How to turn off your check engine light

One of the biggest scams in the automotive/mechanic industry is the check engine light — this annoying disease that pops up and doesn’t care to ever leave your sight. A lot of the time, the light comes on because of some intermittent or rare problem, like a cylinder misfiring when your car was starting. So what’s the typical scenario: The light comes on, you go to your mechanic, he/she reads the code ($80), and then tell you “it could be anything, lets do a tune-up” ($150) — before you know it their suggesting new oil caps ($20) and timing belts ($$$).

I drive a 97 Integra, and every so often my check engine light comes on. It happens rarely, when I haven’t driven in a couple days, and I start the car without giving it any gas. Just after the car turns on, I feel a slight, baby rumble – cylinder misfired – check engine light comes on. The first time it happened, I went to the mechanic and they took $80 to read the code – crooks.

So now the real question, how do you shut it off? Most people think disconnecting the battery doesn’t work, and their right. It appears the cars computer system has some time delayed reset. Disconnect the positive terminal of the battery only, wait 10-15 minutes, re-connect and the check engine light should be off.

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446 Responsesto “How to turn off your check engine light”

  1. Jeremy says:

    Read your manual. Tegs have a small button under the dash to the right of the steering column. You hold it down for 5-10 seconds and the light goes off. This light comes on periodically (I think every 6000 miles) to entice you to go to the dealer for service.

  2. spence says:

    the light jeremy is talking about is the maintenence required light…which is a totally different thing than the check engine light…way to go dude… i recommend shelling out a little cash for a scan tool (anywhere from 40-300 dollars) and finding the problem yourself and clearing the light. you can use the tool again and again for many other things, too. it beats paying the dealer 80-100 bucks each time it lights up.

  3. Don says:

    I have a 1989 Ford Probe LX. the check engine lite came on i have know idel how to shut it off. i have to get it off in two days i have to smog it PLZ help me?

  4. Darcie says:

    Read your manual or buy the ODB meter.

  5. chris says:

    I have a 1991 Honda accord. I put a new igniter, a new distributor cap, a map sensor and new spark plug in it and the check engine light still comes on. I was told that it will eventually go out. HEP! Is that true??

  6. George A. Papayiannis says:

    Chris, that light won’t just go off. How much did he charge you for all that?
    Thats annoying, were do these people get off telling you the light will just turn off.

    That light will stay on, until the code is read. What did the code say happened to your car?

  7. Bill says:

    99 Nissan Maxima; how do I shut the check engine light off myself? I am struggling for money and my inspection sticker is out of date

  8. tyler says:

    What if I just wanted to turn off the check engine light so I could get the car to pass inspection? I don’t care if the car actually has any issues. I just need to be able to legally drive it.

    Has anyone tried to disable the light and figure out a way to make it so the inspectors equipment doesn’t pick it up?

    Or would anyone want to work on figuring that out with me?

  9. cindy says:

    I’m having the same problem …I had the 02 sensor replaced last year, light came back on 20 miles after it was replaced. I managed to get it off (autozone) long enough to get my car inspected. Now the light has been on for atleast 8 mos straight and its time for inspection again. This is nuts, theres nothing wrong with my car. Autozone code read P1170 and they couldn’t tell me what it meant because its a Mazda code. Mazda wants a fortune just to tell me why its on and even more money to fix it. How can i get this light to stay off for the amt of miles it has to be driven so I can get it inspected???? Help please!

  10. M Owen says:

    I had an oil change done at ExpressCare and shortly after my engine light came on and $86 dollars later I found out that the service tech at Express Care did not put thge air filter cover back on properly.

  11. James says:

    you can always take off your postitive cable, and negative welll just positive, Leave it off for about 3 to 5 hours. Then put the positive back on, this will reset your whole car. The check engine will come off but heres the catch you dont have much time probaby like 5 to 10mins before it comes back on. it work for me. Make sure the place your getting it inspected is close by maybe even do it near the place and then have them take it in from were you park. They will start it up, drive it in, turn it off. hook everything up. start it up again real quick to check if light goes on. It shouldnt. when I did it as soon as i left it went on. it was a close But give it a try and see if it works. Also dont forget to fix your time after reset, just in case some places get suspcious GOOD LUCK

  12. cindy says:

    well its not 2 mos past due for my inspection and I still can’t get the light off. This new law is stupid to say the least and costing us money we don’t have to spend. The dealers are loving it. I’m going to try and have auto zone turn the light off again this weekend and take it right to an inspection place. I just hope they won’t take off my old sticker so i’m unable to drive. GRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

  13. -E says:

    My oil light will not go off. I’ve tried fuses, connections, I’ve even replaced the oil screen and pump. Still nothing. So, I took my dash apart and I pulled the fucking light bulb. Bye-bye light.

  14. yvonne says:

    I have a 1997 ford ,my check engine light is also on someone told me even if i disconnect the battery,and the light goes out for a little while,that when it gets hooked up to the computer for inspection that the computer will still read.does any one know if this is true?

  15. Ron says:

    You have to drive the vehicle appx. 100 miles to clear the codes completely. If you don’t, then the emissions test computer will read the codes and relay a failure. The emissions tester I use told me this.

    I have been having a problem with my cars’ check engine light. It comes on only in the Tri-cities area of central Washington and happens each time we travel through there. My mother-in-law has been having the same problem with her car in Oregon. Her mechanic says that some cell phone towers emit frequencies that trigger the computer in some cars. When the cars are tested because of the light, there is no real problem, just a bunch of little things. When the light is cleared, it stays out until the car is driven in certain areas. Then it comes back on. If the problem was real, the light (after being reset) would come back on in a couple of days and show the same diagnosis codes as were originally found. What a way for your mechanic to make a quick $85-100 diagnosis fee..

  16. kyle says:

    yeah usually a check engine is just a dirty or old 02 sensor….. yeh 02 is real easy to replace and u can do it your self usually located on your exhaust manifold and one after the flex pipe under car there easy trust me- cost-1 -2 sensor-65-85 dollars / 02 socket-$7/time 10 mins per 02 sensor – take postive battery line off for 20 mins and reconnect and your good to go and have more power and fuel economy!!!

  17. David says:

    You mean “they’re” (contraction for “they are”), not “their.” I appreciate the useful information though. Thank you.

  18. Richard says:

    I have a 97 Saab 900 with 122k miles on it due for NYS inspection. My Saab dealer cleared the check engine light the other day by fixing a vacuum line. Since I commute 70 miles round trip, I fgured one day would provide enough mileage to completely clear the computer, but I’ve put almost 200 miles on it and my mechanic tells me it still hasn’t cleared. What’s up? I’ve illegal for six days already.

  19. Tung says:

    I have 2001 RAV4 check engine light came on all time.
    Would anyone know how to shut the light off. Please help.
    Try disconnect bateries and came back on.


  20. Chevy Tech says:

    It is people like the crowd on this forum why diagonsis is so expensive.

    My personal Scanner cost 1000 dollars.

    Shop scanner is more like 3000 dollars.

    Good money is paid for these tools and equipment, which has to be updated yearly at about 500 dollars per year.

    If 100 people came and the only thing I had to do was clear the code for 5 dollars, then I would be down with that. The problem is the code comes on 3 miles later and your back at the dealership cussing me out.

    Additionally if you can’t afford 80 dollars for a diagnosis (a proper one) then how do you afford gas? How do you afford to eat? Do you go out friday night?

    A check engine light is telling you there is something wrong with your car. It could be maintenance related. Did you change an air filter? Fuel Filter? Spark Plugs? Wires? Stuff like this can set a check engine light. If you leave a gas cap loose it can also turn on the SES light.

    We as technicians do not try to rob people when they come in, we are just doing our jobs.

    If I called a plumber out he would charge me to come look at the problem, so how is it any different what we do?

    For those of you who cannot afford maintainance or repairs on your cars, I recommend the public transit system. If you add up what it cost to use it you will see its about equal to what you pay for maintainance plus gas minus the cost of the car.

  21. Richard says:

    I have no problem with mechanics and repair shops. I worked in a shop myself for awhile, back before everything went electronic.
    I’m just wondering how many miles I have to drive before the code clears. The light is off and the car is running fine, but, after 200 miles with the light off, my mechanic is still reading code.

  22. CHARLIE says:

    Why should the check engine light stay on when the reason it came on in the first place is the gas cap was off, and it’s back on now. Now that’s quirky

  23. George A. Papayiannis says:

    Only one reason Charlie: so the dealer/mechanic can make money.

    @ Chevy Tech: It’s not always so clear cut. Charlie’s example proves that — there is no need for his check engine light to remain on after he’s put his gas cap back on properly. I’ve heard the argument that the equipment costs a lot of money and you need to charge that much to make back the cost associated with the hardware. But if I do some simple math, things just don’t add up. If the hardware costs you $3000, and you charge an average of $100 to read the code then that’s $3000/$100 = 30 cars. You break even on the reader with 30 cars! So that means in a 12 month year, you need to check 2.5 (say 2 to 3) cars per month to break even on that equipment. The reality is, you don’t simply read the code. You read it, and then make suggestions what you could do to FIX it. So lets assume then that the average visit is more around $200… You see were I’m getting at with this. I agree with you, that people might come back and say the light came back on, now what — but the person should be allowed that freedom without risking another $100 charge to read the bloody code. Honestly, the best thing to do for anyone is to just go to Canadian Tire and buy their own OBD-II scanner.

  24. MIDASGUY says:

    Don’t be so cheap!!! Go to a reputable repair center and have the problem diagnosed properly. Trust it is well worth the investment to have someone who knows what they are doing repair your vehicle.

  25. Thomas Morgan says:

    1100 different problems can turn the light on, the most common is a loose gas cap causing an evap code, a person would be smart to have all scheduled maintenance handled before digging into this complex system, Imagine wiring up a network of pc’s to 100 items in your car and bouncing down the road in hot, cold & wet conditions.

    If your light is blinking, it’s best not to ignore or even drive, because that indicates a cat damaging misfire that will snow ball into a high dollar repair.

    As far as diagnostic charges & what it takes to really diagnose and fix the problem:
    Factory scanners for each make , a $30 dollar an hour L1 diagnostic tech, repair information with wiring diagrams, software updates that run several thousand per year, Just to reset the computer and verify the problem is solved takes almost an hour, not to mention initial diagnostic time and fixing the problem.

    Inexpensive generic scanners give just enough information to confuse even a seasoned Technician, factory scan software is more detailed and can cycle components for testing, most real qualified shops have several different scanners, an investment of 20 thousand or more.

  26. Halamundo says:

    The 2001 RAV 4 has a “Service Campaign” (recall) associated with it. The chip is reprogrammed in the shop and Bob’s your Uncle! the light goes out… but frequently comes on again… Mine is running fine, but if I ever have to sell it…

  27. TechDZ01 says:

    I can’t believe people claim there’s nothing wrong with their vehicle when the check engine light is one. The light being on indicates a fault somewhere. If you don’t know how to read the codes and interpret them, take it to someone who can.

    The $80 a shop charges you doesn’t all go to the tech, he gets WAY less than half (well, he probably gets health insurance, vacation, etc…..just like everyone else). The shop owner gets the rest to cover the cost of owning and running the shop.

    The codes you get can tell you something simple may be wrong, or something serious. Unless you can read those codes and know what they mean…’ll never know.

  28. Rick Griswold says:

    Taurus 1999 SE. Check engine lightcame on. It was the gas cap ajar. We found that out after getting gas the next tim and it went off after we put it back on. Then the light came on again so we assumed it was the gas cap once again…….nope. So to the dealership we went. Found out after the 80.00$ check out (did a smoke teston the gas tank) They told us that the filler tube has a pinhole leak in it. I’m glad they found it. The problem is they say the part will cost 292.00$ and the labor will be 168.00$ Whos, Why is the tube so expensive. I tried to buy a filler tube. Not available!! So, I checked the gas tank replacement (OEM) 177.00$ looked at the picture and ther is NO filler tube coming out of the tank. What is up with this??
    Of course I have till the end of this month , about 4-5 days before inspection time. Someone please make me understand.

  29. Tami says:

    I’ve had my cherokee looked at by 2 dealerships and a local mechanic, Replaced all kinds of things and no one knows why the check engine light is still on. I’ve done my due dilligence and shelled out my money. Now what?

  30. Don says:

    I had the light problem on my Dodge van. Took a few screws out of dash, removed the light bulb from that dashlight. I’ve passed inspection three years in a row. Everything works fine, good mileage. It appears the mileage reading odometer has more to do with that a silly light coming on than anything else. Try it—you’ll like it. Keep the oil and filters changed, run an occasional injector cleaner through your gas tank, and have a simple tuneup done once a year and your vehicle will last and last and last. It’s worked for me, and it will for anyone—it’s just the nature of a cold piece of machinery.

  31. Cats says:

    I have a chevy blazer 1998 took it to walmart for an oil change and high engine oil replacement…the “check engine light” came on immediately after…I told the mechanic…he said I need to read my manual to have it reset. Because my engine was just serviced…should i take it back to them to have them fix this…or is this just a simple thing that can be reset??

  32. Matt says:

    I have a 2001 cheve empala with a check engine light on. I took it to the mechanic and he said that it needed a airflow censor so I had him put a brand new one on for 273.00. A few hours later the check engine light came on so I brought it back to the mechanic and he said it needed a new computer and it would cost around 600.00.
    Please help!

  33. Mason says:

    @Matt with the 2001 Impala

    Your mechanic “sounds” like he’s taking you for a ride – take it to another mechanic and get a second opinion. Better yet, buy a cheap ($50) OBD II (On Board Diagnostics series 2)code scanner and see what it comes up with before you go to another mechanic. And don’t tell the “new” mechanic anything about any previous diagnostics.

    Here’s a link from a site with more trouble code and OBD II info:
    OBDII . . . .Simply Explained

  34. Odessa says:

    I have an 06 Kia Sportage, when i take it back to the dealership tonight – it will be the fourth time in less than 10 days. The check engine light was one of two issues that I took it into in the first place. this is now the 4th time in 10 days for the same two issue i took it into the dealership service.
    It still under warranty, this is where I do luck out – but still, how many times should I have to take my car in?

  35. Ken says:

    I think most people like myself doesn’t mind taking problems to the dealer for repair. Although when is enough-enough? Case in point.
    I have a 2001 Dodge Ram and have had nothing but great service from it. The truck has 70,000 plus miles and is in great shape. A couple
    weeks ago while driving along the Check Engine light came on. I stopped by Auto Zone to have a code check. He said it was an emission
    code fault. This code has 35 different elements that could trip the check engine light. Everything from a cracked hose, gas cap to a evap solenoid,
    from a intake manifold leak to a PVC clogged. I think you’ve got the idea. So anyway I took the truck to a dealer to have it fixed. Now after 4
    trips to the dealer, with one trip them having my truck 4 days, a new gas cap 2 new solenoids and 3 hoses replaced at the cost of 265.00 bucks
    I’m still driving with the check engine light beaming into my eyes. Before I remove the bulb or paint it black or maybe a piece of black electrical
    tape stuck over the little annoying light does any of you want to be technicians out there no if you can permanently delete a code from the
    computer. I don’t mean reset it by removing the battery cables or with a code analyzer I’m saying permanently delete the code so it can’t show up
    again? While the other codes remain funtional? Any info along these lines would be appreciated.

  36. mastertech says:

    The Check Engine Light(CEL) comes on when the computer detects a fault within the engine, transmission, or emission control system. Whenever a fault occurs, whether from a failing part, short in wiring, or other cause, a diagnostic trouble code(DTC) is stored in the computer. There are literally hundreds of causes to set the CEL light. Anything from an engine driveability issue, to transmission or emission control part. The only way to know what the cause of the CEL light coming on is to have the computer read with either a code reader or diagnostic scanner. Most auto parts stores, such as Autozone will read the stored DTC codes for free. Now, at this point you have a code number and brief description, but understnad that while some DTC codes are a straightforward parts change, others have anywhere from 3-20 pages of troubleshooting to find problem.
    You, the consumer have every right to just reset your light, and keep driving, but understand when your engine locks up, your transmission fails, or your vehicle wont start due to bad sensor IT IS YOUR OWN DAMN FAULT. It is not the fault of the car manufacturer, it is not the fault of your technician. YOU chose to ignore the warning light, or worse, you removed the bulb, and now you blame everyone but yourself for your vehicle crapping out on you.
    As a master technician and service manager, I always hate having to give someone a high repair estimate, EXCEPT fools like the ones on this site that believe they know more than the techs, the service managers, the dealerships, and even the engineers that designed the vehicle.
    Plus you are the ones that want to negotiate and play lets make a deal on the price, or you want to use junkyard parts. You dont go into Walmart, Sears, or even Mc Donalds and try that, why are repair shops different.

  37. joy jordan says:

    I have a 2001 pt cruiser. Ever since I bought I have had trouble with the engine light coming on. Replaced the gas cap stayed off for 2 mos.I took it in and there are no codes to read. Light went off , but when I put gas in the car .; is back on

  38. lucile says:

    the volvo dealer stated a while back my light will come on for ALL routine maitenance -even oil changes. unfortunatelyonly they turn it off. when I tried to do an oil change elsewhere the ligh remains on. that is correct according to one of the first responces. I watched one day the dealer do it in front of me, go near the dash and held it for a few seconds, then it went away. Unfortunatelly I forgot exactly what button or thing he pushed!!! now I want my light off again(due for 70k maintence) since I wish to sell it :(

  39. Ron says:

    On most vehicles this will turn the SES light off
    1. With vehicle turned off, push in and hold down your odometer trip button
    2. Turn the vehicle on, you do not need to crank the vehicle, just turn the key to turn the power on to your car.
    3 keep holding the button in untill the SES light starts to blink, then let go of the button and turn the car off;
    4. Now start your car and the light should go off

  40. ms pee says:

    “Well” I think that there are many reasons why your “check engine” light comes on. One very expensive reason is “Catalytic Converter” this will happen at times and believe me it will no go off. The computer in your car can be fooled into believing that the “catalytic Converter” has been replaced and will go off. But it is only fooled for a little while. As soon as the computer realizes that you have fool it. It will quicly come back on. By the way, if you have fooled the computer in to thinking that the “Catalytic Converter” has been replaced the computer will not kick in for a while. That means you can not pass your smog test. Catalytic Converter = $500.00+ don’t know about the labor. You can get a Universal one that is $285.00 how ever, if you have a car passed the year 1995, you can not use it. Califorinas laws are hard on this matter. All I can say is “GOOD LUCK”, in the reason why your check engine like is on.

  41. ms pee says:

    I forgot to say that if you have that “check engine” light on and don’t get if off you can not tell when something is wrong with your engine. “Not Good”

  42. Eric says:

    I just have a simple question. If the check engine light is on because of a bad O2 sensor and I have it replaced, but the light is still on, do I have to turn it off myself or is it still on for another reason?

  43. ginie says:

    Hi! i have a1996 ford contour and my engine light keep turning on, it doesnt turn off. i bring the car to the shop, and the mechanic told me that theirs nothing wrong with the, they cannot determine the problem. what else can i do to turn off the check engine light. thanks

  44. gkirc says:

    Thanks for the great input regarding the odometer trip button.
    I found out that it doesn’t seem to work for my 02 Durango, but a different combination of pushing the button while the switch only is on runs it through an interesting dashboard diagnostics.
    Any other suggestions for the 02 Durango?
    I’ve had it happen twice before and both times it was the gas cap (just checked it). In deference to the mechanics who’ve posted – I don’t mind taking it in to a certified mechanic to look at the problem, the only thing is, if it’s simple, we – as the consumer – should have the option of turning it off easily – for gas cap etc related reasons . if it continues to come on, then it’s time to bring it in. Nobody likes the “wolf crying” of idiot lights that sometimes are not necessary. Plus… we all understand the lack of desire to take a vehicle in to a mechanic if it’s not necessary. Everyone has a mechanic screw-me story.
    Thanks in advance.

  45. Josh says:

    Hi everybody,

    Here is my situation. I got this car after my grandmother passed away. My grandfather bought this car new, oh wait the car is a 1994 Oldsmobile 88 royale. Car drives great and the check engine light has been on for about 4 months. I have tried the simple things to fix it. Like the gas cap and a few sensors. Even new spark plugs and wires. I am fairly car savey, but the light is still on. I took the car to my mechanic and he pluged in his high tech tester unti and the tester said can not communicate with computer, or something like that. My mechanic said he can’t get the code if the the tester and computer can’t communicate. He thinks the computer is bad, and needs replaced. yes no, anyone here have that problem and if you did replace the computer did that take care of the check engine light or did you replace the computer to see what code it was giving. I want to sell this car and the people who are interested are only offering me $500 bucks claiming that the car needs a lot of work. Even with the check engine light on the car runs fine and only has 84,000 original miles I know the car is worth way more than $500 bucks. So if anyone has any ideas then please help.

  46. Ace says:

    Guy’s for those of you that would like information on how to turn of your service engine light go to which is a bog I made last month explaning in depth why your light may be on and how to reset it. Most times it is a simple problem such as not tightening your fuel cap enough which will cause it to come on or a service due at a certain milage. Yes,. it can alo be reset by disconnecting the battery and if the problem has cleared itself the light will not return. But even if the problem is not cleared the light may only be triggered at certain driving conditions which means you will be able to have your car inspected since they do it at idle. Also the vehicles ECU (Electronic control unit ) will take days even weeks to be (ready) to moniter your vehicles emission system again once reset. So Visit my website above to avoid spending unesessary money on this light. You will find it helpful.

  47. Stefani says:

    I have a 2001 Oldmobile Silohuette. My check engine light has come on after just having a tune up 10/26. I need to get the car registered and it will not pass inspection, of course, with the light on. Any suggestions?

  48. Justin says:

    My check engine light just came on for the first time afterI had just finished filling my car up with gas. Any ideas what could cause that?

  49. Twyla says:

    First let me give you a little history, I just bought this car last month, only had it a few weeks when the serpentine belt broke off…replaced it…top radiator hose sucked flat on that day, noticed it right after belt broke off….got belt on, released the sucktion on hose, and drove home , 4-5 blocks….hose sucked flat again….let set 24 hours and hose was back to normal. Drove car for a couple weeks and engine light comes on, has stayed on since, last night, drove car to store, in there about 5 minutes came out and car was dead, battery completely depleted, replaced battery today, check engine still on, I am taking it in to a shop Dec. 6th, for dianostic, I am curious if the serpentine belt breaking off and the top radiator sucking flat caused any damage to the wiring or engine. I know that the light staying on is annoying, but I do not want to have it turned off, or take out the bulb, as I know that it is there for a reason, I live in Kansas, so inspection is not needed, like in your state. Previous owner said the light came on all the time with them as well, then would shut off by itself??????……I drive in town, not much hiway driving, small town…
    anyway, it is a 1998 chev. cavilier 4 cyl. ….any advice would be appreciated. Oh, one more thing, the wire to the anti-lock system was broken when I bought the car, the car bumps when I press the break, I know I have to replace that in the shop, anybody have an idea what that will cost me?

  50. frank says:

    I have a 2002 ford expedition .my engine service light is on can anyone tell me how to turn it off.

  51. Ken says:

    Well MASTERTECH, the problem is no one likes footing the bill for some half assed Dodge dealer techncian playing “replace the part” when he hasn’t a clue whats wrong with the vehicle. I talked to him and the service manager about the CEL. They say
    they can’t find the problem so replacing parts until they find whats setting the CEL off is all they can do. Of coarse I have to pay
    for their ignorance. So I think I’ll disable the CEL bulb trade the damn truck off and let some other smuck deal with the problem.

  52. yan says:

    My check engine light is on just for about one minute after I start the engine, then the light is off automaticly. Anybody have an idea what that will cost me, many thanks

  53. Marc Feuer says:

    I have a 1999 1/2 (2000) Nissan Pathfinder with 94,000 miles. The check engine light started coming on last March just after I filled up with gas on a trip in Pa. I called my mechanic and he stated that as long as it wasn’t flashing, it was safe to drive and he would check it upon my return. Ten days later, he connected his scanner to the vehicle and the code was P0158, high voltage O2 sensor, rear, bank 2. He reset the light and I had no problems until about a month ago (November). I bought a code reader/resetter. The check engine light started coming on almost every day. I would read thje code (same error code P0158) and I would reset it. Then Nissan came out with a recall to replace the gas filler tubes as they were rotting. I wondered if the check engine light was related to the leaky gas filler tube as it was the same as leaving the gas cap off. My mechanic says that the O2 sensor should be replaced since I keep getting the same code and that the code has NOTHING to do with the fuel/emissions system, but the check engine light HAS NOT gone on since I had the gas filler tube replaced and the fuel system pressure is now normal again. I hope it stays off now. (!!!!!)

  54. Linda says:



  55. Angelo says:

    After reading all this, these tech people are full of crap! The real issue is that car manufacturers are producing cars that have known problems and the consumers have to pay for it. Toyota Camrys and RAV4s have an existing O2 and CAT problem. What’s causing it? Improperly programmed computer. So, after the O2 sensors and CAT are damaged and set off the codes, who has to pay 700-1000 $ to fix it? We do! I’ve already paid 800 dollars to reprogram my ECM and change the CAT and O2 sensors. 45000 miles later, guess what? That’s right! Same problem! That’s great. When my inspection comes up I’m selling my RAV4 (which I love – runs just like the day I got it at 135,000 miles) and getting a Honda. I’m researching right now to find out what brand has the fewest emission problems. Truth is, there is nothing wrong with my car. I still get 30 mpg, so the engine is running fine. But those damn sensors and CAT are throwing bad codes and I get screwed for it. Wouldn’t it be better if we just hooked up a sniffer to your car and actually measure the exhaust instead of relying on faulty sensors?

  56. gs says:

    To get rid of the warning lights on your Honda – it’s simple. With your left hand, hold down the odometer reset button – now put the key in and turn it to “on” – not ‘start’. Hold the reset button in until the desired light goes out – takes between 10 – 30 seconds. Mine have always been closer to 10 seconds. I don’t know if this works on all vehicles, or just Honda’s.

  57. Bruce Cartwright says:

    I have a 97 Ford Crown Vic with 110000 miles. Engine light came on and engine is hard to start. Engine has plenty of power when applied, but idles rough. What could be the problem?

  58. Screw the Man says:

    The check engine light is BS. It’s just a scam – please. There should only be a major problem if that light comes on. 99.9% of the time it’s something extremely minor. The bigger scam is the government including this light as part of inspection. Because a loose gas cap or dirty O2 sensor poses a major safety threat for other motorists on the road, right? Oh, wait – “emissions”. Another scam. Because you know, those new fuel efficient Hummer H3′s are just so much better for the enviornment than your old Ford Escort Wagon. I prefer to drive a ’77 MB Diesel that doesn’t have a “Check Engine Light and is exempt from emissions testing. I also prefer to burn used motor oil to pollute as much as I can. I’m a friend of Bush…

  59. Mike says:

    Service Engine Soon light also is a scam, the 04 RAV4 I had it would come on to tell me I had to change my oil! but they want you to bring it and charge you money for scanning it! CEL light same thing.

    If you car is running smoothly and those lights are on there is nothing really wrong with your car. My Maxima and Pathfinder both have the lights come on from time to time, find out how to reset them and call it good.

    My Nissan mechanic told me, you will know if you car needs a repair. The O2 sensor industry must love the CEL and SES lights!

  60. Mike A. says:

    Thanks Ace :post Nov.21, I have a 2005 Magnum R/T 107000 miles ,I drive a lot. The check engine light will glow because I have a 180 degree thermostat….this usually goes away. I went to autozone and the NEW code is Idle air control solinoid..the car runs and idles fine. I am about 8 months overdue for N.C. inspection. I just went out and disconnected the positive battery and and restarted and NO LIGHT!!!!!!
    Thanks again ACE ! I might be legal again real soon.

  61. WuTangLady79 says:

    I have a 2001 Toyota Avalon, runs great, excellent gas mileage but it won’t pass inspection due to the check engine light reading a P1135 code for an A/F sensor. My problem with the mechanic is that he tells me he doesn’t know which sensor to replace and I might as well just replace both of them. That’s like saying, there is something wrong with your engine but I don’t know exactly what the problem is so you just might as well replace it. I am not going to say that all mechanics are crooks, but MOST of them are just in it to make money and really don’t give a s**t about your car or how it runs. If you are paying $$$ to have a code read, they should at least be able to tell you how to fix the problem. Even the jack legs selling fuses at auto parts stores are all about ripping us off these days. I don’t think it is fair that there is nothing wrong with my car other than the light annoying me and it won’t pass inspection. I will be solving my problem by registering the car in the next county a few miles away that doesn’t give a hoot about the check engine light and getting it inspected. If anyone knows how to get the light to stay off please let me know.

  62. Roman says:

    I have two comments:
    1. in USA we have auto chain shops “Autozone”, where you can read your check engine light for free;
    2. i bought on ebay “OBD Scanner” for some thirty bugs and if you plug it in and leave for three blinks, the light disappears. In my case i know the problem P0401 (insufficient EGR flow) and i just drive with light on;

    so if you are so irritated by check engine light, just plug in the scanner and drive with it :)

  63. Clone 19644 says:

    I have a 1995 Nissan 240SX,check engine light is on,this car is dated before OBD2 scanners.I have looked everywhere for a OBD1 scanner,someone please tell me what to do.

  64. Jim says:

    Dummy light .. I think a smart automaker should compete and make a car that has a small flat screen that tells the owner of the car whats wrong .. from what I understand your car generates a code that trips off the check engine light.. so your car sensors already know whats wrong .. but as it is now you have to pay someone 80 bucks or so to tell you what your car already knows ..If its just a gas cap why not have a screen that says ..gas cap .. Its funny companies make GPS screens that can give you driving directions .. But auto makers cant put in a screen to tell you whats wrong .. if anything… I’ve been driving 3 years with my check engine light on and my car runs great.. I took it in twice , once buying some part they said it needed and it was off for a few weeks and another time no parts just labor and it lasted a month.. And now my wifes 2002 volvo same thing .. charged me and it went back on in a couple of weeks and they said I have take it to dealer ..So I gave up.. that was a year ago ..her car still runs fine also..Why am I paying to try to fix a tiny dam light .. when cars are running fine ?

  65. cougar says:

    I have a 92 volvo and the car runs great,doesnt smoke,doesn’t run rough or anything. I want to sell it,but I know nobody will buy it with the check engine light on. It doesn’t come on untill it warms up. I have checked everything.It doesn’t run hot either,oil has been changed and new anti freeze.It really runs like new. I just want the light off.

  66. jolly says:

    hey guys i know that there is a certain sequence on the cars to turn the service light out. I know on the Peugeot models you press the pin on your k/ph, RPM clocks while the engine is off, no ignition lights. You press that in for 10 seconds, and you will see a countdown from 10 right down to 1. after 1, take your finger off the pin and turn the ignition on and your service should be gone.

