How to Reset the Service Engine Light on a Chevy Lumina

by Jody L. Campbell

The Chevy Lumina was introduced by General Motors in 1990 and ran until 2001. This model had two different on-board diagnostic systems. Prior to 1996, OBD (on-board diagnostics) was integrated to help determine check engine codes. In 1996, the OBD II phase standardized and simplified the troubleshooting system. To reset the check engine light on each OBD and OBD II system requires a different procedure. Keep in mind that resetting the light does not fix your Lumina. You should diagnose the light and fix the problem or it will simply come back on once the IM monitors of the computer retests itself.

OBD: 1990-1994 Chevy Lumina

Step 1

Open the hood of the Lumina.

Step 2

Locate the negative battery terminal on the battery. This has a black wire and is identified by a negative "-" stamped on the battery housing.

Step 3

Disconnect the negative battery terminal using a box-end wrench and isolate it so it does not come back into contact with the negative battery post.

Step 4

Leave the negative battery terminal disconnected for 10 to 15 minutes.

Reconnect the negative battery terminal and recheck the service-engine-soon light by starting the car.

OBD II: 1995-2001 Lumina

Step 1

Locate the diagnostic link connector (DLC) beneath the driver's side dashboard.

Step 2

Plug the OBD II code reader and reset tool into the DLC. The battery of the Lumina will power the tool, so no on or off button is required.

Step 3

Use the OBD II tool buttons and screen to scroll through the options. While there are different tools with varying buttons, operating the tool is fairly standardized. Most employ up and down scroll buttons to choose different options displayed on the screen. Use the buttons to scroll to "Erase Codes."

Step 4

Press the "Enter" or "Send" key on the tool. The display will inform you that it is sending the information to the computer. Wait until "Command Sent" or the default screen appears on the screen display of the tool.

Start the Lumina and check to make sure the service-engine light is out. Unplug the tool from the DLC.


  • Simply resetting the code rarely solves the underlying problem and ignoring or constantly resetting it is not advisable. For OBD II systems, you will not be able to cheat your way through an emissions inspection by resetting the code. IM monitors of the computer reboot once the service engine light is reset. It takes several miles of normal operation for the IM monitors to recheck the system. Once they reset, if the problem has not been rectified, the service-engine-soon light will re-illuminate. In addition, most emission tests will detect the IM monitors have not reset and will not allow the vehicle to pass emissions tests until they do.
  • Ignoring the light or constantly resetting the light can damage components that need to be replaced.

Items you will need

  • Box-end wrench set
  • OBD II code reader and reset tool

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