Can I Reset the Check Engine Light in My Car?

An illuminated Check Engine Light on the dashboard of your vehicle could mean a lot of things. Some things are quite minor, while others might suggest you need a whole new car. If your Check Engine Light problem is something serious, it is critical that you have it repaired by a certified mechanic as soon as possible. Driving with the Check Engine Light on is dangerous, plus it can cause serious internal damage to the engine and more.

If for some reason you wish to clear the Check Engine Light on your vehicle yourself, there is an easy way to get the job done. Continue below to learn how to reset a Check Engine Light.

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What is Your Check Engine Light Doing?

A flashing Check Engine Light indicates a serious engine problem, such as a bad catalytic converter. A solid Check Engine Light icon signifies a less urgent problem, such as a loose gas cap or defective spark plug. If your issue is something that can be done yourself, like tightening up the gas cap, go right ahead. For all other automotive problems, you will need a professional. A mechanic has the proper skills to read the Check Engine Light code, repair the problem, and clear the icon from your dash.

DIY Check Engine Light Clearing

Unless you have your own Check Engine Light code reader, you will not be able to reset the icon yourself. It is not recommended to ignore a serious mechanical problem and simply reset the Check Engine Light. Not only is this unethical if you want to sell the car down the line, but it is dangerous and only does more harm to the vehicle.

How to Reset the Check Engine Light

Was your problem minor, like a loose gas cap, and you fixed it, but the light won’t turn off? Do this:

Try disconnecting the car battery. Let it sit for several minutes, then connect it back up. This is known to work well.

At a steady pace, turn your vehicle on and off, three times in a row, driving a few miles in between. This usually triggers the onboard computer to reset itself.

You can also just drive for a while, without stopping. Often times, the onboard computer system will run self-tests and finally confirm that the issue is resolved, thus switching off the light.

Are you using a code reader?

Simply plug it in, select the Check Engine Light error code, and erase the code. Some code readers do not have this feature, but most will.

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