A check engine light or in some cases, also known as the Service Engine Soon light, is basically an indicator that indicates any minor problem in the car’s engine or that your car may need the timely scheduled check-up. It lets you know by blinking or being constantly illuminated in one or different colors.
The different colors or the light’s nature, whether it’s blinking or not, indicates the nature of the problem, whether it’s a serious emergency or any minor issue that needs attention.
- How does the Check Engine or the Service Engine Soon light works?
- Different methods for resetting a Check Engine Light:
- Problems that lead to the blinking of Check Engine Light:
How does the Check Engine or the Service Engine Soon light works?
The vehicles are equipped with computers known as Electronic Control Module that monitors and controls the vehicle’s working. An electronic control module makes sure the vehicle is working at its optimum efficiency and is minimizing the emissions.
It works like a diagnostic system that monitors the electronic sensors, emissions in the control systems, and the catalytic converter.
As soon as ECM detects a slight problem, it turns the Check Engine light on. This way, you are warned about a minor potential problem before it can turn into a serious one.
Different methods for resetting a Check Engine Light:
There are several methods that you can try if your check engine light is blinking or is illuminated to reset it. Some of those methods are given below and explained in detail, step by step so that you can do it yourself at home.
1) Diagnose the problem:
The first and most basic method is to diagnose the problem and solve it. This will automatically turn the check engine light off.
You shouldn’t simply ignore the check engine light, as its job is to warn you about a potential problem. Even if the problem isn’t too big, ignoring it might be a mistake, as it can get worse.
Some problems left unattended to, cause parts of your vehicle like the catalytic converter to fail, and once damaged beyond repair, a catalytic converter is very hard to replace and will also cost you a lot of money.
By first identifying the problems and then finding their solutions, you can automatically turn the light off. Most of the time, some part the light is blinking because some part of it needs repair or replacement. Given below are some of the problems that might be causing the check engine light to blink.
You can reset the check engine light by opening and then closing the lid of the oil tank. If that doesn’t work, you need to replace the lid as it might be damaged or leaking.
Not sufficient amount of fluids like brake fluid or the windshield fluid, etc.: Check all the fluids in the vehicle.
The check engine light may be illuminated because there might not be enough brake fluid, windshield fluid, or engine fluid in the brakes, windshield wiper, or the engine, etc. you should also check for any leaks or damage, etc. that might be causing the problem.
Fault in the mass flow air sensors
These sensors are responsible for passing the right ratio of air and gasoline to the engine.
If these sensors are not working properly, the ratio will be messed up. You can identify this by observing the gas mileage, which tends to decrease in such a case and by noting whether the vehicle is stalling or not.
In the case of the vehicle stalling, you need to get your airflow sensors checked, repaired, or replaced.
Worn out sparks and plugs
You can identifying this problem by accelerating your car, and if at high speeds you can feel jolts in the car or something sparking, it means the spark plugs and the wires are all worn out, and you need to replace them.
Catalytic converter not operating properly
Catalytic Converter is responsible for the conversion of harmful gases like carbon monoxide to harmless gases.
If the catalytic converter is not working properly, your car will have a poor gas mileage. In the case of the failure of the converter, you don’t have any other option but to replace it.
By using an OBD2 scanner: It is one of the simplest methods to reset the check engine light within seconds, and it is also similar to the above-stated method.
Instead of manually finding the problem with the vehicle, you diagnose it with the help of the OBD scanner by following the below-mentioned steps:
- Connect the scanner to the On-board diagnostic center of the vehicle. The OBD is located under the steering portion of most cars.
- Turn on the ignition in the car.
- After the device has been successfully connected to the OBD, press the scanner button. This will scan all the activities happening in the Electronic Control Module.
- After the completion of the scan, note down the codes of all the errors.
- Decode those codes suing the vehicle’s manual.
- After decoding, you know what the problem is.
- Solve the problem if that part needs replacement or calibration.
- Erase all the errors from the scanner by pressing the clear/erase button.
- Switch off the ignition and then switch it on again.
- Check the engine light and scan the OBD one more time to see if the problem has been solved or not.
Battery Disconnection Technique:
The technique doesn’t require the use of any scanner, and so you can try it even if you don’t have a scanner at home.
This technique, you can say, is the conventional way of resetting the check engine light. However, the problem with this one is that it only works for some cars, not all of them.
Take the following steps to reset your vehicle’s check engine light:
- Remove both the positive and the negative terminals of the battery.
- Drain any present electricity present in the car’s capacitor by honking the horn several times or by turning on the lights.
- After the electricity has been drained, leave the car to rest for about 10-15 minutes.
- After this short span of time, reconnect the terminals.
- Make sure both the terminals are tightly connected to avoid any sparks.
- Switch on your car.
- If the light is still blinking or illuminated, it means the problem is serious, and you need to get your car checked by a mechanic.
This method, even if it resets the check engine light, is still not practical, as it can lead to the problem getting worse. Therefore, even if you are able to turn the light off, it is still advisable to get your car examined by a mechanic to avoid any inconvenience in the future.
4) Turning the ignition on and off
Another method to reset the check engine light without the help of any scanner is by simply turning the ignition on and off. In this method, you don’t even have to disconnect the terminals of the battery. This method is simple and follows the following steps:
- Put the keys in the ignition
- Turn it on and then off after the span of a second
- Keep repeating the process and turn the ignition on and off with a second or two spans.
- Check the check engine light.
- If, after several tries, it still doesn’t turn off, the problem is serious.
In such a case, it is advisable to get an appointment from a professional who can identify and solve the problem.
Let the check engine light to turn off by itself
One of the simplest ways to turn the check engine light is to wait it out. It may turn off on its own. The computer or the diagnostic center in your car is designed in a way so that it works in a continuous cycle and keeps refreshing its present state over a fixed cycle of time.
However, in this case, the light will only turn off after three days if you have solved the problem by then. If not, the ECM after refreshing, will identify the same problem again, and the light won’t turn off.
If the problem has been identified and solved and the light is still illuminated, give it three days before it turns off.
If it still doesn’t, there might be something else wrong with the car. In that case, you should take your car to a mechanic.
Regardless of whichever method you use and whether the check engine light turns off or not, it is still advisable to get your car properly checked by a mechanic or scanning it at home yourself.
In most cases, minor problems like worn-out spark plugs or wires, or fault in the oxygen or airflow sensors lead to bigger issues like the catalytic converter failing. Therefore, timely diagnosis of the problem is highly important and recommended.