Is your check engine light on? In this article, you will learn where to check engine light for free. 

In addition, you will learn how to read check engine codes yourself. 

Where to get your check engine light scanned for free

check engine light free

Here is a list of Top 6 Auto Repair Centers and Auto Parts Stores where you can get your check engine light scanned for free. 

  1. Aamco Auto Repair Center
  2. Advance Auto Parts
  3. AutoZone
  4. O'Reilly Auto Parts
  5. Pep Boys Auto Parts
  6. Napa 

Click on any of these stores to find a location near you that will check your engine light for free. 

Almost in any city in US, you will find a couple of reapir shops that offer free check engine light diagnostics. 

diagnose check engine light

How to find a shop that will read your codes for free follow these steps:  

  1. Find a mechanic near you. (Google Maps)
  2. Call the first three repair shops.
  3. Ask the technicians, "Do you check engine codes for free?". 

The only way to know who offers free check engine light scanning is to call each shop and ask if they will read your engine codes for free. 

Diagnose Check Engine Light Yourself

You can also read the engine codes yourself with an OBD-II scanner. Here is how you can read the check engine light yourself. 

  1. Locate the diagnostic port under the dashboard on the driver's side. All cars have this port. Sometimes it is hidden in the fuse box on the driver's side, but in most cases, the port is right under the dashboard. obd ii port


  2. Plugin your OBD-II scannerdiagnose check engine light for free yourself


  3. Turn on the ignition but do not start the engine. On cars with the Start/Stop button, you need to press the button without pressing the brake pedal. check engine light


  4. Your scanner will take a minute to communicate with the on-board diagnostic system. diagnose check engine light


  5. Select OBD-II then Read Codes from the main menu. 
  6. Write down all the codes. Pay attention if they are Stored or Present. 

Stored codes mean that an issue was detected in the past, but currently, it is no longer an issue. These codes will typically reset on their own after a few days of driving. 

Preset codes mean that the problem is current, and it needs to be addressed.

You may be tempted to erase these codes, but clearing present codes without fixing the car is not a solution. The codes will return either as soon as you start the engine or can take up to two days, but they will eventually return if your car problem isn't fixed. 

If your check engine light comes on, don't ignore it but read the codes as soon as possible. If the check engine light is flashing, it means that driving with the check engine light on can cause serious engine problems. 

check engine light on
Check engine light, also known as Service Engine Soon light. 

Don't ignore the check engine light. The codes stored on the On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) system can help you find out what is wrong with your car. Get your check engine light scanned for free or get an OBD-II scanner and read the codes yourself. 

Even if you don't plan on fixing your car yourself, knowing why your check engine light is on can help you feel more confident when you talk to your mechanic. 

On some models, the check engine light may be referred to as the service engine soon light.