Disabling the 'Check Engine' Light
courtesy of Bob, The Auto Answer Man
I have a 6 year old Ford Explorer V8 with 124,000 miles. My check engine light first came on when it was 2 years old and I took it to a Ford dealer who "fixed" it with on O2 sensor and some other parts. The light came back on 2 weeks later and, long story short, after spending another $300 on the problem and not getting it fixed, I decided to live with it.
So, years later my Explorer is still going strong, recently passed the new Texas emissions tests and passed the California emissions test 4 years ago when I moved there for about a year. It runs very good with no other perceptible problems other than the check engine light stays on most of the time. I can reset it by removing the battery terminal and it will stay off about 75 miles and then comes back on again.
How can I disable the check engine light without spending a fortune on special tools?. I am willing to take the risk and the responsibility for doing so and know the emissions are within Texas standards. My Explorer has a tach, oil pressure, water temp and ammeter gauge and I really don't need a silly light telling me something may be wrong when, if there is, it doesn't affect anything important. By the way, I have put over 80,000 miles on it since the check engine light first came on.
Hank of Dallas, Texas
Other than removing the bulb, there is no way to disable the check engine light. In fact, the new emissions tests in California will do a ECU scan. If it comes up with a MIL (malfunction indicator light AKA check engine light) as being active, you will fail regardless of what comes out of your tailpipe.
There is a reason that light is on. Something is broke. Driving it for years is not helping your cause or our environment at all. Back when your car was under warranty, the dealer should not have charged you a red cent to correct an issue that caused the check engine light to come on. Those problems are covered under the mandatory 100,000 mile emissions warranty as mandated by the USEPA.
Bob, The Auto Answer Man
Have a car care question? Visit our automotive maintenance section and see if we've already answered it or a similar question.
Trending on TDS
Helpful Tools & Resources
- Should I use a HELOC for home remodeling and repairs?
- Should I refinance my mortgage?
- Compare HELOC rates
- Check for a lower homeowners insurance rate
- Mortgage calculator: Calculate your payment and more
- Home equity calculator: HELOC vs. line of credit
- How much can additional payments save me on my mortgage?