This what I decided to purchase. It has had a considerable amount of good reviews.
There are four types of manufacturer specific codes: P (Power-train: Engine and Tranny- Example: P1267), B (Body -includes airbags-Example: B0013) C (Chassis includes ABS-Example: C1234), and U (Vehicle Network Codes-Example: U2023). The one I am getting, and pretty much any inexpensive one will only (as far as I know) read Power-train Codes. Another drawback is a cheaper one like this will not allow one to get "live" data while the car is running. Last, while it is super cheap, I realized after I bought it that it ships from China which means a hold-up in Customs.
On the positive side,it reads Generic and Pontiac (or GM if you prefer) specific P Codes. it presents the code and definition on the screen which means you do not have to stop and look the code up to translate what it means. It will identify things like loose gas cap, dirty MAF, bad spark plugs...and reset your check engine light. It will erase all codes, retrieve I/M readiness status, display the VIN on 2002 and newer cars, and rescan. In the end I bought this one because it was cheap, and I wanted to have something the first time my dash lit up. Most likely in the future, I will go the $200-$250.00 route and get one with all the bells and whistles. If the Bush Tax Cuts had not expired, I could have bought a better one.
No matter which type you go with, everything I read says once you get the code hit the internet (or the Google Search on Solstice Forum
) and go from there. An internet search on the code will offer better and more recent solutions than an outdated device database, CD, or text manual.