If you’re looking for another way of resetting checking engine light without OBD2 scanner tool, this guide is for you. The code reader can be a costly investment, so you may be looking for alternative ways to reset the CEL.
To reset check engine light without scanner simply disconnect and reconnect the battery after a while. Taking your car through several, drive cycles, pulling off the fuse, and then putting it back or letting the CEL time go off by itself can also help reset the light without a code reader.
In the following guide, you’ll find more info on the various methods of resetting the check engine light without a scanner. We have discussed step by step guide for each method plus additional helpful tips you need to know.
How do you reset check engine light without a scanner?
A scanner is usually the most effective method for resetting the check engine light. However, it may not be accessible at all times or you may not have a budget for it.
This brings us to the other methods of resetting the CEL without a scanning tool as discussed below.
Method #1: Disconnect the battery
This is another effective method of resolving the check engine light. It involves disconnecting the car battery for a while and then reconnecting it.
The idea behind this trick is to help reset the diagnostic system in your car. If the underlying issue has been fixed, then the light should go away immediately after you hook the battery back on.
Follow these steps to disconnect the battery to reset CEL:
Step 1. Turn off your vehicle and pop open the hood.
Step 2. Locate where your car battery is and identify the black terminal (it usually has a black cable hooked to it and has a minus (-) sign).
Step 3. Loosen the negative terminal cable with the help of a wrench and then hold the cable to the side for approx. 10 to 20 minutes. Make sure the cables do not touch.
Step 4. Have a friend hold down the car horn for about 30 seconds to help drain any electricity power stored in the capacitor.
Step 5. Now reconnect the negative terminal cable after the recommended wait time and put everything else back in place. The CEL should be gone now!
NOTE: Resetting the check engine light by disconnecting the battery usually clears out the radio and other onboard components’ memory.
The video below takes you through a visual guide on how to reset CEL by disconnecting the battery.
Method #2: The drive cycles technique
Taking your car through several drive cycles is another proven trick for making the check engine light disappear. It is simply rebooting the vehicle computer to force it to refresh to its saved state.
This method is simple and quick and involves the following steps:
Step 1. Switch the ignition key On and Off without running the engine. If you crank the engine accidentally, just start over the process.
Step 2. Repeat this about 3-5 times and always ensure you stop flipping the key in the On position. How many times you should flip the key mainly depends on your car model.
Step 3. Now drive your car for a while and see if the check engine light has disappeared.
Method #3: Pull out the engine control unit fuse
If you want a fast and easy method for clearing off the check engine light, this is it. Pulling the ECU (engine control unit) fuse and then putting it back again will help eliminate the CEL.
However, this method has higher chances of success for older models of cars than the newly manufactured ones.
For this part, you might want to consult your car repair manual to help you locate the engine control unit fuse. Once you locate it, then you can proceed to pull it and wait for 10 to 15 minutes, and then put it back in place.
Just like the battery method, this method will also make the light turn off provided you have the underlying issue fixed.
Method #4: Let the light clear up on its own
Do you wish there was an easy-peasy method for clearing the check engine light? If yes, this is it! This method doesn’t involve any steps; you just let the light clear up on its own.
However, this method involves first solving the problem causing the CEL to illuminate. Afterward, the computer may take a while to cycle out the trouble code and turn off the light.
Now, you can try this method by driving your car as you normally do for up to 3 days.
If the light doesn’t seem to go away, then you may have to try the other methods listed above or just take your car to a professional for diagnosis of the underlying issue.
Also, if you have the check engine blinking, it means a serious issue that needs immediate attention and you shouldn’t continue operating your vehicle.
The following video shows you how to carry out the various check engine light reset methods we have just discussed above.
How do I reset my check engine light manually?
To reset your car engine light manually, you can try applying 3 of the 4 methods we have just discussed methods.
One such method of resetting the CEL manually involves disconnecting the car battery for approx. 10-20 minutes and then reconnecting it. This is simply a hard reset trick to make the light turn off.
You can also try pulling the engine control unit fuse and putting it back on to help refresh the vehicle’s computer system.
Another way to reset the CEL manually is to turn the ignition key on and off without turning the engine on. You just need to repeat this 3-5 times (depending on your car model), and hopefully, the light will disappear from the dashboard.