    NOTE: This sequence only works with Peugeot.

    and dont just use turn your service light out when it comes on, because you will need a service.

  67. victor says:

    Got a 1998 pontiac sunfire with 2000 2.4L engine in it the check engine light is on..The computer reads egr trouble it has a new one on it and the tube was cleaned out…I just want the car to pass emission where i can get a inspection sticker………

  68. David says:

    96 and newer vehicles will lose the computer memory if battery power is too low or disconnected. In most cars, it takes driving 80-100 miles for the computer to run and complete it’s monitored systems. The car will fail smog inspection if at least all but 2 of the monitors have not completed. It will also fail if bulb has blown or been removed. The cars computer communicates with the smog test computer.

  69. cougar says:

    So what do you do if your car is before 1996?

  70. Sam says:


  71. YeahDude says:

    Professional Car Mechanics are only about a floor above car salemen in hell. Even real mechanics dislike them. They are the pedofiles of the blue collar community.

    In what other profession do they turn down work because it’s too hard? They poke around and “try” things with other people’s money not knowing if it’ll actually fix the problem… and they assume that everyone that goes to them is an idiot when it comes to cars. Well fuck you if I don’t want to do an oil change myself in zero degree weather. Often they lack the common sense to look for obvious problems first (like disconnected wires). They smell like shit and will also die young.

    The check engine light system is basically a scam. Car companies make more money servicing cars than selling them. In fact, most things are like this. When the light goes on they can tell you anything and often do. They can replace something easy and mark up the part cost and make a killing off of little or no work. The warrenty is just there so you get comfortable going to one place.

    The only way to ever maintain a car is befriend a mechanic or become one. An easier method though is to have a family member be one. That way you don’t have to hang out with them or deal with them much.

  72. Vanessa says:

    Nissan Sentra 2003. Battery ran out two days ago. Replaced on the same day. The Service Engine Light came on. Did this happen because of the battery? Will the service engine light come off after the first 100 mi like I read in one of the comments above?

  73. pissan nissan says:

    “Thank Gourd” I googled this site and read each and every post about the ses light. I was on the phone today with a customer service rep from Nissan Corp. asking me what I wanted him to do about my 2002 Sentra ses light problem……..I won’t write what I said to him!
    My light has been on for 3 years, more on than off….until this year when It came time for inspection. First mechanic changed the valve solenoid…that’s what code came up…light never went out. He gave up and told me to go to the dealer. They performed a recall on it….crank position sensor….light stayed off for 125 miles. Now it;s on again, but at least I got it inspected.
    The car runs fine and always has. I keep it tuned up, and
    I definitely believe that a class action lawsuit may wake up some people! This Ses light is a scam, indeed! Anyone who believes that it is not has their head up their exhaust!

  74. bigpaws TDI says:

    90% of the CEL failures in my VW were caused by bad wiring, one by an actual bad glow plug. Thank God I got a VAG-COM to read these codes and decide if the problem needed to be fixed straight away, or the car could make it where I was going. The problem with all diagnostic equipment is that it will often times tell you something which is highly unlikely such as “multiple glow plugs open circuit”. Why would all fail at once? The real problem is a faulty cable caused by Arizona heat. I’ve had to redesign numerous wire harnesses and fittings to prevent wires from coming loose. I’ve also used small files to clean terminals going to supposedly “bad” sensors which turned out to be 100% fine. Didn’t VW think that a diesel engine with increased vibration would need better terminals? Of course not…they’d rather have you take them to the stealership for big $$$ or prematurely buy a new car. My TDi has 92000 miles and runs great. No thank you.

    I feel sorry for those who don’t have an engineering background and training on engine repair with over 20 years experience like I have. I dread the days when it’s not possible to buy a vehicle without these dumb computers which sometimes cause more problems than they solve. My 1978 Trans Am, and 2 motorcycles (Suzuki & Lifan) have 0 computerised equipment. None of them have stranded me once.

  75. Grammy says:

    My maitence required light came on right after I got it inspected. This was on a year old RAV 4. I knew there was nothing wrong with the truck but I did not have it inspected by Toyota. I did call Toyota and told them the light was on and they told me it was probably because , according to my records, I needed an oil change. They told me to schedule an appointment to have his done. I told them, I just got an oil change(but not by them shh) and the guy assumed I got it done there so he told me how to reset.
    Hold in your speedometor button and then just turn your key to the on position. wait until the mileage looks like lines all across ———– . then your done. it sets the light.

  76. Grammy says:

    I meant it RESETS your light not sets and then it goes off ,,,,

  77. Rick Cousineau says:

    Hi, I have a 1999 Ford Ranger, some 40,000 miles ago, ( approximately 4 years ) I blew the original engine and had a replacement engine (used) installed. Ever since the “transplant” check engine light has been on. Service people whom installed the engine told me “not to worry about it”……….well, I have had 3 inspections since, 3 separate service stations, each costing me around $1000, and no one has figured out how to stop warning from coming back on. Truck runs extremely well, no problems. Fortunately for me in New York state, I only need to spend $400 “trying” to correct problem before they can issue me an inspection sticker. ( I found this out last year, AFTER spending $1000 ) New Problem, I am thinking of trading in truck on a new one…… much less can I expect, with this
    check engine” light staying on? Please help….Advise!

  78. AJ says:

    To the “Chevy Tech” who on Sept. 6th suggested all the people on this chain are the problem because we complain about these check engine lights, are too cheap to pay $80, need to take responsibility for our faulty engines, how he paid $3,000 for his diagnostic equipment, etc……News Flash: It takes about 30 SECONDS to plug in the machine and get these codes. If you and the rest of the shops charged $20 for this instead of EIGHTY, very few of us would have a problem checking these out at our next oil change or whatever. The fact is EVERY SINGLE REPAIR SHOP should do these for FREE, because 99% of the time there is an actual repair that will need to be made that would more than pay for the testing equipment needed to diagnose. Your air hose costs money too, but I can check my tires for FREE or maybe 50 cents anywhere…

    Stop insulting the intelligence of everyone on this site. These $80 diagnostic tests are absolutely the biggest ripoff in the auto repair industry – which is why we all spend so much time trying to protect ourselves from getting screwed for eighty bucks 5 times a year.

  79. Tom says:

    Please help me. I bought a 2000 chevy conversion van, June of 2007. In January of 2008, I drove the van to Naples,Fla and back. With the “Check Engine Light” on all the way and back. I took the van to a licensed chevy dealership in NJ. I told them I went through inspection and failed because of the “CEL”. They charged me $178.00 for the diagnostic report. They said I was loseing air presurre and the van was running to lean. They said I needed to have my valve cover gaskits replaced, and I needed a new fuel pump. Now, keep in mind I drove this van all the way from NJ to Florida and back with no problem other than the “Check Engine Light” on. The van ran like a dream. No starting problems, no stall outs, no overheating, no sluggishness, etc.. I took the van to the dealer on Apr. 11, 2008, to be repaired. I got it back on Apr. 19, 2008. On the invoice they did a complete radiator flush, “Unauthorized by me”. They did a complete oil change, “Unauthorized by me”. They checked tires, belts, hoses etc.. “UBM” They claimed To have did air filter, PCV valve, fuel filter, emissions test, etc. I did’nt see anything on the invoice about a fuel pump replacement, nor did I see anything relating to valve cover gasket replacements. I was charged a whopping $2,648.00 in which my warranty covered a little more than $1,400 of it. I paid out of pocket $992.98. The van runs the same as it did going to Florida. I am so glad to have my van back….GUESS WHAT!!!. The “CHECK ENGINE LIGHT”, is still on full blast. The service manager said I had to drive it for a week in order for all the codes to re-set. If the light does not go out in a week, bring it back and he will turn it off. I feel I was totally ripped off…. PLESE HELP ME!!!!

  80. Dominick says:

    I have a Chrysler 300M can someone tell me how to turn off the check engine light.

  81. Dominick says:

    I have another problem when the rpm exceeds 2500rpm the car starts bucking like bronco that’s from a stand still acceleraring. While driving as I increase speed and bring it up to 60 everything is fine once the rpm’s increase to 3000 to 4500 it starts bucking has nyone eperienced ths type of problem?

  82. Will says:

    My wife had a great experience from buying a car with the “lightblub removed” – with no warning and at 70mph in heavy traffic the timing chain broke and 3 valves bent in.001 second later. Barely got to the side of the road without getting plowed by someone. Found that the check engine light blub was gone, along with the “high temp” bulb – waterpump froze and snapped the timing belt. The car lasted all of six weeks …

    Just for those who’ll take out the bulb and sell their “problems” to someone else – the life you endanger may not be your own, but I sure hope your karma catches up with you … and pays you back in spades …

    Just “experienced” this myself – 2005 Chrysler Sebring, 61k – driving on the freeway about 65 (2400rpm) and CEL came on and engine was bucking so I pulled over. On the side of the road and rev the engine to 2200rpm and bucked again so I shut it off. let it sit for 20 min and then drove 3 miles home with no bucking, so I did the quick on-off-on-off-on-off-on with the ignition and read the code: P0340 so now I know it’s a camshaft sensor circut- oh boy – now to track down this electrical fault. I’d rather get it right than kill the car …

  83. Achie Moore says:

    I have a 1999 Aurora. Please help me to turn off the service engine soon light. I have already removed the + battery cable and tried the trip meter reset. The car runs like new.

    Please HELP ME!!

  84. Jasmine says:

    I just had my car fixed. (the check engine light was on) I had the entire fuel system fixed, new AC system, fixed the motor in the battery and a $600 tune up, the problem is my check engine light is still on. What could it be? After paying a couple thousand to fix it, Ido not want to get “robbed” so they can check to see whats wrong or what they messed up.

  85. Dominick says:

    My check engine light came on I had it check at auozone and the code P0440 showed small leak in evaporating system/ no flow condition and probable causes; defective or loose fulcap, EVAP cannister or hose cracked- not connected, purge or vent solenoid defecti=ve or Vacuum lek at engine.

    I replaced the gas cap and had the other problems checked by a mechanic and he found everything to be fine no problem. The check engine light was off and two weeks later it came back on again I had it read at autozone and the same reading came out. It seems that this is nothing more than a catch 22. The car runs very good I have no engine missing problems and I have no problem accelerating, the only other thing I believe my cause this could be the octane of gas I’m using, maybe who knows. Does anyone have any ideas or thoughts? I would love to hear them.

  86. Jager says:

    Response to Jasmine.

    I’m not sure if all car check engine lights and system work the same but here is how my car works.

    After fixing my car and resetting the check engine light I failed inspection for monitors not ready / cat not ready. When my car got repaired just resetting the check engine light so it is off does not fix it completely. My car requires driving it at different speeds and stop and go before all codes and monitors are reset. They must not do this at the repair shops so after paying for your car to get fixed the engine light may come on or the monitors are not reading ready which will make you fail inspection.

    To the repair guys, after seeing on TV how shops rip people off and how it’s never a cheap fix how can you expect people to pay a shop to repair their car? A car can show a code that does not mean that the part is bad it means that something is not right and you have to look at all the things that can cause the code. The emissions in Fords have this problem, you pull a egr code and the egr is fine. So I learned all about my engine and bought books and repair it on my own and shop online for parts to save a lot of money. People pay a lot for cars but don’t plan on paying thousands in repairs because the new electronics are crap and cost a lot to repair along with the emission BS. Older cars were much easier to work on so cars were changed and made harder for the average person to work on so shops can rip them off.

    I know many who worked at shops and they tell you how easy it is to rip people off because they have no clue.

  87. David says:

    I have a 1999 Mazda 626. The engine check light has been on for a couple of months, but the car still runs fine and engine sounds fine too. Does anyone have any idea to turn off the engine check light? I have to do a SMOG test in a couple of weeks. Thank you.

  88. like minded says:

    Well I tried disconnecting the battery for 30 min it still didnt turn off the check engine light.It all started when I tried to put on an aftermarket airfilter.I recconected the old componets but still no luck.I own an 1995 nissan altima.I guess ill go ahead and purchase the stupid code reader.YOU try and buy somthing to save you extra cash on gas but all i ended up doing is costing my self more money…..

  89. Fast Eddie says:

    Hello everyone,
    Get away from these faulty designed vehicles with faulty designed (CEL) Check Engine Lights. Get yourself in a high mileage long lasting DIESEL POWERED vehicle today and be done with all of the BS…

  90. Eddie Leon says:

    My check engine light on my 90 APV Lunima Van only comes on when I hit 70 mph, and stays on until I kill the engine, but does no come back on unless I hit 70. Figure it is catalytic converter stopped up. Reguardless I kinda like it because it warns me of when I’m beginning to break the speed limit. When I had new muffler put on I had them punch holes all threw the carbon with rods to free up the air flow instead of putting 250 new unit.

  91. Leda says:

    I have a Mazda 626. The check engine light has been on for some time. The car has been checked by a mechanic plus Mazda authorized mechanic and all the problems that may cause are fixed. After I take it to the mechanic the light goes off for awhile but then comes back on and sometimes it goes off for a while and comes back up. EXTREMELY annoying. The car has no problems whatsoever so I am assuming it may be the cell phone thing people were talking above.

    I have a friend who has the same problem, he is an engineer and he told me that I can unplug some cables, drive the car for 30 miles and it will pass inspection, but I have no clue what those cables are and he lives in another state and can not show me. Any ideas what it can be? I need inspection soon.

  92. DONNA says:

    I have a 2003 Chey Cavaliar when I run the AC my check engine light comes on and then the car starts runnin like crap,it started after I had the oil changed about eight months ago any suggestions.

  93. Mike says:

    One time the CEL came on in my Silverado and it was the simple gas cap remedy. Now it has come on after the last two fill ups. I thought at first it was the gas cap, but upon checking it was not. The gas did have a foul oder to it and after driving for a bit less than a half tank the light went out. I filled up at the same station this second time and once again after a few miles the light came on. It is still on after using almost a quarter tank. I hate to take the tank to empty, but that is what Chevrolet suggests to do and buy another brand of gasoline????

  94. John says:

    At their own risk, can someone unplug the onboard computer without disabling the car? I read through posts here and I’ve got the same frustration. $525 to replace xyz in the emission system that the dealership said was the fault code from a check engine light. A week later check engine light comes on and dealership says it is the same code. Of course NOW they say it is a false code and they can’t figure out what is causing it (because it can’t be what they just replaced), but who’s to say it wasn’t a false code the first time around and I just wasted $525. To the mechanics who have posted here, I don’t mind paying for a fix, it it gets fixed. But to pay for a fishing expedition to figure out what is wrong is, well, wrong. You get your money, I get nothing. You are the expert! You are the specialist! We’ve got nowhere else to go! And yet how can we be expected to pay $300 – $500 so that the problem might get fixed, or might not. It is so wrong.

    Anyway, does anyone know how to unplug the onboard computer. I’d like to drive my car like the old days, until I hear a “funny noise” and then I’ll take it in to get it fixed.

  95. Mike says:

    Well, just like the last time the light went out after about a little more than quarter tank of gas was used. I’ll be filling up with different gas to see if this problem persists.

    I agree with John on the “who is scamming who?” on this false light stuff. My niece was told she needed a new catalytic converter at one dealership while another diagnosed the problem as a bad sensor……Who is fooling who? We will continue to beat each other over the head and grab wallets. This is what this country has become!

  96. jay says:

    I have ’99 Honda Accord and recently engine check lingt came on. We were coming home from Busch Gardens at night and it worried me. So I stopped and checked engine oil level and it was fine and the car ran just fine and came home safely. 2 days later, I replaced the air filter. after driving 350 miles the engine light turned off. the air filter was dirty. I think that’s why the check engine light came on.

  97. Navaid says:

    I have a chrysler Neon 2002. Two days ago its check engine light came on in the morning when I first started it all of a sudden. Apparently there is nothing wrong with the car. Its running the same way as before but the light is on and annoying me. Until and unless I can get the feeling of whats wrong in the vehical, I am not taking it to any mechanic to spend money on something that I even don’t about know.
    I simply took the +ive battery terminal out for 5 minutes and plug it back again. The light is shut off now.
    I am not a mechanic but what I understand is that once the light is turned on it never turns off itself even if you feel that the problem is solved. You have to take the +ive battery terminal out to turn the light off.
    I think this is another way of ripping people off even if their cars are working just fine. I would rather let my car stop on the road and get it towed to the mechanic and get it fixed once for all rather than going to the mechanics again and again paying them tones of money each time and still couldn’t figure out whats the problem.

  98. Don says:

    I have a what I believe is a Canadian Chrysler 300M. I am trying to turn off the daytime running lights. Does anyone know how to do this?
    Thank you.

  99. Steven Morrow says:

    It works Man!

    Thank you so much

  100. Alisa says:

    I have A 1997 850 turbo volvo and the service light came on the dealer won’t tell me how to shut it off it is in for A routine oil change wich we are going to do but not at volvo too expensive can you tell me how I tried A few things and they did not work please help

  101. mike says:

    If you decide that you have what you need to disconnect the battery and would like to reset the check engine light by doing so, there are a few more tips that I can provide.

    Most vehicles from 1996 and newer have a stay alive memory built-in to the computer system. When you disconnect the battery from the vehicle to reset the check engine light. The computer will be able to hold the memory and the code for several minutes and in some cases several hours.

    Battery voltage is stored in a capacitor and is supplied to the computer to keep the memory alive. The way around this is to disconnect the battery and hold down on the horn to drain the small electrical current that is stored in the control modules capacitor this will reset check engine light

  102. Nelson says:

    The engine check warning light comes on together with the srs airbag light, it’s really hectic for me. What do I do?

  103. Navaid says:

    If your SRS light is turned along with Check engine light then I think it means you have a problem with your SRS system and thats triggering the check engine light as well. You might wanna get your SRS system checked. I think your check engine light will be taken care off once you take care of SRS.

  104. John says:

    I own a 2001 Mercury Sable LS which has the CEL light on yet no technician can obtain a fault code. The strange part that baffles them all is that the CEL goes off when you turn the headlights on. It makes no difference whether or not you turn them on day or night, the CEL light goes off.

    Tried disconnecting the battery for hours and the minute it is reconnected the CEL is on again. Techs cannot clear anything because there is nothing to clear! Now the real kicker is that I live in CT and must spend $660.00 in repairs in order to get a waiver for the state mandated emissions testing. I will have to do this every two years…INSANITY!!!

    Would simply replacing the PCM on a vehicle that runs like a charm remedy the CEL problem?


    “…Nobody told me there’d be days like these… Strange days indeed”

  105. Herm Kligerman says:

    I have a 2000 Saturn LS with 67,000 miles and it has never run better.
    However, my service engine light is on (again!). I got quotes ranging from $ 89 (local nechanic) to $ 150 (Firetsone) to $ 165 (local dealer) This has happened before. The last time my mechanic said it was the gas cap but didnt elaborate he didnt charge me for his five minutes of labor.
    Does anyone have suggestions specifically for my Saturn.
    Thank you

  106. Herm Kligerman says:

    I went to AutoZone in Hayward CA.
    They no longer diagnosis “check engine light” nor do they rent scanners. Seems having done this as a courtesy to customers in the past several law suits were instigated, so AutoZone dropped the service.

    I bought a scanner for $ 70 and my “check engine” went off.` That sure beat going to a mechanic or dealer.

  107. Colleen says:

    I just disconnected the positive battery cable for about 15 minutes and my “check engine” light went off….Went for emissions and passed. “Check engine” light is still off…Hope it stays off and I hope this works for others as well…

  108. Matt says:

    Ok techs, back in the day when there was no computer to turn check engine lights on you had to have a sympton to know you have a problem. I do believe it is a total rip-off to pay 80 bucks for a light coming on and NO sympton with your car. If there is hair line crack in one of your hoses causing an EVAP code, wow. I’d have to pay 100′s of dollors to get this fixed. AND my car will run no better then before, to me that is a rip off.

  109. Matt says:

    Oh and here is another one, putting on the gas cap wroung and causing an EVAP code and having to pay 100′s of dollars for a tech to turn up your car is also a rip off.

  110. ted says:

    if you disconnect the battery in a car for a while and the car resets you cant pass a inspection, especiallty on newwer cars. the computer they use now will tell if the car has been reset and it takes anywere from 20 – 100 miles to pass inspection. so dont reset your car, trust me i know this cause we tried it at subaru to see what happened and it wouldnt pass and this is a brand new car so just buy a code reader.

  111. Craig says:

    My 95 (4.6) Thunderbird was just emission AND State inspected in June. A month later the CEL went on. Can I turn it off easily or should I get a reader? It is OBDII.

  112. Craig says:

    For that matter, where do you hook up a scanner in a 95 Thunderbird? I can’t find it under the dash.

  113. Nick says:

    I have a 1999 saturn sc2 and i just replaced the stock air filter/box with a cone airfilter
    now the check engine light is on and when i romp on it the shift light comes on at about 4 grand
    usually the light doesnt come on until about 5-6 grand

    any one know how to fix this

  114. kellie says:

    I have a 1996 Lexus ES300, the check engine light is on, and i need an inspection. check at the place where i get my oil changed and they said it was the Shock Sensor. what is that, anyone i talk to has never heard of it. how can i get it to go off atleast long enough to get it inspected. when i can, i will get it fixed, it’s just money is tight right now. HELP! or if you know what the heck a shock sensor is and how to fix it let me know.

  115. Mo says:

    Craig – that T-bird is probably OBDI – my understanding is OBDII is 1996 and newer.

    I have a “97 Escort, a car I drive roughly 30 miles a month. The Service Engine Soon light has been lit for months, but I’ve never really bothered to look into it until now: I need a vehicle inspection. The mechanic (yep – here we go!) saw the SES light and offered the standard $100 for a diagnosis. The code said…whatever it said – who cares? He said he’d fix it for $800, plus the $100 diagnosis, plus $75 for the inspection.

    A perfect Escort like mine is worth, what, $1200?

    So I finally foiund this thread, and I bought a super-duper AutoXray Codescout 700 for $70 ( then there’s the $10 mail in rebate!) and cleared the code. I’ll get the car inspected elsewhere tomorrow.

    All: go buy one!

  116. STEVE says:


  117. Brenda says:

    I installed a Flowmax 40 muffler on my 2001 Camaro Z28, shortly after the service engine light came on. Did this muffer cause this? How do I turn off the light? Help somebody!

  118. alice-wrx says:

    Hi, I just put a 2.5L sti engine into my 01 WRX and now my engine check light wont go off. It has been tested as to what the problem is and it’s because of the bigger engine and i cannot get the ECU remapped. It has been fitted professionally, but has to go through Regency for an inspection (after 2.5 years mind you). I need a quick fix just to get me through regency, even after resetting the code at Subaru, it only lasted 20mins before the check engine liught came back on. Disconnecting the positive battery terminal doesn’t work either or disconnecting the ECU and then re-connecting it.
    Please help, I just want to get it past Regency!


  119. JohnPaul says:

    Hello Guys I have an 04 KIA Optima myself I just got my Transmittion Replaced 3 days ago at Family Kia they are crooks also but atleast they get the job done! I was driving to my grandmothers today and everyone was fine in my car until I drove home and the Check Engine light blasted. The KIA Dealership did a diagonis and it cost me nearly $1400 to get my Tranny replaced plus a new oil filter. Now if there was anything really serious with my car wouldnt they have caught it a few days ago I’ve got 72k mile on it s1o i1ts just out of warranty , there nothing wrong with the vechicle though no weird sounds under the hood Gas Cap On as tight as possible i live in florida it never rains so no chance of a Short so what do any of you think it is? Thanks guys

  120. raed says:

    Hi guys i ve got a Holden Vectra 1997 model and the F reaking engine lights comes off i know whats the problem its the oxygen sensor is missing i tried to connect the computer and reset error the light went for a minute but then came back ! i know why the light is on i know that i need to buy a sensor to make it go away ! but is there any other way to fix this ? would burning my car and shooting my self helps at all ? thanks

  121. Mitch says:

    This is exactly what happened to me this morning: rough start/misfire/engine light. Disconnected positive terminal for 15 minutes, voila!

  122. Cathy says:

    The engine light went on in my 1997 Honda Accord. I checked the manual, and then checked the gas cap, with needed to be tightened, but the light didn’t go out. I went to Auto Zone, and they did what they do, checked it with a meter, and said no problems, and they turned off the light. But after a week or so the light came on again. Everything is good, my car runs great, no stalling, good pickup, I don’t notice any changes but the light is very disconcerting having it lit all the time. How can I turn it off?


  123. Megan says:

    I feel all of your pain. ’98 Nissan Maxima. Been my baby for years. Bought from my mom in 2001 so I know all the vehicle history. About a year and half ago my check engine light came on after service. Evap codes, which are common issue for my vehicle. Year and half later, I have had new solenoids (i think at least 2), new evap canister and value (2 of them), 02 sensors, had 3 mechanics look at it, hoses checked, full electrical check, we bought OBD scanner (hubby is mechanic by trade) he couldn’t find the issue, one of the mechanics didn’t even charge us (this was over this past summer) because he kept the car for about 3 weeks and couldn’t find ONE THING wrong and had no idea why the codes wouldn’t clear. It’s very frustrating because my car is in great condition and we have done everything possible other than taking it to a nissan dealer. My husband refuses because we’ve already spent over $2000 trying to fix this issue (easily). Oh I forgot to mention because we couldn’t find the issue or find a short, we even REPLACED THE COMPUTER. Code STILL came on (although it took driving it a bit for it to come on – usually it got so bad we couldn’t even get the code to clear!). I’m so frustrated because we want to sell but who’s going to buy a car with a check engine light on? Even if everything has been replaced that relate to those sensors? It’s bad enough my husband is cursing foreign cars (and told me he’s never owning one) because everything is in an awkward spot and tears up his big hands when he tries to work on it!

  124. Linda says:

    Hi everyone,
    I have a 1996 pontiac grand am se i bought this vehicle and what a nightmare its been but does taking the possitive off the battery also work for this car the check engine light is on and i live in arizona and with the engine light on it will not pass a required emissions test…. Please help

  125. basszack says:

    linda- on my pontiac just taking the possitive cable wasn’t enough i had to turn in on to acc. and then take the poss. off and tap it on the poss. of the battery. it sparked a few times but the light hasn’t come on again.that also worked for my 96 dodge ram the three or four times the light has come on over the last few years.i hope it helps.

  126. KATHY TOMS says:

    I have a 1994 olds 88 royal 3800 engine i just bought it 4 weeks ago it was running fine now i have to have iansferd into my name and the check engine light will not go off so i cant have it smogged i paid a macanic 75.00 to check it for me he said that his scanner said can not communicate with computer and he said for me to disconnect the battery for 24 hoursthen that should fix the proublum the check engine light should go off and if that didnt work then the computer was fried and i would have to replace it i dont have that kind of money so please please if any one out thier could help me and tell me how to reset the check engine light i would be more than greatful THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH KATHY

  127. John Northup says:

    A bit of tongue-in-cheek advice to all out there. Move to Michigan, and forget your check engine light! We do not have any smog testing and/or state-controlled emissions tests. Not yet, anyway! OK, I agree that economically things look pretty bleak here, but at least we have this ONE incentive.

  128. Ranger Rick says:

    I have a 1999 Ford ranger with the 4.0L V6. My check engine light came on… I looked under the hood… the engine is still there… go figure!!! (Just kidding) The weird thing is that my “Check Engine” light only comes on AFTER the first freeze of the season. If I disconnect the battery for a while and clear the light, it stays off until the next freeze. The truck is fine Spring through Fall. There CAN’T be a real equipment problem if it only happens after a nightly freeze. Does anyone else have this situation?

  129. Thomas Morgan says:

    Interesting facts about check engine lights from a Master Technician in Portland

    1-Since mid 1980, Fuel injected vehicles will not run without computers because they turn on the fuel pump, drive the fuel injectors & ignition coil, ect.

    2 You can reset the computer by removing both battery cables and touching them together, draining the capacitors but it only resets to an un-tested state, so if a problem is present, the light will come back on as soon as it completes the portion of the drive cycle that tests the failed component, could be 0 miles or 300 miles, depends on the failure and how you drive.

    3- Many Techs are required to punch a time clock, start to finish, and a trouble code problems average 1.5 hours in diagnostic time but some intermittent or unusual ones take several days and sometimes the customer needs to take the vehicle without drive cycle or repair fix verification because it’s so labor intensive to complete in the shop.

    4- Trouble codes do not specify a particular part or repair procedure like “replace gas cap” or “replace O2 SENSOR”, they read a number that corresponds to a trouble tree of test procedures, like evap leak small or O2 voltage low

    5-The scanner that a professional shop uses is not a code reader like Autozone uses, in addition to codes, a scanner reads a freeze frame of operating conditions when the code initially set with, speed, throttle, fuel mixture, engine load , ect , so the tech can go out and drive like the customer to recreate the problem, it’s also bidirectional so they can control most anything the computer does, unlock the doors, shift the transmission, cycle a fuel injector or cooling fan, it can also connect to your manufacturer’s website and reprogram your vehicle with the latest software updates.

    6- A flashing check engine light is telling you that engine misfire will destroy your catalytic converter in as little as 10 minutes if you continue to drive, adding a huge avoidable expense on top of fixing the misfire problem, some Euro cats are $2000.00..

    7- Mechanics do not remove warning lights on their own vehicles; they fix the problem in order to have reliable transportation.

    Here is a good shop with a current check engine diagnostic special in Portland, Or
    for $89.95

  130. Lou says:

    My 1995 GM car has an OBD-1 and the pins in the plastic connector are only A and M – not A and b and not anything else either. The testors i see on the internet for sale have connectors that require more than A and M – and people in the local area incl the dealer do not have answers – how do I test it?

    OK Tech experts especially guys who tell me to take it to the service shop which I would if I knew they knew what they were dealing with incl had the proper instrument.

    I have had my 95 Lumina for 3 years -in 130,000-160,000 miles – gift from a friend since i got seriously ill and used up almost all my 5 figures savings on food. (re: someone else’s complaint above – about why I do not bring it in for $110 on my $950/mo disability income – and $650 rent and utl and auto ins.)

    Car was always well maintained and for me, it has worked flawlessly for 3 yrs and still does. Just this month I had to analyze why my car would not start. Was the ignition key VATS resistor sensor in the key cyllinder on the steering column. Auto security guy and dealer parts guy informed me for free – and then I saw the solder on resistor solution all over the internet and even a how to video on You Tube. (A supposedly honest and caring guy from my housemate’s church wanted to charge me $180 to go around the VATS Module – and I found out later he did know about this resistor fix for $4. When i told him I wanted to find out and fix what i could myself and now wanted to have him check about the SES light not going out and not being detectable by the usual instruments-methods – he never returned my calls.

