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Check Engine Light On?


The following articles can help you figure out why your Check Engine Light is on:

typical check engine lights

If your Check Engine light is on, it means your vehicle has experienced some type of emissions-related problem. It might be a minor issue or it might be a more serious issue. The only way to know is to connect a scan tool to your vehicle's diagnostic connector to read out the Fault Codes that have turned on the Check Engine light. Once the codes are known, the next step is to proceed with additional diagnostics to nail down what exactly is causing the problem. A code by itself will NOT tell you which part or parts need to be replaced. For more information on diagnosting Check Engine light problems, see the articles below.

A couple of things to keep in mind when pulling codes from a vehicle. Number one is write down the codes. Number two is do NOT erase the codes until you have written them down and performed any additional diagnostics that may be required to identify the problem. If you erase the codes with a scan tool, they will likely return and turn on the Check Engine light again if the original problem has not been corrected.

Also, erasing codes when a problem is still present will NOT allow you to pass an OBD II plug-in emissions check. The reason why is because all OBD system self-monitors have to run and complete WITHOUT resetting any codes before your vehicle can pass an emissions check.

One of the most common causes of a Check Engine light is a loose or missing gas cap. If your Check Engine light came on a day or two after filling your gas tank, check the cap to see if it is tight or missing. If the cap is loose, retightening the cap should cause the light to go out after several successive drive trips or within a day or two. For more information on this type of code, see Loose Gas Caps.

Try This Product:

Larry's Check Engine Light Diagnostic Guide
(PDF ebook)

Check Engine Light, Diagnostic Trouble Code & Scan Tool Articles:

Common Trouble Codes and their Causes

Check Engine Light OnBoard Diagnostics

Trouble Code Diagnostic Help for Types of Codes


More on Check Engine Lights & Fault Code Diagnostics

Ford P0171 & P0174 Lean Codes

Other Warning Lights (TEMP, OIL, ALT/GEN, BRAKES, ABS, AIR BAGS, etc.)

Scan Tool Diagnostics

Scan Tool Help

Scan Tool Companion software (available as a download or on a CD)

Decoding Onboard Diagnostics

Understanding OBD II Driveability & Emissions Problems

Zeroing in on OBD II Diagnostics

Controller Area Network (CAN) Diagnostics

Troubleshooting Intermittent Engine Problems

Troubleshooting Engine Problems wtih Temperature

More On Investigating Intermittent Engine Stalling Problems

OBD II Diagnostic Tips

Mode 06 Onboard Diagnostics

Help with DTC P0300 Random Misfire Codes

Troubleshooting a P0420 Catalyst Fault Code

Diagnostic Help Software:

scan tool companion information

Scan Tool Companion diagnostic software Scan Tool Companion

Sensor Guide diagnostic training software Sensor Guide software

OBD II Guide diagnostic training software Onboard Diagnostics (OBD2)Guide software

Emission Guide training software Emission Guide software

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Scan Tool Help