Check Engine

All cars have this light, but many vehicle owners do not know what it is called, let alone what it means when it is turned on. For this reason, when they see it on, many worries and do not know what to do, and others simply ignore it totally, something they should not do. So that you do not panic when you see it on, or make the mistake of ignoring it, here we will explain what Check Engine is and what you should do if you turn this light on in your car.

What is Check Engine?

The MIL light or service is an indicator on the dashboard when the car computer or ECU registers a failure related to the powertrain or the broadcasting system.

This light is part of the on-board diagnostic system (its initials are OBD2). It can be seen as an orange light on the board or it can also be red, the engine symbol appears and it has "Check" or "Service Engine Soon" engraved, which translated into Spanish would mean "Check Engine". This is not strictly literal; it can also mean that other faults in the car that could ultimately affect engine performance should be reviewed.

What to do if the orange Check Engine light on the board turns on?

When you turn on the service light or Check Engine, there are several suggestions you can follow:

  • Read the user manual. In this is detailed the mode of operation and the functions of the car, so you will know what Check Engine means in your vehicle.
  • Check the board. This way you can find out if the meters or any light warns you that the engine is overheated, or the oil level is too low.
  • Speed ​​down. If you notice power loss or performance failures, it would be best to lower the speed so as not to cause damage to the vehicle.
  • Take your car as soon as possible to a mechanic. Preferably take it to your trusted mechanic so he can check it and find the fault.

Why does the Check Engine light come on?

Lights for various failures could be something as simple as the gas cap closed or lose this evil, or something more serious like an engine malfunction.

Every time you put the key in the ignition switch or turn on the engine of your car, you should not overlook the fact that you turn on the Check Engine, since the computer is doing a brief test to make sure everything is working normally, and the light will turn off after a few seconds. If on the other hand it is still on, it will be a warning that some element of your car should be checked.

It may be that some amount of unburned fuel being filtered to escape, this could damage the catalytic converter quickly and would be costly to repair.

It could also be a problem with the PCM, which affects the vehicle's emission system.

Other reasons why the service light is turned on could be:

  • The fuel storage was full as long as the vehicle was running or the tank was low on fuel.
  • There is a plug that is not connected properly or a broken hose
  • There are electrical problems in the car.
  • Failure of a sensor.

It is necessary an examination of the vehicle. In addition to these failure warnings, there are also others for which the Check Engine is turned on.

In some cases, vehicles have a yellow light to avoid it, and a red or orange light, this is to notify when the vehicle has a fault that requires special attention.

How to turn off the Check Engine light?

Commonly, when the failure is simple and is solved, the service light goes off after a certain time, but if this does not happen, it can be turned off or reset in two ways:


  1. You must disconnect the battery from the vehicle with the help of a tool if necessary.
  2. After this, press the horn for about half a minute, thus draining the energy that has been accumulated in the capacitor.
  3. After about 15 minutes, connect the battery again. This procedure should be sufficient for the Check Engine light to turn off.

With scanner or computer

  1. You must connect the scanner to the diagnostic terminal located under the steering wheel of the vehicle. Turn the key on the switch without turning it on.
  2. In the scanner you must press the "Read" button, so you will see the codes that will tell you what the fault is. Write them and keep them in case you need them later.
  3. Then, press the "Delete or Erase" button, and the codes will disappear and the light should go out.

In some cases, the scanner has the option to automatically erase errors.

This is the reason why you turn on the Check Engine light.

When there is a fault in the vehicle, the computer registers it in the form of a DTC code, which will remain in its memory and can then be read by means of a scanner.

OBDII fault codes are alphanumeric.

Mainly, they will have a letter that may vary depending on where the fault is in the vehicle.

  • P= Powertrain: These are the codes that relate to the engine and automatic transmission
  • B= Body: These are the codes related to the body and comfort, as well as systems related to the immobilizer.
  • C= Chassis: These are the codes related to the chassis, such as some ABS-AIRBAG systems.
  • U= Network: Covers problems related to data transmission from one module to another.

Then follows a number that will indicate if the code is generic or OBDII.

If it is 0 it is a universal code, SAE.

1, 2 and 3 is a manufacturer code, but it is still OBD or CAN.

The third digit indicates the exact location of the vehicle fault.

How do I fix my car's fault codes?

If you want to know how to fix a fault or DTC code, you can get many suggestions here on our page fixtroublecodes.com. Although we recommend that you visit a specialist mechanic, he will be able to follow a protocol and fix the problems presented.

In our DTC Codes library, you can get information about each fault code, as well as the description, cause, symptoms and possible solutions.


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