How to Troubleshoot the Service Engine Light for a 2007 Dodge RAM Truck

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Your 2007 Dodge RAM truck has a problem. The diagnostic system has detected a malfunction, issued a trouble code and activated the "Service engine" light on your dashboard. You can either pop the hood and troubleshoot the problem by trial and error, or you can save a lot of time and have a scanner do it for you. Trucks manufactured after 1996 are required to use On-Board Diagnostic trouble codes, and an OBD-II scanner can access these codes. This sort of diagnostic tool is widely available, and it will save you money in mechanics' fees over the long term.

Things You'll Need

  • OBD-II scanner
  • Drive to an automotive parts store, or any discount superstore with a car department, and purchase an OBD-II scanner. The price tag might inspire sticker shock, but if you consider that many mechanics charge diagnostic fees, this piece of hardware can be deemed as an investment.

  • Turn off the engine once you arrive home. Leave the key in the ignition, however.

  • Exit your Dodge truck, but leave the door open.

  • Search beneath the steering wheel for a diagnostic port. It is black and it has 16 receptors for the scanner's 16-pronged plug.

  • Insert the scanner's plug into this diagnostic port.

  • Turn the scanner on.

  • Turn the Dodge's key so that the electrical system comes on. Wait a few seconds, and if the trouble code doesn't appear on the scanner, recheck that the plug is firmly in the port, and start the engine.

  • Write the trouble code onto a note pad, once it appears on the scanner. Then, shut the scanner and the Dodge down. Remove the key from the ignition and shut the truck's door.

  • Find the definition for the trouble codes you retrieved. Most scanners' users manuals have a listing of codes, but if you do not have the manual and need to search the Internet for a definition, you can find detailed listings at Obd-codes.com, Check-engine-light.com or Actron.com. Once you've looked up the code definition, you can decide for yourself whether to attempt a fix or consult a professional.

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images
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