How to Reset Check Engine Light – Cars are made up of different electronic and mechanical systems that all work together to give you an awesome driving experience and that is pretty awesome.
An important part of a car’s electronic system is the Onboard Diagnostic System (OBD system) and in the course of this article, we will discuss the function of this OBD system.
As you know in the course of using your car, it might develop some issues. For some of these issues, your attention can be drawn to them when you hear certain sounds that shouldn’t be or by seeing some things that are out of place.
But there are some issues that are not that easy to notice and that is where the check engine warning light comes in. The check engine light alerts you to an issue with your engine’s electrical system that you should immediately take a look at.
We will now go on to discuss the various methods that you can use to reset your check engine light.
How to Reset Check Engine Light
- Using an OBD2 Scanner
- Pulling Off the Fuse and Putting It Back in Place
- Let it Rectify Itself
- Using Battery Disconnection Technique
- Turning Your Ignition On and Off
Using an OBD2 Scanner
Using an OBD2 scanner to reset the check engine light is one of the easiest ways to go about the matter. You can purchase an OBD2 scanner then follow the steps that we will outline below and you are good to go.
However, if you do not want to get one for yourself or if you do not want to use this method, there are still other methods and you have to go for the one that you are most comfortable with.
So if you have an OBD2 scanner and your check engine light comes on, what you should do is to plug the scanner to the OBD connector of your car. This is usually under the steering part of your car.
When you have inserted the scanner, turn on your car’s ignition and wait for a connection to be established between the scanner and your car.
Then proceed to press down on the “read button” of the scanner. The scanner will then search out the trouble codes and have it displayed for you.
What is now left for you to do, is to decipher the error codes displayed. You can do this by consulting your user manual, or by making a search on the internet. If you still haven’t figured out what the codes mean after that, you can consult a professional.
When you understand what the code means and you are now aware of the issues that caused the check engine light to come on, the next thing to do is to rectify it.
If there is an engine part that needs to be changed, go on and change it, just make sure that you handle whatever problems that were detected to avoid more issues.
After you have properly handled the issues, the next step is to erase the error from the scanner. To do this, you have to press down on the “Erase/Clear” button.
Even after all you have done all these and handled the issues, you should still double check by turning off your ignition and putting it on again and see if the check engine light came on again or not. You should also make sure that the scanner is not still reading out the same fault.
Pulling Off the Fuse and Putting It Back in Place
This method is more likely to work for older cars. It is not recommended that you try this method in newer cars as it will not work.
So if you have an older car and you want to try this method for resetting your check engine light, what you have to do is just to take off the engine control unit’s fuse and put it back in place.
If you do not know the location of the engine control unit’s fuse, go through your repair manual and you are sure to know where to find it.
Let it Rectify Itself
If you are sure that you have handled the issue that caused the check engine warning light to come on, but yet the light is still displaying, you can just allow it to rectify itself.
Just keep on driving your car as normal for three days and give your car’s computer the space to refresh and handle the situation, as it works in a continuous cycle.
Let us give you an instance so that you can better understand what we just explained. Let’s say that the reason the check engine light came on is because of an issue with your oxygen sensor.
After it has been taken care of the ECU should update the sensor’s status, causing the check engine light to go off. If this does not happen immediately then give it three days to refresh and reflect.
If however after three days, the check engine light is still very much on and you are sure that you have fixed the issue, then you have to contact a professional.
Using Battery Disconnection Technique
If you do not want to use your scanner, another option available for you is to try out the battery disconnection technique. What you have to do in this method is to take away the battery terminal for about 30-60 seconds.
Usually for a lot of car models, this action will reset the engine control unit.
Now let us take it step by step so that you will know exactly what to do. The first thing to do is to lift the terminal off the negative battery post and get rid of any more electricity in the vehicle’s capacitor.
You can do this either by putting on the lights or pressing the horn for about 20-30 seconds.
As soon as the electricity has been disconnected, just let the car be for about 10 to 15 minutes. After this time has elapsed you can now reconnect the battery terminals.
It is very important that you ensure that they are properly tightened. This is so that there will be no sparking. After you have tightened the battery terminals, you can then turn on your car.
If after you have started your vehicle, it is still displaying the same check engine light, then just know that there is a major issue with your car that you should handle right away.
It could also mean that your car is still storing the error codes, as some car models will not reset the codes just because you towed the path of battery disconnection.
No matter the case, it is strongly advised at this point that you analyze the codes with the help of a scanner.
Turning Your Ignition On and Off
Another method that you can use to reset your check engine light is to turn your ignition on and off. You might be wondering as simple as that? Yes as simple as that.
Switch your ignition on and off giving just a second interval and check if the check engine light is still displaying. If the check engine light is no more displaying then you are good to go, if not then just make recourse to using a scanner.
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If the Engine Check Light Displays Again
So you have employed any of the methods that we have discussed above to reset your check engine light and you have succeeded, only for the light to display again after a few days has passed.
What this means is that you really have to get your car checked with a scanner or better still contact a professional so as to detect and handle the issue.
Are There Other Ways of Resetting the Check Engine Light without Disconnecting the Battery?
If you are asking if there are any other ways of resetting your check engine light without having to disconnect the battery, the answer is yes. You can very well handle the situation by making use of an OBD2 scanner.
Also, for most car models today, after you have handled the issue, the check engine light will go off on it’s own after a while.
Resetting Check Engine Light Without A Scanner
If you do not want to reset your check engine light using a scanner, then fix the issue with your car and the light will eventually go off.
For some car models, you will have to take away the battery terminals so as to reset the engine control unit.
Timeframe for it to reset
After you have handled the issue that your attention is being drawn to, your car will require about 10 to 30 successful cycles before the check engine warning light will go away.