Of all the warning lights on the dashboard of a car, the one that can be the most troubling is the “check engine” light. It can light up for a variety of reasons that range from extremely minor to critical and urgent. There is no safe way to know if the problem identified is next to nothing or a major issue without having a mechanic check it out. Resetting this light before having it checked is not wise.
One way to reset the “check engine” light is to have the codes checked.
If you are not qualified to read the codes and diagnose the problem, a trip to a dealer or trusted mechanic is in your future. Once in the shop, the mechanic will attach a reader to your car and dump the codes. Generally, only a few minutes are required to gather the codes. The next step is to check with the manual for the type of car to find out what the code means.
Translating the meaning of the codes can be tricky for the untrained.
Often “check engine” codes can point to more than one potential issue. The possible problems are generally related, but may require more investigation to narrow it down to the most probable cause for the light to come on. Without the manual and some experience, it is nearly impossible to determine the problem with any degree of certainty. Regardless of the problem, once the codes are downloaded from your car’s on board computer, the “check engine” light will usually be reset and turned off.
If you are reasonable sure that you know why the “check engine” light is on, you can reset it yourself.
Once cars reach high mileage, some of the sensors can start to fail. While it is best to replace the sensor to give your car the best performance possible, the problem is often considered minor. Turning off the “check engine” light will frequently only serve to keep it off for a short time. It will give you an opportunity to determine if the problem is intermittent or solid.
Do not assume that because your “check engine” light stays on that it is always the same problem.
You might have multiple codes in your computer that need to be addressed. From time to time, you should have your mechanic recheck the codes. This way, it will prevent you from ignoring a major problem for an extended period of time. If it is the same problem, you can just continue to ignore it if you choose. However, if new issues have developed, you may want to have some engine repairs done.
Turning off the “check engine” light is a simple process.
You will need a wrench to loosen the battery cable from your battery terminal. Use the wrench and loosen the ground or negative cable from your battery. Remove the cable from the battery for about a minute. Replace the cable onto the terminal or into the opening in the side of the battery. Once it is tight, turn the car on. The light should be out. If it is not, you might try repeating the process for a longer period of time. If the light is still on, you may have a more serious problem and need to see a mechanic sooner than later. After this procedure, the light may come back on within a few hours or days. This means that you still have a problem and need to consider repair work.