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How to reset your check engine light

The function of the check engine light is to let you know if there is a problem with one or more parts of the the car's engine. For example, an oil leak that leads to low motor oil can cause the light to be illuminated. In addition, the manufacturer also programs the light to be illuminated when the odometer reaches specific mileage readings, such as 30,000 miles, 60,000 miles, and so on. When you take your car in for a tune-up, your mechanic will reset the on-board diagnostics computer, and the light won't come on until the next scheduled date.

Unless you are diligent about taking your car in exactly according to the manufacturer's guidelines, however, you have probably had the check engine light illuminated on the dashboard, even when there isn't a mechanical problem. If you suspect that this is the case, you can learn how to reset your check engine light on your own.

A "hard reset" refers to a process of following step by step instructions that allow you to circumvent your car's computer system. This workaround does not vary based on the car make and model. To perform a hard reset, first disconnect the battery to cut off power to the car's diagnostic system. Then, leave the lights on and press the horn for several minutes to drain any remaining electricity.

Do it the right way

The downside of a hard reset is that the check engine light may have come on because a fault code was tripped, and there really is a problem with the engine. Once your dashboard computer starts to collect data again, the light will come back on anyway. Before you decide to manually turn off your check engine light, it's usually a good idea to take your car in for a quick once-over by a certified mechanic.

Set an appointment today

At Transmasters in San Diego, we can fix the problem and get you on your way as quickly as possible. We've posted the long list of car makes and models we service on the website; both foreign and domestic. And, we're proud to say we've assembled a staff of the best mechanics in the area, so you can rest assured your vehicle is in good hands.

Stop by or call for an appointment today. Instead of ignoring that indicator or trying to reset your check engine light yourself, get the peace of mind that comes with having a qualified technician do a thorough diagnostic on your car.

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