    (This in response to people above commenting about not so trustworthy mechanics. I have been spoiled by a couple of guys the last 3 yrs and before that for 25 years I was my own VW Van & 412 mechanic and knew the guys in my area for bigger jobs than I could do myself. So as some people encourage – I DO want to work on my own car and get my own instrruments and manuals – but i cannot find the appropriiate tester and the DIY jumper and free Auto parts store help is not the appropriate technical connection-testor either – I have been working on this a couple hrs a day since friday nite. Daily, I am in email contact with a chevy mechanic by email.)

    On my 95 Lunina sedan, the problem is – for the first time in 3 yrs – ONLY after i did the things i did for the engine starting – that turning on the car I got the Service Engine Soon light after the engine is running 7-9 seconds. Goes off again when restarting the car and comes on again like that each time. Only thing I did was disconnect battery terminals and clean them, pull off and replug oil pressure sender plug as it is right near where i wa checking things at the starter, removed and put back a number of fuses and relays in the fuse boxes when car was off, and cut the two white wires at the base of the steering column and solder the proper resistor across them – all soldering was done away from the car – and on the wires to the plug side, to the car, with the plug unplugged and the soldering done away from the car.

    I have tried a lot to find out the problem with the Service engine Soon light but it appears my car is not the usual wiring to the plug. Along the way i verified that the wires to the Anti theft Module from the key sensor were in fact the proper 5 volts across them. My car has worked – just that now it gives the the SES light – AFTER I did some very basic things in testing what was wrong all with the engine turned off

    All I have going on these days – for the last 8 months, that is different for the first couple of years owning the car, is a rising temp sensor on the dash – to around the middle – when it used to be always on the left. I flushed the radiator and put in new fluid, bleeding the system etc, under the tutelage of a real mechanic. I plan to put in a thermostat soon. And i may not have the fan going on at the appropriate temperature – meant to look a few times – got caught up in 10 days of that atarting thing issue.

    HOWEVER, all these things were already happening for months before i disconnected the battery to clean the terminals and plugged and unplugged the oil pressure sensor – and so did the dealer service advisor and the dealer mechanic who kindly looked at this plug for me for free – wondering what it was for. And that I pulled out and carefully replaces a bunch of fuses and relays when the car was OFF – one item at a time. And that I cut the two wires and put on the resistor – and no other website nor the dealer told me the SES light would go on from this mini-fix.

    Please tell me how the wiring plug for your OBD-1 testers for 1995 Chevy’s is arranged. (NOT OBD-II – and yes, Auto Zone and Adv Auto Parts offered to check the codes for free and analyze them for me – only my connector is OBD-I and their corporate issued tools to all their stores is for just OBD-II.
    My car is 13 yrs old.

    In 1995, GM had some cars with OBD-1 with one kind of wiring to the under dash connector and some cars with another wiring arrangement and still another group of cars with another wiring arrangement – same plastic plug – just not the same metal pins connected to wires to the car harness.

    What pins does YOUR OBD-1 check on MY CAR’s OBD-1? The dealer Service guy did not know and he said if they plug in the tester (perhaps “blind”)and cannot find the codes then they will not charge me $110 for the test. Being an electronics engineer who designed a test system for the space shuttle’s flight critical backup software, (when I was 25 years younger and not on soc sec disability) – I tend to like to know what my test equipment is testing. THE HAYNES MANUAL SAYS SCAN TOOL if one does not have PinB . (And I have looked on the internet for one that says how it will work on my car. Pin M is supposed to be a serial connection – maybe like on computer serial data port, the IEEE standard there. I have seen computer programs i can put with my laptop and their connector and tester – but their stuff requires more pins in my connector than I have.) And removing the connecotr from the chassix I could not see any loose unconnected wires that could have fallen out of the connector i have.

    MOST OBD-1 and ALDL testing uses Pins A=Gnd and B=codes. My car only has only A=gnd and M.
    The jumper paper clip DIY to get the codes is A to B and you see the flashing SES light.
    HOWEVER, according to my Haynes Manual, on some GM 1995 cars there is no pin B, by manufacturer design – like mine is. 1995 Chevy Lumina Sedan 3.1L. Before buying and reading this manual, I tried jumpering A to M thinking someone along the way put the B pin into the M square plastic hole, as the two wires, black to A and tanish yellow to pin M are in a twisted pig tail from the bulk of under dash wires to the plastic connector for the ALDL-OBD-1. But in my M to A short out – that I carefull checked fo pins continuity and then turned the Key to ON only, did not give flashing SES identifying the code. Many internet sites and the Haynes Manual say it an be done in SOME cars. Those that have a pin B to the wiring harness.

    As i said above, Manual says I need a Scan Tool.

    My own friend-real mechanic with his own shop tested my connector with his plug in tool and said he could find no codes & then he could not turn off the light by removing the EGM fuse for a minute and pumping the pedals – also as the manual says to do. I agree with someone here, above that it takes more to turn it off. PLUS, i found out about pin M wired in a pair off a harness with Pin A (I visually see it and touch it with my fingers) and there is no pin B wire just as the haynes Manual says there might not be. I tested continutites incl PinA IS INDEED GND. I need to talk to my mechanic again -he has been ill and i did not want to bother him – he did it free – twice in one weekend – fior 2-3 mins max each. Plus, I only discovered the A and M myself and tested it out – on Monday. the Advanced Auto Parts guy showed me on Sat that i only had two wires and on Sunday told me there was no B pin. My guess is that he did not know i only had pin M and not B and that requires a special tester. However, I also looked on line to buy one and for the place i called for help – the non technical person you get knew nothing – and i specifically want to know if the pins only A and M are workable because the picture on their sales page shows a lot of pins with wires in them.

    My mechanic said to just drive it – i am OK – but with the info that he might have been checking for pins that are not there – I would like to have more factual data about what is really going on.

    Haynes also has a code analysis book for $20 that lists all codes and it does tell you how to check for a lot of parts maldunctioning – what could be causing it It even describes how the engine system is designed to work. It specifies codes for different makes of vehicles. My AAP guy brought his no longer shrink wrapped book over to me to help. That manual also did not help me from the checking it out electrically point of view. From reading the lists in the two books I can try a few things – such as cooling fan relay not working. BUt as i said above – why how come did the light not come on until I did what I did.

    I am plenty willing to buy a Scan Tool or make one to connect with my laptop – it’s just all we have to work with is the M pin and GND folks, and as i say, the scan and tester tools i see on the internet – require more pins than that.

    I will drive the car another 20-30 miles and then I believe i will have more than 100 miles for SES light turn off reset as someone above suggested – however I NEVER have it on 100% of the time — with initial bulb testing it comes on with the ON-Start like all the other dash lights – and then is NOT on for 7-9 seconds – and then comes on each time i start the car – whether I sit at idle for that time or I move the car into Drive and get onto the street for a few seconds. Light comes on either way. I will ask the dealer to ask a senior mechanic there. I have an idea that they will not know how their tester works and I do not know if they know how to hook up an oscilloscope to test it. I’d rather have my own scan tool for my own unique car. And my mechanic is a help as is the online guy as well.

    Any help would be appreciated. My email adr is [email protected]


  131. Lou says:

    For Thomas Morgan just above my two items here – according to my Haynes Chevy Lumina Manual chapter on the diagnostic codes OBD 1 and OBD 2, (I and II) the freeze the problem feature is part of the OBD 2 system in use on all cars since 1996. I have a 1995 Lumina and it has only OBD 1. the connector matches that in the manual. OBD 2 did not exist for my model of car when it was made.

    One guy on another forum site suggested the person asking the question for OBD 1 go back and trade the used car dealer the car he had just purchased from him for a 1996 car instead. I can’t do that as i did not get my car from any dealer. And it was given to me in 2005. And I love the car as did the family who had it before, since it was purchased new. Plus $2.12 a gal gas for a while is helpful on the reliable 6 cyl car.


  132. Ram says:

    Hi Guys. I had the same problem with the engine check light a couple of times. The best way to reset it is to disconnect the battery for 30mins. This would reset all the presets stored and shuts the engine check light off. But, the engine check light, coming up is not a joke. Its the same light for the smallest issue under the sheet, to the largest trouble you might tend to neglect. Go to your general mechanic and get things fixed…….. Drive safe guys!!!!!

  133. Thomas Morgan says:

    Your car will not flash codes like the old ones, A is ground and M is the serial wire for scan tool communication, it’s the only method for retrieving codes,
    .have you tried AutoZone ?

  134. Crabmelt says:


    My esteemed colleagues:

    This is one of the most useful threads Ive ever read on the internet; much thanks for its existence. Let me tell you about my problem & my solution. But first, let me emphasise that there are essentially 2 types of mechanics: those ready to charge you $80 to read your ALDL codes & those prepared to say that an SES light is meaningless in the absence of an actual symptom so get over it.

    My $800 1994 Buick Century Special ran for 7 weeks & 1200 miles before the computer issue had to be addressed. The overall electrical system is shot; no right turnsignals, forget the window motors &c. I replaced the mismatched tires on the front & changed the oil, plugs, wires, filters, 1 coil, PCV valve & flushed the fuel system. With the nose no longer shaking & hitting the parkinglot aprons the warning light configuration was able to stabilise. I recommend contact paper to cover the ABS & Airbag lights; I prefer the black kind with the marble type accents as it looks particularly professional. The biggest favour the prior owners did me was *leaving* the SES bulb intact, but compromising the ALDL terminal so the DTC codes cant be pulled. The state of Texas apparently wont care about a pre-OBDII SES at inspection time, whereas the local AutoZone *will* attempt to read the codes for free. I found its better not to know what the computer is thinking.

    The Cent finally started stalling at every deceleration requiring a restart at every stoplight & stopsign. The modules implicated are simply the O2 sensor, digital EGR, Evap cannister, MAF sensor, & possibly the TPS. When they started saying they wanted to mess with the fuelpump or catalytic convertor I drove away. Go find the Delmar manual on the AutoZone site & read up about the driveability & computer systems. Quite simply: “If the computer aint happy aint nobody happy.” The ECM/PCM has a learning curve by virtue of which it adjusts itself to the state of the engine as it becomes modified or worn. The engine operation *is* governed by the computer & theres no way around this; if the sensors are feeding it bogus info it will behave in a bogus fashion.

    The turning point was when I learned you can pull the plug on the MAF sensor & take it out of the loop entirely. The MAF can be functioning properly, improperly, or not at all. In my case plugging the MAF sensor back in with the engine idling stalled it; this is a fairly good indication that the unit is corrupt. I just coasted up & down US377 one sunny day until I found a gentleman who knew what I was talking about. He disappeared into his shop & came out with the top of a 3100 V6 with the MAF sensor still attached & replaced mine with it, saving me a trip to the junkyard.

    This 100% fixed the problem & took the SES light to a more normal state, blinking on perhaps once every 10min or so at moderately high speeds. The SES is not actually a scam, but it is also not really a diagnostic tool, however wellintentioned may have been its original design. There is no substitute for an informed understanding of the overall operation of your vehicle, coupled with the ability to operate it past the very limits of hazardousness before approaching a genuinely skilled mechanic. My gratitude & best wishes to all.

  135. george says:

    I left my 2000 Chevy blazer in third gear (accidentally put it there instead of drive) and got up to highway speeds. Noticed the car wasn’t shifting, then put it into the correct gear(D). At about the same time my check engine light came on. I believed it might be the Mass Air Flow sensor. So I cleaned it with brake cleaner and changed the air filter. The check engine light was still on, so I had no idea whether or not the problem was fixed. I was considering getting a code reader for it, but was unsure which one to get. It seems like the ODBii scanner would work, but I didn’t see that indicated on the emissions sticker under the hood. So I tried the trick of disconnecting the battery…left it unhooked for about an hour.

    It worked…no check engine light…now to see if it stays off. I will let you know

  136. george says:

    I don’t know if links are allowed, but this is a pretty good article about cleaning the MAF:

  137. Greg says:

    I don’t know if this has been said but if you take your car to the local Autozone (assuming there is one nearby) they will give you the code for free. It takes about 30 seconds so you shouldn’t be paying $80 for this crap.

  138. Larry says:

    I have been a mechanic since 1972 and I have watch the systems grow. I even worked on my own vapor carborartor back in 1981(the grovernment will never allow it to much lose in tax revenue). But to get to problem it is designed to make you take it to a mechanic period! It use to be ONLY a DEALERSHIP and then the started selling the code readers at a high cost. The laws are created to make the rich man richer and the poor man pay out his butt. Now everybody is thinking this is a good thing to have a computer tell you when to do everything, but is it something you need to do and why can you not turn it off by yourself why must it pleage you. I fell for some of you that have these things eat up your saving and some idiot mechanic tells you if you can not afford it then take the buss. This is some guy that is making a greate living off of other peoples proplems and what they do not tell you is that the computer that is telling you these thing may have a proplem or even that this was a proplem since the computer was put into a car. Alot of foriegn made autos do things better until they get old and then they are subject to computer failure also. The computers should be free because of this porpose that they tell you to take your car in to charge you more money. In the old days when people took care of oil changes and things like tune up’s. People were not so complaining about the car failing abecause a $2000.00 computer is going bad kicking out error code and making the car stop completly. I just hate it when someone tells another I make more money than you from you and IF YOU DO NOT LIKE IT THEN ride the buss stop driving. This is a mean person that has his own problems.

  139. Jane says:

    I have a 1996 Honda Accord EX-L that I bought new. In August 2008 with 136,918 miles, my car’s check engine light came on along with major stalling. With luck I made it to AutoZone, and they read the code as P1382. I purchased a remanufactured distributor, and had a mechanic replace the distributor (total cost parts and labor $380). About 500 miles AFTER the distributor was replaced, the check engine light came back on. The car was running normal with no stalling. I reset the light by removing / replacing the 7.5 Amp radio backup fuse.

    Here we are in December 2008 (139,500 miles), and the check engine light came on AGAIN. I again reset the check engine light by removing /replacing the 7.5 Amp radio backup fuse, and the light is still off. I am not sure how many miles I will be able to drive until the light comes back on, but I got about 2,000 miles last time.
    NOTE: If you choose to remove /replace your radio backup fuse on your Honda, make sure you leave it out for at least 30 seconds. Make sure you have your radio code, and you will also have to reset your clock.

  140. Thomas Morgan says:

    So many people try fixing their cars but would not bother to spend 20 minutes trying to understand how it works. says Computers ( ECM)’s are the best thing since sliced bread, they’ve eliminated the need for most emission controls under the hood and they’re responsible for engines running great up through 200,000 miles even if you neglect them , the main purpose of sensors is not to set a code or make life miserable but help your car adjust to operating conditions like high altitude, hot & cold temps,semi clogged filters, heavy throttle, ect, The computer adjusts several times per second and that perfect mixture & timing is what helps engines go 200,000 miles with good gas mileage and low emissions——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-
    The reason modern engines run reasonably well with problems & the check engine light blaring is because the Electronic Control Module (ECM) compensates for problems up to a limit so the average Joe thinks ther’s nothing wrong, (it’s the stupid light again!).————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————
    A good example :– a car develops a sudden vacuum leak that adds extra air to the engine, starving it for fuel , within a second the ECM adds extra fuel and reduces air smoothing the engine but sets two codes telling you the fuel trim & Idle air valve are not in the expected range, replacing these expensive parts would not fix the car and the diagnostic fee a shop charges is to get to the bottom of the problem, not pull some codes and hang some parts, if DIYS Joe doesn’t screw with the car first, the tech would see that both codes set at once and it should’nt be to hard to figure out but if DIYS Joe puts on some used or aftermarket parts, attemps to turn the tamperproof idle screw down and disconects the ECM power and takes out his check engine light bulb then it will take a while.——————————————————————————————————————–

    The computer also uses predetermined default values for defective sensors allowing the engine to run normal under average conditions , a bad temperature sensor may default to 190 degrees and run acceptable on till a cold morning start, there is always a legitimate reason why the SES light is on and rarely will you experience a big drivability problem, Chevy once had to take back a new Camaro under the lemon law because an Air Flow Meter code kept coming back despite several trips to the dealership and replacement sensors, the factory eventually figured out that an assembly line guy had dropped a book of matches in the tube between the air flow meter and filter that was sucking up against the meter under strong throttle but falling back down the tube as soon as you let off , I’m sure they would have been happy to pay someone $90 to tackle this problem, shops come across tuff problems like this sometimes and 50% of the public think it should be free and some guys actually sabotage their own cars or deceive the mechanic that’s trying to help them, I would advise you to be leery of free or low cost diagnoses because quality techs don’t work cheap and you’ll most likely spent to much time and money trying to fix the car,———————————————————————————————————————————————— A lady called me yesterday with a diagnoses on two engine codes, she wanted a price on a fuel filter but the vehicle was currently not starting, I told her I was skeptical the filter would cause two codes and disable the vehicle then she gave the diagnostic list, Fuel filter, Fuel pump or new injectors, that’s a $2000 list and now i’m sure her diagnostic was a free code reading from a bonehead with just enough knowledge to be dangerous, I would also advise against resetting the computer because it erases valuable information a technician would use to diagnose the problem and having the code number is of little to no value to anyone other than an experienced Automobile technician with a crap load of testing equipment and information at their finger tips.

  141. Edward Diaz says:

    Don’t be a DUMMY!!!
    There is nothing wrong with your car.
    The CHECK ENGINE light is telling you that is time for maintenance, if you did the last maintenance CHECK ENGINE light, it is time for the next, this is only a remember.
    On most vehicles this will turn the SES light off
    1. With vehicle turned off, push in and hold down your odometer trip button
    2. Turn the vehicle on, you do not need to crank the vehicle, just turn the key to turn the power on to your car.
    3 keep holding the button in until the SES light starts to blink, then let go of the button and turn the car off;
    4. Now start your car and the light should go off
    Or: Remove the battery cable of and after that go back, the light will be off.

  142. Toya says:

    I drive a 2000 Mitsubishi Mirage DE and my check engine light is on.The mechanic told me the diagnostic machine said to check by owner’s manual; however, I bought my car used back in 2001 and it didn’t come with the owner’s manual. What should I do or how can I get a copy of the manual?

  143. George P. says:

    Toya, check eBay

  144. Joe says:

    Not enough time to comment here on what I think of mechanics, OBD systems, etc…The facts: I have a 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The OBD aka check engine light has been on for a year, and I’m needing an inspection. Like others, my light has come on before and I’ve had to pay $300 and up just to have it turned off, and then have them tell me, “the oxygen sensor triggered it.” Needless to say I don’t want to fork out the cash when I know absolutely nothing is wrong with my Jeep, hence I’ve been driving around with it on for a year! So thanks to these online post I was able to turn it off, and pass inspection! I disconnected the battery, turned the headlights on, waited 15 mins, turned the lights off, and then connected the battery. The next day I drove to work (20miles), and then at lunch drove to the nearest inspection station and had my Jeep inspected successfully. And this wasn’t some joe-smoe inspection station either. They hooked into my OBD system and ran the Jeep for about 15 mins. So this “temp” fix really worked! And my light is still off!

  145. Don says:

    So if you reset the light, and it comes back on quickly, then the mechanics are right, have it checked.

    If you reset the light, and it doesn’t come back on until after a gas fill, then this is a common problem, and has to do with that dirty O2 sensor/emissions. In this case you should reset the light just before inspection and forget about it the rest of the year.

    My Honda van lights can be reset by holding the odometer while cranking. For my daughter’s Saturn SL2, the fuse box located next to the passenger’s seat left leg, has a fuse marked “body”. Pulling this fuse, with the key turned to enable lights, but not running, causes the the dash check lights to start blinking. Leave the fuse out for several minutes then start the car once or twice. The check engine/maintenance lights should go out. Drive the car about 50 miles to clear the codes left in the on board diagnostic computer. Take to inspection before filling gas again. (If you can’t go 50 miles, then fill with gas, reset the lights, and then drive 50 miles.)

  146. Clyde says:

    Dodge Check Engine Lights. I found out after some research that Dodge codes (OBDII) can be had by rapidly cycling the ignition 3 times – don’t crank just from off to on – and the codes will show in the odometer. Then, you just need a table – found on the web – to decipher the codes. Some codes, like P149 1 which is Rad Fan Relay won’t be read with an Auto Zone mini reader.

    Sure, AutoZone will read the code but, after you replace the offending part – Autozone will not reset the codes. That is up to you. Either by one of the many methods presented above, buying your won reader or paying that nice guy at Sun Devil Auto a wad of money to read and re set your code with his big expensive analyzer.

  147. emmy says:

    I have a 2000 toyota avalon. the check engine light came on and stayed on for weeks. i took it for check up in two different places and the 1st one said it would cost $325 to do the tune up if the wires and everything else are good. the second place i took it to said it would cost $150 for the tune up if the wires and everything else are good. Mean while, i luckily paid $40 for the diagnostic at the first place and free diagnostic at Autozone. (Hello people, autozone does free check engine diagnostic).
    At the end of all the running around, i made research on how to turn off the check engine light without having to pay anyone and Voila! i got it!!!! Such a joyous moment.
    here it is: Disconnect the positive terminal of your battery only and leave it disconnected for about 15 mins. reconnect and the liht should go off. hope this helps someone. it helped me.

  148. Angelo Santia says:

    I have a 2001 Subaru Forrester. My check engine light has been on for about 8 months now (When the car is running). I want to trade my car in and have the light not come on. How do I easily get it to shut off?

  149. deloresdiego says:

    I take the cables off for a few minutes and the light goes off for about 80 miles

  150. ANTOINE says:


  151. Linda says:

    Hello: I have spent the last hour reading everyone’s narratives about the check engine light problem. I tried AutoZone and I’ve used Firestone. Well, Firestone’s scanner couldn’t even hook up to the computer. I have a 2000 Volvo C70 Convertible. I bought it at 79,000 miles. It currently has 110,000 miles. I have spent approximately $6000 on that car since last February (it’s now February 2009). Everytime I turn around, that car needs something. I tried the postion II, press trip odometer, theory. It did not work on my car. I don’t think I’m going to try disconnecting my battery. I believe the issue may be the last tank of gas I bought at the Wawa in Sicklerville, NJ. The pump kept turning off. The attendant didn’t care. It took like 10 minutes to put $25.00 of gas into the car. The check engine light came on at just about the 1/4 mark on the gas level indicator. I went to Sunoco, where I usually buy my gas, and got a fill up. The light is still on but I think it may go out after a bit.

  152. Ken says:

    I have a 2008 Hyundai Sonata with less than 9000 miles. The ESC OFF lite and the CHECK ENGINE lite came on when my wife was using it. I assume they came on at the same time but I can’t be sure. I think I got the ESC OFF lite to stay off but not the CHECK ENGINE. I removed the gas cap and retightened it in case that was the cause because my wife was the last one to fuel up the car. Any ideas?

  153. Jimmy says:

    I have a 2003 honda accord ex. I got a check engine light on a couple of weeks back. Being an avid driver, I love to take care of my car and dont mind spending the money that is required to keep it in shape. I do my maintainence always on time. Now i took it to a local Midas and had them diagnose the problem. They checked the codes for free which they said was misfire in engines 1,3 and 4. They said they would need to diagnose it further to find out the exact problem. $100 later they told me that I will need spark plugs. I had the spark plug changed. The total $’s I spent was $250 (4 spark plugs, labor and initial $100). After about a week, the light is back on…staring in my face. As I said i dont mind spending money, but i need my money’s worth. Now when I take it to the shop again they are telling me that they will to diagnose it further to find what else is the issue. They checked and told me that the ignition coils need to be changed ($130 * 4). I can change the coild but what is the guarantee that it will fix the problem. If it comes back again, he will ask me to change something else. I dont want to keep changing the parts without me knowing for sure what the problem is. The codes are P0130, P0131, P0133, P0133. Can someone help?

  154. me says:

    hey just get a little device called an mil knockout. It hooks up between one wire of your oxygen sensor and always gives the computer a good reading no matter what.

    worked for me.

  155. markh says:

    For those with 94-95 cars that cannot be read according to the mechanic, run. It is common knowledge that many of these cars have special setups. usually and OBD1 with and ALDL16 plug on GMs. They usually can be read with the right scanner, not even expensive at the price of 2 scans.

    The engine light can be good and bad. But it has made quick work of solving many problems and going damm on some since I know the price will be high. So far using decent scanners and manuals I have not had to visit the shop for anything yet. I do reccommend that people see the scan themselves since some of the fixes are just bull and with a little common sense you can separate out the good from bad service shops.

  156. MayC says:

    we have a 95 nissan sentra with a check engine light on and has been on since we got it in 2005… and has passed inspection every year. Isn’t that because it falls under the vehicles that are 1995 and older inspection test?

  157. james says:

    I have a 1993 nissan hardbody with a ka2400 engine light is on i need to smog now anyone know how…….
    I put a new o2 in and it is still on…..

  158. Brian says:

    I got one for ya…The emissions testing in the state of Maryland is a freaking joke….A few years ago i had a 1988 lincoln towncar and it was in tip top shape. One thing…hurricane Isabel came through so the car was drove through alot of water due to being a delivery driver in the Sparrows Point, Fort Howard area. I had to take the car to the emissions…No problem….took it and it passed with no issues..They even put it on the tread mill thing too….It did not even occur to me that the I had to cut the SMOG belt off because the water i guess froze up the bearrings in the SMOG PUMP…it had no belt on it and it did not have no check engine lights on….IT PASSED…..HOW is that possible…..

  159. john says:

    they lie this light has cost me 1,500 dollars over the last few years same prob o2 sen fixed twice 2 weeks ltr pops on fthe mechanic. test show no prob but im gonna fail inspec again ????

  160. Mark says:

    “me says:

    February 18th, 2009 at 5:49 pm
    hey just get a little device called an mil knockout. It hooks up between one wire of your oxygen sensor and always gives the computer a good reading no matter what.

    worked for me.”

    ….Just an FYI, you don’t want to ignore the problem. If the O2 sensor is bad, it will degrade your catalytic converter at an exponential rate and that’s a much more expensive fix.

    A few more points… those who have the light come back on after replacing the sensor may have used an aftermarket O2 sensor such as Bosch. Use only OEM to avoid this. They can be had on the web for roughly $60-80. Finally, when you relace the sensor, don’t manually clear the light. If everything is working right, it should clear itself within a few miles of driving. If it doesn’t, that means the issue still exists.

  161. Porscheman says:

    Here is the big problem with todays shop mechanics. They are parts changers relying on the computer instead of looking at obvious things. I have been working on cars for other people since I was 12, and I am 37 now. I work on old cars with, yes, carbs, and multiple carbs at that. My old 50′s & 60′s Porsches get better gas milage then new cars do. New cars, with their computers, get people scared and they think they cannot fix them. I have fixed cars for people that have spent tons of money at shops, and the mechanics there do not know anything, but anyone can plug a scanner in. I fix an 80′s Mustang for a family friend once that took it to a shop, spent over $600. in parts, and getting it hooked up to a machine, and they never looked at the air filter that was blacker than night. It took me about 30 seconds to find the problem, because I listen to what they told me the car was doing. I was going to get my ASE cert once until I looked at the test, and it was a joke. I was not going to spend my money on it. I started looking at the shops some of my friends worked at, and wow, the mechanics you use are ASE Cert., but look, it is for brakes, nothing to do with an engine, or troubleshooting. Most good mechanics will not charge much or at all for help with a problem. Most shops are scams anyways, I know, because I get cars brought to me all of the time that a shop could not figure out the problem. This codes that the new cars spit out are there for a reason, and are sometimes needed, but most of the time with a used car, is that the maintanance was not done when it was suppose to. I always ask a customer, “how many miles are on your car”? This tells me everything, and most shop mechanics have tried to argue this point with me. The scanner tells one code or another, and most of the time it is plugs and O2 sensor, and other things that need to be replaced at certain milage. The big thing that most people do not know about, is your local Library. I had a customer I built an engine for, for an old Porsche, and he had a Volvo that was having problems and the shop was telling him that it was going to cost $1500. to fix it. The nice thing was I went to the Library, and get 10 free copies of some testing that can be done with a Mutimeter instead of a scanner. There were 2 parts that were bad, Mass Airflow Meter and Fuel Pressure regulator on the return side, turbo car. Parts were under $100.00, I billed him for 1 hour of work. The big thing I am trying to tell everyone here, is that you take a risk everytime you go to a shop, most do not know how to do anything but read a scanner and replace parts, there are not to many that are good trouble shooters. I just took my friends car in for DEQ today, it has not been running for almost 3 years, because she moved away, and the clutch was shot. I put in a clutch, and fixed everything I found wrong on the car so I can sell it for her. I filled the tank up, and it was still half full of 3 year old gas. I made it about 3 miles from the place, and the Check Engine Light came on, and the car started running rough. I figured the O2 was replaced, because about 90% of the time, they go out between 120,000 to 135,000 miles. This car was at 149,988, and I have never seen one go this far before. Here in Washington State, if you failt the test, the second one is free. I still took the car through and it failed bad, like 7 times over the limits. I went to Napa, got an O2 and put it in, the car runs great, but light is still on. I have a transfer pass, for one day use only, the tag are old. I was back at DEQ in under 1 hour, with light still on, and car passed with flying colors. It is a 94 Nissan Sentra.
    Here is another Check Engine scam. My child races go-karts, and I do not use old gas in the Kart, all gas is bought within 48 hours of racing, when we are done, I drain, and put in my 2002 F-150. We had alcohol left one time, and I dumped 5 gals into my tank, and “bang”, the stupid Check Engine Light comes on. I did not get good gas milage, but it was better than dumping the fuel. After this, the light stayed on for about 6 months, it never reset it self, and I was not going to have it scanned. My battery finally desided it was time to get recycled, and I had to get a new one. No Check Engine Light. The big problem, is if you get bad gas, the lights will come on, and then most people think there is something wrong with their cars, and you take it to a shop, and a code pops up. Is there really a problem? No there is not, but they will tell you that the code say they need to replace some things. I get mad at these people. I know a guy who worked at a local shop, in Portland, OR, and the guy had a 71 Nova, and he could not work on it, because there was no scanner port.
    Listen, for all of the DIY out there, check your library before you go and buy a book or anything else, even if you get you code scanned for free, go there. The nice thing, is they have shop manuals. If you think you might have a bad part, find out what the limits are on it, and use a mutimeter, even if it is a cheap one, but it need to do Ohms. This is a much better way then using a scanner. Now, scanners are good for some things, that are really odd problem, but not always. Don’t get ripped off by a guy that has a scanner and tells you you need to replace everything. Good luck to everyone that is doing whay they can to save money in these rough times. And to the guy who owns a shop and told people that cannot afford to get scammed by his shop to ride the bus, give it up, I would never recommend anyone to your shop. I am a disabled vet, and no what it is like to not have much money. I work on poeples cars for $10 pr/hr if they make min. wage, or if they are really strapped, I do not charge at all. There are a million reasons why someone does not want to pay someone to reset the stupid light in the dask, and if they do their own work, they should not have to pay. I do not understand why this guy would screw someone out of $80 for something that might take him about 5 minutes if he wants to check things.
    Good luck everyone, and yes, you can disconnect your battery to reset the light after it has been fixed, or after you run bad gas through. Some cars will work for 30 seconds, some take longer.
    This is a great site for the DIYers

  162. Beckie says:

    I don’t understand this whole check engine light either. I have a 2000 grand am gt and the light came on i had it taken to a garage and had to have the motor repaired the heads were bad. $1500.00 later no more than 2 months later the damn light comes on again and no one knows why that is. How can you not be able to tell, i have sat hear and read this notes left and if the equipment is that expense to get to find out what is the matter with the cars but it really doesn’t why are you wasting your money and mine. I am upset that i spent that money and now its been a head ache with this light. Whats the cure????

