How To Reset Check Engine Light (4 Easy Ways)

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how to reset check engine light

Vehicles have a plethora of electronic systems. The On-Board Diagnostics System (OBD System) is one of your car’s systems. This system is in charge of alerting you about a vehicle’s underlying faults. Several system alerts involve the check engine light, which illuminates when an internal electrical or mechanical issue occurs. It’ll either be lit steady or flashing.

Steady lighting suggests minor concerns that could be resolved inexpensively; however, a flashing check engine light warns about serious engine problems that might result in considerable damage. Once you’ve determined the problem and the check engine light disappears, the system will require your assistance in notifying it that the issue has been resolved.

Whenever the check engine light isn’t disabled, you’ll be unable to pass a safety inspection. Additionally, you’ll be unable to discover any new problems with your internal system, which may result in significant harm to your vehicle.

We’ll demonstrate the approaches in this article to assist you how to reset the check engine light with a few pros and cons attributes for each process. Before attempting any of the following solutions, ensure that you have fixed the underlying cause of your check engine light.

Check Your Gas Cap

It appears almost too basic, but the very first issue you want to examine is the easiest thing. Occasionally, a loose gas cap may illuminate your check engine light. Thus, before you worry about how to reset the check engine light, unscrew the gas cap and reinstall it firmly. If a loose gas cap causes your engine light, it should switch off after driving a few miles.

Ways To Reset the Check Engine Light

It’s crucial to ensure that the engine light is not on since your engine may still suffer a problem. To turn off the warning light, try one or all of the following methods. If it doesn’t turn off, your engine has an issue. It’s also essential to make a vehicle close search and look for visible engine damage to save your time doing a reset and enable you to contact a mechanic immediately.

Drive, The Check Engine Light Will Go Away By Itself

Several of the car’s internal computer system problems may be resolved simply by running the vehicle. The most straightforward and most basic approach to turning off your engine light is merely to drive the car for a short time; the light will automatically shut off.

After a few days (usually three), your check engine light should be deactivated. If, however, your check engine light doesn’t go away, this suggests that either the initial problem wasn’t resolved or that there’s another problem that requires your attention.

Remember, if your check engine light is blinking, you must quickly bring your automobile to a skilled technician.


  • The simplest method is just to drive the automobile to turn off the check engine light.


  • Your check engine light may remain on.
  • It’s a lengthy process. Your check engine light may remain on for a couple of days. Throughout this period, more difficulties could occur. You’ll lack reliable info regarding whatever the check engine light is alerting you: is it a serious condition that requires prompt attention? Or is this a recurrence of an earlier issue, and you just have to wait for it to resolve itself?
  • You might run the automobile without realizing it and create significant internal difficulties.

Apply The “Restart The Car” Approach

Another easy way to reset a check engine light is to switch the vehicle on and off at least three times. Turn on the automobile for about a second, then switch it off and wait for another brief moment. Perform this procedure 3 times more.

Once you’ve switched on/off your vehicle three times, your check engine light must go off by itself. Whenever this approach doesn’t work and the check engine light remains, continue down this list to find if some of the others will work.

Otherwise, it would be best to take the automobile to a competent technician to rule out any further internal system concerns.


  • Resetting the check engine light with the “restart the vehicle” strategy is one of the simplest options.


  • Your check engine light may remain on.

ECM Hard Reset Approach

The Engine Control Module (ECM) hard reset procedure requires you to unplug your car’s battery. It’ll require a wrench to reset your check engine light manually. The below methods should be followed:

  1. Lift the hood of the vehicle.
  2. Disconnect the negative terminal or the negative connector (the one with a black cap) from your car battery using a wrench.
  3. Remove any lingering voltage (switch on the lights until it’s gone, press your horn for a few secs)
  4. Whenever the battery is completely detached, wait for about a minute and switch the vehicle on/off 3 times.
  5. This should clear the internal memory of the emission and warning data.
  6. Allow 10-15 minutes to pass.
  7. Reconnect the negative cable on the negative terminal of your battery.
  8. Assure that you’re wearing safety glasses and the battery cable is securely attached to prevent sparking.
  9. Close the hood gently and start the car.
  10. After a few moments, your check engine light should go out.

The effectiveness of this procedure varies depending on the year, make, and model of the vehicle. Certain automobiles’ ECMs are not voltage-dependent.

