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
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.
2. Battery Disconnection Technique
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
Switching the ignition on and off is also one of the methods of hard reset without disconnecting batteries. Put the keys in your ignition and turn your ignition on and off consecutively after a span of a second in each step.
Once it is done, see if the engine check light is still coming on or not. If the check light is off, you are ready to go, but if it is still coming on, get ready by reading the codes with a scanner instead.
4. Let it Go Off Itself
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?
5. Pulling Off the Fuse and put back
One of the possible ways of getting your check light to go off is pulling off the engine control unit’s fuse and then putting it back again. Although this won’t solve the problem in newer cars, it may solve the problem in a little bit older cars, and it is easy to try. Check your repair manual to find the fuse to the engine control unit.
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.