Peake Tools and Diagnostics
When your car's computer detects a problem or fault, it will trigger a Check Engine/Service Engine Soon warning light to let you know it needs attention. A fault code is also generated by the computer to let you know what the problem is.
That functionality is not unique to BMWs. In fact, all cars sold in the US produced after 1996 were required to have a diagnostic system to let inspectors and service professionals track emissions related problems. This system is called OBDII (On Board Diagnostics, second Generation). Contained within this system is a set of parameters to be monitored, and the corresponding fault codes. These codes are generic, and any OBDII reader (like those used by auto parts stores) will read them.
Peake tools ARE NOT OBDII READERS
Your BMW - and, in fact, ALL BMWs as old as 1987 have maintained their own, factory-programmed and BMW-specific diagnostic system. The parameters monitored by this system extend beyond emissions related faults, and their corresponding codes translate to EXACTLY what the factory wants the technicians to know. Of course, some of these codes will overlap with OBDII codes, but the factory codes generally produce a more accurate result, which could save you time and money tracking down vague problems.
In short, the Peake Tools are made specifically for YOUR car, OBDII tools are not.
How to use the Peake Tool
Very simply, the Peake tool connects to your car using one of two possible diagnostic ports. BMWs produced between '87 and '00 have a round, 20 pin connector under the hood. Cars '01 and newer share the connection to the factory diagnostic system with the OBDII system. This 16 pin connection is located under the dash, below the steering wheel.
Peake also makes an SRS/Airbag fault code reader. The R5-SRS tools are airbag specific, meaning this is all they do. The FCX tools discussed above WILL NOT read airbag codes.
Selecting an airbag tool is very similar to selecting an engine code (FCX) tool.
'94-'00 BMWs will use the R5-SRS '00-'03 BMWs will use the R5-SRS-16.
Currently, there is not a tool for '04 and newer cars.
What the Peake tools WON'T do
The Peake tools have their purpose - they are simple, hand-held, BMW Specific engine or airbag fault code readers/reset tools. They will NOT provide you with real-time data, programming capability, or individual sensor testing. They will NOT read systems outside the ECU (or airbag module), meaning they will NOT read ABS, DSC, Transmission, EML, or any other components.
What you get when you order
Your Peake tool purchase will include the tool, a code/instruction manual, and protective case. FCXIII-16 and SRS-16 tools include an integral cable to connect to the under-dash port. There is NO NEED to buy any additional adapters unless you WANT to be able to scan cars across the '87-'06 range.
The Peake tools come with a 90 Day factory warranty. The tools are very simple - no moving parts to break. As experience electronic products tells us, if something is going to malfunction, it will be from day one. Therefore, the 90 day warranty is MORE than sufficient in our opinion. Additionally, Peake offers technical support regarding operation of the tool. They are not equipped to answer questions about what the codes mean or how to fix them.
The warranty does not cover damage caused by abuse, misuse, or improper/forced connections.