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Is the CarMd as advertised on TV as good as they claim it to be resulting in huge savings in repair bills??

What is this product?

Is it an extended warranty?
If so, AVOID it at all costs.
Aftermarket extended warranties are almost always scams.

Is it a scan tool?
If so, it could be a good investment, depending upon how much they are charging for it.

Is it a “miracle in a can” type of product?
If so, it is probably just overpriced motor oil that will not do what the manufacturer claims it will do.

Is it none of the above?

When asking for information about an item or a product that may not be universally known, it is always a good idea to describe the item or product.

It sounds like it is a CEL reader. It is not likely by itself provide you with huge savings. Maybe non at all.

A CEL is usually only of real value to a real mechanic. The non-mechanic tends to make assumptions about what the error code means. You still need to know cars to fix them a code reader just gives you more information about the problem, it does not tell all nor tell you have to fix it.

I looked at their website and it’s just a scanner. It’ll only result in huge savings in repair bills if you plan to do your own work…and invest in the thousands on dollars worth of tools, lubricants, solvents, advil, and other junk needed to do so…like many of us have.

Or, you can have your fault codes scanned at many parts stores for free! Then you can invest the thousands of dollars worth of…etc. etc.

I’m Going To Go Out On A Limb Here And Say That The Amount One Could Save With The CarMD Could Be Worthwhile.

I just wish I had been the one who came up with it.

Knowledge is power. There are too many variables to consider what one could potentially save with this device / information. Examples: vehicle make, model, model-year, miles, owner’s prior knowledge, shop / dealer being utilized, whether state has emissions inspections, length of time using it, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Hey, I have no problem spending $150 to $200 for Service Manuals for each of our vehicles just to obtain some more knowledge. I do almost all repairs and maintenance on our cars.

I think that having a device like this could lead an increased level of owner prowess that could actually pay for itself once or many times over. It is a starting point for becoming more car savvy for a car novice.

I believe that one could save money whether they work on their own vehicle or depend on the expertise and mercy of a repair facility.

I vote to “Go For It” and spring for the Premium Bundle Upgrade. Let us know how you like it.

What is your level of car expertise and how old, how many miles on this truck, and are you experiencing any problems at this time ?


As noted, it is just a code scanner, though it seems to come with access to a website that provides diagnostic info.

Between free code reading at auto parts stores and general internet searches (also free if you already have internet access) most people won’t save a thing. It is marketed based on a common misunderstanding which is that “computers” can diagnose car problems. Computers aid humans in diagnosing problems. But they don’t actually diagnose. So the same basic advantages are already available to you for free.

I will say that it is handy to have your own code reader - if you routinely do your own work on cars. But in that case you’re better off with a scantool - which reads codes and gives realtime info on various systems.

Cigroller, Have You Delved Into The Website A Bit Or Just Did You Just Glance A It ?

We’re not talking an arm and a leg. I think the company is only asking a reasonable “compensation” for putting a lot together (the stuff you talked about being available for free) for folks.


No. I’m just thinking that if you know enough to use the info that would be provided there then you probably don’t need the website. There are piles and piles of info about OBDII codes online.

I’m not trying to imply that there is not “work” or value behind the price paid for the product. Its just that the whole idea oversimplifies what is involved in getting from DTC to car repair. In most cases a “service” like this won’t cut it. You still need to know what you are doing.

I’m just thinking about your average Schmoe sitting on the couch watching the TV ad and thinking that they can drop $90 on a code scanner and never have to visit a mechanic again.

Another thing that the marketing of things like this do is leave people overestimating how much the PCM actually “knows.” I’m reminded of a poster not too long ago who reported symptoms that left a head gasket issue as a strong possibility. The OP did not want to accept that as a possibility because s/he thought “the computer” would report such a thing.

I dropped $100 on a laptop based scantool. I’m not an expert but I bought it b/c I already know what to do with it. So some people can get great use out of things like this - but not your general car-ignoring type.

It looks like a glorfied OBDII scanner that spits out codes only…For $120. For half the price you could get an OBDII scanner that gives you codes and definitions without having to look them up.

Don’t Look At Just The Little Handheld Device, But Take A Look At The Whole Enchilada.

Many of us have various degrees of car operating knowledge. Many of us know what DTCs are, have OBD readers or OBD scanners, know how to access DTCs for free, manuals, access to TSBs, tools and the ability to employ them properly, etcetera.

Lots of us know how to access information to enhance and accompany the above.

From the viewpoint of a car owner / operator with little to no knowledge of the preceding mentioned tools and information, I think this “package” could be of assisatance at a resonable cost. It is a starting point for one to get more involved with car maintenance and repair.

I know you get a code reader, but that’s not all. Come on now, open up your mind, take a few minutes, look at the site through the eyes of a total car novice. Go into some of the examples given.

When some of these folks are dropping sometimes $50 to $100 labor to have a scanner plugged in to diagnose a large EVAP leak and then cleaning or purchasing a gas cap, the cost seems to be in line, to me.

Even if it doesn’t help in every case, I feel that the learning experiences that occur with each use would be worth it. Again, look at their examples. This a starting point for people who don’t know where to begin to understand what’s going on with that CEL, but don’t know where to begin.

Come on guys. Can’t anybody cut some slack and see a little light (CEL), here ?