  163. marc says:

    On all saabs there are either fuses or relays that you can pull wait 30 seconds and re-insert and the check engine light and codes are reset. It has to do with the computer that controls the engine management system, you will need to look at your owners manual to know wich fuses to pull. I have had 5 saabs and they are all the same, just different fuses to pull. On average that keeps the light out for about 3 days…

  164. James Barker says:

    After reading all about the engine check light. Why is every one taking the Positive cable off the battery and not the Negative cable, I though safty came first.The electrical system it still hot, if a freak thing happens where the Positive side and car body or engine make contact look out sparks, the battery could blow up also short out electrica system. By taking the Negative off the Battery path is still broken and safty is on every ones side.

  165. Techcat says:

    This may not work on all cars but….in mine if you turn the key on and of 3 times real quick and then on it will do a set of flash codes in the dash to tell you the problem. These codes are all listed in the chilton manual. It is cheaper then running back to the emissons place again and again just to have them laugh at you.

  166. frustrated says:

    my 98 ford truck has had its chk engine light on for 5 years now.i have taken it to 12 different auto mechs and still its on.i have paid well over 1500 dollars on this problem so far.what is so amazing is how you cant even think about an inspection with this money pit of a light is on but wow have a tech change out 300 dollars worth of parts and wallah u have a sticker and guess what the light is still on.and so far as plumbers go if i paid him to do a job he quoted me on and it didnt work he fixed it out of his own pocket.but i think im going to buy a bike maybe then that light will go off because no amount of money or cursing will make it go off.

  167. Otto says:

    Go to Auto Zone!! Not only will they read your computer for you, they will also turn it off for you as well. FREE

  168. 99saturn says:

    Wow.. You guys know that Auto Zone will read the codes for you for free right? I Understand its expensive to have a dealer do it, but isnt everything at the dealer expensive. Cars cost alot of money. If you fixed your cars problem and the light is still on yeah i would be ticked off too. But If there really is somthing up with your car, wouldnt you like to know before it blows up? And if you dont care if it has a problem take the friggen light bulb out so it cant come on. MOST Mechanics are not crooks. Like Dr’s most of the stuff they work with is just really expensive.

  169. timothy says:

    yes i have a 2001 doge neon and my service engine light is still on i just put a radiator on the car how to take it off with out going to a machanic

  170. John Boy says:

    hey yall know all vehicles with an on-board diagnostic (OBD-1/2/3) usually have a system set up so if you turn your ignition on-off-on-off-on-off-onoff-on and you leave it on for the last key move to on and your engine light will start flashing a set of flashe representing numbers or your odometer will show letter and number codes. I have a 2000 intrepid that had a problem no shop could figure out, but I got an extremely good deal because of a rather dangerous issue of the engine shutting off without warning and sometimes not re-starting for a while. I prefer the manuals found at any parts store that have these codes in them and using the vehicles self-diagnostic system. The code showed that the crank position sensor was faulty, a $30 easy to install piece and the car is running beautifully, besides the need to sub 1 quart of tranny fluid at every oil change of synthetic oil to keep the undersized oil ports on the 2.7 liter dodge engine from building up sludge throughout the engine, then the timing will bust, resulting in the need for an engine that costs more than the car is worth.

    Other than that and faulty abs systems and weak steering racks, I have to say this car is a great car if you can handle very simple alterations to typical tune-ups.

  171. Jess says:

    You can get the check engine/service engine soon light turned off at Auto Zone for free and the codes cleared or do it a number of other ways. If you go straight to an inspection station afterwards they will know this and it will not pass an OBD II inspection. You have to drive it and all the components have to have had a test run on them by the vehicle’s computer and be within the pass ranges. It also has to have a cold start, which means sitting overnight. How far you have to drive it is unknown. A bunch of different conditions have to be met before each test is ran and this takes time and driving. This is a cat and mouse game. You have to drive it to reset the components but that also means when it checks the component that is the problem, it will turn on the light again. In NC you can have one component not checked and pass. I have driven mine for over 300 miles and the catalyst and the evap system had not been checked by the vehicle’s computer and it failed inspection. Yes i went thru the drive cycle for it many times. I already know my problem is the evap system. Was hoping the catalyst would be ready and pass but no luck. Drove it some more and the damn light came back on. grrrrrrrrrr.
    If you have had repairs done to fix the light problem but it didn’t and you need to get it inspected, check your states DMV website and see if you quailify for a waiver. In NC if you put $250 or more into repairs to stop the light from coming on and it doesn’t fix it, you can get a waiver and your vehicle gets to pass. The repairs have to be related to the problem(s) that cause the light to come on. You can’t have the suspension replaced and use that for the waiver. Hope this helps someone.

  172. Bev says:

    Sometimes it’s just a matter of a loose gas cap. It has happened to me twice with my 2002 Dodge Durango. I have also been told by reputable mechanics that this is the case a lot of times. Last time it happened, I filled the gas tank, made sure to tighten the cap properly and WALA! Check Engine Light disappeared.

  173. Rick says:

    I got a good one. My daughters 2007 sebring got the dreaded check engine light and the experts at the dealer say its the programming in the ecu that needs an update for get this 289.00 dollars. I of course refused the updates as they would not tell me the issues they addressed. Now they say in order to look at the car it has to have the updates. When I complained to chrysler they informed me that if I needed updates to my computer at home I have to pay for them.I am sick to death of being treated like a moron I have been a network services administrator for 10 years and never paid for an update. Futhermore if they wrote the faulty code should they not pay for their own stupidity

  174. darrell says:

    I have a 1997 ford taraus disconneted the battery cable to run smog check . ran the smog check and it passed till the end when the computer said the computer on the car hadnt reset.What do i do now.there seems not to be anything wrong . the guy that ran the test said there were no codes what.

  175. Lynne says:

    FYI….. Autozone will not run a diagnosis on the Check Engine Light

  176. Christopher says:

    If you have an AAMCO nearby they do check engine light diagnosis for free with a certified scanner, I had them do one on my 2005 hyundai and determined it was a cylinder misfire, I changed the plugs and wires myself which cost about $100 less than AAMCO would have charged to do it for me, because it took me about an hour and I wasnt paying myself for labor, my check engine light is on still but I am not losing power anymore so I know the problem is fixed. Bev, it’s voilà! not wala!, its french, but you were using it in proper context, 4 pts.

  177. Lee C says:

    It’s Advance Auto parts stores, not Autozone that will read your stored codes. I am lucky enough if Advance cannot tell me what the code means then I am able to go to a consumer Lincoln web site and they are very helpful. Anyone need Lincoln or Cadillac help, go here;

  178. Steve says:

    Something not mentioned here precisely but it is true. The check engine light can also come on because the dash board needs replacing.
    My mechanic tested engine etc and it was ok and narrowed it to dashboard needing to be replaced. Of course other dash problems eventually showed up as as well but at the beginning it was check engine light that wouldnt stay off.
    I just wish i could get to my engine light lightbulb easily so i could remove it to pass inspections

  179. Steve says:

    This “Check Engine Light” thing is BS and nothing more than a blank check to get ripped off by a repair shop. I have a 1998 Explorer Sport. I’m in Texas and last year took it in to get an inspection sticker with the “Check Engine Light ” on. Long story short and $600 and a week later I had the sticker but the CEL was back on! They replaced the PCV valve, EGR valve and so on. So here I am again this year with the same problem, getting an inspection sticker. Yesterday I disconnected the battery which reset it. So far so good. I drove it about 50 miles and took it in for an inspection and it failed due to three monitors “not ready”. OK, I drove it to Auto Zone for a free diagnostic and now am showing two codes. POP171 and PO174 so I guess the “O2 Sens” are “ready” which is two of the three. In Texas a 1998 vehicle gets a “pass” with two showing “not ready” but Auto Zone says the two codes gets a “fail”. I took it to a state licensed garage and he says he “thinks” two codes gets a pass on a 1998? WTF, this sucks

  180. Dale says:

    Will somebody just tell everyone including me how to disable it permanently please, cover it, black it out, whatever?

  181. Dale says:

    I’m done spending money, just an answer would be appreciated, nothing else.

  182. Carl says:

    I owned a 1996 dodge ram. At 70,000 miles it started acting like it was not getting fuel. You know, it would die when I gave it the gas. I would wait 5 minutes and it would start back up and run for awhile and then it would do it again. Called dealership and they ask how many miles it had on it. I told them. They said no problem , that it was the fuel filter and would only cost 500.00 dollars to fix it. Only??? WTF why so much. They said the filter is on top of the gas tank and they would have to drop the fuel tank to change it. They said all of them do that when they get that many miles on them. I did not have the money and was not sure that was the problem. So, I was telling someone at work about it. And another person overheard our conversation. He said just leave the gas cap loose and it would stop the problem. He said there is a charcoal filter that gets clogged. He also said the check engine light will come on afterword because it will cause the 02 sensors to go out, but I will not have to worry about having the injectors replaced or my catalytic converter ever because those hydrocarbons and other trash will be going into the air. I said that is against the law to leave the gas cap loose. He ask me when was the last time I was pulled over and given a ticket for having a loose gas cap? He said look at all those semi-trucks blowing out smoke black as coal. They do not have catalytic converters on them. Sooooo….I tried it. Guess what it worked. My check engine light came on and stayed on but, I never had another problem out of that truck. I sold it with 150,000 miles on it. I told the buyer to make sure and leave the gas cap loose. When it was time for inspections I would reset the check engine light. Never had any problems with it passing inspection. If your check engine light comes on it does not mean you have a serious problem. When the light starts blinking, then you know the engine has a serious problem and need to get it checked out. Otherwise do not worry about that check engine light.

  183. D says:

    You are right there needs to be a class action law suit with Nissan Check engine light I have a 2006 nissan sentra with 46,000 miles had the senor replaced twice this is sicking. and something needs to be done about it

  184. beej says:

    service engine soon = don’t have kids or pets. please take the transit.
    people if you don’t trust a mechanic read up find out for your self what’s going on. if i thought i had a mech that was pointing at my car, while scratching his rear raw. i’d go else where or better, which is what i did. i picked up some books talked to mechanics found an old junker and just started taking things apart to see what makes them tick. now i have a 10 sec civic in the garage and a ranger with 300,000+ that i will gladly drive anywhere. hell i trust the ranger more than my brothers Hyundai… thing sounds like it’s gonna die, while it jars your kidneys bouncing over bumps.

  185. beej says:

    buy yourself a scanner they are cheap as hell these days!!!! Google the code (free if on the net).
    remember maintenance first

  186. Mongo says:

    First off….if you have a competent mechanic you wont get screwed. .it sucks we get such a bad name from all these shade tree types and the dealers that dont care. Your check engine or SES light is an annoyance yes. Most things dont make it run “bad” but at the same time it is running bad. Take the dope with the dodge that thinks his fuel tank has anything to do with an O2 sensor….hello gas tank…..exhaust system…hmmmm your O2 sensors monitor fuel emissions in the exhaust. Not your gass tank.

    Inspections in TX…….Emissions inspections…95-2000 allowed 2 montiors not ready…2001 and newer 1 monitor not ready…older than 95—85 i believe is a tailpipe test….. Also check engine light must cycle with key on…so dont try to cover up your light ……

    Outside of that cover up your light…half the idiots out there dont notice anything on there dash but the ses light…you idiots come into my shop everyday with problems….thinking its my fault you cant look at a guage….if you blow your motor up because you were to cheap to fix what i said, wanted it patched so it can make it a week or 2 and in 3 months come back yelling and screaming because you overheated your motor and YOU blew it up….why do you think some shops say fix this this and this…because you need it….the shops that go part by part day by day are annoying, but you go there before you listen to a shop that lays it all out why is that? and why is it that you think you have the right to whine later?

  187. Benthere says:

    give me a brack this gov bull shit is a bsbsbsbs i work on my car all the time use to be in the 70s befor gov got in to your car you could pull it down and put it back in no time now all this computer to do the work and gas mi no beter then it was on some v8 with carb all for the air sienc ha ha ha ha put a new engine in my kids car and light is on hun what a crock if the computer dose all the work of giveing you the prob then y dount you get it right some of us do know more then you give us and y are these senceors so much

  188. me says:

    I feel sorry as heck for people that live in smog inspection states. i LIVE in alabama and the typical advice here from professional mechanics is got a bad cat? cut it out. Got a loose gas cap, ignore it. Also another good one is they tell you to buy your own scanner and keep track of whats going on. If its anything besides that bad cat code or that loose gas cap code they say bring it on in.

    truth is you should never pull your cel just cause its annoying you. leave it on and keep track of it regularly with your own scan. it truly can tell you when something is really wrong with your car. Obd2 actually has a good diagnositic program behind it but its saddled to death with irrelevant codes that only apply to California and New Jersey.

  189. Trent says:

    All repair shops want money. Learn to fix stuff yourself. Fixing check engine lights should only be 5 bucks, and it is a rip off if you pay more. Thanks, Trent.

  190. nobleheight says:

    The guy who pulled the oil light bulb is an idiot. It’s important to get the oil light fixed properly, because a simple light bulb can save you thousands of dollars to put in another engine if the oil presuure ever drops for real. If the oil light ever comes on, shut off the engine immediately and check the oil level and that the oil pump is operating properly. Sometimes no oil or a bad oil pump will kill your engine in seconds.

  191. joe says:

    I have an egr low flow reading. I was told to get a coat hanger a clear the carbon from the ports. I used to fix my car with coat hangers all the time before computers whats the deal.

  192. AJ says:

    I have a 2000 Mazda 626 ES done about 96K. Few days back only I had bought it from the previous owner and now since the last 3 days the Engine Check Light is continuosly on. I really dont know what to do!! The car though runs fine and has no apparent problem that I could percieve. But yes the first time it came on was when it stalled at an intersection and since then it has been ‘on’ only. Please advice what should I do, visit a service centre or do check the DIY jobs first listed on this site ?


    After reading several of the post on here I am amazed at how many people have giving these peole who want to turn their “MIL” or malfuntion indicator lamp, aka “Check Engine” or “Service Engine Soon” light off. First, when you unhook your battery to turn the light off, all it does is clear the code from the computer’s memory and makes the computer forget the problem was there. Once you do that and the check engine light goes off, its only a matter of time(as soon as you start it back up, or a few days, depending on your driving habits) before it may come back on. The reason being is after the computer is cleared of codes, once it goes through its checks, which it can only be done by the vehicle being driven or ran at different rpms and speeds, it is going to detect the problem again and make the light come back on. Lots of people think they can just clear the codes and get their vehicle inspected. Let me tell you from my 5 year experience as a tech for gm and 7 years in the auto inspection business this is not the case. When you clear your codes and then go to have your vehicle inspected (may vary state to state depending on laws) right after you clear it, their machine knows this because you vehicles computer will tell theirs that yours has been cleared and it hasnt gone through its various checks (which again can only be completed by driving it) and they are going to tell you your car is NOT READY, which means it hasnt failed but your computer has not completed its checks. Once it does like i said if the problem is still there then your MIL will come right back on and you will be right where you started. The best fix is to take the car to a TRAINED PROFESSIONAL and have them repair your vehicle properly. using a scan tool to clear the codes does the same thing as well. There is no way around it. If you pull your bulb out to make it go away, your vehicle will fail the inspection before they even pull it in the shop.

    And this is to your comment me, I am glad to live in a smog state because i have driven through alabama, birmingham to be exact, and the air there literally stinks. i dont know what it is there, a paper plant or something, maybe all the smog from those untuned cars there. no idea

  194. D Be says:

    I agree with the whole world WHAT A WAY TO RIP US ALL OFF… I have spent THOUSANDS of dollars on my car, THE BEAUTIFUL CHECK ENGINE LIGHT goes off for a couple of minutes and comes back ON to stay forever.

    I am through spending SOOOO much money, they say “oh it is this” “oh it is this now” “oh now we found something else” “let’s review it again for free, mmm it needs to be replaced 3k”

    This is a total rip off, the worst thing is, the money is not even going back to the actual dealership/BRAND of the car it is going to THEFTS who call themselves MECHANICS.

    By the way my 2000 Passat’s check engine light is still ON.

  195. Balasuriya says:

    I got the problem when my fuel tank nearly empty.After refueling i kept it off a while.Then the light goes off.Is there any connection with the transmission oil…?

  196. JB says:


  197. Jess says:

    The check engine light is nothing but a governmental scam to get people to make unnecessary repairs to their cars or replace their cars all together. 9 times out of 10, you end up paying out the nose for costly frivolous repairs that never seem to end and that annoying light simply illuminates again after driving it 50-100 miles or so. After each repair, these crooks have made it so you cannot get an inspection right away because their computer diagnostics will detect that your codes were erased recently. They’ll make you drive cycles of 40-60 miles and then come back for the inspection. The problem is, your light will probably come back on if you drive it that far. So pulling the light bulb, disconnecting the battery or clearing the trouble code at Autozone will do you absolutely no good at most places. (The ones I’ve been to anyway)

    I am shocked at how many are having this chronic problem and I am 100 percent convinced that it is a total and utter SCAM on we the people. I have had very similar problems with regard to getting my car inspected. It has failed twice now at different inspection places. I’ve been to Autozone and had the codes read, I have been ripped off by countless mechanics by having all sorts of things repaired. And guess what? It didn’t fix whatever bizarre issue that is causing the trouble code. Now, because I am at the end of my rope, and my inspection sticker expired last month, I am being forced to buy a new car so that I won’t keep getting pulled over by the cops and getting tickets that I don’t have the time or money to take care of! I wonder how long it will take the check engine light to come on in my new car. I give it 6 months to a year. We really need to ban together and fight these global warming nazis that have pushed through these unreasonable, insane laws.

  198. RON J says:

    I have had my check engine lite come on after filling with shell gasoline, after filling with other brands , over a period of time the lite goes off.

  199. Ameera says:

    Sorry, but I agree:

    IT’S A SCAM!

    I went in for an inspection. Years driving my 2001 Acura MDX, no problem. Right after my inspection, the CEL comes on. I go back to Meineke and they tell me they didn’t do anything that the problem had to exist BEFORE the car was inspected. He also says that my car wouldn’t have passed inspection if the CEL was on.

    Um, hello! I tell him EXACTLY! So are you telling me something happened to my car two days after I left you?

    He asks me if I’ve had gas put in the car and I say no, becuase he says sometimes the gas cap is not tightened and that is what kicks off the censor. So I tell him, Nope, I haven’t touched the gas cap.

    So he agrees to run the diagnostic test on my car for free (says they usually charge $75).

    When I come back he gives me two codes that came up but says he DOESN’T KNOW what they mean. But he tells me he’s cleared the code for me and if it comes up again, I should take it to the dealer, because that means there’s a problem.

    So a few days later, it comes on again. I go to the dealer, and what do they say: Oh, it’s a GAS CAP problem. They say that the GAS CAP I have is an emissions test cap and that MY CAP is probably at Meineke — that they forgot to put it back on.

    So I get charged $60 for the diagnostic test to clear the code and $20 for the gas cap. They made me sign a paper before they did the test stating that if nothing was wrong or if I chose to go some place else to get my car fixed they’d charge me $120 – so he actually tried to tell me I was getting a bargain!!!!!

    So $86 (of course I had to pay tax) for NOTHING!!!!

    IT’S A SCAM. If something is wrong with your car, you’d hear something or something would GO wrong. You wouldn’t have a light come on for mysterious reasons that NO ONE CAN FIGURE OUT, and have to pay your hard earned dollars to have people trouble shoot.

  200. Ameera says:

    Um, yeah, I forgot to add that I went back to Meineke and of course the guy said, I don’t have your gas cap. That’s the cap you had on. (I lost the original one and paid $9.00 for one at Autozone).

    So basically the ACURA dealer made me pay them $86 for a new gas cap, for no reason.

    The Meineke dealer says that is a SCAM — that the dealers are the only ones who can really interpret the mysterious codes that we sometimes get and that it’s designed to help them stay in business because they’re not making enough money off of the cars they are NOT selling.

    Think about it, 10 customers per month and that’s a small estimate, @ $120 a pop, for a diagnostic test they don’t need. That’s more than $3,000!!! For doing NOTHING.

    We’re not even factoring in the money they make by charging for unnecessary repairs.

  201. Daniel says:

    Fix the problem that caused the light to turn on then:
    1) Start your engine
    2) Drive for a while
    3) Turn off your ignition
    4) Repeat steps 1-3
    5) Repeat steps 1-3
    The light should turn off.

    Often times a car will reset the light after 3 drive cycles with the problem corrected. You do not need fancy equipment to turn the light off if the problem is fixed.

  202. Frederic Lauridsen says:

    Wow! what a bunch of people that no not what they write. I am a ASE master tech with a enhanced area smog and advanced level cert. Also a master toyota cert tech. So as far as rip off, how come people expect me to work on there cars for hours to figuare out a problem and dont want to pay me for my time, but will pay the vet 3000 for chemo for there 18 year old dog. 2nd. check engine means that a circuit ot part has failed or emission monitor is not passing. first you pull the code, then there may be a dozen things attached to the code and that is where process of checking each item till the fault is found takes place. and clearing the code will not help you pass smog. because you we rest all your monitors and until you pass 4 out of 6 of them you will fail the obd2 test. on your 96 and newer car. And to mister I did get my ase, you need training or school to pass the test, sorry mister backyard mechanic. The check engine light comes on if lets say you get a p0301 misfire cyl one. YOu dont fix the coil lets say that is the cause then you wipe out the cat. which cost more money. so just ignoring it is foolish. Lastly I would be nice if you were going to talk about the auto industry or cars you actually knew something , which you dont. your just another pin head that thinks he knows about car. Just like my one customer that says he used to race nascar and designed cars but yet he comes to me everytime his car breaks down , I wonder why……… since OBD2 has come in cars are lasting a lot longer. because of better engine managment.

  203. WARobinson says:

    I’ll agree with half of what Fred said above… some of the people here are ignorant as hell. You can’t just clear the code to turn off the light and magically expect everything to be OK, nor can you disconnect the bulb for the MIL/CEL and expect your vehicle to pass emissions testing. Yes, there are unscrupulous “mechanics” out there that will take everything they can from an unsuspecting or naive customer, but it’s not like all mechanics are of that ilk.

    The scam is the computer system and codes from the manufacturers. OK, I understand the govt wants to have cleaner air, so let’s force everyone to put in computers and monitors to keep an eye on things in the cars, trucks, etc. I actually have no problem with that, I have no problem with the systems being monitored, either… what I DO have a problem with is the fault/engine codes that come out of the OBDII when being analyzed and how vague the problem can be. I have a 2002 Dodge Durango with the MIL/CEL that has come on… I read the code and it’s a “minor vacuum leak” – I have replaced the O2 sensor, the gas cap, several vacuum hoses, and rechecked everything, then cleared the code. The light came back on again right after I filled up (no problems for 200+ miles, mind you). It’s examples like this that get people so mad and feel they are being scammed… with a brand new gas cap, this should not be happening, yet as soon as I removed the gas cap it comes back on??? Now I’ve been fortunate the past 2 years to not have to get emissions inspection in PA because I put less than 5000 miles on the vehicle and am exempt – but I will certainly go over the 5000 mile mark this year and require the emissions test, which I know I will not pass if I cannot figure out this “minor vacuum leak” code.

    If they want to base emissions testing on these engine codes and the 3 internal checks, then they should put a sensor on each of the parts that can fail so that it can be easily identified and fixed. Good mechanics put up with a lot of crap because the manufacturers don’t do enough to help identify the problems with the codes – when you have the “certified mechanics” at a dealership telling you they’re not sure what part is actually failing and throwing the code, then you know you have far bigger problems on your hands than just the excuse that “all mechanics are crooks.”

  204. Ameera says:

    So if it is not a scam, and in my case, the Acura Dealer I went to in Brooklyn NY on Nostrand Avenue is reputable, then tell me why two days after PASSING my inspection test at Meineke, my check engine light came on giving me a code of 1495 – P1495

    If this were true, I would NOT HAVE PASSED INSPECTION.

    So what happened during the inspection to trigger this code?

    Mieneke claimed they didn’t know what the code meant, that I needed to go to the dealer, but I, after doing a two second google search was able to find it.

    What did the dealer say?

    They claimed it was a gas cap problem, that Meineke had left the emissions test gas cap on (NOT TRUE) and had my cap.

    Mieneke of course did not leave their emissions gas cap on; this was a cap I bought at Autozone for $8.00 after losing my own. But they sold me a new gas cap for $20, cleared the codes and charged me $60 to do so.

    Five days later, the SAME code comes up again
    Frederic Lauridsen: “Wow! what a bunch of people that no not what they write. I am a ASE master tech with a enhanced area smog and advanced level cert. Also a master toyota cert tech. So as far as rip off, how come people expect me to work on there cars for hours to figuare out a problem and dont want to pay me for my time,”

    We’d love to pay you for your time if you actually FIXED the problem and didn’t play a guessing game with our time and money, because that’s what it seems mechanics do. Half of them don’t say they “don’t know” — they say they’re sure, get you to spend the money to fix the problem and then when it comes up again, THEN they say they are not sure. But they think it’s this, and try and get you to spend more money.

  205. Ameera says:

    For anyone who knows anything about this stuff and can offer assistance, Meineke is now telling me that they need to replace pretty much the entire fuel line system to the tune of $533 !!!!

    These are the guys who sent me to the dealer in the first place, and the dealer said nothing about this.


  206. Vhinoe says:

    My 1996 Nissan Quest van Engine Service Soon Light came on ,and the engine stalls and the van doent want to start again what do you think is the problem someone help me please thank you

  207. Joseph says:

    thanks for all the trouble we have with are cars and trucks one mans problems is anothers solution thaks again

  208. AJ says:

    Well…let me add to this little blog. My battery cables were not getting juice to it, but you couldn’t see the bad wire on the cable, so a friend of mine, who is a mechanic tried to switch batteries to see if it was indeed the battery. Nope. So He figured that since he only heard one “tick” when you turned the ignition that it might be the starter. He takes out the starter and has it tested and it works fine. So then replaces the cables on my battery and BAM it starts, but then the check engine line came on….Go Figure!!! So I just put a business card over the light and ignore it because it wasn’t on before all the above was done. My guess is that it triggered some thing in the computer when he took out and replaced the starter. Until I have to have it smogged again, which is 11 months from now, I’ll enjoy my ride with my business card light blinder and maybe then I will invest in the thing that reads the codes and resets it. What SCAM is right!!!

  209. Alex L says:

    I’ll give my two cents.

    I have a license test coming up soon, and I drive a 99 Mazda 626. The thing drives nice, in my opinion. A bit slow to accelerate and lacks in horsepower, but I’m used to it and I like going a bit slower as well (mind you, I’m not the old man driving 20mph in a 40mph zone).

    I f**ing hate the check engine light. My parents want, no – NEED me to get a license (one last year in high school) because of all the crazy stuff I have going on. After school rehearsals, late starts for school, etc. Not having a license would be hell for me, more importantly – them.

    The check engine light has been going on and off for so long, that my dad had to go out and buy a new car for me to drive for the road test. It’s a new 09 Accord, since I don’t prefer our BMW too much. But the thing brakes too well and I’m not used to it – PLUS the car is a LOT larger than my Mazda. Hell, I can barely park it.

    The thing has 110k miles, but it drives FINE. My dad drives that thing 50 miles a day for work and has never had an accident or had the car break down. Everything runs FINE on the thing, but the damn light keeps showing up. It pisses me off and he has to take it to some special mechanic to get the thing reset. I’m tempted to just destroy the lightbulb for the check engine light. All I need is for it to last one more year, then I’ll be off to college and depending – I might get the Accord while my dad buys a new car.

    Don’t call me cheap, because I’m not afraid to spend money. However we had our car looked at just a few months ago and the light popped back on. Last time at the Mazda dealer, it was a-okay. Light goes on, we go to have it looked at. Repairs are at like $1300 or something. I might as well have saved that money and future repair money and bought a new used car WITH warranty.

    But like I’m saying. If something is ACTUALLY wrong with the car, or something I can sense, I’ll take it in for sure. But if it’s driving fine, it JUST got inspected, either someone is screwing around to get my dad’s money, or the light just needs to be broken.
    One way or another, this definitely can be read as “SCAM”.

  210. BamBam says:

    My ’01 Durango has a “check engine” light,which in constantly lit.It’s been on for a few months,now.I took to “Advanced Auto” to have it scanned,came up as a “P0442″ code,small emissions evap leak.I tried a new gas cap,but no luck,the light’s still on.Any suggestions,as to how I may be able to get the light to go out? Or,if I have to go the repair route,what would something like that typically cost to have fixed? Thanks in advance!

  211. Paul C says:

    i have a 97 Audi a4, great car serves me well, but the check engine light is a problem, since i can not pass the damn inspection, now i would pay 1 or 200$ to get this fixed properly, but hey when i replaced 2 censors and its still on, why should i spend fortune for that stupid reason, that is just absurd, i ve driven all over the states on that car, and its fine , i keep the engine oil clean, filters 2, spark plugs and wires. every time they tell me something new in the shops, specially down south TX,LA,AL mechanics here don’t know how to deal with German cars , and i should pay for it ??
    ill find a shop and pay them to let me pass half of what i already spent and screw the light….

