How to Reset Check Engine Light

The check light can come on when your car computer detects an issue with your engine or other parts from under the hood, usually with the powertrain itself. It can indicate that something minor or major has happened.

In order to prevent the hassle of the light blinking in front of you, you should be able to figure out what's wrong or have a mechanic fix whatever ails your vehicle for you.

However, what if the light still comes on? You might need to know how to reset it so that you won't have to pay extra for your auto repair shop or dealership to do it for you.

Follow These Multiple Easy Ways

  • Let the Check Engine Light Go Off By Itself: Sometimes the best thing you can do is not do anything at all. Allow the check engine light to go off by itself as you drive your vehicle as usual. The trick here is that most car computers do the rechecking of problems by itself so you won't need to do any resetting. Once it scans your engine and sees the error is cleared then you're good to go.
  • Turn the Ignition On and Off: Just  as your PC or modem router is easy to fix by turning it off, waiting a few minutes, then turning it back on, you can also fix your mostly computerized check engine light the same way by turning the ignition on and off. It's like the disconnecting battery technique except you're doing a "soft" instead of "hard" reboot. Put the key into the ignition, turn it on and off for three times straight with a gap of a second in every step. After you're through, drive your car to check if the check light has reset.
  • Apply the Battery Disconnect Technique: Use a wrench to remove the negative and positive cables to your battery. Drain the remaining electricity from your car capacitor by pressing and holding the car horn for about 30 seconds. You might want to give your neighbors a head's up. Wait about 15 minutes before reinstalling the car battery cables. Through this method, you should be able to erase the error codes, which in turn will turn the engine light off. Make sure the error that the engine light detected is already solved before doing this tactic.
  • Use a Scan Tool: Get a scan tool and connect it to your on-board diagnostic connector or OBD-II under your steering column. Turn off all the gadgets like your radio and your A/C and then turn the ignition on. View the error codes by pressing the "Read" button on the scan tool. Afterwards, press the "Erase" button that's also located on your scanner in order to clear the error codes. Once the error codes have been cleared, then you're good to go with your check engine light. This should wipe the proverbial slate.

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