Since the early '90s cars have been able to display diagnostic trouble codes to help drivers determine what might be going wrong with them. These codes reveal running-condition problems, emissions-related problems and some transmission and brake problems as well. Reading these codes has been quite easy since the introduction of the OBD II (On Board Diagnostics version two) standard, introduced in the mid-'90s.
An engine diagnostics scanner or code reader is needed to read the codes stored in a car's computer. Once extremely expensive, scanners are now quite affordable and can be purchased at any auto supply store and most large department stores. These scanners and readers connect to the OBD II connector, usually located under the dash. On the Ford Windstar the OBD II connector is located under the dash in the area above the driver's right foot, and is covered by a protective cover. The cover should be easily seen in the bottom edge of the dashboard trim. This connector is about 1 1/2 inches long and is somewhat D-shaped. The scanner cable will fit only one way, making a proper connection easy.
Instructions are supplied with each scanner, and usually consist of simple directions to plug the scanner into the OBD II connector and turn the ignition key to the ON position. The scanner then reads the codes, which takes only seconds, and displays a number. The number is the DTC (diagnostic trouble code). Looking the DTC up in the book supplied with the scanner, or on the Web, will tell you the area the problem is in. It will not be specific enough to tell you what part has actually failed. You'll need to do further diagnostics for that.
Most auto supply stores, like AutoZone and Advance Auto Parts, will scan your car for you and tell you the code and what it means. Most will do this free of charge in the hope that you will buy replacement parts from them.
Ford Code P1131
Trouble code P1131 means that the powertrain control module has detected a lean condition for engine bank No.1. Code P1131 can be...
How to Check the Trouble Codes on a Ford Contour
Most all of the Ford Contours manufactured from 1996 to 2001 are on-board diagnostic II ready (OBD II). This means you can...
How to Get Ford Trouble Codes
The hardest part of fixing a vehicle is often diagnosing what the problem actually is. If you are having trouble figuring out...
How to Reset the Airbag Warning Light in a Windstar
The airbag warning light in a Ford Windstar may come on when the airbag malfunctions. However, once the airbag assembly is fixed,...
How to Read DTC Codes on a Ford Taurus
Diagnostic Trouble Codes, or DTCs, are fault codes generated in the power train control module when it receives data from any of...
How to Turn Off a Ford Windstar Engine Light
Check engine lights illuminate when the power train control module on the Ford Windstar detects a malfunction in the power train systems....
How to Check a Ford Windstar DTC Trouble Code
DTC stands for diagnostic trouble code. The Ford Windstar’s onboard computer checks various systems during each drive cycle and if anything registers...
How to Replace a Ford Windstar Battery
The Ford Windstar's maintenance-free battery requires little attention until it is due for replacement. When the battery fails, buy a replacement from...
How to Display Ford Trouble Codes
To display trouble codes on a Ford vehicle, you will need the a code scanner, and as of 2010, not one code...