Check Engine Light

How to Reset Check Engine Light – 5 Simple Methods

In Engine by 12 Comments

Our cars are designed in a very sophisticated way. They are equipped with many electronic systems, and one of these parts is the car’s onboard diagnostic system (OBD system). 

Some of the possible malfunctionings in your car can be detected either by various inappropriate sounds or by various physical signs. But some faults, that are not easily detectable but do occur in your vehicle are represented by the check engine light in your car.

In this article we will go through how you can reset the check engine light.

How to Reset the Check Engine Light

The simplest way to reset the check engine light is with an OBD2 scanner. But if you do not have one available, you can often do it without one. It’s still recommended to check the trouble codes first with an OBD2 scanner if the check engine light is ON.
Here are some different ways how you can reset your check engine light.

Total Time: 5 minutes

1. Use an OBD2 Scanner

Reset Engine Light

If you have an OBD2 scanner available, you can reset your Check Engine Light within seconds. If you want to get one, you can check out our other article on the best OBD2 scanners to buy.
When your check engine light is on, connect the scanner to the OBD connector situated under the steering portion of most car models. Then switch on your car’s ignition to the ON position. After the connection is established between the computer and the car, press the “read” button on the scanner to search for all the stored trouble codes.
After the scan is complete, note down all error codes diagnosed by the scanner, decode those problems using the user manual of the particular make and model. Once the code is decoded, the problem is detected. Solve that problem; if that part needs to change, then change it or if it needs to calibrate it then carry out the calibration.
Once done, erase the error from the scanner by pressing the “Erase/Clear” button. Once the problem is solved, it is recommended to switch off the ignition, then switch it again, check to see that engine check light is not on again, and recheck from the scanner whether it is giving the same fault again or not.

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2. Battery Disconnection Technique

Disconnect Car Battery

This is the first technique for resetting your check engine light without a scanner. In some car models, this works, and in others, it will still store the codes.
The battery disconnection technique is a conventional way of resetting your car’s check engine light in some cars.
First of all, remove the negative car battery terminal. Then try to drain any available electricity present in the car’s capacitor by pressing the horn for around 20-30 seconds or turning on lights. Once the electricity is disconnected, then leave your car for 10-15 mins. After this short time, reconnect all battery terminals, make sure they are well tightened to avoid any possible sparking, and then switch on your car.
If your car is giving that same check engine light on restarting, then it means that there is some serious problem in your car or your car stores the codes anyway. In such a case, it is highly recommended to check the codes with a scanner instead.

3. Turning the Ignition On and Off 

4. Let it Go Off Itself

Driving Car

One possible way to reset the check engine light is to wait and let it go off by itself. It is a straightforward method; all you have to do is wait and continue driving your car for around three days. Car’s computers are designed to work in a continuous cycle and refresh their present state.
Remember that you have to make sure that the problem is gone before using this technique.
For example, if the ECU detects a problem in the oxygen sensor that could occur due to a minor glitch, then it might fix automatically as the ECU will update the sensor’s status once the glitch is removed, setting off the check engine light. But if your check light is still on even after three days, then either apply the above-mentioned methods yourself or take your car to a mechanic. Read more about it here: Will the check engine light reset itself?

If the Engine Check Light Returns

Once you have got your check light to disappear, using any of the five above mentioned methods, then you are ready to go. But if your check light glows again after a few days, it means there is a problem in your car that needs to get fixed.

It is now time to get your car diagnosed for real with the use of a scanner. Either by buying one yourself or going to a workshop that can read the codes in your car.

12 thoughts on “ How to Reset Check Engine Light – 5 Simple Methods ”

  1. I am a mechanic not currently working I had a obd11 scanner but it was in the boot of my Subaru, my friend has a Mazda 6 and at home I have my old Bosch engine analysis machine but it doesn’t reset codes that being said, I can’t find anything wrong with his car but all the code lights are on check engine abs,airbags but the car is running well I changed the oil and oxygen sensor I checked brakes fluid so how can I turn off the multiple lights battery is new alternator is charging properly and engine analysis shows consistent wave patterns in each cylinder please advise thank you…..

  2. Hello any help will highly appreciated,my car Nissan Sentra 1.8s 2004 was having a problem of rough idle all of a sudden it turn of After changing a couple of thing like starting sensor and air flow now the car would start but won’t accelerate. Then I scan it with OBD2, it saying manufactural control (p1124) I have not idea what that it. Once I enrase that code will start and work fine so anytime I want to use my car must Enrase 1124 code before it will work fine. What do I do thanks

    1. I have a 95 Subaru with the damn check engine on. I had it traced to a problem with the ECU. Apparently it is not choking a cold motor followed by not grounding out to turn off the light! It passes smog w flying colors except for the fact that the CHECK ENGINE LIGHT WONT TURN OFF! I tried a different ECU but evidently it has to be a certain unit to match mine so vitually impossible to find without plunkin down a large amount of cash that I dont have.Any ideas or advice would be greatly appreciated.

      1. Several mechanics told me that my check engine light is not serious and very expensive to fix and I should ignore it and they reset it. How many miles do I need to drive after a reset before I go for a state annual MVD inspection to pass?

      2. Have you tried disconnecting the battery leads. Leave off for approx 15 mins and whilst off put on headlights to drain any residual power in the system. When power in the system has drained, reconnect the battery this should then reset the Engine Management Light,
        Good Luck.

      3. My engine light is on and changed the camshaft sensors still saying my camshaft sensors are bad.stressful

  3. I took my 2014 corvette out yesterday for the first time in 5 months It has 6700 miles on it
    It ran a little rough for the first mile and then the check engine light came on
    After driving it for another 3 miles the check engine light went off and the car ran perfect for the next 100 miles. No problems

  4. In my 98 tundra, turning the ignition on and off about 5 times reset the light. So easy! Thank you so much!

  5. I have drove my 04 chevy silverado several hundred miles with light off still off but still reads code light went off by itself po300 says about ten different things it could be from spark plugs to head gasket truck runs great even when pulling over 7000 lb trailer has 340500 miles on it nevr miss a beat

  6. If you need answers to your car questions, it is much more likely that you will get answers in our car community. You can find our community here.

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