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Old 04-22-2009, 12:58 AM   #1
babzog
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How do I reset the check engine light?

Hey folks,

Car is an '02 Focus SE Wagon, Zetec engine. It's been seeing less use these days as we're trying to sell it. When I took it for a trip to work last week, the CEL came on. Dealer said they couldn't just read the code, that they'd have to diagnose it, road test it, yadda yadda. At least $110 just to tell me what is wrong. He said if the car is running alright (which it is) and the gas and oil are full (oil was fine and I'd just filled the gas that morning as it was quite low), then just drive it and see if it goes away (it hasn't).

Question: I would like to just reset it and see if it comes back. Is there a "pushing buttons" trick to reset the light or do I have to disconnect the battery?

Thanks!


 
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Old 04-22-2009, 01:04 AM   #2
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an auto parts store should be able to read the code for you for free, call around to find out.

you can disconnect the negative side of your battery for 15-20 min and that will reset the CEL but that wont prevent it from coming back.
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Old 04-22-2009, 08:09 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkyPilot View Post
an auto parts store should be able to read the code for you for free, call around to find out.

you can disconnect the negative side of your battery for 15-20 min and that will reset the CEL but that wont prevent it from coming back.
Actually disconnecting the battery for 1-2 minutes will suffice. The PCM has what is called KAM or keep alive memory powered by the battery. Once battery power is removed, the KAM is erased.
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Old 04-22-2009, 09:33 AM   #4
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^^^in order to reset the KAM you actually have to hold the positive and negative terminals together so oit will discharge the li'l bit of energy left to support the KAM. Once you do that you'll have to go through a relearn strategy (drive it about 50 miles).

The other option since you'll want to go to the parts store and have the codes read (scanner) the scanner will have an option to clear the codes, Just select that and the light will magically disapear until it's triggered again.
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Old 04-22-2009, 10:42 AM   #5
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You'll want to get that code read, it's good information to have. There's no reason to reset it if you haven't fixed the cause.

Don't hold the + and - leads together unless both are disconnected! Holding the leads together is not necessary for resetting the ECM's memory. You'll know if it's reset properly if the first time you turn the key on after reconnecting the battery, the speedo & tac go to max for 1 second, then back to 0(at least on my Zetec).

Like I said, don't reset it until you get the code read. Autozone will do it for free. Dealerships always rip you off, there is no exception.
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Old 04-22-2009, 11:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RallieConGoggle View Post
Dealerships always rip you off, there is no exception.
Sorry to the OP for the hyjack, but what experience/knowlege do you base this on?
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Old 04-22-2009, 01:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RallieConGoggle View Post
Dealerships always rip you off, there is no exception.

I understand your point; however, I think it would be more accurate to say "Most dealerships usually rip you off, but there are some exceptions."
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Old 04-23-2009, 05:35 PM   #8
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Like I said, don't reset it until you get the code read. Autozone will do it for free. Dealerships always rip you off, there is no exception.
I reset the code today while checking the tire pressures. There is/was no reason for a code to "magically" show up so I figured I'll reset it and see if it comes back. After driving 20km, it hadn't reappeared so I'm sure it was nothing of consequence (the car was running fine while the light was on).

It's at my BIL's shop now where there is much greater public exposure to help sell it. He was telling me that many of the codes that are set are checked at intervals. Some of those intervals could be every engine start, some could be every 1000km, in which case, whatever code was set could have been cleared soon enough on its own.

Anyway, apparently he has a reader (didn't think to ask since his is a bike shop) so if it reappears, he'll check it then.

Thanks for all the advice!
 
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Old 04-23-2009, 06:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penguin View Post
I understand your point; however, I think it would be more accurate to say "Most dealerships usually rip you off, but there are some exceptions."
That's probably fair, I've just never gone to the dealership that was the exception.

I found two receipts in my glove box for the EXACT same service, one from Ford, one from Meineke.

Cost:
Meineke: $30
Ford: $136

I needed to have my AC checked to see where the leak was. Ford charged me for refrigerant to do the test, and when I asked why he acted like you can't do a leak check without it!

Ford told me that there was a leak, Meineke told me that it was in the condenser. Bottom line: anything George Forman sells is awesome.

Just one example of many, and it's pretty frustrating after awhile.

Want more? I once broke a wheel bearing... ok make that 3 times I've broken wheel bearings (MI roads suck).

Ford: $530
some brake shop: $250
did it myself: $58

I know that there are some good ones out there, but getting ripped off really pisses most of us off. It's not like I've never been ripped off by non-dealership mechanics either.

Peace
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Old 04-23-2009, 10:08 PM   #10
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Again, I get your point and rarely use a dealer myself, but to be fair, here' my experience with a 1992 Taurus A/C repair for a rusted-out line with a recharge.

Cost $520

Period before A/C compressor seized: 12 months.

Amount of oil in the compressor after seizing: 0

Amount of freon in the system after seizing: full charge.


Obviously when Midas "fixed" it they did not put any oil in the system.
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