  212. Susan says:

    You can’t just clear your light and have it ready for inspection or “trick” the inspection equipment. This is how an emission inspection works on an OBDII vehicle: The inspection computer is checking to verify that your monitor are complete. This means that you have no emissions problems. If they are complete and there are no malfuctions (which will trigger your check engine light) than you pass the emissions inspection. If the monitors are incomplete and have not been tested (the vehicle computer does this as you are driving the vehicle) it will fail the emission test. Therefore you need to drive it enough to complete the monitors. Sometimes, it will pass inspection if you time it just right, so that the monitors are complete, but have not yet detected the malfunction. If the light comes right back on, or comes back on before the monitors are complete, well, you’ll have to fix the problem.
    As far as this article goes, not all garages are crooks. If you want your codes read for free, go to Autozone. If your CEL comes on, it is RARELY a fluke. There is usually a problem. If it comes on and goes off intermittently, than you probably have a part that is beginning to malfunction but is not completely bad yet.
    I don’t encourage you to just shut your light off because it’s “annoying” Get the problem fixed. The light is there for a reason and you shouldn’t just treat it like an idiot light. And if you believe, or someone else tells you, that it was just a mistake that the light came on get a second or third opinion. I have NEVER know that to happen and I will NEVER tell that to a customer.
    On the Durango with the evap leak, you’re goint to need a smoke test. They’ll inject smoke into the system to see where it comes out at. Expect to pay no less than one hour for the diagnosis. With the Honda, do you even know what code is in it? It’s not a SCAM. It’s someone who doesn’t know how to fix it. Again, those lights don’t just come on. They’re on for a reason. For the guy with the starter, the starter doesn’t effect the computer. You have another problem. Many of the people crying foul in here, sounds like you need to find more reliable people to work on your cars. The fact is, car repair is just like your doctor’s office. There are times that you have to try one thing to rule out others. It’s not being a crook, it’s just that sometimes there are more than one problem and you have to eliminate things.
    And for anyone who wants to pull the bulb to fool the inspector…the computer knows. Nice try though.
    I’m not trying to be a jerk here, but having a husband that works in the industry, and working in it myself, I’ve been accused of trying to rip people off, and frankly, that’s not how the business I work at is run. Dealing with people who have wanted their cars fixed like new for nothing is why my husband left the business. Don’t complain about something you’re not willing to get fixed right, and expect to pay something to have it fixed. It’s a specialized industry and that’s why it costs so much. Otherwise we could all do it ourselves.

  213. Susan says:

    “Frederic Lauridsen: “Wow! what a bunch of people that no not what they write. I am a ASE master tech with a enhanced area smog and advanced level cert. Also a master toyota cert tech. So as far as rip off, how come people expect me to work on there cars for hours to figuare out a problem and dont want to pay me for my time,”

    We’d love to pay you for your time if you actually FIXED the problem and didn’t play a guessing game with our time and money, because that’s what it seems mechanics do. Half of them don’t say they “don’t know” — they say they’re sure, get you to spend the money to fix the problem and then when it comes up again, THEN they say they are not sure. But they think it’s this, and try and get you to spend more money.”

    That’s how it works. They are spending their time trying to figure it out. They could be working on something else while they are working on yours…that costs them money. These are complex systems, otherwise you could figure it out yourself. Again, you go to the doctor and they don’t fix your illness. You still pay them, don’t you? They give you a pill in hopes it will make it better. It doesn’t. You have to go back. You have no idea how much medicine and auto repair are alike. Everyone’s vehicle/bodies are different and there are MANY factors that play in to how they function. If you go to a bridal shop and order a wedding dress, 9 time out of 10, if you change your mind and hate the dress, you’re not getting your money back for that dress. They took the time to make, ship, alter, etc on that dress. Computer reapir is another specialized industry. I just paid 600 to have a lap top fixed. I couldn’t do it myself. They told me it just needed a hard drive. After fixing the hard drive, they realized it needed a motherboard as well. The fact is, they couldn’t tell it needed the motherboard until they fixed the drive. Did I complain? No. I needed the computer and I couldn’t do it myself. If I decided not to fix the motherboard, I still would have paid for the drive and the time they already had spent, regardless that my computer still didn’t work. You have to pey people for their time and the money they put into things. That is how the world works! Maybe you enjoy wasting your time, but I know very few people who do. I can’t speak for all mechanics, but it bugs the hell out of me when we see aproblem that is not easily solved.

  214. Florin says:

    Take following easy steps before visiting a repair shop:
    1. Use a $50 code reader to see what problem(s) reported – usually it is a sensor problem
    2. Reset the code, use a gas cleaner (some are reccommended for passing inspections) and drive to see if code comes back.
    3. In case same problem comes back immediately or appears again repeatedly check wiring of respective sensor. A good approach is to locate sensor connector and use a contact spray or isopropylic alcohol to clean contacts and unplug / plug connector a couple of times
    4. In case problem is not solved, check sensor price in store and replace it or ask a mechanic to do it for you in case you have no tools/skills to do it yourself
    5. Avoid any mechanics recomending you to change ECM (computer).

  215. johnny says:

    There are bad apples in any profession, but the emissions scam is just that, a scam. If the CEL comes on for reasons totally unrelated to the vehicles emissions then you still fail the test, if the object of the test was simply to check emissions all that would be needed would be a tailpipe check to see if indeed your vehicle was putting out levels of smog that were above the particular states standards. Obviously then the test is not for emissions. I failed the emissions test in Nevada yesterday, for a check engine light being on. Now I have to have $450 dollars worth of repairs done to get a waiver, unless the repairs allow me to pass the test…and yet while the repairs are (of course!) going to come to over $450, they have nothing whatsoever to do with emissions, and I incredulously asked the mechanic at the shop, but what does this problem you found have to do with smog (obviously it had nothing to do with that it) he told me straight out, it doesnt have anything to do with emissions, it makes your check engine light come on, and if the lights on your car wont pass the emissions test. Now how crazy is that? Im being forced to spend money on a problem that has nothing to do with emissions, will not make my car operate more safely or efficiently, and f i dont want to spend the money then I wont legally be allowed to operate the car because it fails an emissions test that has nothing to do with emissions. What a racket.

  216. willy says:

    Does anyone know if you reset the check engine code will it still show up as a previous code on the computer. In other words, does the vehicle computer keep a history of all historic codes?

  217. jason says:

    Have a 2005 chevy impala recently had the oil changed and they fail to reset my maintance required light! Need less to say i am some wheay annoyed can any one tell me what the correct sequinse for claering this fault cone with out a scanne posssible with the keym in the on position and tap the brake so many diffferent ?? Whay ever the case could really use the help if ys know the answer and i am also a fan of your site keep up the good work wether youmhelp me or not dont looosr focus,Have a good one hope to hear back from someone asqap ‘

    standind bym vitting my nails in anticipation !!

  218. Auto Repair Joe says:

    Most likely your light isn’t on because of a “glitch.” The vehicle monitoring system is extremely reliable and stable.

  219. conrad miller says:

    had the same problem with my 2005 E320 benz had it check $ 80.00 then take it for service$$$$$$ light still on some guy told me to use some gas treatment when i fill up i did this in 3 days the light went off i guess all the bad gas today we need to keep on top of things and save our self some money in these hard times

  220. bullet says:

    i have a 96 accord coupe 5 speed and i recently well not dat long ago i blew my motor and i had no money for a 96 motor so i had 2 deal with a 94 hand me down i had 2 adapt 1 thing so it would start and now it starts but she idles low and she drives but wen i come 2 a stop my car shuts of i changed my intake manifold to 96 injectors fuel rail and regulators all dat i changed the spark plugs oil change i timed the motor and ignition but it still does da same thing and it lacks power wen u step on it it jerks alittle and then trys 2 catch speeed i got a check engine light now after 3 months and it said cylinder 1 2 3 are mis fireing and sumthing about my cat not being ready and i cant figure out how 2 fix my problem some body please help please ive let 3 mechanics see it and no one will give me a straight answer

  221. J Slice says:

    No time to comment on what degree of scamming is going on with these lights, though we all know the cost of dealing with them exceeds the value to most drivers. My 2009 Toyota Corolla’s “maintenance required” light came on predictably just before 5,000 miles (when the first oil change was recommended). It remained on until my 2nd oil change today. The tech at the garage told me it operates this way universally when it’s time for an oil change. While I didn’t attempt to diagnose any secondary issues on my nearly brand new vehicle, I did allow him to turn off the light. The process mirrors one recommended above:

    1) With the key in the ignition and the dash on (but engine off), use the trip meter reset button to clear any memory-saved meters on the dash.
    2) Take the key out.
    3) Hold the trip meter reset button for about 5 seconds.
    4) Turn the key until the dash is on (no need to start the car)
    5) The maintenance light began to flash.
    6) Release the trip meter reset button.

    Problem solved.
    Good luck.

  222. Clay says:

    Please do not think that the check engine light is a scam. This feature is not put there to make you spend money but to help you save money, for instance with out it you maybe be driving your car for 6 months with a blocked egr valve (exhaust gas recirculation ) this will cause the car to dump more fuel because the o2 sensors can not read you exhaust fumes properly. Then what happens is you fill up your car more often than you need to, so instead of getting 30 miles to the gallon you are getting 20 miles to the gallon and spending an extra 25 dollars a week( which is 600 dollars because you have been driving with the problem for 6 months) instead of replacing a 50 – 100 part and saving that extra fill up; paid for its self after 2 weeks. I work for a parts store ,and will not say which one because people are stupid and will disagree just to satisfy their egos, and we will scan your car for free, now my boss promotes the fact that we will not sell you a part based on that code but instead teach you what it means and show you the best way to fix it. Too correct an earlier post i have never seen a scan tool give more than 4 reasons for a code( maybe because there are only 4 possibilities for that code, air, fuel, vacuum and spark no other reasons . your car is like your body if any of those 4 items are failed or restricted your car will not run properly if at all. please pay attention to your check engine light and go to your local parts store, get to know your parts pro if you show concern and take the time to listen most of them can give you very good advice and you won’t spend a lot of money. Fine i will tell you i work for autozone and i have helped several customers, i have changed breaks in the parking lot for free, i change light bulbs everyday for free, i have had customers come in with a check engine light ran the code walked outside and put a hanging gas cap back on and the code went a way. In 2 years a customer of mine has never spent more money than they needed to to fix the problem and everyone of them has come back. Take the time to learn what your car can do and what it is telling you and it will last forever. I have a 99 chevy lumina ltz 3.8 with 150,000 miles it doesn’t leaks, smoke, rattle or clank. In fact it runs better than any car i have ever had and all i have to do is pay attention to it, i also get 28 miles to the gallon in a car that the dealer said you get 22 because i take car of it and change things when the get old or worn out. nothing last forever no matter how cheap you are you are going to spend money on your car but if you catch it early it may be as cheap a dollar vacuum hose, but neglect it and let it ruin something else it could get in to the hundreds. FIX IT WHEN IT BREAKS NOT WHEN ITS CONVENIENT

  223. Clay says:

    correction there are five reason for codes but only 4 main the fifth is electrical (transmission and sensors)

  224. Clay says:

    to reply to j slice it figures that you would figure this is a scam. the maintenance required light was put there as a regulation by the us government to protect dealerships from lawsuits at the turn of the century. stupid people would drive their cars for 5, 6, 7 thousand miles and not change there oil or air filters, then there cars would stop preforming the way they should and sue happy people would take it out on everyone but themselves. This light is not saying that anything is wrong just that you should start thinking about changing your oil and air filter like you should be doing anyway. people wouldn’t complain so much about spending 20 dollars for and oil change or 10 dollars for an air filter if they would stop spending 3000 dollars on a tv that they watch a couple hours a day and put more into the device that get you back and forth to work. For god sake people it is common sense. Another thing to add is i have a lot of customers replacing batteries and alternators all the time and upon inspecting the vehicle they have onstar and a tv and sub woofers. Your car is a car not and entertainment center extra electrical features draw power away from the items that need it ,just like if you plug to many things in a socket at home you will blow a circuit, if you have a lot of extra feature that you don’t need you will burn up your electrical system

  225. lyman says:

    the whiney pr239494 ; s that cry about their 3000 snap on tools for turning off the lights can kiss my ass they get paid thier 10.00 an hour from the big guy up front of the shop making all the real money then try to blame the guy with the screwed up car gm or chrysler sold ya and charge you 87 . just like the guy said when you can go to any autozone and get the same code if they know what it is they tell you sooooo screw all you want to be techs that dont know shit anyway and wouldnt give a guy a drink of water if he was drwoning go buy some more 3000 to 5000 pieces of crap tools you dont know how to read anyway and are way to goddam expensive anyway so i hope the snapon guy or other tool guy used vaseline on you see how happy you made me !!!!!

  226. Lake Forest Joe says:

    Most likely your light isn’t on because of a “glitch.” The vehicle monitoring system is extremely reliable and stable. Before your vehicle’s Engine Control Module (ECM a.k.a. primary computer) triggers the light, it monitors the suspect circuit for a set number of vehicle starts and stops to protect against false alarms.

  227. Jimmy says:

    Looks like George stopped answering questions long ago.

    Back in the 80′s a check engine like would come on for something important like when the fan belt broke.
    Now they come on for every unimportant thing.

    The computer information is now specific to each make of car so you must go to the dealer to get a “reading” on your vehicle. The first 1 or 2 times it is under warranty and the mechanic will say it is an $800 repair but they took care of for free due to warranty. Now you think they are nice guys.

    Then they aren’t free anymore. The nice friendly dealer make more profit on parts and repair than he ever did selling the car.

    It happens often enough and you may resort to buying a new vehicle from the dealer to avoid the problem.
    They even have their own financing company to profit on the loan of the vehicle’s purchase price.

    Money, Money, Money.

    Ah but let’s not forget the Al Gore global warming myth people.
    Al said “the internal combustion engine was the greatest threat to mankind.”

    Those Stalinists are doing everything they can to get the peasants out of their vehicles and not driving so they can be further controlled.

  228. michelle bledsaw says:

    i have a 2004 dodge stratus. the engine light came on, and the car runs superb. it went off for two days, then came back on. went to autozone, kragen. because of new laws they are not allowed to find out the engine light is on. i live in fresno,ca. however, aamco transmission will do this for free.
    i got the codes. i believe if you take care of your car, no matter how old or new it is, it will return the favor. so my point is there are a couple of websites that are very helpful. one website will teach you how to have your car scan itself to give you the code, no tools required and the other website will tell you how to turn the engine light out.

    i am learning that most of the time your light comes on get ready to replace your o2 sensor, and do it quickly because it can ruin your catalytic converter.
    remember you can’t just drive your car, you have to take care of it. feed it, service it.
    i once had a 84 hyundai excel hatchback. purred like a kitten. took it to get smogged and the guy said i’ll tell you now these cars never pass smog. well in your face, it passed smog and he asked what i did. I told him i treat it like a cadillac, get it serviced on time regularly and i used chevron highest grade. who’s laughing now,

  229. Dan from PA says:

    04 pontiac grand prix gt light on for 4 months put octaine booster in tank the light will go out but only for the time that the booster is still in there them comes back on anyone tell me why this is

  230. Stug says:

    We do not have the problems with the lights comming on all the times/ I am living in scandinavia and here there are honest mechanics. They do not charge you for cheking your car like they do in the states. It is a shame that all amaricans are just thinking about money. Maybe thats why they are not so populare in the world?

  231. Patrick vdIng says:

    I’m from the Netherlands and driving a Saab 900NG 1996 with 373000 km on LPG and after the gastank was empty is misfired and the light Check Engine went on. Put new LPG in the tank and started the car the light was off. Later on it went on again. I unpluged the plusconnection from the battery for a while and the light went off after restarted the car it was still off. So I hope it stay’s off now.

  232. Best Solution Yet says:

    I have a ’97 F150 with a 4.6. I bought it 2 yrs ago with the CEL on. I took it to Advance Auto, Auto Zone, and had my son in law pull codes. All 3 came with the same solution, O2 sensor, bank 2, after cat. Replaced the O2 sensor, within 10 miles the light was back on. I have just ignored it, and now guess what happened? The light burned out.

  233. OBDII says:

    Buy yourself a OBDII cable from Ebay with included software for about $20. Nowadays almost everybody has a laptop (or easy access to one) so hook it to your car and read (and reset) yourself the codes. No laptop, no problem, Ebay, Amazon sells complete code readers for about $40. It is disgusting dealers and repair shops are charging top money for just reading the codes.
    This won’t always fix your car but knowing the code will save you money towards unnecessary repairs “honest” mechanics will “recommend”.

  234. Richard Nock says:

    OBD1 vs OBD2 SYSTEMS CHECK ENGINE LIGHTS. Please take time to read this article.

    First, I am an ASE Certified Master Tech with L1 (Advanced Electronics) certification. I taught automotive electronics for 25 years, as well as ran my own business.

    OBD is “On Board Diagnostic”, the vehicles computer system of self test, with trouble codes and light.

    On the old OBD 1 systems (pre 1996 for all vehicles, starting at about 1980), the check engine light, or service engine soon light (CEL or SES) can be turned off by disconnecting the negative battery cable. For safety reasons, the ground cable should be removed first, and replaced last. If the code is a “soft code”, it may stay off long enough to get the car inspected. A soft code could be an intermittent problem, or a sensor out of range that only occurs occasionally. A hard code (usually sensor failure) will result in the light coming back on immediately.

    The new OBD 2 systems are a completely different animal. All cars (1996 and up) now have the same generic Diagnostic Link Connector (DLC) and the same Generic Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DLC’s). Most, if not all, also have manufacturer specific codes. I am also a licensed Emission Repair Technician for the State of Delaware. The state requirements reflect federal inspection requirements. For most states, the CEL/SES must work, the inspector turns the key on, engine off and looks for the light. If it does not illuminate, car fails. If you just disconnect the battery, the light may go off, but the computer will now display a DTC 1000 fault code, indicating that the computer has been cleared of codes but has not been driven enough to reset the drive monitors. Again, car fails emission test. These “drive cycle monitors” monitor several systems, and the car has to be driven for usually a couple of days to get all driving conditions met that is required to “reset” drive monitors. Way too many parameters to go into here. If the light comes back on when monitors cycle, fault must be repaired before the car will pass inspection. My feeling is that any inpector that passes a car with the light not working is not doing his job correctly.

    I have noticed that the general theme of the postings are people trying to “beat the system”, rather than fix the car right and have a “clean, green” car. I have been in the industry since the early 60′s, and believe me, most mechanic’s have not liked the change to computers, but emission laws have required us to “either get up to speed, or get out of the business”. The mechanic’s who do not get the proper training are the ones who rip customers off the most. By and large, they tend to rip customer’s off by replacing parts until the problem goes away. The rip off comes from incompetence, not dishonesty.

    The problems are only going to get greater. Technicians need to be updated at least annually. Now we have computers that control engines, transmissions, active suspensions, ABS brakes, traction control, skid control, automatic temperature control, SRS (air bags), collision avoidance systems, TPMS (tire pressure monitoring systems) not to mention the whole new era of electric and hybrid vehicles with their unique computer controlled monitoring systems.

    A final word, although the check engine light is annoying, it is a necessary evil. It can prevent an owner from ignoring a simple problem that could lead to a larger, more expensive problem. I know the average consumer just wants a quick cheap fix, but that is not always possible. No one that I saw on the postings acknowleged the level of training required to be a qualifed technician. One must remember that you get what you pay in most cases. Training, equipment (with annual updates), and repair information are not cheap. Most consumers realize this, but most on this post think the industry is all crooked – this is NOT true. We are mostly hard working people just trying to make good careers, not just making it from payday to payday. We are professionals.

  235. dewayne manley says:

    i have a 2006 ford expedition and it will cut off while driving down the road i can wait about 5seconds and it will start right up and run fine for a few weeks then it will do it all over again have anybody up here ever heard of that on any vehicles and my check engine light came on last week but this has been going on for 3 months

  236. Dan from PA says:

    To Richard Nock: You really seam to know what your talking about. Maybe you could help me with my little problem? I have a 2004 Grand prix GT1. I put octaine booster in the gas the light goes out but for only the time the booster is in there.Then poof the lights back on. by the way the car runs fine with or without the light being off.

  237. Anita from TX says:

    I’m reading comments on here, and back in 2006, a chevy tech is complaining that I don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars/year for his/her “expertise” that comes in a “canned” form of a code reading scanner. First of all, I don’t buy Chevy any more, because they have turned to substandard tin cans on wheels. Second of all, you must be from CA, to believe that these scanners and racket perpetuating codes are “okay”. I just bought my first new vehicle in nearly 30 years. It’s a Dodge 5.7 hemi, 3/4 ton. I purchased Dodge, because I have a 24 year old 1/2 ton that is better at that age than the new chevies are, now. My point is this. The recalls and sensors are nothing more than a pain in the backside, engineered to cost the consumer time and money, while less than mediocre “techs” and service centers justify their existence, when they are not needed at all. I’m a female and I can address most issues by myself, while those that I can’t, I can troubleshoot and research out a competent mechanic who can. The dealership service centers, and dealer contracted service centers are a farce, and I couldn’t give a flying crap about what you spend on your BS code reading machines. That’s YOUR fault, and if I knew where you were located, not only would I, myself, avoid you like the plague, but I would make sure that anyone asking for assistance did, as well, because your reference to owners being “cheap” and basically challenging their intelligence as a whole, is insulting, to say the least, patronizing and condescending in the extreme. And, the same to you, “Midasguy”. Cheap?!!! “Reputable”? That’s a HOOT! The consumers are lucky to find 1 in 10 “reputable”, or even marginally competent, service techs or mechanics, and that’s being optimistic!

  238. Richard Nock says:

    To Dan from PA,

    I can only guess what your problem is that seems to go away with the use of octane booster. If the code is
    “catalyst efficiency”, the catalytic convertor may be contaminated, and the booster raises the efficiency enough to bring it into the monitor’s range….remember, only a guess……..

    Richard Nock

    To Anita from TX,

    I do not personally think you are cheap or of low intelligence. But I do think you have a jaded opinion of the repair industry, probably from a bad experience. By and large, most of the cars & trucks we see today have not been serviced as required in the owner’s manual. Some parts, such as brakes, belts, fluids need to be changed at service intervals. Most people neglect trans service ( manual & automatic), coolant, and brake fluid while being very vigilante on oil changes and lubes. Also, some items (especially electronics) have a service life. Oxygen Sensors (O2) are the most neglected, most way outliving their service life. If you have over 100,000 miles on your vehicle and still have the original O2 sensors, you are lucky. Fuel contamination, long tune-up intervals, and dirty air filters affect the life of the sensors.

    I don’t know how you came to dislike Chevy trucks so much, but from a service standpoint, they are good trucks, and most customers are happy with them. Both Dodge and Ford both build good trucks, or they would not be selling so well. One word about Nissan & Toyota…. parts are usually over twice as high as domestic trucks.

    My wife was a professional mechanic, so I have no qualms about your ability to service you own vehicle. The check engine light is only an indicator of a problem, not a roadmap to repair. It is a federal requirement, not a “manufacturer’s choice”. The part about buying test equipment being our fault does indicate you lack of understanding of just how complex these new systems are. These are not “code readers”, but are integrated diagnostic tools that can give the parameters of hundreds of functions, as well as TSB’s (Technical Service Bulletins) that show recall history on a particular problem as well as diagnostic steps to find the root cause of the check engine light coming on in the first place. A complete understanding of system operation is required to properly diagnose & repair these issues. Please see my prior post. It is just above yours.

    Good luck and Happy New Year !!

    Richard Nock

  239. Richard Nock says:

    To “Best solution yet”

    97 Ford F-150. CEL on, code Bank 2, Sensor 2 (Post Catalyst). Light came on within 10 miles of replacing sensor. This is typical of what I have been talking about. The Code is only an indicator, and throwing new parts at the code may or may not work. The rear O2 sensor is for testing Catalyst efficiency. Most likely, the sensor was not the problem, but rather the catalyst. An exhaust gas analyzer will verify whether or not the catalytic convertor is working properly. Proper troubleshooting/diagnostics is the only way to be sure the problem has been addressed correctly.

    The CEL burning out removes the irritating light, but will not allow emission passage in most states. The code is still there and will show up at inspection, and also prevents you from knowing about other monitored issues.

    Richard Nock

  240. Jody says:

    Well..its been said time and time again..that these lights come on without reason, or because of such small things as a loose gas cap… However.. why in gods name do the manufactures of these vehicles not just throw a scanner into the glove box of each and everyone of these vehicles they produce. I’m a self proclaimed back yard mechanic.. I work on auto related problems every day. Yes i do agree that if it is a blinking code..there may be significant reason to have it scanned ..even just for a steady light..yes scan it. the newer the car ..the more computer controlled crap there is to fail.the only true way to fix this is replace the important gauges with mechanical ones.. oil pressure ..tempreture..amp gauge.. i do alot of conversion work..pulling out computer controlled crap…and installing tried tested and true mechanical stuff that real people can work on.. I have a 96 chev 3/4 ton 4×4.. the vortec is gone …too much wiring and polution controlled garbage under the hood…Now there’s a rebuilt 1974 454 big block in its place. what a difference..some mechanical gauges and a keen ear… what else can i say.. OLD School stuff rocks ..atleast now i can work on it myself… and dont need a computer to tell me my gas cap isnt on tight enough…lol . they are taking the computer controll too far now adays.. i dont ever want gps or onstar or any of that crap on any vehicle i ever own.. take control back of your vehicle.. isnt it nice that someone 1/2 way around the world from you can shut your car off and lock you inside at any given moment.. or just decide to make your alarm sound..or check engine light? how bout a deployed air bag in the face while driving on the free… my god ..what has the world come too… just wait get viruses in your home computers ..wait till teenagers start hacking your onstar while you drive downtown.. its comin sooner than you think..if it isnt already here.. I’ll pass on darn near anything im not physically in controll of myself.. powersteering failure..i can still reef the wheel hard enough to turn.. but this drive by wire crap.. whatta joke.. i can really DRIVE.. and these newer vehicles (toyota FJ) for one ..they got some much traction controll anti rollover protection junk on em..that if you even try and correct on a slippery road..the computer throws you into the ditch on purpose.. geez… just my lil rant… stick to what you know..or atleast something you understand…the idiot light comes on after its too late.. thats why they call it a idiot light.. your an idiot forgot to check your oil…now your engine has siezed…get some mechaniucal gauges installed and watch them instead of yappin on the cell phone..

  241. Richard Nock says:


    While I agree with your sentiments to some degree, most places in the US do not allow “emission altered” vehicles on the road. In most areas, you must go prior to 1975 (pre-catalyst) to get the vehicle inspected. Older vehicles are the answer to people who want to just keep it simple. You must be lucky enough to live in an area that does not require emission inspection.

    Most of the new equipment is federally mandated, another step in government control. I have noticed that the “global warning” guru’s have stopped using that phrase in recent light of global cooling…….now it is referred to as “climate change”. For some reason, these environmental alarmists will not accept that the climate is, and has always been changing. Twenty years ago, the “fear factor” was a return of the “ice age”. Now I don’t think they honestly know, but are too deep into their mis-directed beliefs to admit the maybe they were wrong. This is just my opinion……

    Rick Nock

  242. Clint says:

    Check engine lights are for the crook dealers and mechanics. If this light comes on a lot it just means that your car is old and the older computer systems are all jacked up. Dont look for some definitive answer just get the thing reset and get through inspections. Dont be dumb and shell out hundreds of dollars to a crooked mechanic just go to autozone they will help you for free. Just because the light is on doesnt mean theres something wrong with your car, if there is something wrong with your car YOU WILL KNOW IT!!

  243. nita37 says:

    I have a 1998 chevy blazer and my check engine light is on they say I need a fuel tank pressure sensor circuit and a vehicle speed sensor circuit. I just want to know if these two things would make this light come on.

  244. Jeanne says:

    My daughter and her friend’s were attaching their laptops to my computer. After I disabled their computer’s from mine, this computer lock out button came on after I shut the computer down and then the blue light from my computer would not shut off. I figured out the lock out button. That no longer comes on, but the blue light stays on continusly? How can I shut it off before it could possibly burn out the computer???

  245. Richard Nock says:

    I just want to say this one more time. The Check Engine Light, or the Service Engine Soon Light is only an indicator that there is a problem. An inexperienced operator can make many mistakes with a code reader. For instance, a MAF code set may lead the owner to replace the Mass Air Flow sensor (MAF). This is usually an expensive part. The real culprit could be a dirty air filter not allowing enough air flow, or a split or crack in the MAF hoses allowing by-pass air to give false readings. A similar scenario can occur on almost all codes, so replacing parts strictly due to code description is a hit or miss proposition at best.

    Remember, the light and codes are just an INDICATORS, not a repair guides. Training, experience, proper tools and repair information are required to repair the car correctly. Running most cars with the check engine light on usually means the car is running in “open loop” status. This means the car is running a rich mixture and is wasting your gas and money. Most repairs will pay for themselves in a few months.

    I know there are cynics out there who think that it is all a ripoff, but as you can read, most posts are about frustrations and the lack of funds to have their car properly maintained… life goes…. They blame the people who are out there doing a good job. By the way, when was the last time any of you got anything fixed for free? And remember, most of the problems are due to increased emission mandates (government) and fuel availability problems (political). How many of you are familiar with CARB or CAFE standards imposed by our government?
    CARB = California Air Resource Board, CAFE = Corporate Average Fuel Economy. Not to mention all of the Federal safety standards that are government required, and computer controlled and monitored.

    Good luck with cheap and easy repairs…….Rick Nock

  246. Joe M says:

    I own a 2005 malibu ls V6 just had a scan for free at autozone and code came up evap found bad gas cap so replaced that. Now i must drive the car 150 mi so that the system will reset. I hate new vehicles.

  247. Debbie says:

    I spent some time reading all the posts today and I just wanted to say thanks for all the info that different people have posted on here. I have a 2001 Infiniti that has had the SES light on for about 2 months. Had to get the car smogged today and was so afraid it wouldnt pass. I unhooked the battery for a few hours after reading various posts. I then drove long enough for the car to warm up. About 2 miles. Then straight to smog the test. It passed, no problem! I have driven about 16 miles since and the SES light is back on. I will investigate the reason, but at least in the mean time I can register my car. I had the code read previously and was told it came up as 02 sensor??? Although the guy that smogged my car said the readings all said my car was running very clean. I don’t get that part. Thanks to everyone for all the helpful info : )

  248. John says:

    This is such a pooling of ignorance here (not that I have read all the comments as there are quite a few) that I do not mind to add mine whatever it is worth: I have Honda 2002 Accord 4 cylinder. Catalytic converter started rattling (but Check Engine light did not come on). Honda OE converter had cost some $700 to install. Instead I opted for a $250 after market one. Check the Engine Light came on soon after installation of this unit. I did not have time to deal with it and the annual inspection time rolled around. I pulled the battery terminal to reset all codes and get rid of the light, but then when I took it right away to a shop for inspection four codes including the one relating to the catalytic converter were not yet ready i.e. no reading available for them as yet. So I could not pass. I went back couple of times until they were ready, but then also at first the Check Engine light also came on. That’s automatic fail. So I tried again. This time driving 90% on highway (around 50 miles in total) when engine runs cleaner and finally I got a good timing and passed the inspection. Check Engine Light came on soon after I pulled away. So, it is not merely a matter of getting rid of the Check Engine light, but also the codes being ready so they can read them. There was a small window there and I hit it and got it done till next year. Hopefully I can get the catalytic converter changed as it has 2 year warranty for something that will work and will not cost like 1/5 of the value of this vehicle.

