Can I Reset My Check Engine Light Myself?

You may have found information on the internet that tells you how you can reset your automobile’s check engine light. Yes, the check engine warning is annoying. We also understand here at Del Hatt Automotive that it can be frightening when your check engine light comes on and won’t turn off, especially if you can’t afford expensive auto repairs. The problem with resetting the light yourself is twofold. First, you could damage your car. Second, you’ll invalidate your extended warranty. Let’s unpack this further.

False Check Engine Warnings

You may have experienced this yourself, or you may know someone who had this problem. It is true that a check engine light can come on even when there’s nothing wrong with your car, truck, CUV, or SUV. The problem with resetting the light by yourself, however, is that you don’t know for certain that your check engine light came on unnecessarily. Consequently, if you keep driving your automobile, what initially could be an inexpensive automotive repair will turn into an expensive one.

Why Does the Light Come On?

The reason why the check engine light comes on is that there is a problem with your automobile that does not have another dashboard warning light. For example, a common reason why the check engine light comes on is that your catalytic converter is going bad. There is no catalytic converter light on your dashboard, so the only light the engine control unit can turn on is a check engine light.

The reason we said you could damage your car if you keep driving it is that a check engine warning is usually associated with a serious problem. For example, your check engine warning will come on when

  • The engine control unit is failing
  • The electrical system is experiencing problems
  • The exhaust system is clogged or malfunctioning
  • You’ve got a fuel system or fuel mixture problem
  • The MAF or O2 sensors have gone bad
  • Your spark plugs are not firing properly
  • Your transmission is dying

There is only one instance that is common that will trigger a check engine light warning when things are not as bad as any of the bulleted items listed above. If your gas cap is too loose, the engine control unit will turn on the check engine light because your gas is evaporating into the air. Other than that, the check engine warning is a serious one.

Don’t reset your check engine light by yourself. Call Del Hatt Automotive to schedule an appointment for a diagnostic check. We make it our goal to be the best auto shop in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Photo by matsou from Getty Images Signature via Canva Pro

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