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How to Get Rid of the "Check Engine" Light

Updated on November 15, 2016

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You've fixed the issue that made your "check engine" light to turn on, but now it won't turn off! This may not be your fault. Sometimes the computer in your vehicle will need a little help to see that the issue has been resolved. I'll go over a few techniques for resetting your check engine light.

This light displays itself when the onboard computer system recognizes an electrical or mechanical problem with your vehicle. When the problem is fixed, the engine light does not always turn off. This can be annoying and could keep you from being finding out about future problems the vehicle computer might try to display.

Of course, it is essential to be sure that the light isn't on because your engine really does still have a problem. Try one (or more) of the following approaches to turn the light off. If it does not go off, then your engine has a problem.

4 Ways to Turn Off the "Check Engine" Light

Method
Tools Required
1. Drive car and let light go off by itself.
 
2. Turn engine on and off three times in a row.
 
3. Disconnect and reconnet the battery.
Wrench
4. Use an OBD code reader.
Wrench and OBD reader

1. Drive Your Car and Let the Light Go Off by Itself

The first and easiest method for clearing the check engine light is driving and time. Most onboard computers will recheck whatever problem caused the check engine light to activate multiple times. Drive your car as you normally would. If the check engine light is still on after three days, your problem may not have been fixed or you may need to try some of the methods below to reset it.

2. Turn Car On and Off Three Times

Some vehicles will automatically reset the trouble codes that caused the initial error after the vehicle is turned on and off three times in succession. To do this, insert your key into the ignition, turn the vehicle on for about a second, and then off for about a second. Repeat this two more times then drive the car as normal. Check to see if the check engine light reset.

3. Disconnect and Reconnect the Battery

You will need a wrench. Prop open the hood and use the wrench to disconnect the positive power cable to the vehicle battery. Leave the battery disconnected for at least 15 minutes. Then put your key into the ignition and turn it three times to the “ON” position. This will clear the emissions data from the vehicle memory as well as the readiness flag data.

Reconnect the positive battery cable and turn the key in the vehicle ignition. Wait one minute and the check engine light error should be gone.

4. Use an OBD Code Reader

You will need a wrench and an OBD reader. This reader analyzes and clears engine codes. To perform this method, remove the fuse panel underneath your vehicle dashboard and plug the reader into the OBD port in the fuse box. Once you have connected the reader, press the power switch to turn it on. Hold down the “Read” button on the reader and the device will scan your engine for any error codes. Once done analyzing, the reader will display an error code. Make note of the code or codes if you wish to cross check them.

Now turn the check engine light off by turning the key in the ignition to the “ON” position and pressing the “Erase” button on the reader.

Following these techniques will allow you to rid the annoying check engine light as well as allow for new problems to be displayed properly. Whether you choose to manually reset the on board computer by resetting the battery or by using an OBD reader, you will be able to successfully fix the error. You may use these techniques to fix the check engine light error as well as any other errors in the future should they present themselves.

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    • joeblevins 2 weeks ago

      Wow...unbelievable...after fixxing the oxygen sensor on my Ford Explorer XLS to get it to pass the emissions test the check engine light turned bk. On...couldnt believe it, so I thought i probably had to return to the shop for further examination but thanx to this website i followed the easy steps to reset it myself... And sure enough i unplugged the pos. Cable as described and follow the remaining steps before reattaching the cable bk on and to my amaze it WORKED!!!!... WooHoo!!!!!!....Thanx for the useful info to help solve the problem...2 THUMBS UP!!!!!!!!....

    • joeblevins 2 weeks ago

      Wow I cant believe after i got my oxgyen sensor fixed on my 2001 Ford Explorer XLS came bk on after having it fixed to pass Illinois Emission Test that this info i read on line wit u guys worked 100% plus ...I followed all steps provided and the one that eliminated the check engine light was unplug the pos. battery terminal and inserting the key before re-attaching the cable bk... I thought i would have to take it bk to the shop for further examination But dont need too...Thanx for the info. On how to reset the problem myself...2 thumbs up for this website....

    • Evans 7 weeks ago

      I followed the manual technique the light off momentarily and then came back on! Mine is a 2009 mazda bongo van. The irritating light is still on.

    • Stephanie 3 months ago

      I reseted my engine light but now before I foolly turn on the car it still turns on

    • BIG ED!!! 4 months ago

      Wooohooo. Left my dome light on, which killed the battery in my Subaru Forester. Turned the car on multiple times as indicated above and it reset the check engine light, hill descent and traction control lights and the car is back to normal. Thanks

    • John 5 months ago

      Thanks so much!! I found other sites that advised to disconnect the battery, but yours was the only one that advised to put the car in the "on" position 3 times before connecting the battery again. This seems to have done the trick. The light is no longer on.

    • ben thuku 5 months ago

      my prando check engine shows when the car inclines .

      what is the problem?

    • Your Name 13 months ago

      help my toyota probox,,when i drive 5okms,the engine gets really hot and all over sudden it switches off while on motion.when cool it takes off for a short distance and then showing check engine then it goes off!whats the issue?

    • felicia 21 months ago

      Help, my Honda fit 2007 is acting up! When I was driving on the highway yesterday the engine light turn on , also while accelarating the car was not speeding up to par. I went to take it to auto zone and they did a diagnostic test little machine that looks like a phone and it said that the oil pressure was low etc etc. What does that mean. I checked my motor oil and its fine. Is it expensive to fix? Please help me.

    • erorantes profile image

      Ana Maria Orantes 2 years ago from Miami Florida

      Thank you for the information Mr. Wolfy. It is true about what you are saying. I had the same problem with the light. And some one did all that work. The light is no longer on.

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