Imagine yourself driving quietly on board your car and suddenly an engine light appears on your dashboard ! The most common reaction is the fear of risking a serious problem. To know what exactly this light corresponds to, you will have to learn how to read your car fault codes, you may have already heard of OBD system, this is exactly what we are going to talk about. That’s exactly what we’re going to talk about. Our editors have decided to write this article to help you quickly find the origin of this default code and to give you peace of mind. To do this, we will first look at the nature of a fault code on your vehicle, then how to read fault code, and finally how to erase this fault code in order to turn off the light on your dashboard.

how to read fault codes on my car

What is a fault code?

A fault code is a generic or standard code common to all manufacturers , they are also called DTC (Data Trouble Code), the objective is to ensure that any diagnostic OBD can interpret them. They will be represented by a standard format, such as example: P0255. Each data will have a particular meaning. Default codes are codes issued by the calculators of your car. These ECUs will constantly monitor your vehicle’s emissions, pressures, mixtures and when the values exceed the limits set by the vehicle’s ECU, the fault code will appear. The advantage of understanding how to read a fault code on your car is that you will have access to precise data about your vehicle which will allow you to understand what problem you are facing.

How to read a fault code on my car?

In this second part we will now focus precisely on what brings you here, namely how to read a fault code on your vehicle. To access this precious data you will need to to get a diagnostic tool, also called OBD 2, named after the socket on your car to which you will have to connect. These diagnostic tools are freely available, you will be able to find some in Bluetooth version which connects to your phone and some standard versions with a reader associated to the socket, as far as price is concerned, you will be able to find models between 30 and 100 euros. Once you have recovered an OBD2 diagnostic reader, you will need to locate the diagnostic plug on your car, it is located on the left side of your steering column on the lower part of your dashboard, behind a hatch. It is easy to locate because it is triangular shaped and has 16 pins. All you have to do is connect with your diagnostic tool to read the fault code of your car.

how to read fault codes on my car

How to erase the fault code on my car?

Finally, to finish this article, we are going to explain you the manipulation to perform to erase a fault code on your car. Once you have navigated through the menus, you will access the list of active fault codes on your car. However, you will have to ask yourself an important question, is it really useful to erase this fault code on your vehicle? Indeed, erasing a fault code without solving the fault corresponds to hiding the face. Moreover, the computer of your car is made to take decisions according to the data it collects, if an important fault code is present, it will possibly adapt the engine operation to preserve it. So if you delete the fault code, remember to solve the problem to which it is linked. Some OBD diagnostic tools do not allow you to do this. You have a dedicated navigation menu on most diagnostic tools that should allow you to clear this fault code on your car.