Milwaukee M12 Auto Technician Borescope Review

Playing guess and check with an engine teardown is no fun for you, and it adds labor time to your customer’s bill. The Milwaukee M12 Auto Technician Borescope promises to help you accurately diagnose problems, and we put it in the hands of our resident diesel tech to see if the product team succeeded.


Pros

  • Camera quality plus 4-mode zoon ability makes small details stand out
  • 5mm camera head accesses areas most borescopes can’t
  • Front and side-facing cameras
  • 5-level LED light
  • Rotating screen
  • Controls are easy to reach with one hand
  • Replacable camera head swaps in seconds

Cons

  • Dsiplay screen isn’t removable

Milwaukee M12 Auto Technician Borescope Basics

There are a ton of great features built into this borescope that tailor it to the needs of auto techs. The camera itself needs just 5mm for the head to gain access (small enough for glow plug holes and fuel injectors), and a 3-foot flexible cable helps you guide it to potential problem areas.

5mm camera head

Once you’re inside, you have 5 LED light levels to illuminate the area. When you can’t quite get the camera positioned to see what you’re inspecting, you can switch it from front to side view. For those hairline cracks and other small issues, you have 4 zoom levels to get in closer. Other controls on the handle allow you to easily shoot photos or video, view your gallery, and power the unit on or off.

Milwaukee M12 Auto Technician Borescope Controls

Obviously, engine blocks can be hot, and Milwaukee added a Heat Sense alert to let you know when the temperature is in danger of damaging the camera. If the temp or an accident does cause damage, the camera is easily field replaceable with a twist lock plug on the display that takes just a few seconds to swap out.

Easy Camera Change

The display itself has a 4.3-inch screen. It rotates 270°, making it easy to find a way to rest it when you need both hands or to get a proper view orientation when you’re working in an awkward position.

Milwaukee M12 Auto Technician Borescope Rotating Head

As part of the M12 battery system, you can use any Milwaukee M12 battery for power. We find that the compact 2.0Ah or 2.5Ah High Output batteries are better since they keep the foot of the larger packs out of the way.

Using the Milwaukee M12 Auto Technician Borescope

Milwaukee M12 Auto Technician Borescope Review

All that sounds great, but does the design deliver the results you need? We teamed up with diesel mechanic, Isaac Leuchtefeld to see what he had to say after swapping his normal borescope for the Milwaukee 3150. While some of his findings echo what we’ve already discussed, we’re sharing all the feedback he gave us.

One major plus is the size of the camera. It’s much smaller than other versions. The shop borescope he normally uses from Snap-On has a camera that’s too big to get into cylinders via the injector cut. The camera on Milwaukee’s 3150 is the perfect size to get right into the cylinder.

The controls are easily accessible and he’s able to switch through all the options on the tool with one hand while holding the camera with another. That’s another big plus that his other scope falls short on.

The picture quality is good considering the low light conditions. Isaac pointed out that he’s able to see score marks in the lifter bore with good detail. The camera quality makes small issues very evident to see on the screen.

Above: Inspecting scoring around the lifter bore of a diesel engine.

The rotational screen is another big win. He’s able set the tool down on its side while manipulating the camera with two hands or when he’s using a flashlight to blast additional light into the area of concern.

His only drawback is that you can’t remove the display from the tool—something his shop borescope can do. He admitted that he rarely ever uses that function, so it’s not something he’s that concerned about.

Milwaukee M12 Auto Technician Borescope Price

You can get your hands on the Milwaukee 3150-20 as a bare tool for $429. While there are no kit options currently available, the unit does come with a 32GB micro SD card and SD card adapter. Considering the environment where it’s designed for use, Milwaukee’s inclusion of a lockable hard case is welcome.

Replacement cameras are $229 each.


The Bottom Line

Three key areas Milwaukee focused on with the design of the M12 Auto Technician Borescope were image quality, access, and ease of use. Based on our experience and our deisel tech’s feedback, the product team nailed their goals. If you’re in the market for an automotive borescope, Milwuakee’s 3150 earns two well-deserved thumbs up from our team.

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