How to Check Engine Light Codes

by Contributor

Check Engine Light. Just those words send chills up ones spine. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to check what was wrong when that dreaded check engine light comes on in your car? Wouldn't it be nice to know whether your car was about to blow up or whether it was out of windshield washer fluid? Using a new code reader may be the answer to our prayers.

~~Research code readers~~ Get online and google 'code readers' to get reviews of the best car engine decoders on the market. Currently, the leading 3 are the Actron CP9125 (around $60), the Auto Xray Codescount AX 1500 ($130) and the Innova 3030 ($60). Each has pros and cons so check carefully. Look for a reader though that holds the engine error code once it's unplugged.

~~Plug the code reader into the car's receptacle~~ Usually, the car's receptacle is under the steering wheel somewhere so get a code reader with a longer cord or you'll have to contort to plug it in. The code reader will check with your car's computer to decipher the error code. Some code readers will only give you the error code while others, such as the more expensive Auto Xray Codescout will translate the codes for you.

~~If your code reader only gives you the code, search online for the translation of the check engine code~~ You might have to go to your car's manufacture's website to find a listing of codes but you can also just google the car model and the code. We did this recently and found out exactly what the problem was with our Honda (loose gas cap).


  • check Buy the best code reader you can find - it will more than make up for the price in the money saved at the mechanics.

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