How do I reset my car’s check engine light?

My car’s check engine light keeps coming on even though I’ve taken my car to the shop and the mechanic said everything is fine. Is there a way to permanently turn it off?

Eric Schad · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
The old-school answer to turning off your car’s
check engine light
is to just put a strip of black electrical tape over it. Out of sight, out of mind, right? But in all seriousness, you have other options.
While the tape fix is still popular among some drivers, amending the problem without resorting to temporary measures is still attainable. The easiest way is to follow these simple steps:
  • Pop the hood to your car.
  • Disconnect the negative terminal from your battery, signified by a minus sign or the black cable.
  • Reconnect the terminal and fire up the car.
  • Your check engine light should be off.
If that doesn’t work, stored energy through your battery may remain in the electrical system and the instrument cluster of your car. So you’ll need to go through these steps:
  • Take off the negative battery cable again.
  • While it’s off, hold the horn and turn on the headlights.
  • Put the cable back on and start your car.
This should release the stored energy and your check engine light should turn off.
Keep in mind that these two methods may be temporary. Once your onboard diagnostics run on your car, the same problem may return. In this case, you may want to take your car to a different mechanic for a second opinion.
You can also try purchasing an onboard diagnostic tool from a local auto parts store. Hook it up to the port located under the steering column and let it diagnose the problem. This may give you the same codes found by your original mechanic, but at least you will have a better idea of where to start when you give the car to another mechanic.
If you’re worried about your car giving out on you due to the check engine light, consider a roadside assistance membership.
offers customers a modern roadside assistance membership. Along with traditional benefits, you get Uber-like tracking for the status of your service and the ability to contact your service provider directly for as low as $4.16 a month.
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Jerry partners with more than 50 insurance companies, but our content is independently researched, written, and fact-checked by our team of editors and agents. We aren’t paid for reviews or other content.

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