However, keep in mind that these manual methods usually work if you already have the problem causing the light to illuminate fixed in the first place. If the issue is still unresolved, the light will still come back on after some time; it could be hours, days, or even a week.
So, it’s always good to get to the bottom of the issue before bothering with clearing the CEL.
How do you reset the check engine light with a gas pedal?
You can also reset the check engine light manually by engaging the gas pedal. This method is popularly known as the “Accelerator Pedal Reset Procedure” and involves the steps outlined below.
Step 1. Insert the ignition key and do a quarter turn with it so that the ignition turns On, without the engine starting.
Step 2. Next, step on the gas pedal and then release it quickly. Repeat this 5 times in not more than 5 seconds. Whenever you press on the gas pedal, make sure you do it hard—press it down as far as it goes!
Step 3. Wait for about 10 seconds.
Step 4. Now put your foot on the gas pedal and press it down completely. Hold it in that position for 10 seconds or until you see your CEL light flash on and off.
Step 5. Step on the gas pedal and completely hold it down for another 10m seconds before releasing it.
Step 6. Turn the ignition key to the OFF position.
Step 7. Give the engine control unit (ECU) about 3 minutes to reset itself automatically. Finally, start the engine and the check engine light should be no more.
NOTE: If the check engine light fails to blink as explained in Step 4, then it means the ECU isn’t reset and you may need to do it all over again or go for alternative methods like disconnecting the battery.
What fuse do I pull to reset check engine light?
You should pull the engine control unit fuse to reset the check engine light. Unlike what you may have heard out there, there’s no specific fuse for the check engine light.
That said, pulling the ECU fuse and putting it right back can help reset the CEL. But this method may not work depending on your car models. In other words, the trick is more likely to work in older cars than in newer car models.
The fuse itself is usually located in a small yellow box-like component sitting beneath the dash in the lower left corner. Simply pull the fuse, wait for 10-15 minutes, and then put it back to help turn off the CEL.
How long before check engine light comes back on after reset?
It depends. If the actual problem causing the check engine light to come on hasn’t been cleared, then the CEL will come back on after a reset.
How long it takes, however, depends on the issue. If you’re dealing with a more serious issue like an engine misfire, the CEL light will most likely come on right after the first on/off ignition sequence or after driving for about 50-100 miles.
The CEL may sometimes delay a bit and come back on after a day(s) or a week.
Sometimes, the light will go off and not come on again if you were dealing with a temporary fix, say a loose gas cap.
The purpose of the CEL is to help notify you when your engine has a problem that needs to be fixed and will only go off (and not come back on) after you fix the issue.If you’re wondering how to turn off the check engine light without a scanner, you might find our articles on bypassing and troubleshooting the check engine light helpful. Our article on bypassing the check engine light provides an overview of how to disable the light temporarily, so you can drive your car without it turning on. On the other hand, if your check engine light is not flashing or not working, it could indicate a more serious issue. Our article on troubleshooting the check engine light explores the possible reasons why the light might not be working and what you can do to fix it. With our expert advice, you’ll be able to handle your check engine light like a pro!
Frequently Asked Questions:
You can clear your check engine light without a scanner by applying manual methods like disconnecting the battery or taking the car through several drive cycles. Even easier, you can just let the light clear up on its own.
You’ll have to drive between 50 to 100 miles for the CEL to reset. This is the approximate distance within which the engine light resets after repairs for most models of vehicles. However, the light may go on immediately after a fix in some cars or it may take days or weeks to clear off for other models. If you want your car CEL to go off sooner, you can try one of the methods we have discussed above.
Absolutely! Disconnecting the battery helps reset the check engine light provided you carry out the process correctly. We have already discussed the full step-by-step guide above on how to apply this method to make the light go away, so we won’t go into the details again.
That’s it for the various other ways you can reset your car check engine light without using a scanner or code reader. These methods are manual and include disconnecting and reconnecting the battery, turning the ignition key on and off for 3-5 minutes, pulling out the engine control unit fuse, and putting it back on. Or you can go the easier way or just let the light clear up on its own.
While these methods will save you from the hassle of getting an OBDII scanning tool, they’ll only work if the underlying problem causing the light to illuminate has been resolved. Otherwise, if the issue isn’t fixed, the light will come back on after a while. The best approach is to fix the issue your car is going through and then try to reset the light afterward using one of these proven methods.