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Buyer's Guide, Comparison and Advices

Autool SDT 202 leak detector

After recently purchasing the Autool SDT 202 I thought it was about time I did a review. I haven’t found to many reviews on Autool’s smoke machine online which made it a difficult purchase but hopefully this review can help you make up you mind.

Firstly what is it? It’s an automotive leak detector that uses pressurized smoke to find holes in intake systems. But why do you need one? Well, it’s one of those tools you didn’t know you missed until you got one and once you’ve started using you’ll never be without it! Your imagination is the limit of its use either in sealed systems or components on vehicles. We all know you can spray a bit of brake cleaner around the intake of a petrol engine and listen for a change in engine note to find a leak, but what about turbo engines and diesels (under pressure not vacuum which draws in the brake cleaner)? Not to mention its a bit dodgy spraying flammable liquids around potential sparks and hot engine components. Smoke leak detectors are a fast, safe and efficient way finding leaks on intakes, evap systems and even in-cylinder on TDC (top dead centre) for valve leaks and piston ring leaks.

I purchased my Autool SDT 202 from Ebay at about £150 delivered but they can also be found on Amazon and also have a website with all their products which I will link below. This is a very reasonable price considering other brands are going to cost about £700 but in all fairness this would be comparable to the Autool SDT 206 which is still cheaper at about £250-300.

As I said above, I have the SDT 202 which is the mid range model with the built in pressure gauge, which is not adjustable. The kit also comes with a set of rubber bungs and an intake cone for various applications, all very handy for capping things to achieve a good seal. The only additional item you will need to buy is mineral baby oil which is inexpensive for 30ml for a full tank and it lasts for ages.

The best thing I have found with the SDT 202 is that it doesn’t need a compressed air supply to create pressure as it has an in built compressor. This makes it a very mobile tool, all you need is a 12v supply.

The setup of the tool is very simple, all you need to do is connect the battery clip to the vehicle battery and the compressor starts. Flick the switch on the front and the indicator light goes green. In about 15 seconds it starts to produce smoke, simple as that! It can put a good amount of pressure into the intake system to the point where I have had the cone blow out of the intake pipe! This could be a disadvantage to the product on Evap systems as you shouldn’t put in more than 1 PSI of pressure because it can cause damage which in my mind it the only let down of the tool. The more expensive SDT 206 has an adjustable pressure gauge so Autool do cater for this problem so I cant complain too much.

All in all I’m very impressed by the Autool SDT 202. From the price, ease of use and the fact its a stand alone tool that can be used mobile. I’ve used it for about 4-5 months and it’s still working with no faults so reliability seems fine. Only time will tell on it’s longevity but I don’t see any problems on the horizon and it does feel well built. 10/10 from me!

Thanks for reading and com back soon for more posts!

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