Every car is outfitted with electrical tools and functionalities that make sure proper functioning of end to end systems of the car. “Check engine light” flashing is one such signal that prompts you when there is a glitch, major or minor, in your car and calls for your immediate attention.
Whenever this “Check Engine Light” turns on, many of us who are not aware of the know-how of automotive technologies follow the stereotyped method and reach for the mechanic to diagnose it. Just imagine if you could get to know the secret to dealing it all by yourself effortlessly, you could save a handsome amount of dollars!
Also known as the “Malfunction Indicator Lamp”, this light turns on indicating a defect in the car, can be attended by taking your own time. Unlike its name, it does not necessarily mean something is wrong with your engine. The reason behind could be as trivial as loosening of fuel cap or as critical as malfunctioning of catalytic converter.
Listed below are few simple, tried and true pointers to get rid of this problem without much ado. It’s okay for not being an expert in the automobile sciences, just a little knowledge will suffice for completing this task.
1) Get an OBD Scanner or Reader
For those who do not have technical knowledge about vehicles’ computerized system, OBD (On Boards Diagnostic) Scanner is a device that automatically receives signals from erroneous parts of the car and displays the code which explains the exact issue in detail.
In other words, when the OBD scanner/reader is switched on, it generates one or more five-character trouble codes that guide you regarding which part is facing the issue.
The OBD Scanner is easily available in the automobile store or you can order it online from Amazon and is very affordable. It might cost around 50$-60$ which is far more affordable than calling a mechanic every time this issue pops up.
2) Find your code on OBD Scanner
Right underneath your steering wheel is a connector box where you can fix the OBD reader. This is called the OBD Connector.
Switch off your car engine prior to switching on the OBD scanner for safety reasons. Turn ‘on’ your ignition switch and press “Read” button on the scan tool.
The device gives a list of codes, which you can use to figure out and potentially resolve the problem. You can proceed further by trying every code. But before that, you need to understand what the code explains.
3) Google the code and understand what it means
Every Trouble Code that the OBD Scanner generates has a specific criteria being followed in order to decipher its meaning. Refer the table below to get an idea of the structure of an OBD Diagnostic Trouble Code.
In this era of internet and World Wide Web, information regarding anything on this earth is just a few clicks away. You can effortlessly find out where the malfunction has occurred by typing the code in Google.
If you are still unsatisfied with the results, there are forums where you can seek expert guidance to resolve the issue. There you go!
Just relax and patiently try to interpret the online chalk talk regarding the issue. You can include the car model and brand to further enhance your search relevant to the Trouble Codes.
4) Diagnose the malfunction
Now, you have the Trouble Code generated along with the explanation and step by step guidelines to diagnose it. Our next pointer is trial and error method.
If you are skeptical about doing this on your own, you can ask somebody who has experience in handling vehicle spare parts. Don’t panic, generally you yourself can do it easily.
Many a times, the code indicates replacement of certain spare parts of the car. If you are able to replace that part with a new one Voila! You will succeed in the diagnosis mechanism. By keeping the car’s user manual handy and also referring the online instructions this step is as easy as ABC.
5) Erase the code and reset the scanner
You may wonder why is the Check Engine Light still “ON” or continues to flash, even after the resolving the issue? We need to completely reset the OBD Scanner to tell the computer that we have diagnosed the malfunction.
This is rather simple. Hook the OBD scanner back to its connector and press and hold the “Erase” button. Resetting the scanner indicates that there are no more faulty parts in the car and by now the “Check Engine Light” is turned “OFF” automatically.
Resetting the Check Engine Light needs no technical knowledge and expertise. Next time you see this light “ON”; don’t hesitate to buy an inexpensive OBD Scanner tool. With this tool,
- You can avoid the expenses of taking your car to the mechanic.
- Any future spare part malfunction issues can be handled on your own.
- Saves time and effort to a great extent.
A quick run-through of this post,
- Plug in the OBD Reader
- Get the Trouble Code
- Search online to understand the code
- Follow the instructions
- Fix the issue and erase the codes from the Reader
- Reset the OBD Reader
You would never have thought that fixing the Check Engine Light in your car could be easier than these simple step by step instructions. Happy Driving!