For the same amount of money, you could get something like the ScanGauge, which is both an OBDII reader, and a supplier of real-time data (coolant temp, RPM, MPG, etc) as you drive.

As a buyer of used cars, I think owning a code reader tends to pay for itself.

I agree with CSA. I actually own one of these devices and it is awesome. As previous posters indicated it is a CEL reader but this system does so much more. I get access to all of the TSB’s and warranty and recall information but the best part is their database. If I understand how it works correctly it looks throughout their network of ASE master techs and finds the most likely fix for my specific vehicles problem. According to the website they have thousands of mechanics inputting this information which seems like a knowledge base for each vehicle. It was spot on for my problem and already paid for itself on the FIRST USAGE. An EGR valve that I changed myself btw. I wish I had thought of this. They are going to make a fortune.

It’s advertised on late night TV along with abdomenizers, miracle weight loss pills, time shares, eBay get rich schemes, and male enhancement products.
What does that tell you.

So what happens when the novice gets a code stating yada, yada, takes it to a shop, and then is told by the shop that the part the customer is insisting be replaced because CarMD said so may or may not be the problem?
And what if there are multiple causes of the same code? Or half a dozen codes set by one faulty part?

If a DIYer wants to use this on their own as an aid then fine. The problem will be when the subscriber starts inserting CarMD between themselves and a shop doing the repair for them. CarMD says one thing, the shop says another, and the car owner will swear to the mountaintops they’re being ripped off by the shop. Etched in stone tablets to boot.

Here’s the kind of “trap” that these things set up for the basic late night TV watcher:

Its what I and others (I think) were trying to say about it.

That article tells the story of a woman having brake & suspension issues (including a broken steering knuckle).

It then proceeds to how not to get ripped off and the first thing on the list is:
“You can diagnose what’s wrong before you hit the shop by using the CarMD tool ($99; Just plug the hand-held device into your car (every model after 1996 has a standard connection port) and it reads the car’s computer codes. You can then plug it into your computer for a full report of what problem the codes indicate, the most likely fix, and what labor and parts for the repair cost in your area”

As if any scanner is going to diagnose suspension and brake problems! And as if you’re going to drive into the shop already knowing exactly what is wrong. People do believe this sort of thing - that the computer somehow knows all.

Perhaps for real truth in marketing one should be required to take a basic course in autos before making such a purchase decision.

In the mid 70s VW put tel-tale sensors all over their cars and advertised how a quick computerized scan would detect any problem. There were sensors in ball joints, tie rod ends, brakes, etc., and a quick check up at the dealer would result in a printout of the cars condition. Obviously it didn’t work out too well. And the scanners are a worthwhile investment for anyone interested in doing even minor maintenance. It can determine why the CEL is on and allow owners to decide if the problem needs immediate attention or can wait until it is convenient.

I don’t think all OBDII scanners are created equal. I have an Actron AutoScanner Plus CP9180 which I bought from Wal-Mart for around $60. I have a Nissan Maxima and a Ford Escape Hybrid. Recently the FEH started throwing up a yellow wrench idiot light with the msg: Service Soon. I hooked up my scanner to the OBD port and the scanner said there were no codes present or pending. Later I had a complete failure of my power steering and again the yellow wrench light was on. Again my scanner found nothing.

I’ve been told that many scanners only pick up the emissions related codes. It sounds like the CarMD scanner might be better than that. Any thoughts??

It seems clear from both the price and the wording on the website that CarMD only reads the government required OBDII codes. These codes don’t cover brakes, steering, suspension, body, or even all of the engine codes.
The problem is that all the other diagnostic codes and systems are not defined as a standard. Every car company does them a little differently. You’re not going to find a [very] low cost device that has the specific programming required for each car brand.

Wow! I thought it was $39.99 I guess I should have watched the whole commercial the first time. I didn’t see the three payments part which I should have expected. It looked like it was worth $39.95.

Yes, an old thread. But I finally just caught some of this infomercial last night on the tube.

I actually think that these characters should be sued for false advertising. Its not that everything they say is false. Its true that it will read codes. It also implies that it will read all codes - body, SRS, ABS etc. I actually plan to verify that since that actually would make it worth the $$ to me. Its also the case that it gives you access to TSBs, recall info, and some kind of data bases of fixes. It does also seem to record some kind of live data so that it might function as a rudimentary scan tool (I only watched snippets so the infomercial may have been more clear about that). In that respect, it may be worth the $120-160 you have to pay to get it. I’m sure it does save some people some money.

However they step way over the line of honesty. The two biggest outright lies are: first, they very clearly imply that this will tell you what part to replace - the classic misconception. In fact they frequently flash to this CarMD “readout” that is telling the user to replace their MAF sensor including a cost estimate. They tell you to plug it in, have the thing tell you what part to replace, then take it to your mechanic to tell them what part to replace. Of course, all of the “mechanics” are smiling and nodding with the “customer” as they both look at the printout of the report. Holy cow.

Second, they pretty much say that this will tell you everything you need to know about a car. Want to buy a used car? Great. Just plug it in. If the light goes green then you have nothing to worry about! Huh!? Once again all I can say is Holy Cow.

Given what is available for scanning devices it probably isn’t a bad deal. However, their marketing is pure sleaze. For people who don’t know anything this thing will cause as many problems as it solves.