To find the meaning of a Chevy engine onboard diagnostic code, check the code using a SCAN tool and compare the number to a chart of possible causes for the malfunction. OBD-II codes that begin with a P-1 are manufacturer specific, so check a chart specifically for Chevy engines.
When the onboard computer detects a problem in the operation of a vehicle, it causes the illumination of the check engine light. Common causes of this condition include problems with oxygen sensors, a loose gas cap or the need to replace the mass airflow sensor, spark plug wires or catalytic converter. The onboard diagnostic system stores a code corresponding to the problem. The SCAN tool connects to a port under the dash and retrieves the code. Many auto parts stores offer to read the codes and provide a list of potential causes at no cost.
Codes beginning with P-0, P-2 or P-3 are generic codes and apply to all vehicles. P-0 codes refer to the drive train of the vehicle. The use of diagnostic codes helps to reduce the cost of troubleshooting and repairing an engine. These codes help to pinpoint the issue and reduce the number of parts the mechanic must replace. In some instances, the owner can make a simple repair and avoid the cost of taking the car to a garage.