  249. BradK says:

    This is exactley why I’m swapping my 01 firebird out for a nice classic, carburated, sensorless, 68 firebird… If you upgrade the right parts here and there you get ~almost modern economy(if you keep your foot out of it) , classic looks, and cheap repairs (most diy)…

  250. gayron polston says:

    i have a 2001 ford explorer sport. no problems with this vehicle except the “check engine” light has been on shortly after i bought it about 6 months ago.after reading all these potential remedies for 30 minutes, am i to understand that unhooking the positive battery cable for 20 minutes will solve the problem??

  251. Renee says:

    I am a little, no actually, extremely P’od at a few of you “mechanics” on here! My check engine light came on in my Dodge Ram 1500. I have always taken care of this truck! I was told it was an Evap leak. I spent 80 for the diagnoses, then another 887.00 to have it fixed only for the light to come on two weeks later with the same damn code! Purchased a new gas cap from Dodge, 15.00, had MORE work done another 500.00 gee GUESS WHAT?? Can you guess? Oh please try! Same Code! This test is a joke! They want to do emissions testing why don’t they start with AirForce One, the Limo’s maybe even the damn space shuttle! I am sick of it. Time for me to get a sticker and the light is still on! Don’t tell me my mechanic is screwing me either because he is at a loss and also does NOT want to do anything else because it’s been done! Hoses, everything! Tune-up, oil change, transmission service, radiator flush, air filter change, rear differential, I MEAN EVERYTHING! Also please tell me how many of you mechanics reset the light, put your own personal vehicle on a lift run your 100 miles and your good to go while the rest of us suffer. You guys really p*** me off! How dare you comment about food and gas too! You can afford it, so drop your prices for repairs and maybe the rest of us could too! 2 grand to fix a ghost! My truck is like brand new now, yet I can’t move it out of my driveway. It is making a wonderful lawn ornament! URGH!

  252. Part of an angry mob says:

    If the law makers wants to test emissions, then test the god darn emissions, and LEAVE MY ENGINE ALONE! It is an old engine, it complians, that’s what happens when things get old. If I have the money to make my car young again, I would be driving a new car. If the law says I can’t breathe, I am a-going to break that law. I have to do what I have to do to get by. I am going through college myself, so I don’t want to hear none of you mechanics complian about me not putting your kids through college.

  253. Irwin Serotta says:

    I also had a problem with the Check engine or Service light on. I took your advice and disconnected the positive cable or 12 volt + cable from the battery, and left it off while we went to dinner with my other car . When we got back (about 1 1/2 hours later ) I connected the cable up and started the car. No light was on. If you know anything about electrical circutry you know that there are condensers and all kinds of capacitors in the CPU on the car, that will store electricity and hold the memory active. Discharge all of the conds and caps (by letting time go by ) and the memory will loose its charge or ( loose its memory ) and all of the faults in the CPU are gone . The secret is too let the CPU set with out power ( time )and it will loose its memory !!

  254. Debra says:

    My boyfriend has a 2000 Poniac and my step dad had fixed a lot of the problems that made the check engine light stay on.. We disconnected the negative of the battery for 10 mins or more and put it back in and it went off.. 2 days later like today Monday the lights know back on. we have to get it inspected but can’t if the lights on.. SOME ONE PLEASE HELP!!!

  255. Danielle says:

    I have a 2007 Mazda CX-7 and the check engine light came on. I got got P2402 Evap system…. Pending. I bought a new gas cap yesterday and am just wondering what to do now? What does the ‘pending’ mean?

  256. Rebeca says:


    I have a Jeep Cherokee 1999 changed the hole tramsmission put in a new on and the check engine light still comes on.What would be wrong with it? If any one knows.

  257. Samantha says:

    The best thing to do is to remove the positive battery coil for 20 minutes and put it back. Start the engine without any acceleration on the gas pedal and the SES light should come off. I tried it and it worked perfect for any Chevy Blazer 2000 LS.

  258. Ron says:

    I have a 1996 Ford Ranger 2.3L. I cant get it to pass smog because the MIL?Check Engine Light Test failed to successfully complete all OBD self Tests. Can anyone tell me what I need to do here. Is it a bad CPU? I did just replace the battery… and haven’t driven it over 100 miles yet since doing that…

  259. Brian says:

    I would never live in a state where the auto repair lobby has written laws where you have to see them every year for “inspections”.

  260. Tom says:

    How can i disconnect the engine light or make it go off in a 1995 volvo 850 TB.

  261. Ashlie says:

    I have a 1996 Ford Taurus, and the check engine light came on a few days after I bought it from a friend. It sat for a while but runs perfectly. I can’t get it through inspection, and I also can’t afford to get repairs done after replacing the brake lines. Please help!

  262. Penn says:

    This works for 2005 Toyota Echo…it may work for others.
    I open fuse box and remove the 2nd 15 amp fuse from the right. Turn car on, foot on the brakes, just to power on, not turn over the engine. The engine light will not come on, because the fuse is out. You will notice that the brake pad is a little stiff. Replace amp fuse, then turn over car. Press the brake pedal to the floor and the light will go out. :)

  263. Cori says:

    I have a 99 Grand Am GT V6 and the Service Engine light is on. Does anyone know what to do to get it to go out so I can get it through inspection. Please help running out of time.

  264. Susan says:

    For US residence…I thought this might be helpful: It outlines warranty info on emission repair. Good luck to all of you!

  265. BG says:

    Cori: have your car serviced. The simple answer to any ‘check engine light’ problem is to have the car serviced by a _reputable_ mechanic. A reputable mechanic will pull the codes, and start diagnosing and troubleshooting the part(s) that can cause the problem your car’s computer is seeing. A reputable mechanic will also _TEST_ parts before just ‘part swapping’ in hopes of getting lucky. A reputable mechanic will cost money — nobody is going to fix your car for free.

    I had a phantom electrical problem in my Ranger — when the engine gets hot, I couldn’t start it — which left me stranded in various places for up to 3 hours, until it cooled down. I wish I had a CEL come on to help me track down the problem — but since I didn’t get the light, I had to do stuff the old way. Eventually I tracked it down to a misbehaving relay in the fuse box.

    Lesson: either spend the time to learn your car and repair it yourself, it spend the $$$ for someone else’s time.

  266. miguel rivera says:

    my check engine light is on i check it with the obd2 and the code is po601.but the car runs great.please reply iam going out of town.

  267. miguel rivera says:

    the light turns of than i start the car and it comes on again

  268. Brian Farrell says:

    HI, i have i 1998 honda prelude DOHC VTEC 2.2L engine. its got a lot of miles on it and i just need it to pass inspection! i have never had any problems with the car at all. but with the check engine light on, it will not pass. the problem is, when you take the battery off it does reset the light, but it also resets the whole car, so when you go to get it inspected, things like the catalytic converter resets to. so when you take the inspection test multiple things come up not ready, so you fail either way!
    Does anyone know how to get around this? maybe just reset the light or shut just the light off so i can get through it? otherwise im spendin thousands of dollars on repairs(NEW ENGINE).

  269. adam says:

    hello i had the same problem and the dam light would turn on every day. i take it to my buddys who has a scanner and he turn it off , but the next day wuess what it turned on again. i am going ape every day looking at it. i took it to dealership and said at least 120$ to diganose it lol, then said it was all these cencors and with labour was 1186$ without our high tax.but my 2001 mixima is running amazing lmfao .unreal it should be illegal what these dealerships r doing with these engine lights. i know how to turn off engine light forever and it wont cost you a dime. thats right that dam light wont ever come on again and it will take u about 3 mins PLEASE EMAIL ME BACK AT [email protected] FOR MORE INFO

  270. cloud rx71988 says:

    Adam is absolutely right my mazda rx7 runs great because they never had this electronic cycle. basically your car has a computer.if you disconect anything say for example an air filter or change your oil flter. you cut the connection to any part of the car….you must reset the computer when you reconnect it. Just like your laptop or pc. you have to reset it when you install a new program or delete an operating system. Disconnect your battery terminals and hold the negative and positive cables to each other for 20 to 30 seconds and then reconnect them at the appropriate terminals. start your car and see that your computer has been reset and the check engine light will be gone.your car will run better than ever with a clean filter and you will hear that sweet turbo release again. My girlfriends 2004 1.8t volkswagon passat feels like it did the day she drove it home from the dealership. this is standard procedure after the mechanics replace every filter and replace every cable in your car and thus empty your wallet of your hard erned money. I’m going to uti for auto technician degree and will never lie to people who where once as clueless to this as i was. Your car can be a beast again with routine maintenance and a clean engine. just because your car engine gets sludged up doesnt mean it can’t be reversed with just a little love and patience.

  271. Noel Curt says:

    Just to put my $.02 in, I have a 96 Nissan Altima. It failed the CA. smog test because of a speed sensor code, (nothing to do with emissions). I’ve always had trouble with the electronic speedometer, that occasionally stops working, and will set off the CEL. I know that it is just the bad connections to the cheesy instrument cluster, (I know this because if I push the trip reset while I’m driving the speedo starts working again for a little while). I pull the instrument cluster, unscrew and clean each connection to the thin plastic printed circuit on the back, and its good for another 6 months. I have been trying all day to get the CEL to go off, and now have the positive cable off, (it will be off all night, I hope that works). I tried the suggestion to put the + & – cables together for 20 to 30 seconds, ( I actually did it for 45) but that didn’t work. I get a free retest if I bring it back within 30 days, and I didn’t wait til the last minute to get it smogged, (I have until the 22nd and I have had the notice for at least a couple of months). The “Test Only” smog guy said to get it fixed and then drive it at least 30 miles with the CEL off, and then come back. If I can get the light off, I should be good to go after a couple of days. Would one of the mechs out there explain why the electronic speedometer makes me fail a smog / emissions test?
    Also, while I’m at it, I’m sure the mechs out there will agree with this one; some of the engineers that design these cars should be slapped silly for the way they put the parts on the engines. In my 96 Nissan Altima with the sideways engine, they put the oil filter up on the backside of the engine. I change the oil myself, so can;t put it up on the rack, so I always get oil running down my arm while I’m laying under the car. But the worst thing is that they put the starter back there too, and there is almost no way to do it yourself. I’ve only had the car for about 75,000 miles, and had to have the starter replaced twice. It costs about 85.00 for the starter,(best price I could find), and about 350.00 for the labor, because they have to pull the axle to get to the starter. For a real engineering nightmare, check out the Cadillac Catera, (my daughter bought one that I get to work on quite often). You have to pull the motor mount to change the serpentine belt, how insane is that.

  272. john doe says:

    for a pre 1996 car that u are having problems with the cel, just rewire the dash so the cel is a second oil light, comes on with engine off, and goes out with engine running, ;)

  273. rayrod says:

    HERE IS HOW TO CLEAR CHECK ENGINE LIGHT… go to passenger side fuse box near door hinge.. carefully remove the clock fuse, count to 15, place fuse back. CLEAR

  274. Genius says:

    Hey morons– this includes the dumbasses asking the questions, AND the idiots claiming they have a one-size-fits-all fix for the check engine light reset (different manufacturers use different methods, you dorks)— if your vehicle is running fine and the light is on, cut a small square or rectangle of black electrical tape to put over it. No big deal.
    If the “check engine” or “sevice engine soon” light is on *and the car is running like shit,* then obviously there is a PROBLEM that needs to be addressed before you try to figure out how to tun of the light.
    If it runs fine, then just use electrical tape to cover it.

    If there is ANY OTHER LIGHT ON, such as “oil” light, “volts” light, “temp” light, “trans” light, this indicates a SERIOUS PROBLEM that could be the forebear to a catastrophic failure. DON’T ignore these lights, only ignore the “check engine” and similar lights.

    You’re welcome, drones.

  275. ethan says:

    Why is everyone paying to get codes read? Go to Autozone and they’ll plug you in for free and tell you when the check engine light is on. I can’t guarente a positive attitude as no clerk wants to do this service (or the free battery and alternator check), but they do it all the same. I like to go in the winter – that really irritates the folks working there…

  276. Cosmos says:

    I agree with Ethan, Autozone or Advance Auto will read the codes for free so you would have to be crazy to pay for it.

  277. Kate says:

    George, you are a very good man.
    Thank you for saving me $80 and making me feel like I championed today! It’s all about the small victories :)

  278. Michelle says:

    I have a 2005 Kia Sportage the check engine light has been on for over a year now. When I took it to autozone the code came back Large Evap Leak 4055 I took it to the dealership and he said I need Catalytic Converters and to my luck their are 2 not one like normal cars it would be 1600.00 to fix. Jesus .. So I took it to a muffler shop had them look it over they said they did not find any holes anywhere and turned the check engine light off. It came back on about 50 miles or so later, so I took it to another mechanic not a dealer. He did a fuel injection clean on it 200.00 looked it all over said he did not find any leaks in gas system it was coming from the sensor behind the catalytic converters again 1600.00 to replace. My question is this a hazard to drive it like this I dont have the money to fix it right now and its been over a year since this problem started. Thanks

  279. Rebecca says:

    Upon having car serviced, it was found the check engine light was actually taken out of car.
    I bought the car in Virginia, in June 2010.

    Upon exam of vehicle, it was found wiring was melted together, all electrical failure… the car was purchased for and driven by my daughter.

    What legal reprecussion do I have?

    Thank you!

  280. David says:

    Have a 2002 Chevy silverado,v-6 anyone know how to get the check engine light off to pass inspection? Car was smogged only 4 months ago but need to redo in order to change pink slips.

  281. Robert says:

    Why does a car have to be driven for a specific number of miles after resetting the codes??? It is a computer, isnt it? Why isnt it instant?
    You can say that it is the govt, but we all know it is with all of the manufacturers, the so called “licensed” “approved” “technicians” backing all this computer crap
    I am a “instrument technician” in the real world of manufacturing. Guess what, I clear error codes on computers and it is instant. Just like the computer in your home. I dont have to drive my laptop around the neighborhood to use the damn thing, I get rid of error, I use the computer, it is that simple.
    I have a Saab 9-3 that I can not clear the CEL, does not matter what I do, what parts I change, nothing, it stays there and tells me the same stupid error code day after day and the car runs great. Saab dealers can not fix it, so whats the point of having it fail inspection if it is running correctly and the emissions is ok???????? All of you “technicians” explain that !!!!!!!!!! You cant explain it, all you do is try to give me another bill, thats why as long as I am able I will never pay a “technician” to fix one damn thing I own. There is nothing wrong with the car other than some glitch that nobody can fix.

  282. djtejas says:

    it is a myth that you have to drive your car for 100 miles after disconnecting the battery before getting it inspected…when my battery was dead, i replaced it and took it immediately to get inspected and there were no problems with computer data.
    same with after clearing codes…all the other info is still there.
    who knows where this misinformation comes from these days? people that are intimidated by computers, i guess

  283. Faye says:

    djtejas, emissions told me to do the same last saturday, I disconnected cables and light went off but emissions failed. He immediately knew what I had done and told me to drive 75 miles, some on ighway but not over 55mph. I drove only about 15 miles and my engine light came right back on. Maybe it depends on the car type as to whether you have to drive 100 miles. I have a 97 ford cr victoria and my registration is expired waiting on this crappy light to go off. I need a solution. Auto Zone said it was the fuel cap sensor but that didn’t fix it. Maybe it’s better to just get a car note after all cause dealing with these old cars is a headache.

  284. Roxanne says:

    Hello, My check engine light is on. I need to go for inspection in october. how can i shut it off?

  285. RM1961 says:

    I drive a 2001 Toyota Corolla. The check engine light came on in June. I went to Autozone and got the codes: P0440, P0441 and P0446. I went to two separate mechanics, showed them the codes and was told (without even looking at the car) that it was the “canister” and that the repair would cost $380 – $400. My car has 62,000 miles on it. They told me I could drive the car without any problem but that I would not pass inspection. One mechanic said that this is a problem with all Toyotas and that the only way I will pass inspection (which is this month) is to have this expensive repair.

  286. Marjorie Atwood says:

    It is really crazy that you blogged about this. I found you on bing and I had been looking for info about this. Nice blog, thank you for the info. I will come back to check for new updates

  287. Draconiancowboy says:

    @djtejas – That is not a myth. I tried the unplugging of the battery trick. I drove about 30 miles to the inspection place, and after plugging in the computer system, they told me that the vehicle has not run the proper number of drive cycles or miles. In short, they failed the car.

  288. FrustratedCarOwner says:

    My son has a 2001 Nissan Sentra that engine light will not go off and has failed emissions testing twice now. Have done extensive work on car including replacing computer and now on second catalytic converter since March. Drove about 13 miles from repair shop after reset of computer and light came on. Repair shop reset computer again and light went on again within about 20 miles or so. Error code still reading catalytic converter. Now what!!!

  289. Jeff Paige says:

    My Honda accord 2004 check Engine Light ON since 2-3 months, Now it was time to get smog done. Went to smog check, they found code P0420, for bad o2 sensors or worst thing scenario.. a bad catalytic converter. Honda dealership diagnosed bad o2 sensors cost $98 and also bad Catalytic Converter — $1400.00
    Smog station diagnosed bad o2 sensor but marginal (passing) Catalytic Conv. after scanning…estimated —Total $595.00 ( o2 sensors for $498 but there’s no need to replace catalytic.conv.) It sounds like a scam right?

    Why o2 sensors cost $98 ea. at dealership and $498 at a repair shop? Honda dealer diagnosed Cat. Conv. bad but repair shop guranteed to pass Smog if just o2 sensor replaced but with a huge price tag for o2 sensors?

    Is there any organization who look into these scams?

  290. Beavo040 says:

    THE SHORT – All vehicles are different – If someone claims it hasn’t gone a specified number of miles to clear the codes, find a new tech, preferably one who understands “true” mechanics(and if you think this means the greasy guy in the tech bay, please stop reading because you are dumber than you will ever know). 100 miles is nothing more than a reference point! In the majority of cases, within that 100 miles you will know if a problem has actually been corrected(and light comes back on to notify you). I’ve never met a tech that would charge you to scan within 100 miles after any type of service is done. This is a good thing, if the tech didn’t torque something properly or forgot a minor detail, this light can save the day. Or would you rather be 1200 miles down the road and have the whole thing take a shit( and I guarantee you the tech won’t be offering any free service). If you can’t tell something is wrong within 100 miles, there usually isn’t anything wrong. I myself have a problematic EGR valve code that appears every so often and until I have the time to clean/replace it, simply pushing upward on the somewhat softer spot on the underside of the value takes care of everything. Now an ERG valve is by far a scam!

  291. lucy says:

    my check engine light has come on, ive got a golf how do i turn it off my self…

  292. Rick Nock says:

    After reviewing the past couple of months posts, I am seeing a repeating cycle of people making false statements that insure that they do not know what they are talking about. The main theme has been the neccessary reset of drive monitors after doing a repair or CEL/SES light reset.

    “Robert” says in his post that the car computer is like his home computer, and a reboot resets everything. Where the fault is in his understanding is that when you reset, or “reboot” 1996 and newer automotive computers, it clears the drive monitors (monitors that check the operation of several systems). For the computer to be fully back on line, it must “see” results from these monitored systems through various operating parameters and drive cycle requirements. There is not a specific number of miles that must be driven. These parameters usually include several different driving conditions such as idle, low speed, highway, and warm-up cycles. These parameters are required to “prove” that each monitored system is functioning correctly in all driving conditions.

    I know that most of you don’t want to hear this, but there is no “one size fits all” repair procedure. And, we as technicians run into this everyday.

    The most frustrating problem I ran into (Toyota) was a computer defect that the factory said was in a series of computers that they had problems with (no recall!!!). Evidently, somehow the fault code was permanently “burned” into the system. Even when all tests showed the O2 sensor repaired, working properly, the code would not clear, even for a moment. Repair was replacing the computer, which Toyota did provide at no cost. Again, this was an oddity, and not a recall campaign item. We all run into these frustrating problems.
    Naturally, the customer was not happy with the time it took us to find the root problem. He was long time customer (over 20 years) and realized that he had a unique problem. This repair costs us a lot of time and money as we can not charge the customer for our time in these types of cases. You can’t win them all.

    Please see my prior posts on: Dec. 23, 2009, Jan. 5 & 20, 2010 and March 2, 2010
    Just trying to share my knowledge.

    Rick Nock, ASE Master Tech, L1 Advanced Electronic Tech, Retired Automotive Instructor, Shop Owner.

  293. frank boise idaho says:

    Intermittant SES lite on 1999 Taurus….coderead is p1744 TCC soloniod transmission detetected slippage…. vehicle has 180k and no problem with shifting serviced trans every 60k no metal in pan ever….. lite seems to come in extreme heat driving conditions on hwy…. stays on for 2-3 days then goes out…. everyone wants to repl the tranny….. could it be an electrical issue causing a false code?

  294. michelle says:

    I have a 1996 Acura. The check engine light was on. We took it to Autozone and they told us of 2 sensors that needed to be replaced. We did both of them. Check engine light was still on. Took it back and was told it needed a third sensor. So we replaced that one also. Check engine light is still on. Autozone’s computer said the problem is still the third sensor that we just replaced.
    We have to get the light off in order to get it inspected. Any suggestions…

  295. Dawn P, Boise ID says:

    I have a 1991 Mitsubishi Mirage. Today the dreaded stalking “check engine light” came on. I googled how to get that silly to go away. I came upon your page and tried your tip. I took the cable off the the positive side only…THE STUPID LIGHT IS OFF!!!!!! Thank you!!!!!

  296. ally lupembe says:

    the problem is i dont know how to use the dignosis and when i open the dignosis cap isee the nomber exermple t1 e1 tc pleas help me toknow the problem

  297. ally lupembe says:

    the problem is idont know how to use the dignosis pleas help me to use the dignosis my car is toyota rav 4 1999 year

  298. crazyk says:

    I have a 2003 Kia Optima and for the pass 2 years I have gotten pass my inspections by taking the positive cable off for about 30 mins to 1 hour and then driving it until I get to 100 miles. But the only thing is the light comes back on when I get to 130 miles, but who cares, I have passed inspection. My reading was always for a gas cap that I have replaced 3 times.

  299. Adam says:

    I have a 1999 saab se with 78,000 miles. The CEL light came on about a year ago at 76.000 and I disconnected the blue (negative terminal) for 60 minutes. When I hooked it back up and started it, the light was off. About 2 thousand more miles and a muffler operation it came on and I did the same thing and it is still off after 4oo miles.

  300. ricky robie says:

    i bought one at walmart for $99. and it’s saved me ton’s of money and time. not only do i shut my light off, but i can find out what’s really wrong and fix it right the first time. and if it’s to much to do yourself. at least you know what it is and can find someone who can fix it. plus i look like i know what i’m doing when i tell someone else whats wrong with there car.

  301. Matt says:

    Ok, you should never EVER reset the check engine light until you have read the codes. I would recomend getting a usb type that plugs into your laptop. One of the reason the more expensive code readers cost more is because it is doing alot of reading in a little package. Your laptop is more than capable enough to handle the info coming in from an OBD2 sensor so let the laptop do the heavy pulling. You can get one off amazon for 40 bux, that does the same as a 200 dollar “portable” sensor. Though you may have to pay $5 here and there for the more advanced features on the software, it still brings you well ahead. It is beyond easy.

  302. Mohammed Hafiz says:

    my vehicle engine light is on.I followed a specific well known procedure of turning it off by removing the positive terminal of the battery with ignition on.Still the engine light is on.What do i do!!

  303. Mohammed Hafiz says:

    Please help me turn my service engine light off.

  304. Jean says:

    My husband disconnected the battery as suggested. My 2003 Avalon engine warning light went out.
    Thanks for saving us money. Germain was going to charge $50 for a diagnostic test. I had a recall there only a few days before.


  305. Jepoy says:

    my Caravan 2001 failed smog on 1st time due to “system failure”, emission is passed, visual passed as well. Drove van for more than 400 miles but still there’s the 2 codes “not ready” which will eventually result again to FAIL. Asked mechanics but they just said drive some more…I know it’s crazy but i’ve driven the car for more than one month now and still nothing…Still showing 2 tiems not ready…ruling is that 2001 cars are allowed only to have 1 “not ready” item on code. Help…. extended registration expires Tuesday… BTW Can I still sell this van to dealers only have 100 K Mileage?

  306. jim says:

    I had a check engine light come on I think the octane of the gas I used was not really premium grade even though the pump said it was and I got charged for itI think it had to cause my o2 sensor to react to it it went out the next time i got back to town and put the normal gas I use in the tankonly way the light would go out was to waitor change the sensor.

  307. Tracy says:

    my cars engine light comes on intermittently. i have a kia sportage 1998 model. this has only happened since a friend of mine disconnected the battery terminals to change my battery and hooked the jump start cables to his car to keep my car running whilst he changed the battery, because if the terminals are disconnected without doing that, the cars immobiliser kicks in and then you have to take the car to kia to be re-keyed, which costs heaps. So not sure if this is the reason why the car engine light keeps flicking on? Can you help?

  308. Chris says:

    Many interesting comments on here… and I feel bad for alot of you that seem to have very un-knowledgeable mechanics.

    I will start off by saying that I am an independent mechanic in my free time, I do work for my co-workers, neighbors, friends and family. I also belong to several automotive repair forums.

    Most 1995 and older cars use On Board Diagnostics version 1 (OBD I). Every Make car has a different connection and different way of reading, and resetting codes. For example, a 1991 Honda civic has an LED that flashes codes underneath the carpet on the passenger side. A 1989 Volvo 740 has a plug in the engine pay that you plug a pin into a connector and a light will flash telling you codes. Most Fords have a connector under the hood that you can short with a paper clip and it will flash the codes via the check engine light itself. Older dodge’s flashed the codes via the check engine light after moving the key back and forth from the off to run position.
    These 1995 and older cars also store codes differently, if at all. Some older cars would only illuminate the check engine light when there was a CURRENT problem. This made diagnosis of a problem difficult and often left mechanics (especially those who are un-knowledgable) charging you for several hours of diagnostics. Other computers stored these codes to help SAVE labor costs and make the troubleshooting process easier. Some of these vehicles would reset themselves after driving the car until it warmed up 5 times, some would reset when the battery was pulled, and some had to be reset manually. Myself I prefer that the car STORE the could until it is erased MANUALLY. Why? Perhaps there is a power issue (wire harness, voltage regulator, computer itself, ect) and the codes were erased after the car died on the side of the road. If the codes were stored I could easily see what had happened before the car broke down.
    In 1996 (And some 1995 GM models) On Board Diagnostics II (OBD II) came out. The connector is the same in all vehicles, and the plug is located in the interior of the vehicle 2 feet away from the steering wheel (under the dashboard, center counsel, ect). Codes can be read with a code reader, and most manufactures have their own special diagnostic equipment that can interact with the car. Any diagnostic code produced by the OBD II system will stay in the car’s memory until the computer either looses power for 15 minutes or the code is cleared. If you clear your code with either of these methods and it comes back on immediately(within 5 seconds) you most likely have a damaged sensor or a faulty connection to that sensor. The OBD II computer actively monitors SEVERAL parameters of the engine including ambient temperature, coolant temperature, timing advance or retard, o2 levels, air flow into the engine, pressure inside of the engine, positions of camshafts, positions of crankshafts, fuel pressure, and many many more. You can connect a computer to an OBD II system and actively watch all of the cars data (I use my laptop and software). You can record data while driving, and go back to it later to pinpoint WHEN an error occured to help pinpoint a nagging intermittent problem. Emission items and engine sensors are monitored by this diagnostics computer, however airbag systems, ABS systems, climate control systems, body control modules, ect are not tied into the OBD II computer and often have a different light.

    “My check engine light is on, but my car runs fine… I’ll just pull the bulb, use electric tape, ect” It may seem that your car is running fine, and in some cases that can be true. A small vacuum leak (ex. a split 1/4″ vacuum hose) can set off a check engine code. You wont notice much of a performance hit, especially if you are a light driver, but on one car this code just be a split hose, on another car this could be a larger issue like a leaking power brake booster or failing intake manifold gaskets. If this was me, I would simply erase the codes, and see if the problem happened again… then take it to a shop. A GOOD shop will smoke test the engine for leaks, some shops will spray throttle body cleaner on vacuum lines and along intake manifold seems to test for leaks (if the engine stumbles while spraying a certain spot, you may have found the leak as the cleaner just got sucked into the engine). A POOR shop would spend a day poking around looking for a leak… or start replacing sensors as the computer tells them to do.

    “The car has been back and forth to the shop and they cannot figure out why the light is on” or “They say my computer is bad” If a shop cannot figure your check engine light out, you need to find a different shop. I had someone bring me a Subaru for an oil change..which had a check engine light on for almost 6 years… and they told me that they were told by 3 shops it was a wiring problem. I looked up the procedure to check the codes, found the light that displayed the codes (was under the steering wheel column) which pointed me to a purge valve for the emissions system. Short story… I had the light out in less than half an hour. I later found out this problem was COMMON, and Subaru had even posted a Service Bulletin stating what to do. IF MECHANICS TODAY SIMPLY USED THE INTERNET TO LOOK UP A PROBLEM THEY COULD PROBABLY FIGURE IT OUT, AS COULD THE CONSUMER! DONT BE LAZY, LOOK STUFF UP! JOIN A FORUM! Half of the questions I have read in this comment section can be found within 30 seconds doing a Google search! And bring your car to a few different shops to see what they say… find one that actually makes sense. If they cant fix it the first time, go somewhere else! I often win bets where people say “you cant fix that check engine light, the shop cant figure it out”

    “The computers are just there to make shops and the government money”
    The computers are there to improve the efficiency of a car… take a look at the specification of some cars now vs then. HP to MPG and HP to Liters alone prove this. Computer controlled engines are more efficient and more dependable period, end of story. Whens the last time you had to go un-stick your choke and shoot some starting fluid into you car on a cold morning? Whens the last time you had your Carburetor rebuilt because it was gummed up? Not to mention “guessing” your correct Air to Fuel Ration when you were tuning your Carburetor in your driveway (I have an electronic meter for that). Emissions checks and inspections are here to protect the environment and to keep those foul smelling rich burning cars in front of you off the road. If you cannot afford to have your car checked up every year… that means you probably cant afford the $200 brake job… or a $400 set of tires… which means you are probably driving behind me in a rolling deathtrap.

