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How to reset the check engine light after the repairs have been made

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Jessica Howe, Automotive Expert & Coach at


Thank you for writing in. There are several ways you can reset the check engine light. The first and official way is to have it reset with a scan tool. Most automotive repair shops and automotive parts stores can do this for you. Secondly, if the problem was truly solved, the light should go off by itself. The light will automatically reset on its own if there is no issue detected within a certain set of parameters. Depending on the issue, the parameter is usually 3 cycles of the ignition, a certain amount of time spent over a certain speed, or something similar. Lastly, you can disconnect the battery for 20 minutes and it will reset. However, disconnecting the battery that long can also cause other minor inconveniences. Good luck!

LeeAnn Shattuck, Chief Car Chick at The Car Chick

That depends on the specific vehicle and what repairs are made, but in most cases, the technician will need to use a scantool to reset the codes in the car's computer to reset that CEL.

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