Tool Review: China Import Diagnostics (FCAR / Xtool / TopDon / Autel / CanDo)
There are a number of aftermarket diagnostic & repair tools coming into the Off-Highway market. But which ones are worth the money? Our team tested a few imported tools we found online to see how they stacked up, take a look:
China Import Tools (FCAR/ Xtool / TopDon / Autel / CanDo)
There is very little difference between each of these Chinese imported tools, all of them have basically the same feel, functionality and limitations. It wouldn’t be surprising if there was some proprietary information being shared between these companies, which has caused many of these Chinese-made knockoffs to be almost identical.
Pros: These are available at a mid-range price point and have options for truck and off-highway. Many of these tools are very similar and claim to have versatile functionality but you get what you pay for.
Cons: Can range from $3,000 to $4,000 but only work around 60% of the time. Works better with older equipment, there are a lot of limitations to what it will do and what equipment it will hook up to. Many of these are marketed to seem like they have a wide range of coverage but when you get the tool you realize most of them don’t exist. Here are a few issues we found:
- Only offers cable connections for a few engines and equipment
- Software is mostly only compatible with a 9 Pin cable, but many of the listed manufacturers require other cables
- Very few models & engines available for each manufacturer
- Can force a regen but typically can’t clear a derate
- Usually no options to code injectors, calibrate vgt’s or other common bi-directional commands
- Generally no options monitor machine systems like: machine control modules, body modules or hydraulics etc.
Are Chinese Knockoff Diagnostic Tools Worth the Money?
In our experience these Chinese knockoff tools are okay at best, so it’s a ‘no’ from us. They work better with older equipment and can be somewhat deceiving. One in particular that we have seen is Kubota listed as a manufacturer – which is fine. Except there’s no cable for Kubota in that kit. When we choose the Kubota option the only engine actually listed is a Cummins engine. Which is funny because we have never run into a Kubota piece of equipment with a Cummins engine that is electronic. And there are LOTS of limitations like that. The pieces of equipment that you can connect to work fine, but expect only basic functions. Many of the higher level functions, like reset commands, within the software just don’t exist or worse yet they don’t work – so if you click on the complex functions the tool is unresponsive or gives an unknown variant warning.
Instead of risking it with a Chinese Knockoff, take a look at Diesel Laptops’ Off-Highway Diagnostic Tools. These tools offer legitimate dealer-level functionality on over 70 makes of construction and agriculture equipment. On top of that, you get repair information, US-based technical support, and training with the kit. Take a look for yourself here.