    I’ll add more to this later… I’m sure a few of you will flame me for it :-)

  309. Chris says:

    “my cars engine light comes on intermittently. i have a kia sportage 1998 model. this has only happened since a friend of mine disconnected the battery terminals to change my battery and hooked the jump start cables to his car to keep my car running whilst he changed the battery, because if the terminals are disconnected without doing that, the cars immobiliser kicks in and then you have to take the car to kia to be re-keyed, which costs heaps. So not sure if this is the reason why the car engine light keeps flicking on? Can you help?” (1.) You can remove the cars battery without “re-keying”. If you had an issue with this in the past, then there is something wrong with your alarm system, or there is/was an aftermarket one installed. No car company that I know of, including Mercedes will not let you start your car after the battery has been disconnected. (2) Go to advanced auto, autozone, pep-boys, ect and have your codes scanned, post the code on here so I, or someone else can look it up for you and tell you where to start.

  310. Chris says:

    “I had a check engine light come on I think the octane of the gas I used was not really premium grade even though the pump said it was and I got charged for itI think it had to cause my o2 sensor to react to it it went out the next time i got back to town and put the normal gas I use in the tankonly way the light would go out was to waitor change the sensor.” Your engine was most likely knocking on the bad fuel, thus your light came on. It also possible your o2 sensor was on its way out. o2 sensors should be replaced every 100k (Some say 50k)

  311. Chris says:

    “my Caravan 2001 failed smog on 1st time due to “system failure”, emission is passed, visual passed as well. Drove van for more than 400 miles but still there’s the 2 codes “not ready” which will eventually result again to FAIL. Asked mechanics but they just said drive some more…I know it’s crazy but i’ve driven the car for more than one month now and still nothing…Still showing 2 tiems not ready…ruling is that 2001 cars are allowed only to have 1 “not ready” item on code. Help…. extended registration expires Tuesday… BTW Can I still sell this van to dealers only have 100 K Mileage?” What readiness test is “not ready”? My guess is that you have an o2 sensor thats starting to go bad.

  312. Chris says:

    Here is a brief page on how OBD II works….

  313. chris a says:

    i have a 97 hyundia elantra, i tookj it to smog and everthing passd but the engine check light. how do i remove it???

  314. chris a says:

    97 hyundia elantra check engine lite how do i get it off,??

  315. Stephan Marking says:

    the $80 to read the code is stupid because you can go to your local auto zone and they will do it for free but check engine lights are very important in my opinion they turn on when the car does something it isn’t supposed to do and it should always be assessed as to what the problem is.

  316. Rick Nock says:

    After reading these latest posts, I see that some people just don’t read prior posts to try to get their cars fixed correctly. I have posted several times trying to explain the correct process. One of the most knowledgeable poster’s I have read so far is the recent ones by “Chris”. If you folks will read his posts and my prior posts, you will find a cure for your “check engine light or service engine soon” light.

    Seldom does the lights come on for “no reason”, and as Chris said, the computer systems are NOT put there by manufacturers or the government to rip of the public.

    One side note: If you are driving an older vehicle with a carburetor, a new problem is emerging. The addition of methanol to gas is causing increased vapor lock problems. I have several antique cars and in the summer, I have to raise the hood when I shut the engine off, otherwise it is hard to start or won’t start until it cools. And yes Chris, I replaced the fuel pumps and built heat shields to try to limit “hot soak problems” I also realize that I live in south Texas where the heat can be brutal. This problem may not be so apparent in the Northern tier of states.

    Good luck to all, and Merry Christmas.

  317. brucecade says:

    volovo 960, can some one tell me where & how 2 turn off check eingine light ,thank you

  318. Soccer Mike says:

    Had a transmission replaced in my 2001 4Runner two years ago – approx 30k miles ago and $2800 less. I’ve had a P0770 – E code which is, yep, you guessed it a transmission – related code. It’s a shift solenoid code. Oh yea, the warranty was only good for 18 months but the transmission shop is willing to work with me. He thinks it’s the torque convertor. Anyway, had Toyota do a complete drain and flush among other good things but it’s definitely a “hard” code. I have my own OBD II so I’m able to reset the code myself, however, I’m not sure how many miles I need to drive before my computer will be ready for the emissions testing. I need to drive the car with the O/D OFF (third gear) to prevent the transmission from shifting thus keeping the code from coming on. (Gas mileage sucks) I’ve already driven it a bit over 50 miles. Went through emissions today but the computer still wasn’t ready yet. It showed two monitors not ready yet. Does anybody know how many miles I need to drive before the computer is ready? Thanks

  319. Soccer Mike says:

    OK, after much searching I came across the EXACT drive cycle required to reset my computer so I can get it through emissions. Here’s the link after much searching… here’s the drive cycle requirements for our rigs to reset all the sensors to “Has Run” status, after clearing a check engine light. It is now a requirement in many places to have all the sensors reset, before they will do an emissions test on your rig.

    For those of you with issues about the CE lights you need to be thankful for them. They’re usually good indications of impending problems that may cost serious money later on down the road if un-resolved. The key, is to understand that it’s just a visual indication which helps guide the highly trained technician to the right area to begin his troubleshooting. Not all “fixes” will resolve the problem. The more highly skilled the technician is, the more accurate his troubleshooting will be.Good luck to you all. Hope you get your vehicles taken care of. I’m looking at another torque convertor as soon as winter slips us by. Right now I need my 4wd and there’s nothing wrong with the transmission.

  320. Jayson says:

    I disconnected the battery on Sunday for a few hours, and it turned the light off on my 2000 cavalier. I tried to get the inspection done on Monday, but it was too soon and the computer showed too many things “not ready” so it failed. I drove it a little longer, but the light came on again. I decided to try it again. Last night I disconnected the battery again and left it overnight. Sure enough the light was off this morning. I drove the car well over 60 mi. this morning and the light still did not come on. I took it in and it passed!!! If you are there James, thank you! thank you! thank you! I read your post from 2007. It is a life saver!!!

  321. Am says:

    They also have places like auto zone who will do the engine check test for free. I do not know what city or state you are in, but you might want to check your local auto part store and see if they offer this service, because most of them do with no charge!

  322. Tony says:

    The best thing to do is buy a code reader and diagnose your own check engine light. I hate to paint all mechanics with the same brush but you CANNOT trust what most of them say. They will say anything to sell you something you don’t need! Do yourself and buy your own code reader and put the garages out of business!

  323. Jay says:

    Ok for one I can’t stand to read anymore of this crap about the stupid check engine light. Yes it is there to tell you there is something not working on your car. Let see the reasons for the light. 1. to tell you there is something wrong so you can fix it THEN NOT LATER to prevent having to replace a motor or transmission. 2. If everything is working properly on your car it will save on gas as well as last longer. 3. For those Mechanic guys catching hell from all these people complaining about paying for just having turn the light off and then it comes back on, STOP doing it for them. They need to fix the problem. 4. They made the computer reader for those mechanics to help you find the problem to fix it not cover it up and save you money by locating the problem. So STOP COMPLAINING TO THEM FOR THE LIGHT BEING ON IT IS NOT THEIR FAULT.

  324. Jayo says:

    Just buy the OBD II cable on ebay

    make sure it is adaptable to your car model

    there is a socket under your steering wheel that it plugs into – looks like a scart socket, or a round socket in some models (such as BMWs)

    you can generally pick the cable and software up for about $10-15 including software on ebay

    They are very user friendly and compatible cables can be found for almost all cars.

    this will allow you to read the code – find out what the fault is and delete them permanently without use of a mechanic

    most fault codes are just dodgy sensor related and are nothing to be worried about. if it is something more serious, then take it to a mechanic.

    save yourself a hell of a lot of money in log run

  325. Tom says:

    Here is what I did to pass the Mass. State vehicle emissions test, having a constantly on check engine light. My car is a 1998 Honda Accord LX in excellent condition, with 105,000 miles, with an after-market catalytic converter. I hope this helps someone. Most of this procedure was recommended by a reputable mechanic, and none of it is illegal.

    - Disconnect battery negative cable for two minutes.
    - Reconnect the cable, start the car and verify the check engine light is off.
    - Drive about 18 miles on MA Rt 9 (unlimited access highway, 45 – 55 mph limits, traffic lights every 2-3 miles).
    - Stop about 1 mile from inspection station.
    - turn off engine and start again after two minutes.
    - drive about 1 mile to inspection station.
    - ask for an OBD check prior to performing the actual inspection.
    - check revealed two Not Ready indicators which is the acceptable limit for 1998 model year cars – proceed with inspection.
    - inspection passed. My estimate of cost savings is about $400 (catalytic converter and sensor).
    - check engine light comes on 10 miles later – ignore it until the next inspection.

    A different vehicle probably requires a different “drive cycle”. The idea is to find out what makes your check engine light come on, then repeat it so that you arrive at the inspection station just before the light comes on. I performed a reasonable number of trial and error practice runs first.

  326. Slade says:

    This CEL is the biggest scam ever for emissions. That light can be triggered for anything and gliches are very common. The problem is they get held hostage and cannot registered their car if the CEL light is on/throws codes. What needs to happen is have the car just get emissioned tested by means of the tail pipe. Hell, that will show if it is indeed polluting or not.

  327. zeke says:

    i have a 1996 jaguar and i have the engine light on . i want to take it off and they suggested me to buy a code reader and i can delete it from there . the question is how long will it the light be off for? and is removing the battery more efficient?

  328. Addisson says:

    My 1996 ford explorer ABS light will not turn off, please help anyone!!!! the guy that does the smog is taking advantage of the situation.

  329. Sean says:

    Okay folks! Here goes! All of you haters out there sould just take a deep breath, calm down, and pay attention! These lights, as annoying as they are, are ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL! Not to tell you EXACTLY whats wrong, but simply that there is or could be something wrong. Although code readers are handy and fairly inexpensive, if you dont kow how to fix or even diagnose he cause of the codes you’ve been able to retrieve, what good does it do you! Those of us technicians, who have taken the time, usually at fairly substantial expense, to learn how to FIX peoples cars, have the knowlege and expertise to do so, while most people do not! I personally, have been in the auto repair industry for a long time and pride myself on a very low return rate, can attest to the fact that not all mechanics are crooks, thieves, or just trying to rob everyone! Yes, there are alot of them out there, but by far and large, we are dying breed of badly needed individuals! Here is what I EXPLAIN to my customers when the light goes on, if driveability is not affected, it’s probably of little importance, but should be checked just to make sure (and I don’t charge for the scan) but if drivebility DOES change, I shedule an appointment sometimes (usually they just pop in) and again, I don’t charge for the scan, and if I find something indicating a major or substantial issue, we then discuss the posible causes and appropriate course of action. Should you all really want to learn how to take care of these issues with your lights the right way, feel free o send me an e-mail, and I’ll be happy to give you a lesson, as best I can, so you can do so! HAPPY MOTORING!

  330. DARSKIESS says:

    how do i turn off my chevk engin off and the coolit off and i put a new raditor and every thing on a 2001 impla 3.8?

  331. frustrated says:

    In Ohio, It seams that your computer doesn’t have to be fully reset and showing that the drive monitors are reading,referring to blogs about having to drive a certain amount of miles after turning off the ses light. When I went for my emissions testing after driving only 5 miles after ses light was turned off, the computer wasn’t reset yet so they told me that I was being “downgraded to an alternate test” which involved spinning the wheels. My car passed that test, so I passed the emissions test. This was on a 99 Pontiac. Luckily the ses light stayed off during the test. After I left there the light came back on after driving only a half mile. There seams to be a certain amount of times that you can start a car before the ses light will come back on, after you turn the light off.I started once and didn’t shut it off while waiting in line for the test. My light will usually come back on after the 3′rd time that I start my car after shutting off the light, although once I was good for 7 starts.This particular time I shut off the light by disconnecting the positive battery cable for 16 hours.My car ran for 40 minutes before the test.

  332. frustrated says:

    It seams in Ohio that your computer doesn’t have to be reset where by it’s showing that the drive monitors are reading again after turning off the ses light, referring to the blogs about having to drive 100 miles after turning off the ses light in order to pass an emissions test. I turned my light off, then drove only 5 miles to emissions testing station. When they hooked up the OBD 2 scanner up it showed “reject” because the computer wasn’t reset yet, so they told me my 99 Pontiac was going to get an alternate test involving spinning the wheels. It passed that test which meant I passed the emisions test. Luckily my ses light stayed off long enough. It came back on a half mile after I left. My light will usually come back on after the 3′rd time that I start my car after turning off the light, although once I was good for 7 starts. This time I shut my light off by taking off the positive battery cable for 16 hours, then I started it once and drove to test station and left it running while waiting in line. My car ran for 40 minutes before testing.

  333. Mac says:

    AutoZone, Advance (I personally know of them) and likely other auto parts stores will do a free ODBII check.
    Have it done by several stores just in case the ODBII tester is bad at one of the stores.
    To be sold in the US, all light vehicles from 1996 are required to be ODBII compatible.

  334. Anelucy says:

    I got my car checked, here is the codes, please tell me if I should have my repair:

  335. John says:

    I love this page! Mechanics claiming their prices are okay. You guys know they are not. I look at my receipts and see 10 hours labor charged to me but it takes the dealership or shop 1 hour to fix something. And there was only one mechanic working on it not ten. Its the stupid book that gives you labor hours it should take. Look everybody. Go on Ebay and buy a factory, not a haynes or chilton’s, repair manual and you have all the diagnostic power you need. You can even get the shops DRB III computer for $2500 on Ebay. As with training, if u can read my post that means you can read the instruction book. Updates? Yeah right. They will defend what they do, but its a con. And the dealer is never the best way to go. Dealership tells me $3500 for a transmission but it was just the solenoid. The dealership replaces everything that could be wrong to make sure they grab the problem which is good except when it took me 2 hours and $150 dollars to fix my $3500 transmission problem. Also let not forget the tools the shop uses to make it easier to do the work. Oh wait, that makes it easier on them and quicker. They get a lift instead of laying on the ground so they get in done in 1 hour, instead of ten. And then still charge ten hours. Well that helps cover the cost of the lift, right. Lay ur ass on the ground and do it in 2 hours instead of 1 and charge 2 hours. I have enough equipment to start a shop. Spent bought $8000 in my life just so I don’t get ripped off. People, don’t buy ur parts from the dealer. They say something cost $200, it actually cost them $100. Even if it would cost you $190 to buy it, do it. At least they won’t have made profit just by buying a part. Do some research! Go to the parts store. Ask questions. I have dodges and the reason they are the best vehicles out there, you are never the first person to have the problem. Just remember, it’s already broke! What u gonna do? Break it more. And if ur not handy and can’t find someone who is. Ask the mechanic if he does work on the side. Most do and i would be glad to pay a mechanic to change my water pump $150 cash and $75 for the part from autozone then the dealer $478. I love cars cars and have been working on them for ten years. This is the part where mechanics worry bought somebody taking them to court for something going wrong. I don’t. The people who come to me for help, help me work on there cars and they now know how to do it the next time. Good luck to all.

  336. old school77 says:

    This is crazy my hom had her 2000 oldsmobile van scaned at 4 diffrent places all read diffrent codes….hhhmmmmm got an answer for that mr master tech. one of the codes is the torque converter but the funny thing is my mom puts 50 miles on it a day and i have even drove it 100 miles round trip not a single issue. I personaly think the CEL is a scam its a good idea but its been taken to far i mean cheak engine light for a loose gas cap u gotta be kidding me. what happened to the old days when you could work on your car yourself now you need all these fancy computers to tell you whats wrong uuummmmmm im preety shure if the toqure converter is bad i would know it. Im only 23 and my car is 33years old. thing runs better then my experience with newer cars.BTW its a stealership not a dealership

  337. vanessa says:

    I have a 97 honda accord se and my engine light is on… I took it and got it looked at and ended with a code for a speed sensor.. my speedometer was not working and i took it to my old mechanic and he got the speedometer to work but the engine light is still on.. I am past due for a inspection, what can i do?

  338. Harv says:

    you guys gotta realize that even if the check engine light goes off it will come back on if there’s something really wrong so that means you gotta go get it checked out most of them won’t go away by it’s self.

  339. L Dufour says:

    I went to reputable dealer the egr valve needed fixing, I was quoted $ 400. Went to Auto zone, My son put in piece for us took 15 min, part was $ 68. Yea, they need to stop stealing from people, especially in these hard times.

  340. Nicole says:

    I’d like to get my Check Engine light on. It will not turn on when you first turn ignition on, also cannot communicate with DLC. Fuses were not an issue. Car runs fine. Thanks!!

  341. ss soto says:

    how many miles until not ready goes off on a ford expedition

  342. Nicole says:

    Solved my issue, was the light blub. =)

  343. charles says:

    let me tell you all the solution, drive to a county without smog, and sell it. I could take the next four hours to tell you some of the smog nightmares i and some of my friends have encountered, and taking it to a dealer is not necessarily the answer, there are things that all the scanners and mechanic minds can’t solve.

  344. Tom C. says:

    I took my chevy 2006 express van to dealer because the check engine light was with in 1/2 hour after starting . the dealer checked the code and said I had a torn intake manifold gasket. they woulh have my van for a day and it would cost $800.00-$900.00 that was a week ago. Two days ago I was putting in some washer fluid and noticed that my oil fill cap was not put back on and was sitting on the plastic radiator housing. I put the cap back on the oil fill pipe and the light has not been on for three days. How hard is it for a dealer to check for a loose gas cap, or an oil cap that is not on, or a loose air filter cap or cover?. I do heating and A/C service work and there have been many times I went on a call and the only thing wrong was a loose wire, stuck contactor or a reset button had to be pushed. I would fix it and not even charge the home own and I have gotten more work because of what I did.

  345. Mitch says:

    On most cars, they have a connector under the dash. Get a manual and it will tell the codes and what they mean. On the connector, take a ground wire and ground, usually just one pin to chassis ground some where, your manual will tell you which one and where the connector is.Your check engine light will flash on and off, depending on what your code is.. make sure you count the flashes, look them up in your manual and it what the code means. Replace the defective part, which it tells you exactly which one. Take + cable off battery for 20 minutes then reconnect it. Then you should be ok. You don’t need no overpriced mechanic.

  346. The Riz says:

    You all know that you can go to an auto store (Advance, Auto Zone, Pep Boys etc) and they’ll hook you up to a computer diag. for FREE right?? They pull the code, you write it down, take it home (or if you have fancy pants whip out your android/iWhatever) and check the awesomeness of GOOGLE. It’ll tell you what your code is for and basically how to fix it.

    PS- on my 2001 Accord (V4-boo, I know, whatever) you can turn the CEL (check engine light) off as a TEMP fix [if the problem is major, ie o2 sensor) by holding the button[?] that you reset the mileage when starting the engine. justa FYI.

    Good luck passing emissions all! I HATED that **it! TN is a hillbilly state, but they don’t have emissions. Whoopie!

  347. Rick says:

    I have to take exception with those of you who continue to bash the automotive repair field in general. Sure, there are crooks in EVERY field…just look at our banking system…. That being said, most of you are still looking for a free lunch. Even John suggested that you can buy a DRB III on E-Bay for about $2500. Who in this economy can afford that? Besides, he also intimates that if you can read, you can repair complex electronics. I can read about heart surgery, but would never attempt it. If most of you owned an expensive scan tool (not just a code reader), you would have no idea how to use it or use the test results. The notion that several posters have passed on is the the codes tell you exactly what part to replace. Nothing could be further from the truth. How many of you can say that the code numbers will lead them to the bad part every time? That does not happen.

    Heres how a code works, example, cylinder misfire code – The code WILL indicate which cylinder(s) is/are miss firing. Then you have to determine why. You might get lucky and replace a plug wire and repair it, but without testing it is only a guess. Possibilities – Spark plug, plug wire, dist. cap, fuel injector, injector wiring, PCM injector driver, vacuum leak, (hose or intake gasket), burned valve, stuck valve, carbon build-up, camshaft, lifter/follower,
    pushrod, or even ignition coil on COP, CNP systems. For you novices, COP=Coil on Plug, CNP = Coil near plug (short wire).

    As you can see, there are many reasons for just one code. Not all codes can have this many causes, some have more. How expensive can your guesswork be? John, I have been working on cars for 48 years, compared to your ten. Even the old cars can throw curves that are hard to find. It is part of the business. As for your assertion that it is already broke, can’t be hurt… you’ve got to be kidding. Do you know the difference between a high impedence and a low impedence meter? Did you know you can test a good part with the wrong meter or test light and destroy that part? I doubt it. Your one size fits all just won’t fly. If you guys think you can save money doing it yourself, go ahead. Just remember that your mechanic will have to undo what you have done before he can get to the root problem, and that will ultimately cost you more money.

    One last comment. A lot of you bash the codes because of the seemingly “stupid” loose gas cap code. This was a federal requirement. It is meant to prevent “vapor” emissions from an otherwise sealed system. The code description generally says “Large Vacuum Leak” in vapor recovery system. That is usually the loose gas cap, but could be a bad gas cap seal, vacuum hose off, or a damaged cannister. Every make & model has different systems and repair procedures. Again, good luck with the cheap repairs……..

  348. daniel says:

    I have a 1992 Chevy blazer s-10. Check engine light is on…bought a code reader… it tells me its a code 13 which is the o2 sensor…replaced it and the light is still on. Un hooked the battery and its still on. What do I do….need to get it smogged.

  349. Luie P says:


  350. Brian says:

    I have had quite a few , “check engine light” experiences over the years , and have come to realize that it is mostly related to replacing both either the voltmeter or ammeter in the dash. Knowing this , I have always firstly checked the battery connections for corrosion with a battery terminal cleaner , coupled with checking both the battery fluid level (if possible) , and the battery cable’s condition themselves.

    The first thing to do is to clean both battery terminals on the battery , and both battery cable clamps inside and outside (replace if in poor condition). Then open the battery cell covers and make sure the battery is filled to approx. 1/2″ below the cell opening sleeves. If the battery fluid level is down (1″ below sleeves) , top up each cell with fluid from another battery with an electrolyte tester ( NEVER ADD DISTILLED OR TAP WATER ) , [only add fluid that is a mixture of 36% sulphuric acid and 64% water as all batteries are]. If you add unmixed water alone , you will have reduced the charging capabilities of the battery , and increased the ability for the battery’s fluid to freeze. A frozen battery won’t work , if at all. Also , your alternator will work double overtime in an attempt to charge a battery , that is “less chargable” full time , if you add water [decreasing the chemical compilation within the battery]. It is a big mistake , to both negatively alter your battery’s fluid , and put an abnormal load on your alternator & voltage regulator [all at the same time] , just by topping up the battery with water alone.

    In a case where a battery’s terminal posts and cable clamps have become corroded , both the alternator and the voltage regulator are already working overtime (or in a full charge condition) , because the connection between the 3 units is triggered by the voltage regulator sensing a low current value. Moreover , the reason why a battery’s fluid levels are low , is because it has been receiving a full current charge from the alternator full time , which is abnormal. Any normal charging system output will be reduced slightly when the condition of the battery and it’s cable’s/clamps , are good. And these reasons are why a battery’s fluid is effected , or lowering , as a direct result of the boiling off of the fluids. Consequently , the boiling off battery fluids are venting directly onto the battery terminal posts and the top of the battery/etc. , where corrosion results. Acid vapours and the elements make up what amounts to corrosion.

    Another thing to consider when servicing a battery , especially one that is in poor condition overall , is the 2 or more connecting cables that are usually also strewn across or near engine components that get hot regularly and easily. Any sign of white (ashy) or yellow corrosion on the battery terminal posts & clamps , should tell you to check the condition of the battery cables as well. If the battery cables are extra hard and/or crusty (white or yellow ash in appearance) , those cables are not fully conducting electricity well enough so that the voltage regulator will NOT turn up the alternator to account for the loss of it’s preset normal measuring value. In other words : if the battery cables are not any good , but the battery looks good – you will still have a condition where the alternator & voltage regulator are working double overtime to attempt to charge the battery [BUT CAN'T & WON'T PROPERLY].

    The resulting condition , where the alternator via the voltage regulator is working double overtime – “is the charging system triggers a check engine light” or what amounts to a detected malfunction (or short condition). The short being between the voltage regulator/alternator (via the battery cables) and the battery , which is then usually in poor condition as a result. Overall , the very worst thing you can do is to add water alone to an already prefilled battery , as even if the battery terminal posts/clamps and cables are good [the battery mixture has been weakened - and will no longer work normally in conjuction with the positive and negative plates within the battery]. If the battery’s plates become exposed to the air , or are exposed to a higher concentration of water , they will abnormally corrode , making it so that even if the electrolyte is in top condition – the battery plates are not capable of conducting voltage or power to the system (which can also trigger the check engine light). These hidden things , are what I have experienced cause the “check engine light” to come on – and stay on. Sometimes both the battery and all of the cables must be replaced , in worst case scenarios where they are all in bad condition , as well as both the alternator and the voltage regulator will be worn out as well – due to being overloaded. [The alternator will have been overheating , causing the armature to fail abnormally]. Starting with the fluid level of a battery , (which has NOT been refilled using water alone) , and working your way out to the voltage regulator (which is now being incorporated into the computers themselves where the entire computer must be replaced if it is not working) , is what needs to be done so that your “check engine light” will stay off.

    This explanation , also explains why : “when some parts are replaced” – “the check engine light comes back on” shortly afterwards. That should tell you that the new part merely slightly improved the available current in the system , where the voltage regulator temporarily didn’t detect the same lower value.

    Information on batteries can be found by searching “batteries” or Alesandro Volta [ hense the term "voltage".]

  351. Brian says:

    Any time an electronic testing unit is connected to a car’s electrical system , where the battery / it’s fluid / inner plates / terminal posts / cables / alternator & voltage regulator (which are NOT in good condition or running order) , can only show a code or diagnosis to where the current problem CAN be effectively changed. [NOT FIXED]. Test equipment usually states in it’s manual or operating information for troubleshooting the testing unit : “that tests rely upon a system which is functioning normally”. Otherwise , results may vary.

    Even in a case where you might test a battery , with a voltmeter , the voltmeter may read within 12 to 14.5 volts (at the battery itself) , even if the battery or it’s attached components are in very poor condition (with the engine running). Most times when a check engine light is out , and comes back on – it is when the car is driven , where both the engine load and rpm’s are increased to their upper regions “or normal use”. In that case , the battery is then in a different state of charge , the alternator & voltage regulator are both working at capacity (and being measured as such relatively by the charging or monitoring system) , where a fault or inadequate condition can be detected momentarily as a deep low or high spike [where the check engine light is then activated] , and designed to stay on. You can actually get a good reading from a voltmeter , while a battery is cracked , leaking , or even mostly dry , where you would think it was dead (while the engine is running). You are actually measuring the voltage regulator current – as it is connected to the battery. As related , you can also get a check engine light , if you were to attach very very poor conducting cables between the alternator/voltage regulator and the battery , where the electrical connection is essentially inadequate (while the engine is running). Again , you are measuring the voltage regulator current in conjunction with the battery (but the check engine light was triggered due to an inadequate measurement value by the voltage regulator and/or monitoring system). In essense , the voltage regulator has become the voltmeter and/or ammeter , that has a sensor contained within it to set off the check engine light as a warning signal in the dash.

  352. Obinna (Nigeria) says:

    I had a similar check engine warning with my 2002 Mazda 626. The car started dropping power and jerking. Fuel cap and everythings else checked out fine. I removed the battery terminals, opened the air cleaner housing and dusted the filament, put everything back on and started. Warning Gone! Guys may wish to try this out instead of expensive repairs

  353. K. Edward says:

    What are other possible problems related to O2 sensors? When I ran it through emissions, I was it told I had a sensor out. I changed them all out just to be safe and then reset the computer by holding my odometer trip reset button down and turning the key to run, and the light back on. No other code showed up when I reset the computer.

    -My tags are expired now and I got pullled over and the cop gave me two weeks to get it fix with out getting a ticket.

    -I would greatly appreciate any advice.

  354. daniel says:

    To K. Edwards: the problem I had with my o2 sensor was that the wires that connected the sensor to the engine were broken. So I would check the wires. Also make sure that all the sensors are plugged in all the way.

  355. Simeron says:

    Not sure about other states but here in Texas we have several places like Auto Zone or PepBoys that will check your car when a Check Engine light comes on for free (yes $0).

    They will tell you, often better then the dealer, what the reason the light is coming on is. They have the same code readers the dealers do.

    Now, they will NOT normally clear the light as they are not supposed to do it. But at least you will know if there is something wrong with your car.

    In my case, my first CE light on my 2007 Grand Marquis came less then 30 days after I bought it in May 2009…it was supposed to be under a 90 day no deductible warranty.

    They charged me $95 at the dealership where I bought it to turn the light off and told me they had no clue what the problem was…I was livid…especially because I could go to Auto Zone and get the same thing for free.

    They told me I couldn’t.

    It came back on within a week. I went to my local Auto Zone, got told the reason was a bad gas cap and spent $17.95 plus tax (under $20) to get a new one. They cleared the light for me after a little coaxing (because I was able to tell them I wanted to know if the new cap was good) and it didn’t come back on.

    I went back to the dealership and let the general manager know I was cancelling my extended warranty and would never use their service department again because of this. I also let the service manager know at the same time because he was also the one that wouldn’t honor their warranty.

  356. crystal says:

    my 1998 chrysler sebring keeps shutting off at a stop or when iam turning , what could this be pls help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  357. crystal says:

    the check engine light was on so i got it read at advance auto parts and they told me that it was my egr valve so i replaced it and now my car turns off byitself at stops or slowing down to a stop .. this is soo frusterating tryna figure out what it is

  358. Robbie Vaughn says:

    I was a technician for about 20 yrs. I tried to treat my customers like I wanted to be treated if I were in their shoes. As cars became more sophisticated they required diagnostic tools that I wasn’t willing to purchase just to keep my shop open. I will have to agree with some of the techs on here about the cheap diagnostic tools, however I have been in the same shoes as some of you lately. I bought a 2001 Ford Expedition that was having speedometer and transmission issues. I was told by several Ford dealerships different issues that would cause this problem. Nothing they told me was right. We are are being taken for a ride because they don’t know any more than we do. My advantage was my experience kept me from being ripped off tremendously. These shops know that they have an advantage over the people because we can’t prove otherwise. Not all shops are ripoffs but they all know they can charethese outrageous prices because otherwise we will either have to keep driving the vehicle until it quits or in states whe there is emissions testing you either pay or walk. I know from experience the overhead for running a shop and as far as prices some shops are rediculous, but we can’t blame them all when it is the cost of running the shop that makes everything seem so exspensive. The economy is more to blame than the shops themselves. Everything keeps going up except for our pay. Relating to one of the comments on here, people can’t help if they don’t make enough to afford to keep their automobiles up as they should. Not everyone is as fourtunate as others. I have been in their shoes so I know what it’s like. I don’t like to wish any bad luck on anyone, but the ones that feel like others need to walk or ride a bus because they can’t afford to fix thier car as soon as it breaks down need to have to be put in that position for a while. This is supposed to be America where everyone lokks out for each other but it has become everyone for themselves to hell with the rest. I may not ever be rich but thats okay at least I have people who respect me for treating them as if they are human.

