How do you use a digital scanner to diagnose a check engine light?


Quick Answer

Locate the diagnostic link connector, plug in the digital code scanner, turn the car key to on, select the diagnostic trouble code function on the scanner, and read the resulting code. The specific menu operation of different model code scanners vary so consult the scanner's manual for the precise steps for a specific brand.

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Full Answer

The diagnostic link connector is typically in the driver's compartment under the dashboard and near the steering column on vehicles with onboard diagnostic computers. Newer vehicles that have OBD II computer systems must place the diagnostic link connector within 2 feet of the steering columns. Consult your vehicle manual if you have trouble locating it.

Remove the cover of the diagnostic link connector, if there is one, to expose the socket. It should match the size and shape of the plug on the code scanner. Connect the scanner and turn the car key forward but don't start the car. The code scanner needs power from the car battery to operate.

Digital code scanners can check for many different sources of trouble codes. Set the code scanner to the correct menu option necessary for the unit to diagnose the digital trouble code that the check engine or service engine error light issued.

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