As with the preceding procedures, you should consider the most recent technologies whenever the check engine light does not go off. If it also fails, you will almost certainly need to bring the vehicle to a technician.


  • If you own a handful of wrenches, you could effectively reset the check engine light absolutely free.


  • You may also reset the radio, seat memory, or clock by utilizing the “ECM hard reset” procedure to reset the check engine light.
  • It requires time to complete (around 15-20 mins)
  • It may involve some effort, particularly if you cannot easily reach the car battery.
  • You may have to access the engine bay and get a bit dirty. It’s stressful in extremely cold or scorching weather.

Utilize An OBD Scanner

The last and undoubtedly effective approach is to reset the check engine light using an OBD scanner. This procedure requires the use of an OBD scanning instrument. You may purchase one or borrow one from a buddy or hire a technician.

The cost of an OBD scanner varies based on its sophistication and the degree of data it offers. It may go from around $20 to a few thousand bucks. Below are the steps on how to use the OBD scanner.

  1. Locate the car’s OBD port; the port must be located above the left floorboard, under the dashboard.
  2. After you locate the OBD port, connect your scanner.
  3. After properly connecting the scanner to the port, hit enter on the OBD scanner’s screen.
  4. Depending on the kind of scanner, you might be required to input extra vehicle-related data (make and model, or year)
  5. The OBD scanner should begin scanning the car for any error codes.
  6. When the scanning procedure is complete, the OBD scanner’s monitor will show a series of trouble codes. However, relying on the kind of scanner used, further data may be presented (the sort of problem, the car component inflicting the issue, the cost of components, and where to get replacement parts).
  7. The amount of information in the scanning procedure will assist you in determining whether or not to purchase a more advanced OBD scanner. Unless you desire to learn more about the sources of the issue, how to repair it, and the projected cost, you’ll need a more sophisticated OBD scanner. But, if you intend to operate the OBD scanner just to reset your check engine light and do other minor chores, you may be able to borrow one.
  8. It is critical to keep track of the codes on the OBD screen. If these approaches for resetting the engine warning light don’t succeed, the list of fault codes might assist the technician in determining the source of the issue. Additionally, keeping a list of codes might help you detect any efforts by the technician to bill you for non-existent problems. Also, you may use such codes to search the handbook for extra info on what each system signifies and how to repair it. This can also provide you with an estimate of the pricing range.
  9. Select “Erase” and then “enter” to reset an engine warning light to delete these codes.

As previously stated, the most effective approach for resetting the check engine light is to use an OBD scan tool. If your engine warning light does not go out after completing these instructions, you should take your automobile to a repair to ensure no other problems with the car.

Now, the list of fault codes you wrote down might come in helpful to assist you and the technician in determining the problem more quickly and efficiently. Additionally, it will alert you if your technician did not properly handle the issue you previously resolved.


  • It’s the most effective method for resetting the engine warning light. Whenever this procedure fails, there is an issue with the internal components of your car, and you must bring it to a qualified mechanic.
  • This procedure will not clear the memory of your clock, seat, or radio.
  • You won’t get messy in the process of resetting the engine warning light.


  • OBD scanners may be somewhat costly. Most folks get an OBD scanner from a buddy or a technician.

Check Engine Light Reappears

Many folks claim that their engine warning light reappears after using the conventional methods for removing it.

If you utilized an OBD code reader to reset the engine warning light and it did not go away or reappear, you still got a problem with one of your internal components.

Remember, if the engine warning light remains on continuously, it’s not urgent, but you should still address the problem. On the other hand, if your engine warning light is flashing, it indicates a severe problem with your engine and that you immediately stop driving and take it to a repair.


Adhering to these procedures will enable you to eliminate the irritating check engine light while also allowing for the appropriate presentation of new issues. You’ll be able to effectively resolve the problem regardless of whether you manually reset the onboard system, by doing a battery reset, or by utilizing an OBD scanner. You may apply these ways to resolve the engine warning light problem and any future faults that may occur.


Can I reset my own check engine warning light?

You very certainly can! The on/off approach is comparable to turning off the engine warning light on a car. It compels the system to restart to restore its stored configuration.

How long does it take for the check engine warning light to reset?

After about ten up to 20 cycles, the resetting may occur automatically. A cycle is when the automobile is turned on and then turned off again. Other cars need a minimum of 50 up to 100 miles to reset. As you can think, you can run the automobile for extended periods with the engine warning light on.

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