  359. Clay Klohs says:

    Was it in some way saved or do I do retype the entire thing?

  360. Rick says:

    IMPORTANT, PLEASE READ – Safety related.

    This is a response to “Brian” (Posted May 28, 2011) who says that his experience is that battery, battery connections, ammeter or volt meters are the cause of check engine lights.

    He is badly mistaken and has suggested some very dangerous procedures. He obviously does not understand battery operation.

    First and formost, other than being a power supply, the battery and alternator are not part of most computer systems. The only exceptions are the systems that have an alternator voltage regulator as part of the ECM.
    The charging system does NOT have a sensor that triggers the Check Engine Light on most, if not all cars.Most cars have a Batt (battery) or Alt (alternator) light to make you aware of a charging system problem.

    Second, his assumptions about battery electrolyte is absolutely wrong. Always add ONLY distilled water. NEVER add new or used acid. Electrolyte (battery fluid/acid) is a mixture of distilled water and sulphuric acid. The acid concentration depends on the battery charge level. When the battery is dead or low, the acid concentration is low, as most of the acid has been used to transfer “sponge lead” from the negative to positive plates in the battery. If you add acid to a battery, you increase the designed concentration. Remember that a battery provides a storehouse of electrons ready to go to work when accessed. This is done by a chemical reaction and actually moves lead particles from one plate to another. As the battery is discharged, the chemical reaction reverses. The generator/alternator has the ability to reverse the process and “charge” the battery. A battery is worn out when this chemical process is depleted to a point that it can no longer be reversed. IT IS VERY DANGEROUS TO ADD ELECTROLYTE TO A USED BATTERY. THIS CAN CAUSE AN OVER CHEMICAL REACTION AND A RESULTING EXPLOSION. When a battery is being charged, hydrogen gas is created and is VERY explosive. Read the warning label on your battery. Brian is leading you down a very dangerous road.

    Now lets address his theory that the voltmeter/ammeter are the usual cause of Check Engine Lights. This is absolute nonsense. Anyone with any knowledge of basic computer operation knows that. A voltmeter is a device that measures “potential” and is not a flow through device. It is like an electrical “pressure guage”. Newer cars that have ammeters ( amp meters) do not directly measure current. They operate either on magnetic field strength or calculate current (electron flow) through voltage drop across a known resistor. Basic Ohm’s Law.

    In either case, the meters will not have any affect on the Check Engine Light. What turned his light out was disconnecting the battery, which clears all codes. If his car has a hard fault, the Check Engine Light will return.

    Once again, there is NO magic bullet that will work on every car every time. Those of you who think you know of one are just fooling yourself and others.

    I am a retired automotive instructor and shop owner. I taught auto tech for 15 years, and 15 years of automotive electronics, which included basic electronics/electricity, advanced electronics and most importantly, safety in the shop. Please do not follow Brian’s misplaced advice.

    Rick Nock, ASE Certified Auto Technician, ASE L1 Advanced Electronic Tech, Licensed vehicle emission control technician (State Certification) and Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering.

  361. saurabh says:

    i wanted to buy a volkwogan car having milage 184k. how much life is left for this car. mean how many miles more i can drive this. whether i can drive it on highway continously for 400m or not? please sugegst..

  362. MNCEL says:

    I have 2004 Honda CRV and 2006 Hyundai Elantra.
    About 3 months ago, around when my CRV hit 40,000 mi, CEL started to come on. The first a few times, opening/closing fuel cap fixed it, but it stayed on since. Funny thing is when my Elantra hit 40,000 mi. 1 month ago, the exactly same thing happened. Wow, what would be the statistical chance of this? So I have two cars with CEL on. Fortunately, I live in MN where inspection is not required. Also, both cars are running just fine and I don’t notice any performance drop, no change in Gas Mileage. (neither car had any issue whatsoever in the past) So I took time to research this issue and took some low-cost measures and maintenance work, which I have been doing diligently anyway. They are still on. This site gave me a couple of ideas and questions.
    1. I buy gas always at the same place. Could this be the cause? I guess I can test it easily by buying gas somewhere else.
    2. I had transmission oil flush for both cars (with oil change) at the same repair shop. Could this be the cause?
    3. Any maintenance work that might fix this? I don’t want to do any work just to fix CEL.
    4. I read countless blogs, websites, forum, etc. There are so many people who are complaining about inspection or CEL being an annoyance, etc. But I have not seen a single driver whose car engine blew up after CEL came on. I don’t want to say this is a scam, but are we overreacting to this CEL thing?

  363. Nik says:

    I have a 1996 Toyota Tacoma Truck, 4 cylinder 2.4L with 190,000 miles on it. My check engine light came on, I brought to a mechanic and plug to an anlyser on it. Replaced both oxygen sensors and the light was off for a week and came on again. Replaced the catalytic converter as being recomended and the light was off for a day. the light comes on when I put more gas on the pedal especially climbing on a hill. I reset the check engine light so many times already and still it say in the analyser ” Too Lean” what will I do now , please give advice. Thanks.

  364. mc0311bravo says:

    I love all these ASE master mechanics here that love to tell everybody here how complex these engines are and how you need to immeadiately go to a garage for a SES light. I’m a certified Honda marine mechanic, and a lot of the early Honda 70-120hp outboards shared many of the major powerhead components with the automotive engines. At a very basic level your engine (automotive, marine, bike, or lawnmower for that matter) only needs a few basic elements to funtion correctly. If your engine has proper fuel mixture, adequate even compression, correct spark/timing, and properly funtioning exhaust it will function correctly. If the fundamentals of your engine are good, you are just as likely to have a SES light triggered by a change in climate, altitude, fuel cap, or poor fuel as you are from something actually seriously wrong with your engine that you need to see your mechanic for. Ever notice that your SES light comes on when it is cold outside? Did you try drivring your car until the engine is up to temp then disconecting your battery for 15 minutes, reconnecting it, starting it up, and driving it? Did the SES light come on when your favorite gas station started selling you gas with ethanol? Had your car been sitting a while prior to the SES light coming on? When was the last time you changed your air cleaner or fuel filter? When you pulled a spark plug out of the engine what did it look like? Often times a few basic troubleshooting questions can point you in the right direction as easy as hooking it up to a scanner. As a Honda marine mechanic, I was more than happy to put on the biggest strapon I could find and rape customers for $80+ to hook their engine ECU up to my scanner. Often times the scanner just confirmed what I already had figured out by just taking a few minutes and talking with the owner, completing basic troubleshooting, running the engine, and observing the symptoms. Troubleshooting is still as much an inventigation, and root cause analysis as it is reading the codes from the ECU. What these ASE mechanics are not telling you is how many false error codes an engine sometimes generates. Sometimes the data the scanner provides the mechnaic is more confusing than helpful. Because they lack basic troubleshooting skills they are operating just as blind as most of the posters on this site looking for solutions.

  365. Torie says:

    Hi, my brother is giving me his 95 ford contour and we are having a few problems. First the engine revs high then low when idle and now the check oil light is if anyone can help id greatly appreciate it thanks -Torie

  366. Punzy says:

    Okay, I have a 2002 Jaguar S-type and for the last like 3 years (I’ve had the car 5 years) every couple months the check engine light will come on…..then it will shut off on it’s own….the Jag (which I got at a price I couldn’t refuse) is expensive to fix and due to my husbands recent stay in the hospital I went over my normal 3000 oil change (which I think may be triggering the light) the light has gone off twice by itself in the last few months, went off the other night, then came back on the next evening. I’m having an oil change done right now and of course they want to run the diagnosis on it but after it playing this game with me before I’m skeptical and hope that it will reset itself with the oil change. Anyone elses ever have this problem. Truthfully I am not disconnecting the battery or doing anything else that could reser the light, it just does it on its own. Plus the hospital now owns me and I can’t spend any money especially on something that has fixed itself before. Sorry if I confused anyone, I confuse myself.

  367. Debbie Collie says:

    we have a 1990 couger have replaced everything that the codes said — now when service light keeps comin on car runs bad and when it goes off car runs fine – HELP — it keeps going on and off

  368. Punzy says:

    Well, it went off, now it’s back on. I have enough to worry about then this crap. I had the same problem years ago with my 1985 Cougar. Stupid car manufactuers and their methods of scaring us.

  369. Nicholas G says:

    hi debbie i just read your post and from what i have picked up from work in the past few years is that your service reminder comes up when the car is supposedly due for a service and the manufacturer has purposely programmed the cars computer to adjust either your ignition timing or your fuel injection system to make the car run rough to make you think that the car may also have a problem which is usually not the case at all and they are doing this to get you to take your car to a dealer ship. what you can do is email me at [email protected] with the details of your car i will need to know the year make and model and engine size so that i can use the computer at work to get the instrucions for you to tell the computer the car has been serviced. this usually requires a sequence of pressing certain buttons on your dash board and usually you will hear a beep if not the light will just turn off with out the beep.
    kind regards Nicholas G

  370. Larry says:

    Hi..Just saying we don’t have to have and inspection in my State but my PT Cruiser light has been on for at least 8 years. I went to Auto-zone and the guy checked it and said I could just cut the wires to the Sensor and it would be fine. But since there is no inspection I just let it alone. So for no problem and nothing done to the Car except and oil change every once in a while for 10 years now. I changed the Air Filter once. But I get the oil changed at walmart every three thousand miles.

  371. Jeffrey says:

    …@ Larry..You do the right thing to decided not to cutting the wires to those sensors…Because each of all those sensors and relays on the car are, connect to others sensors and inputs-outputs of others parts on your car as well…And if you put to your car into the other states facility with emission inspection required, that tempering and all the bypassing will show up on their reports all the way to the Bulb Check for the people, who try to remove the Service Engine Soon light Bulb for show up on the status display at instrument dashboard…It also when ever the engine turn on, all those lights must come on and after you start and run the engine all the lights will be go out in 10 seconds..It one of the light still on, there you have forget to do something…Also it’s a Federal offense to do the tampering any kind of, sea, land or air you operated in the public…You don’t needed nothing to worry about your cars, the car makers and their parts are all fine, that service engine soon light are cause by the very little thing we forget to do, and it’s so embarrassing to tell everyone, what is causing and how very easy to fix the problems…
    ..Don’t forget the routine services like oil, oil filter, air filter, changed every six months..Front disc brakes at every 3 years…Battery at 8 years…Alternator, Power Steering, Air-conditioning belts at 8 years and other like spark plugs and wires,oxygen sensors…The most importing thing is the Battery, that keep the car in good shape all the times…And you have time, try take apart those car parts under the hoods and put it together back together and you will see, what needed to repair and replace by yourself..

  372. Adam says:

    i have a 2002 ford escort. i had the EGR valve replaced about 1-2 years ago. the “service engine soon” light keeps coming on and i keep going to advanced auto parts or auto zone to clear it. i had it inspected about 9 days ago and it failed. they told me my computer was reset and to drive it around for a little bit and bring it back. i drove it and did my running around and on my way home the computer must have came back on because the “service engine soon” light turned on again. how can i turn the light off so it will pass inspection when the reason why its on was fixed a year or so ago?

  373. Jeffrey says:

    …@ Adam…You have first to try the very simple steps to correct the service engine soon light, which was suppose to go off 10 seconds after you start and run the engine…If they fail to correct the service engine soon light by this simple corrections, then you can go on from there to more parts still needed to changed zone…
    1…You can take out all your air duct and parts leading to the throttle tank…That will look like old days car, which you remove the air cleaner / filter and you will see the carburetor and butterfly…And then you can turn the butterfly level, which is connect to your gas paddle to open the plate and check to see any dirt build up behind the plate and around the body inside…And clean all those dirt with carburetor cleaner with spray can, you can buy in store…And then start and run the engine to warm up the engine..and spray the cleaner little bit at a time to clean up more…The engine will stall or shut off by doing so…It OK, all the cars new or old happened like that… Restart the engine again and tighten the valve cover bolts, which are loose, although oil are not leaking…Don’t over tight those bolts, just to stop when it was little force to tight or 10lbs psi, forcing too tight will be strip the tread by these little bolts…You can check if it still need to tight another day…Don’t force anything because they will break apart very easy…And check all the vacuum lines pull out and crossed connect each other lines and familiar with your car like your toys…Then you know which parts will make run smooth, rough, slow, stall or shut off your engine…I will tell you more in next time after this…

  374. Gary B. says:

    Here’s how I turn off my check engine light. Every time I travel a specific stretch of highway, mine comes on. My mechanic checked it out and says there’s nothing wrong but that check engine light is set on. I went online and found the procedure for reading the Diagnostic Trouble Codes (I have a Corvette and they read out right on the dash so I am not sure about other makes of cars). After you read the code, you can hold in the reset button and it clears the code. Then you start the engine and the check engine light is out. Until I go down that stretch of highway again…..

  375. Jeffrey says:

    …@ Adam…After you familiar your car vacuum lines and check all those lines are tight and not cut or leaks, you are done 99% fixing your check engine light…There has 10 vacuum lines under front hood and 4 more lines on the back with fuel evaporator canister..Some back wheels drive has also vacuum lines on their transmission…These vacuum lines are so close to the very hot engine, they burn, brittle, crack and loose after 8 years…You have to replace with good lines, if you see defect in the lines and cover with oversize hose to protect the length of the line, which are touching with very hot engine parts…After you take off the air duct and clean the housing, make sure there has no cut open in the duct…And after you has clean the throttle body and plate with spay can, start the engine without air duct and always pull the hand parking brake on to prevent accidentally roll out by little uneven ground…The engine will run high 2300 revolutions per minute ( RPM ) without air duct and spray the throttle cleaning fluid little at a time to clean up the dirt build up inside the throttle also, little at a time to the all the vacuum lines…And used the strong vacuum from the lines connect to throttle body tank after butterfly plate and cross connect to all valve and solenoids, to make sure they are not struck position, which will cause the engine run uneven…Also, bypass the solenoid and direct connect strong vacuum line to fuel evaporator canister line to see they are working…If line are good you can hear the suction when you open the gas cap after you connect and run the engine 1 minute…These vacuum lines are suck up all vapor in gas tank in hot day to prevent vapor expand and explode in tight seal tank and suck all moist air in cold day to prevent to form water in the gas tank…And suck up all the pressure and exhaust waste from the engine crankcase to prevent dirty up the oil and engine..Otherwise newly change oil will be dilute with water and waste in short time…Your engine and gas tank always be in negative pressure positions to be ready for run perfect.. and right…You can take out the battery and the holding box to see more of the parts under with you have to look…Buy a can of rust protection and lubricant and spray all the rusting parts you can see, careful to not spray on all electrical parts…
    …2..You can check your check engine light systems working or not by, disconnect your fuel pressure regulator vacuum line to created the line is break up and cut by the long aged or other cause and operate the car for awhile and the light will come on and on board diagnostics will give oxygen sensor open circuit code..That is cause by strong vacuum is not present at the time car idling at stop light and some fuel are suppose to return from the fuel rail line to gas tank, if strong vacuum line is connect and pull open against the regulator spring..So outside air are suck it in and all correct programs of mixing and burning fuel and air ratio are getting wrong and the check engine light and the code are show up in the test..So you found the problems and correct the systems and needed to erase the check engine light…So after you clean and reconnect all the line and put back the air duct and start the engine and tight all those loose engine valve cover bolts, the ( RPM ) will, 1000 when it start at park, and then to 750 after you put gear and warm up, after you drive around awhile there will be 600 when you have idling…And then time for the state inspection…After fill up the gas tank back to house, unhook the battery negative post first and then positive for 3 hours..And then reconnect back the battery positive post first and negative post last…Start the engine and the light will be out..And drive the car in the town stop and go for 10 miles and went to highway for 20 miles, the engine has to relearn the way it is set by the car, it has to run at least 5 miles at 60 miles per hour…So you run 30 miles each way and total 60 miles, that cost 1/4 of the gas tank..Back again and rest for the car 3 hours, start again and the light will be out, repeat the same another 60 miles driving again..If I were you I will driving at Saturday morning, when the highway was clear…After second run you have used up 1/2 of the tank…And next day you will do the same thing again.. Sunday you start the engine and the check engine light still not come on, you run the 60 miles again and rest for 3 hours again, your gas tank used up 3/4 of fuel in the tank…After the rest you start the engine and the light still not come on till you enter the highway, the light come on, now you know that was cause by the very simple, that car gas tank need to fill after gas tank was 3/4 full…

  376. Jeffrey says:

    …@ Adam…If you driving your car 3/4 below the gas tank before filling up the gas tank to full like many people do, the check engine light will show up very soon…So, the check engine light come on after your gas tank has used up 3/4 of gas and you drive another 60 miles to test the light will go off by self…As I suspect, the low fuel level was causing this check engine light to show up, if all other problems were fix and the car was running very well…So, when you fill up with this time, try highest 97 octane and back to your house, open the hood, check the throttle body long cable that go into your driver foot gas pedal, that becoming loose after 8 years of pressing with your foot…At the throttle body there was a holding bracket for that cable, you can tighten that cable by moving that holding bracket, just to get the fast engine response by the engine, when you press the gas pedal, not try to force get too tight that cable.. Start Friday night with all your battery cable unhook and leave it to Saturday morning, at morning reconnect positive first and negative last..And car key to on and check the all lights on the dash that show all the warning lights and all will be clear within 1 minute, except, battery charging system and oil pressure sensor light, they will go off in a second, when you start the engine, if they are good…If you forget to release the hand parking brake, the light will still on to warn you…All the lights are off and you have to reset the engine by running another 60 miles on and off at highway again and went to the state inspection station and give the paper with what you did to fix the problems and the cost of the bills,,, And the emission will be pass this time and they will erase the code for you with their test computer…

  377. Jeffrey says:

    ..@ Gary B…Are you trying out the 2012 Vett yet ?

  378. RICK says:

    I have a 1994 Ford Probe 4 Cylinder, Well this morning i got gas.. Got about 5 miles down the road, and turned onto another and the Fuel Cut off light came on.. seconds later the check engine light came on.. THE CAR DIDNT STALL… i made it to work which was about 12 more miles and made it just fine.. Was wondering what i can do, i hear there is a cut off switch in trunk but i cannot find it,Please help?

  379. RICK says:

    Ok Nevermind all.. i think i just figured out to the problem… further inestigation revealed that I have a broken Alternator belt.. would that cause the fuel cut off light to come on?

  380. jj says:

    If ur light just turned on it means their is something wrong.i recomend geting it checked it could be a $20 gas cap. And if emissions testing is around the corner just buy a scanner tool at autozone ($40) plug it in read code,erase code, pass emissions then get it repaired and you may even return the scanner its that simple!

  381. Jeffrey says:

    …@ RICK…Every 8 years and in summer times, it is good to replace all belts, which they becoming cracks along ribs and some time giving noise before broken from long aged …Alternator is supplying electricity the car needed while car is operating and fully recharged car battery after it is draining power, when ever the car is start…After the belt broke, your car is running on power supply from the battery, instead power supply from alternator, it is design to do so…If I am you, I will check my battery if it drain too much power and heat, that will causing battery fluid to very low level by operating without alternator supplying all the current needed by those systems…You did still drive 12 miles after your fuel cutoff warning light is come on and after that check engine light come on, and the car didn’t stall….To do so is very dangerous and Ford has warning, the fuel will spill at where the cutoff switch is locate after car is operate, while the switch is on…That switch is design to auto shutoff the fuel systems, when the car get bad accident and the fuel has spill by the fuel pump still pumping and prevent it from the car get caught fire…All Ford car has that fuel cutoff switch in different car with different location…In your car is in the back of the car inside the spare tire is store…As alternator is supplying all the car electricity systems, from battery to radiator fan motor, anti-lock braking system, ignition switch, power window control, front fog light, horn, engine control, air conditioning, condenser motor, alternator, hazard warning flasher, automatic transaxle, fuel pump, head light high beam right,left, low beam right, left, tail light right, left, dome light. radio, daytime running light, Ignition coil, gauge, backup light, cruise control, relay, door mirror heater, windshield wiper, another engine control, cigarette lighter, outside rear-view mirrors, another engine control, another radio, rear window wiper, power door locks, rear fog light, another dome, heater, and rear window defogger and other added on systems, all those systems combined need is total more than 700 amps and the car used only some of the systems at most of the times…So, the alternator belt broke, supply to all those systems has cut off and fuel cut off light and check engine light has come on…New belt will be cost $ 25 and after you put the new belt, check battery charging system…The alternator belt don’t need too tight, only tight enough to prevent flapping and slip out from the pulley…If too tight the alternator bearing will be don’t last long…Alternator will output .05 amp,even spin with your fingers to the pulley…If battery charging systems is no good, the belt is no good, the battery is no good, the car will be stall when turn the car at the corner on the 15 miles trip at 8pm at night on the very cold day at winter to your friends house…In hot summer time, the engine will shut off by self, if detect the battery is not charging and prevent it from other systems to damage and caught fire..Alternator to battery is charging right, it will fully recharge the battery and supply the all other systems needed…12 volt for the battery and between 13 and 14 volts, when all the systems loads test…It will not charge more than 100 amps to the battery positive post and if the positive post 100 amps is melt, it will show that alternator to positive post is ground and it open…

  382. Kim says:

    My check engine light is still on! I have had work on it. All the codes are off that are emissio related..But light is still on . Sensor was replaced. EGR valve cleaned. went over 100 miles.. but its still on.. But because the light is on .it is an automatic fail..aaarrrgggghh!!. Aggravating I have a99 honda accord.. any suggestions.. I need this car passable..!!!!!!!!!

  383. Kay says:


    I drive a 1999 Toyota Corolla VE. 135K miles and no previous problems. The check engine light comes on this morning. I just took off the gas cap and put it back on, thinking that I hadn’t put in on tight last time I got gas. Light is still on, but I only drove it around the block. My oil is scheduled for a change in a couple of weeks and I’m not noticing any other problems. I did get a new air filter, but that was almost 3 months ago. Any suggestions?

  384. Kay says:

    Just went to AutoZone and got a code of P0446: evaporative emission control system vent control circuit fault. Said the the causes could be: open/short circuit condition, poor electrical connection, or faulty CCV vent control solenoid. Any tips on what to do before I fork over my money?

  385. mickey says:

    i have a 2002 pathfinder and when you are driving it at a set speed (like 110km. hr) the car starts to jerk back and forth. when you give it gas and the vehicle speeds up and the problem is gone. this problen happens at different speeds (like 65km / 90km and more set speeds) this happens with regular driving and also when the cruise in engaged. Anybody got an answer for this problem? 6 cylinder engine.

  386. Mark says:

    I have a 1993 ‘vette and had my battery replaced 2 years ago (went with no inspection). I finally got it done for $100 bucks in private garage. The inspection expires again in Dec. of this year = another $100. What a bunch of crap, it’s not like unemployment will help. Also have brain cancer to add to my fun. Son says its a ‘small’ v8 but I doubt that, it’s a rocket. Once had a Volvo that had the 30,000 light go on, just when we planned to sell. Went on a forum, & had to do a bunch of stuff in order, turn on, turn off, wipers on & off 3 times, tap brakes, etc. It worked! The light went off, never came back on! I was hoping same would happen here, guess not. ALSO: had my wifes ’99 Trans Am (35k miles) got a new battery, her light now says “air bag not functioning” on drivers side. Come’on!

  387. Elizabeth Pastore says:

    Wow first off many of you are speaking of the service vehicle light not the check engine light two totally different lights. the service vehicle light your owners manual will tell you how to reset it. Your check engine light is NOT a intermittent light that goes off for just any reason. There is a problem if you check engine light comes on, this is not a cylinder misfire on start up. If your car is misfiring at anytime there is a problem. A problem that can be anything from a spark plug, to timing, to a head gasket. No way of knowing without running the necessary test first. Some times working on cars is a process of elimination like it or not. Unless you know something about cars don’t try to be a mechanic, if you can’t be a mechanic don’t put one down.

  388. Carlos says:

    I drive a 2004 Dodge Intrepid. 180K miles and no previous problems. The check engine light comes on this morning. Is this an easy fix?

  389. Carlos says:

    I have a 2004 Dodge Intrepid. 180K miles and no previous problems. The check engine light comes on this morning. Is this an easy fix?

  390. Dave says:

    I was able to find the driving sequence to reset the codes ‘naturally’ for my infiniti i30 2001. Basically say you left your gass cap loose and the check enginie light comes on. If you need an inspection or want to sell the car – you tighten the cap and follow an exact driving sequence to have the codes reset on their own. If there is no problem the light will go off and you will pass inspection. If you reset the codes by any other way you will fail the inspection. The manufacturers do not always post the driving sequence – so you really have to dig around to find it.

  391. Mark123 says:

    Heres a great one… I have a 2006 Suzuki Grand Vitara… The CEL light came on… At the next light, my cruise control stopped working… Later that day, I stopped at an auto parts store and had the code cleared ( o2 failure)… Got on the highway and the cruise control was now working fine…. Apparently, the sneaky software engineers at Suzuki disable the cruise control whenever the CEL light comes on in an attempt to force you to take the car back to the dealer!! What’s next?? Disable the fuel pump when the CEL light comes on and strand you?? This is my 1st and LAST Suzuki vehicle, for that reason alone!!

  392. TheTruth says:

    The reason the light comes back on in you vehicles (2001-newer) is because the ECM/ECU is a dual drive, just like your home CPU. Clearing the code is simply eliminating it from “hard drive C,” the hard drive which holds all the programs in you cpu; “hard drive D,” which holds everything for back-up purposes holds the code thrown in it. When you have Autozone or Napa (who shouldn’t be erasing codes for liability reasons) or even a “mechanic,” you’re only having C drive cleared while the problem is held in the D drive still. No, disconnecting a battery for 5 minutes to 5 hours will not reset the code and unfortunately on most vehicles today you MST have them reset properly by a dealership specific (Nissan, Volvo, Honda, ect…) system. Most of the mechanics only have the ability to reset GM, Ford, and Chevy because the programs are a lot cheaper because they are domestic.

    This is not the mechanics fault, it’s technology’s; place the blame properly. However, by disconnecting the battery (hot & ground) removing the ECM/ECU relay(s) (some vehicles have 2) then turning the key to start for 30 seconds and turning it back off, now repeat but leave in start position for 60 seconds to 1 hour (depending on the make of the car/truck. shut the key off, replace the relay(s), re-connect the battery and start ‘er up. This process depleats the backup battery in the ECM/ECU and cause it to reset/reprogram itself when the vehicle is reconnected to the battery. I DO NOT RECCOMEND THIS BE DONE BY SOMEONE WHO “KNOWS A LITTLE” ABOUT CARS, BUT SOMEONE WITH MUCH EXPERIENCE!!!!

    Give it a shot and by the way, GM and Chevy take an hour.

  393. Dave says:

    Got a 2000 police interceptor, damn check engine light is on, i have used a snap on Modis to check freeze frame and mode 06 data, its a p0304 code so cyl 4 has a random misfire, thing is, i just replaced ALL the plugs, C.O.P.’s, and sea foamed the engine. Cleaned and reconnected the harness connectors at the coils as well.

    WTF is going on with my car?

    its almost always in 4th gear cruising above 55 mph at anywhere in between 30 to 69% engine load.

    This is driving me nuts. even put a piece of tape over the damn light but at night i can still see it flashing!!! AAAARG.

    Anyone have any ideas? Even swapping for known good parts hasnt helped either.

  394. Shari Moore says:

    Take the fuse out under the dash for the check engine light and put it back in should turn it off. It should be in your owners manual which fuse it is. MY check engine light goes on if the gas cap isn’t tightened enough after I get gas put in my car..

  395. Tom Carney says:

    Many professionals have replied with effectively, “We are who you are to see about this stuff. It’s our living. Don’t quibble or try to bargain with us. Lay your money down or walk!” In this year of 2012, these On Board Diagnostic systems are old tech and they number in the millions. The idea of a system that hides reasonable data from a user (the car’s owner) in a machine (the car) that nowadays has an onboard computer system can manage MP3, video mirrors, tire pressure readers, GPS equipment, heat and cooling and the like is absolutely laughable except that it is really fraud. This venal state of affairs is designed to keep the poor schlep who buys a car at the mercy of some third party. The output from these old tech boxes should, can and must be useful to anyone daring to charge the public for repairs. No auto tech who claims that what the OBD presents is ambiguous should be licensed. The same data should be useful information for any high school grad. The data should be presented in vernacular, not codes. It should be compatible with PCs and thecar manufacturers and.or the repair industry should provide sites to help the consumer manage this data. Better diagnostics than this code babble were written by the undersigned so long ago that Nixon was president. None of the pieces in this automobile system are new.

  396. Joecam says:

    I went to the same garage for 30 years, they were honest, anyway new people took over………I went for an inspection, with only 12000 miles on the car and they showed my brake drum all rotten and rusted, I had it checked by the old owners a couple of months earlier and they were fine……….I didn’t figure it out till I got home that they changed my brake drum for an old rusty one, so anyway after a month my engine light came on and I always thought he messed with my engine because when he brought it back to me the hood was partially open, what could he have done to my engine to cause the engine light to come on after a month, does anybody have an idea? Thanx. Joe

  397. datheca says:

    my guess is most ‘check engine’ issues are due to (a) a lack of proper maintenance, or (b) a ‘do it yourselfer’ or poorly trained mechanic monkeying around with the vehicle, not knowing how to fix it right & screwing things up, or (c) the vehicle is just showing its age & parts are wearing out or are rusting out. getting rid of a warning light does not undo a problem it merely hides it. I would however say this, the ‘check engine’ system should be more informative to the consumer. warnings should differentiate between major and minor & be more specific. the simplistic warning light which covers a multitude of problems major or minor is not acceptable but what can you do the government & the auto makers control the industry. I can well believe there is the good the bad & the ugly out there when it comes to paying to get your auto fixed to get rid of the ‘nag’. my best advice is #1 avoid buying someone else’s problems, #2 learn as much as you can about your auto so you at least understand the basics of good maintenance, #3 find yourself an honest mechanic who won’t pick your pocket. – regards, D.

  398. jason carter says:

    why all the inspections? is it a state thing? never heard of it……..

  399. Elizabeth says:

    I drive a Chevy cobalt 2005 ls. I changed the engine air filter and I disconnected the sensor first then reconnected and now my check engine light is on. Is their a reset button for Chevy cobalts? Thanks!

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