Check Engine Lights

You’re driving along and suddenly your Check Engine Light comes on. What is it? What does it mean?

Check Engine Light, Check Engine Soon Light, Service Engine Soon Light, Engine Light, Engine Management Light, whatever you want to call it, simply means that your vehicle’s computer system has detected a problem.

Depending on the year, make, and model, it may be related to the engine, the transmission, even the brakes and suspension. There are literally hundreds of reasons a Check Engine Light may appear.

The following question and answer discussion will help clarify check engine lights…

Service Engine Soon Light FAQ

Can the car be driven?

The general rule is this: if the Service Engine Soon Light is on, and the car seems to be running okay, you can drive it. However, you should have it checked at your earliest convenience. If your vehicle is running poorly—bucking, stalling, hesitating, or you just don’t feel safe, tow it. When in doubt always tow it!

The check engine light went out by itself. Is it okay now?

Probably not. Check Engine Lights often come and go. Even if the light is out, your vehicle’s computer system may retain information that will allow the problem to be diagnosed by a technician. To avoid potential long term issues, get it checked out.

My check engine light stays on. What should I do?

If your check engine light stays on constantly, follow the instructions above, under “Can the car be driven?”

Can I disconnect the battery, or pull a fuse to reset the service engine soon light?

Maybe, but it’s not recommended. Removing the battery cable or an ECM or PCM fuse may clear the code, but it is not universally recommended in the industry. Most manufacturers advise against it. It can also thwart attempts to properly diagnose the original cause of the CE light.

What is the Check Engine Light?

The Check Engine Light is a warning light for multiple systems operating in your vehicle. In simplest terms, it’s like an engine management warning light to alert you of a problem. Just like your computer pops up with an “error message window” saying that something’s wrong, your service engine soon light pops up to warn you that it has detected a malfunction: mechanical, technical, software, or otherwise.

How to Reset Check Engine Light?

This is a great question! See the guide below….

Resetting Check Engine Light

First, if your Check Engine Light is on, it’s on for a reason. The Check Engine Light indicates that your vehicle’s on-board computers have stored a fault code. There are hundreds of fault codes, any one or more could be stored in your computer’s memory. Fault codes are critical for accurate diagnoses of the problem.

Sometimes the fault code points directly to a faulty component, allowing for a quick and easy diagnoses. Other times, the code may only indicate a problem circuit and thus more in-depth diagnostic procedures may be required.

By resetting the Service Engine Soon Light, it erases important fault code data that turned the check engine light on in the first place .Without this critical information, the root problem can be difficult discern.

There is no universally accepted way to safely turn off a check engine light. Even if there was, if the root problem is not addressed, it will come back on. Whether it’s a Chevrolet. Toyota Camry, or Chrysler, they each require individual procedures to diagnose, repair, and reset the check engine light code.

Following is a safe and free way for resetting check engine light codes…

Best Way to Reset Check Engine Light Codes

If you’re not interested in diagnosing your car, truck, or SUV Check Engine Light, or it’s already fixed, and you just want the engine light out, visit any local repair shop.

Most shops will have a universal Check Engine Light Code Reader that can quickly and safely reset check engine light trouble codes. It should take about 30 seconds.


European models are better off with a specialist. See: Volkswagen Reset Engine Service Light. Some vehicles may require more time. Certain repair shops may be unwilling to just reset the check engine light due to liability. Though frustrating, respect their decision.

Here’s what to do…

Politely ask your local service center if they could reset the check engine light with a Check Engine Light Code Reader. They may protest, arguing that the problem must first be diagnosed.

Tell the service representative that you understand fully, and that you appreciate their professionalism, but that you would just like to try resetting the Service Engine Soon Light, and if it comes on again, you’ll come back for a full diagnosis.

Be genuine. Mechanics respond positively to sincerity. If the service center wants to charge you just to reset your Service Engine Light, try another facility.

Alternatively, you can visit a parts stores such as Napa or AutoZone. They will reset your check engine light at no charge. However, be aware that a parts representative will be performing this procedure. Parts representatives are not technicians. Be wary of recommendations to try this or that part. Avoid “guesses” whenever possible, and never just replace a part in the hopes that it will fix the problem.

To learn more, visit us at how to save money on car repairs

We hope this helps!

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