Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Check Engine Light Codes BASICS

Understanding your “check engine light codes” in your dash panel is the easiest way to begin troubleshooting your vehicle problem. These diagnostic trouble codes show up in your dash panel for a purpose: to lead you to the defective sensor or circuit causing your vehicle problem. Once you get the codes, you are on your way in fixing the check engine light in your dash.

Check engine light codes:

The first strategy in getting your vehicle fixed is to find the check engine light codes or diagnostic trouble codes showing at your dash panel. Once you know how it is done, you still have to know how to reset the code for testing. It is also called “reset check engine light”. However, before you can do all of these, you need to check the engine troubleshooting basics as shown below.

Start with the Basics!

Before attempting to troubleshoot your check engine light codes, make sure you cover these basic checks like:
When is the last tune up done? All fluid levels OK?
Visual checks like all vacuum hoses connected? Electrical wires plugged in? Ground wires cleaned and tight?
Brief history like what work done on it lately? Any parts changed? Any change after the repair? (Usually when a repair is done and a bad changed happened, it means something wrong was done during the repair).
Once the above are checked and verified, you are now ready to check the diagnostic trouble codes in you dash panel.

Quick Computer Check in less than 1 minute!

This can be used for most car or trucks if you want to know if you have any engine computer/sensor malfunctions. Turn ignition key on without starting and note the “check engine light” coming on in the dash panel. Once you got it started, that same light should go out in seconds. If the light stays on or did not come at all, then either your computer/sensor or wirings are defective. Once you established this, you can begin tracking the code.

Tracking your diagnostic trouble codes

There are 2 diagnostic systems available depending on the model of your vehicle. For domestic vehicles, between 1983-1995, OBD1 is used and OBD2 is used from 1996 up to the present. For imported vehicles, OBD1 is good only up to 1993 and OBD2 starts in 1994 up to the present. The good news is: OBD1 can usually be done yourself whereas you need a scanner for OBD2 codes.


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