This article may contain affiliate links. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Cars have always been technologically advanced, but over the last two decades, they have become more complicated than before. With computers playing a larger role in the operations within the engine, having an onboard diagnostic system is crucial.
This system is there to detect even the smallest of issues that might arise within the engine, warning you before things get worse.
Sometimes the check engine light might come on, but there are no noticeable issues. Now, I don’t recommend ignoring a check engine light and advise that getting a professional to check it out is best. But sometimes it can be irritating, or you fixed the issue, but the light is still on.
How To Reset Check Engine Light?
Here is a list of things you can do to reset the check engine light. But, before we get to it, let’s quickly take a look at what a check engine light actually is.
What is a Check Engine Light?
A check engine light works by using the oxygen sensor readings within the exhaust and comparing it to the air on the outside of the system. A rich fuel will produce less oxygen within the exhaust and vice versa. This tells the system whether there might be an issue when the readings for the fuel mixture coming in and the oxygen produced in the exhaust does not match.
How to Reset it
The easiest way is by using an OBD2 scanner. But if you don’t have one available, you can often do it without one. However, it is still recommended that you check the error codes first using an OBD2 scanner if the check engine light is ON.
Here are some of the different ways that you can reset your check engine light.
Turning the Ignition On and Off
This might sound silly, but sometimes the simplest solution does the trick.
Just switch the ignition on and off. Try it a few times, waiting a few seconds between each of the steps. This might fix the check engine light issue. If not, disconnecting the batteries or using an OBD2 scanner should be considered.
The OBD2 scanners are readily available online to buy and will get to the route of the problem super-fast. These scanners aren’t just used to identify issues within the engine by reading information from the ECU. They can also be used to reset the check engine light as well.
An excellent example is the LAUNCH OBD2 Scanner-2021 New Model CR529 Car Code Reader Check Engine Light Scan Tool.
How does it work?
Just find the OBD connector underneath the steering column. If it is not there or you can’t find it, check the car manual. Set the car switch to on, but don’t start the car and press read. Once done, the scanner will search for any errors in the system.
The error codes can be cross-checked in the manual or online. Fixing those problems will fix the check engine light. If you don’t want to fix them, you can press clear, but the check engine light will eventually turn on again if the same problem persists.
If you do fix the problem, switch the car off and on again, and the check engine light should be gone.
Disconnect Car Battery
If you don’t own a scanner, or know anybody who owns one, then the best thing to do is disconnect the battery. This method won’t work with all vehicles because some models actually store the error codes even when the battery is disconnected.
The easiest way to do it is by removing just the negative terminal from the battery. Then drain the rest of the power in the system by turning on the headlights until they turn off by themselves.
Let the car sit for a good 15 minutes before reconnecting the battery. This should turn off the check engine light warning. If it is still on, there is a much bigger problem with the engine, and I recommend getting it checked by a professional.
Pull Out the Fuse and Put it Back in
If you own an older vehicle, you might be able to reset the check engine light by removing the engine control unit fuse, letting the car sit for ten minutes, and putting it back again. If you don’t know where the engine control unit is, checking the car’s manual should tell you where to start looking.
Let it Go Off Itself
If you’ve got the patience and absolute nerves of steel, then you could wait for the light to go off by itself.
If you can wait a few days, fingers crossed, and nothing breaks, there is a chance that the ECU will reset itself eventually and not detect any issues, turning off the check engine light.
Sometimes smaller glitches in the ECU might happen, like a false reading from the oxygen sensor. But it should be resolved within a day or two.
Regularly monitoring your vehicle’s condition can avoid severe engine problems later down the road. Check out the Best Car Health Monitor to own in 2022.
Or how about in-depth reviews of the Best Bluetooth OBD2 Adapters Scanners, my Best Oil Additives Reviews, the Best Oil Additives for Older Engines, the Best Oil Additives to Stop Leaks, or the Best Oil Additives for Noisy Lifters, the Best Engine Degreaser, the Best Oil Filters, the Best Engine Air Filters, my Best Blow Off Valves Reviews, my Best Engine Flush Reviews and the Best Octane Booster for your hard-earned cash?
Back to today’s question…
How To Reset Check Engine Light? – Final Thoughts
A check engine light can be a cause for concern, but sometimes it might just be a small issue or glitch. If the check engine light has been on for a while, and the tips in this article do not fix it, it is important to get the vehicle to a mechanic as soon as possible.
Hopefully, the tips in this article help you to be able to reset the check engine light yourself if you need to.