How to read your Check Engine Light for free

photo: Virgo (Shutterstock)

A car “Check Engine†Light is so mysterious. “Something is wrong!†it screams visually. What is wrong? Is my engine about to explode? Or did I just forget to re-tighten the gas cap? The light just sits there and shines With you. „Check it!“Fortunately, there is an easy way to find out what it is trying to communicate– free of charge.

New cars have been sold in the United States since 1996.S are necessary To have onboard diagnostics (OBD) systems that enable Mechanic can connect and receive a device a code from the car’s computer that narrows it down the source of a problem. if you did Bring your car directly to the workshop or dealer to have it checked. This is probably the first thing they would do.

The device — called an OBD2 or OBD-II scanner — gives them a number, which they can then look up and figure out what might be wrong. This doesn’t just apply to the check engine light; The OBD system can provide a wealth of information about what is going on in your car. You can buy a cheap OBD2 reader to check basic codes yourself, or a a fancy one to get more information.

But you don’t need to buy a scanner or make an appointment at the dealership just to find out a code reading. Many auto parts stores will do the work for you for free.

How to get your OBD2 codes read at an auto parts store

Many auto parts stores offer code reading as a free service. advance auto parts, AutoZoneand O’Reilly are among the shops that will do this. (So ​​do many other chains and independent stores. Check with your local store to see if they offer this service and if it’s free.)

If you know the code, you may not be able to tell exactly what’s wrong with your car, but it can narrow down the type of problem you’re having. You can see some of the codes here, if you’re curious. For example, there is a code that indicates a leak in the emission control system. It is often triggered by a loose gas cap. However, it could also mean that the cap is cracked or that there is a leak somewhere else in the system. There are other codes that would indicate if there is something wrong with the catalytic converter or if the engine is misfiring.

At the store, the person helping you will tell you what the code means and suggest what to do to fix it. They offer this service because people often double check their diagnostics and then buy a part to fix the fault. So if the problem is simple, you might be on your way pretty quickly – but if not, you’ll at least have a better idea of ​​whether you really need to make that mechanic’s appointment.


Hey, I am Sakib Hossain Sojib, an entrepreneur known as an SEO Specialist, Digital Marketer, Blogger, and Content Creator. I have a team of researchers who guide and review products for our audience to help them by providing valuable information to help our audience makes the best decisions for their needs. I love to take care of my cars. So, I like and enjoy car maintenance and automotive research. The provided content is based on my learning, research, and understanding of the topic and its concept. Our extensive experience in the industry allows us to offer unique insights and perspectives on the latest trends and products. We aim to educate and empower our readers by providing them with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their needs.

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