbs18.75lbs
ProcessorCortex-A9 (1.6 GHz)Exynos hexa-core (3 GHz)Exynos hexa-core (3 GHz)
Navigation7” LCD touch screen10.1” LED touch screen8” LED touch screen
Key Programming
IMMO
ECU coding
MCU Read/write
Oil/ABS/SRS Reset
SAS Calibration
OE-level diagnostics80 + manufacturers80 + manufacturers80 + manufacturers
TPMS relearn--
Built-in camera--
J2534 ECU Reprogramming----
Here's where you can get an in-depth review of the Autel IM508
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Autel MaxiIM IM508 in-depth review

  Autel MaxiIM IM508
Autel MaxiIM IM508 Automotive Scan Tool with XP200 Key Programmer, Car Diagnostic Scanner
4.3
Along with its functions, IM508 has a host of diagnostic features. This combination makes it a valuable tool to have in any garage.

Key programming functions

The key programming functions of the Autel MaxilM IM508 are its most impressive offering. Not only does it read, generate, and learn keys, you can also reset or code the car’s ECU and MCU, which gives you full control over all the keys for the vehicle.

The MaxilM IM508 can also reprogram IMMO functions connected to keys. Even when all the old keys are lost, you can remove the immobilizing mechanisms and get the vehicle up and running again. Once you do, you can refresh the IMMO systems, ensuring the customer’s car is still protected.

Since the Autel MaxilM IM508 has built-in Wi-Fi, it also offers remote key learning. You can reset, generate, or relearn keys from anywhere in your garage. One thing to keep in mind is that not all functions are remote-capable. You will need to be connected to the XP200 key programmer to read or write the ECU or specialized functions like reading IC cards, infrared keys, and encryption chips.

Diagnostic features

Autel IM508 provides all the basic service and diagnostic functions you’d get from a typical high-end OBD2 scan tool.
MaxilM IM508 is an impressive diagnostic tool.
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Along with being a powerful key programmer, the Autel MaxilM IM508 is an impressive diagnostic tool. It provides all the basic service and diagnostic functions you’d get from a typical high-end OBD2 scan tool. Many of these functions are the same as those found on other professional Autel scanners, like the Maxisys 906. 

All-told, the Autel MaxilM IM508 includes 22 maintenance functions. Including the standard service functions like EPB, SAS, and oil light reset that has capabilities harder to find in hand-held scan tools. The highlights in our book include:

  • Relearning/resetting TPMS sensors. It would often be best if you had a dedicated TPMS tool for this function, but it’s built into the MaxilM IM508. That’s helpful for quickly accessing the tire sensor ID in the ECU, as well as performing tests and replacements.
  • Battery Management System (BMS). You can do a lot more than just reset the battery light or register an after-market replacement. The MaxilM IM508 also lets you reprogram for variations in battery capacity and monitor the voltage and charge.
  • Diesel Particulate Filter System (DPF). With this tool, you can manage the DPF regeneration of any compatible diesel engine. It also allows you to adapt the ECU when you replace or repair the system.

As far as the diagnostics go, the Autel IM508 is as comprehensive as any OBD2 scanner on the market. It gives you access to all 10 OBD2 modes, as well as a host of system tests for specific components. You’ll especially love how easy it is to read and clear any diagnostic trouble codes, and you can switch quickly between live data streams. 

Coverage

The Autel MaxilM IM508 works with over 80 different manufacturers from North America, Europe, and Asia when it comes to diagnostic functions. However, compatibility for the key programming functions is more limited, especially when it comes to IMMO and ECU reprogramming. 

Unfortunately, the full key programming compatibility of the IM508 isn’t easy to find. If you’re concerned about a specific vehicle’s compatibility, you can directly reach out to the company. Autel’s customer service is generally known to be responsive when it comes to product queries. 

Autel IM058 lets you reprogram key
Autel IM508 allows you to reprogrogram the key, as well as a host of system tests for specific components.
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Software and updates

The touch screen interface on the Autel MaxilM IM508 is controlled using an Android-based operating system. We found it responsive and easy to navigate, and it seems to multi-task well without hang-ups. 

Autel provides 12 months of free software updates for its IM508 key programmer. You can access these updates directly through the scanner, thanks to the built-in Wi-Fi connection. 

Who is the Autel MaxilM IM508 for?

The Autel IM508 is a professional diagnostic tool. It’s suitable for mechanics, body shops, and other professional garages. And while it’s an excellent value for what it can do, it is priced as such—likely outside the budget range of even serious hobbyists. 

Pros

  • Guided learning in Smart Mode improves usability.
  • Expert mode enables advanced key programming functions.
  • Responsive and easy to use.
  • Wide vehicle compatibility.
  • Comprehensive diagnostic and maintenance functions.
  • Excellent value for the included features.
  • Built-in Wi-Fi makes updates and downloads easier.

Cons

  • It isn’t compatible with every vehicle manufacturer.
  • Priced outside the typical hobbyist’s budget.
  • No built-in diagnostic camera.

Final thoughts

The Autel IM508 is a powerful key reprogramming device with helpful diagnostic features, which differentiates it from other Autel products, such as the Maxisys 906, emphasizing scan functions over key programming.

Most importantly for many consumers, the MaxilM IM508 is a great value. Its functions are nearly identical to more expensive models, like the Autel IM608. While the Autel IM608 is smoother, with a faster processor, the only significant addition is the on-board camera. That can be helpful but isn’t worth the extra expense, in our opinion. All-told, the Autel MaxilM IM508 is a powerful, versatile addition to any garage. We hope this in-depth review has helped you figure out if it’s the right tool for your needs!

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