We’ve all seen it, maybe with a friend or perhaps even done it ourselves. That dreaded check engine light most people don’t know what to do with.
If my check engine light goes off, I would first go through a few checks and resets to see if it’s a problem with the computer diagnosis, which we will go through below. However, if it really is a problem, it’s time to find a mechanic who can fix a check engine light near me.
4 Ways to Reset Your Check Engine Light
1. OBD2 scanner
The fastest way to reset a check engine light is by using a device called an OBD2 scanner. You can purchase one as part of your vehicle’s routine.
Here’s how to do it:
- If your check engine light is on, connect your OBD2 scanner to the connector underneath the car’s steering port if your check engine light is onion. It may be in a different place on some models, search up where the OBD connector is on your model.
- Once the connection is made, press the “read” button on the scanner to search for the fault codes.
- Note the error code found by the scanner and use the user manual to find out which error the check engine light is indicating.
- Now, some of the errors you may be able to fix yourself, others you may need to take to a shop.
- Once the problem is solved, you can erase the error from the scanner with the erase or clear button. Then, check to see if the check engine light is still on.
2. Turning the Ignition on and off
This one is fairly simple but can deal with some basic errors. First, turn the ignition on and off for at least one second in each stage. This allows for a hard reset without disconnecting your car battery.
Then, check the check engine light again. Sometimes this can catch some simply confusions the car’s computer finds. If it doesn’t work, you’ll have to move on to the next step.
3. Disconnecting the battery
If you don’t have a scanner, you can manually reset the check engine light by disconnecting your battery for 60 seconds. This is reset the engine control unit for most vehicles.
Disconnecting the battery safely can be a bit of a process. First, remove the negative car battery and drain any excess electricity left in the system by pressing the horn for 30 seconds.
Then, leave the battery disconnected for at least 15 minutes. Once you’re done, reconnect the battery and make sure it is well tightened back into its place.
With this and the ignition hard reset, if your car is still giving you a check engine light, that means it is appropriately diagnosing a severe problem with your vehicle. In this case, I would move onto the code scanner or go to a mechanic near me to solve the problem.
4. Let it go off itself
I waited until last to provide this solution, but one thing that may work is simply seeing if it turns off on its own while driving. Your car’s onboard computer will be checking and rechecking often and sometimes simply misread the situation the first time.
You can drive around as you usually would for a while and see if that helps things. If after three days the check engine light persists, you can move on to other solutions. This method is not recommended to keep going longer than a few days with.
FAQ about check engine lights
What could cause the check engine light to turn on?
- Your gas cap isn’t screwed back on properly. This is the one you want as it’s a very easy fix.
- Your spark plug is worn out. Just about anything wrong with your ignition system will cause the check engine light to turn on, but the spark plug is a common culprit. If you have more than 100,000 miles on the vehicle, it might be something to get checked.
- The mass airflow or oxygen sensors might detect a problem with the air or oxygen mixtures in the engine. If the ratio of fuel to air and oxygen isn’t correct, this can be a big problem for the engine and will need to be examined by a mechanic.
- Finally, in a worst-case scenario, your catalytic converter might be broken. Your car cannot run without it, and it’s expensive to fix, so let’s hope this isn’t the case.
Can low oil cause the check engine light to turn on?
Yes, low oil pressure is another problem that can cause your check engine light to go off, although there is usually a secondary light just for oil as well.
If you are looking for an oil change Sacramento, CA, you can stop by our repair shop to have that done and to take a look at why a check engine light is on.
Can you drive with the check engine light on?
Yes, but it is something that should be addressed. First, check your gas cap and turn it on and off your ignition a few times to reset the diagnosis easily. If these don’t work, it can be helpful to drive around a few days to see if the check engine light remains on.
Don’t drive more than a few days with the check engine light on. If the problem persists, use the rest of the advice in this article or get it checked by a professional. There could be a serious problem with your car.
Diagnosing a check engine light often isn’t a complex process. There are all sorts of simple fixes that can be sorted out first before even needing to use a scanner and diagnose a fault code.
If these tips haven’t helped you, you can always head into your nearest auto shop and get professional help. They’ll be able to fix your problem. However, often with a check engine light, the problem is fairly simple, so following our tips should give you a head start and save you money in the long run.