Have you ever wondered if there is a way to know if someone cleared the check engine light on a car? This article will show you how to use an OBD2 scanner to determine if the check engine light was recently reset.
How do people reset the check engine light?
First, it is important to understand how the check engine light is reset. Check engine light can be reset by clearing the codes with an OBD2 scanner or disconnecting the battery. Both methods temporarily clear all the Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) from the On-Board Diangntoic computer. This procedure also reset the various systems in the car to the Not Ready state. Depending on the problem, the check engine light could come back immediately or take up to two weeks to turn on.
You can not pass a state emissions test by clearing the codes this way.
How to tell if the Check Engine Light was reset
To find out if the check engine light was reset, you will need an OBD2 code reader. The UCAN-I Scanner can read check engine lights, and the YOUCANIC Full System Scanner is a professional scanner that can run through all the control modules of your vehicle
Make sure the scanner you buy can display I/M Monitor Readiness Status; the YOUCANIC Full System Scanner can show your vehicle’s emission readiness status and every control module on your vehicle.
- Turn the key to the ON position. Do not start the car.
- Locate the OBD-II port under the dashboard and plug in the OBD2 scanner.
- The scanner should power on once connected to the OBDII port. Press Read or Enter on the scanner, depending on your scanner model.
- Please scroll down to the I/M Readiness menu and select it.
- Look at all the systems. If most say NOT READY, the check engine light was recently reset. They will say one of the following.
- Ready / OK- On-Board Diagnostic has completed monitoring this system and passed the test.
- Not Ready / Pending – This system’s monitoring is not yet completed. You need to continue driving the vehicle.
- Fail – OBDII monitored this system, but it failed to pass. Typically a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) is set, and the check engine light has or will turn on soon.
- A car that has not had the ECU codes reset will have all the systems as Completed / Pass / OK and maybe a few Not Applicable if certain systems are not installed.
- If the codes were recently reset, you would notice that several emissions monitoring systems will show as Completed while others will be Not Ready or Pending (or maybe even Fail).
We hope you find the How To Find Out If Check Engine Light Was Erased by Seller guide helpful. Check these troubleshooting and repair guides for more help on your vehicle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Once someone clears the ECU (DTC) codes, the check engine light may come up within minutes or come up after one week. The reason is that the ECU performs several start-up tests during the next few driving cycles. The light will turn on within minutes if there is a problem with a critical sensor, such as a Mass Air Flow sensor. If the problem is with the EVAP system, the light may come on only after the car performs the necessary tests, which require several driving cycles. If there is a problem with the transmission, the light will come up again when it shows the symptoms again, such as the transmission slips.
During a driving cycle, the vehicle onboard diagnostics will perform all systems testing, but it requires that you drive the car following an exact pattern. Driving cycle instructions could vary depending on the make. Here are some general instructions on how to go through a driving cycle.
Before you start the cycle, you need to start with a cold engine. Turn off all electronic consumers such as A/C, radio, and unnecessary lights.
Start the engine and let it idle for 150 seconds. During this time, OBDII will check oxygen sensor circuits, EVAP purge, and air pump.
Accelerate to 55 mph and drive at this speed for three minutes. The onboard diagnostic will continue monitoring oxygen sensors and EGR and canister purge.
Slowly decelerate to 20 mph without pressing the brake pedal. Coast down to 20 mph. OBDII will check for cylinder misfires and fuel delivery.
Accelerate to 60 mph and drive at this speed for five minutes.
Remove your foot from the gas and decelerate to a complete stop without pressing the brake pedal.
Just because the check engine light (also called CEL/MIL) is not on doesn’t necessarily mean there aren’t any issues. It could be that the light was recently reset or the trouble codes are pending. Pending trouble codes mean that the vehicle has detected something wrong, but it needs to monitor that system a little longer before it triggers the check engine light.