How to Check Fault Codes on a Mercury Sable

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Fault codes can either be an indication of a serious problem, or they can be triggered by something minor, such as a loose or broken gas cap. However, many garages will charge you every time you drive your Mercury Sable in for a diagnostic check. If you are willing to invest in a small piece of hardware, these diagnostic fees can become a thing of the past. To check your Mercury Sable's fault codes, you only need an On Board Diagnostic scanner and a few simple instructions.

  • Determine which diagnostic scanner you will need. Cars manufactured after 1996 will need an OBD-II scanner while those made before 1996 will need an OBD-I scanner. The two types of scanners are not interchangeable.

  • Hook the diagnostic scanner up to the Sable's diagnostic port. This outlet is in the space beneath the dashboard, near the steering column.

  • Push the power button on the scanner.

  • Turn the key in the ignition to the "Accessories" position but do not crank the engine.

  • Wait as the scanner and the Sable's OBD system connect with each other. Once the connection is established, the fault codes should appear on the scanner's screen.

  • Turn the scanner and the Sable off then remove the cable from the OBD port by pulling it out.

  • Reference the fault code with a listing online or in a shop manual specific to your Sable's model-year. The code will sometimes contain letters, usually designating an area of concern, for example, "P" for "power train."

Tips & Warnings

  • You can reset the trouble codes by pressing "Clear" on the scanner. However, if you wipe the trouble code but the repair issue still remains, the trouble code will reoccur, and the service engine light will come back on. It is always best to clear the code and reset the system after all the repairs are complete.

References

  • Photo Credit Stockbroker/Valueline/Getty Images
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