How to Retrieve Trouble Codes for a Grand Am

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The Pontiac Grand AM comes with an On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) computer that receives trouble codes from sensors positioned throughout the vehicle that monitor all functions. The OBD computer stores those trouble codes and communicates them via service or warning lights on your instrument panel. When you see one of these lights, you will need an OBD scanner. Purchase or borrow a scanner from your dealer if you don't have one already. Now you can retrieve the trouble codes and pinpoint the exact problem before resetting the computer.

Things You'll Need

  • OBD code scanner with manual
  • Ignition key
  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Find an open port to the left of the steering column on the underside of the Grand Am's dashboard. Plug the OBD code scanner into this port.

  • Put the key into the ignition and turn it to the "ON" position, but don't start the engine.

  • Press "Read" on the scanner's face and wait for the scanner to interface with the Grand Am's computer. It will display alphanumeric trouble codes on the menu of the scanner or, better, display the code descriptions. For alphanumeric codes, write them down and then look them up in the manual that came with the scanner.

  • Unplug the scanner and take your Grand Am and codes to your mechanic for servicing or repairs.

References

  • "GM: Malibu, Alero, Cutlass & Grand Am, '97'00 (Haynes Automotive Repair Manual Series)"; Chilton; 1999
  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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