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Find out what your car is really doing

ScanGauge II digital car diagnostics reader

For the Juan Manuel Fangio wannabe or the parents who fear their daughter wants to be the next Danica Patrick, the ScanGauge II gives insight into what your car is up to.

ScanGauge II aqua screen with diagnostics

The ScanGauge II from Linear Logic is a painless-to-install car diagnostics reader for $170 and, according to the company, it will soon be getting an add-on to make it even more useful. Currently, the ScanGauge II reads and displays 12 different parameters in real-time.

The recorded parameters track things like fuel usage, average speed, maximum speed, driving time, maximum rpm, distance to empty, and time to empty. The unit separates the data sets by car ride, days and last refuel. So you can learn how long it really takes your car to go from 0 to 60 mph, how far you can get on one tank of gas and how much fuel you are gobbling up on a daily basis. You can also see if your teenage daughter has been speeding.

ScanGauge II
Linear Logic

The gauge comes with a wire that you plug in to the OBD-II diagnostics connector located under the dashboard. The ScanGauge automatically syncs without you having to program it or hack into your car's computer.

You can stick the gauge screen on the dash and finagle the wire connecting to the ODB-II port around the steering column so it stays out of the way. If, like me, you have to have everything matching, you can also choose a screen color to match your other gauges. The standard RGB LED screen offers seven ready-made color choices in both high and low intensity, and the ability to customize even more.

ScanGauge II orange
Linear Logic

The exciting news is that the company is testing a processor/storage unit add-on that temporarily plugs into the gauge to download the diagnostics data. The unit will take SD cards, or connect to a PC via USB and comes with interface software for Windows XP. This would enable the ScanGauge to act as a long-term data logger, allowing you to monitor your car's diagnostics over its entire lifetime.

The add-on will be priced under $100 and come with a free software upgrade for the ScanGauge II, according to Ron Delong of Linear Logic. While the company hopes to have the new interface/add-on out in time for the holidays, it just can't guarantee that it will happen.