Tom's Guide Verdict
Basic but effective at ferreting out common automotive problems, the SeekOne SK860 OBD-II diagnostic scanner shows live data and current faults and can tell you if your car will pass inspection.
Big and heavy
Lacks diagnostic services that more expensive scanners provide
Why you can trust Tom's Guide
Size: 7.8 x 3.8 x 1.2 inches
Weight: 11.2 ounces
Live data: Yes
Display type and size: Color, 2.8 inches
Number of keys: 8
Designed and built to take a beating, the inexpensive SeekOne SK860 OBD-II automotive diagnostic scanner deserves a place in your toolbox or glovebox because it has an excellent mix of basic functions.
It may lack some of the detailed routines of more expensive scanners and be on the large and heavy side, but the SK860's $61 price tag more than makes up for it and puts it on our list of the best OBD-II scanners.
Read on for the rest of our SeekOne K860 review.
SeekOne SK860 Pricing and availability
Priced at about $40, the SeekOne SK860 straddles the realms of economy OBD-II scanners and scanners aimed at professional mechanics. It is the company's only OBD-II scanner available in the U.S., but SeekOne also sells heat guns, soldering kits and Qi chargers for phones and watches.
SeekOne SK860 Design
One of the largest and heaviest vertical OBD-II scanners available, the SeekOne SK860 measures 7.8 x 3.8 x 1.2 inches and weighs in at a hefty 11.2 ounces. This makes it much bigger and heavier than Innova's pricier (and more capable) CarScan Inspector 5310.
Ruggedly designed, the SeekOne SK860 has ribbed grips but can feel heavy and awkward, particularly when you're also trying to balance a wrench or a manual. The scanner comes with a padded case.
With a 2.8-inch color screen, the vertically oriented SK860 relies on icons rather than text to work you through its software. In addition to the expected Diagnostic, DTC Lookup and Setup categories, the SeekOne SK860 interface has choices for Review, Print Data, Help and BAT Check for monitoring the car's charging and battery.
Its eight-button interface includes a key to initiate the scanner's I/M (inspection/maintenance) readiness check, which is a helpful routine to go through before you take your vehicle in for a state inspection. The results are shown as LEDs for no-fault codes (green), intermittent problems (yellow) and permanent fault (red).
The scanner can show live data such as engine speed and coolant temperature, and can also run a check on the status of the car's oxygen sensor. There are no phone or tablet apps for the SeekOne SK860, but you can print anything you see onscreen when you connect the scanner to a PC via a USB cable and use SeekOne's software.
SeekOne SK860 Performance
The SeekOne SK860 reliably connected to and showed data from my two cars, a 2014 Audi A4 Allroad and a 2016 Infiniti Q50. I started with the main menu's eight icons but couldn't immediately identify the vehicle's details. After a little nosing around, I retrieved the cars' vehicle identification numbers (VINs).
The SK860's battery check is a big bonus and not something you often find in the sub-$100 class of OBD-II scanners. The scanner examined the battery and showed the current charging voltage, making it a lot easier to see if the battery or alternator needed replacing.
After that, the scanner immediately found the fault that I introduced into the car's operations (a disconnected oil-temperature sensor). It was able to erase the fault code from the car's computer and turn off the Check Engine light.
The SeekOne SK860 works with generic fault codes and its software is available in eight languages, but this OBD-II scanner doesn't go beyond the basics. There are no repair instructions, no oil-level monitoring and no ability to turn off the oil-maintenance light, all features that more expensive scanners often provide.
SeekOne SK860 Setup
Less than 20 seconds after I plugged the SK860 scanner into my car's OBD-II port, it linked to the vehicle's computer. The 58-inch cable reaches into the car's engine bay if you're diagnosing a complex problem. It also worked well with a third-party OBD-II extension cable. There's a mini-USB port for connecting to a computer for printing results and updating the scanner's firmware.
The included instruction booklet is halfway between a basic guide and a full manual. In addition to a quickie description of how OBD-II diagnostic scanning works, the booklet includes a section to help OBD-II newcomers with getting started using the scanner. On the downside, there's isn't much beyond this.
The SeekOne SK860 stands out from the crowd with a lifetime warranty that includes updates to its firmware, meaning that this could be the last OBD-II scanner you'll ever need to buy.
SeekOne SK860 Verdict
Basic, but with a lifetime warranty that includes firmware updates forever, the SeekOne SK860 OBD-II automotive diagnostic scanner does a lot for a little at $60.
Large and at times cumbersome, the scanner has been ruggedly designed and can take a beating inside a toolbox or car trunk. It goes a long way to define what's wrong with your car, but it stops short of recommending how to fix problems or suggesting the parts you'll need.
Brian Nadel is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in technology reporting and reviewing. He works out of the suburban New York City area and has covered topics from nuclear power plants and Wi-Fi routers to cars and tablets. The former editor-in-chief of Mobile Computing and Communications, Nadel is the recipient of the TransPacific Writing Award.
The picture of the unit clearly shows OBD2 and one. This requires an explanation. Trying to help.Reply