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Good value scan tool

My son has been corrupted by Car Talk and now is very interested in car repair. We would like to get him a car scanning tool so he can examine the state of our car (and perhaps friends, too). Not that there is anything wrong with it but he will love to monitor the various indicators, etc. We aren’t looking a top-of-the-line model but we do want something that will provide a fair amount of information.

From hunting around on the internet, it seems that instead of a tool, perhaps a connector to a laptop PC and software would do what we want. We’d be happy to hear about that, too.

The ca

P.S. Our car is a 2005 Volvo V70 if that matters.

I have seen links on this site that purport to show a $25 cable to connect your car to a laptop for a scan tool, but when I follow the link all I find are cables to connect a scan tool to a laptop.