Since 1996, all vehicles sold in North America have been equipped with OBD-II (On-Board Diagnostics), including Ford trucks. The system is superior to OBD-I because average consumers can easily diagnose problems with their vehicle at home. Check engine lights in your Ford truck may be caused by emission-related components, such as O2 sensors or catalytic converters.
Things You'll Need
- OBD-II Code Scanner
Turn the ignition key in your Ford to the "On" position, without cranking the engine. Connect the scan tool to the diagnostic port located below the steering column.
Scan the system to determine the code causing your check engine light to illuminate. Write down the code(s) and use the scan tool manual to look it up. If your scan tool does not have a manual, see the resources for a database of OBD-II codes.
Fix the problem with the vehicle yourself or let a certified mechanic fix it.
Use the scan tool to clear the code(s) from your Ford's computer or wait for them to clear on their own. Once the problem is fixed, you can expect an engine light to disappear after 15 to 20 minutes of driving.
Tips & Warnings
- If you don't have a scan tool, you can purchase one for as little as $60. If you don't want to purchase one, you can bring your vehicle to any major auto parts store; they offer free diagnostic services with a scan tool. Double-check your gas cap. Always tighten it until it clicks three times. A loose gas cap is a common cause for a check engine light.
- You can use the scan tool to turn off the check engine light, but if you don't fix the problem, it will come back on.
- Photo Credit Ifcar/commons.wikimedia.org
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