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How to Check Engine Light Codes Without a Scanner Chevy (Discussed 2 Methods) 

One of the simplest ways to check your chevy engine code is by using an OBD scanner. It is an essentially popular device that many car owners have adopted for checking error codes in their vehicles.

The question you may be bugged with if you don’t own one is how to still get out codes from your vehicle if you don’t have the money to throw into a mechanic’s pocket for a scanner.

We’ve got some helpful information on checking engine light codes without a scanner. Some car models have pretty easy ways of going about this, but Chevy being Chevy, adopts a slightly more complex and different approach. Don’t miss any steps, as it’s a wholesome guide you need to follow to achieve the result.

We would have to show you the tools you need and the step-by-step guide for your Chevy vehicle. Just follow through.

Can you check for codes without a check Engine Light?

If you’re wondering if your car can throw codes even without the check engine light on, this section answers your question.

The check engine light is constantly connected to your vehicle’s code-throwing mechanism.

This means that your car can throw codes even when the check engine light is not on. Sometimes, a loose connection or faulty wiring can make the check engine light fail to come on.

You don’t have to panic if you caught in a situation like this. It does not mean you can’t check for codes.

The vehicle’s computer controls the check engine light. Your check engine light may sometimes fail to illuminate but will still pull error codes on.

You should also bear in mind that not all codes will cause the check engine light to come on. Some codes wouldn’t typically trigger the light at all, as they are less severe.

How to check engine light codes without a scanner chevy

There are multiple ways you can access your Chevy vehicle’s check engine light code or even multiple codes without needing a scanner or any other kind of code reader.

The OBD scanner is used to check engine codes. The code reading for Chevy is a little complicated because its code display is symbolic, but this shouldn’t bother you as we have laid out two simple procedures to get around this.

Tools required

Before we delve into how to check codes without needing a code reader, you must familiarize yourself with what tools you need you need to check for your vehicle’s error code without a scanner.

There are precisely just two tools you need, and they’re easily obtainable. They are;

  • Metal wire
  • The vehicle’s key

It may come off as strange that what an OBD scanner can do can be accomplished by a wire. Precisely so, a wire can help you find the trouble code of your Chevy car.

There are two ways you can check the code on your Chevy without needing a scanner.

01. The car ignition key method

The ignition method is the most basic and most straightforward approach to obtaining your engine code. Here is a simple step-by-step guide:

Step 1:

Turn the ignition key ON and OFF without turning the engine on. Do this multiple times, as much as 3 to 4 times, and ensure you have stopped turning your key to the ON position.

Here is a simple trick to aid this process. Observe your car’s dashboard to see if all the lights there illuminate. If they do, stop turning the ignition key.

If accidentally, you crank your engine, don’t bother about this. Restart the procedure, and your vehicle will check if there are any saved check engine light codes.

Step 2:

Expect the dashboard light to turn off as soon as they come on. This usually happens to the service engine light. Now, observe carefully.

If you find the Odometer showing the trouble codes, note down all the trouble codes. If your check engine light begins to flicker, then the flash generated is your trouble code.

How do you read the code from the check engine light flash? Well, this is white tricky.

What pulse from the light stands for a digit, and the pulse simply is the separation between the code’s digits. You would know a zero digit from the quick flash of the engine light.

Step 3:

This requires you to note the engine light codes and interpret them. You have to monitor them keenly as they flash. After this, refer to your repair manual for the code descriptions to understand the exact issue.

02. Odometer Reset Method

This procedure also helps you get out trouble codes without needing a scanner or code reader.

It is bit more technical than the ignition key method, so pay attention to the steps very carefully. Here is a guide to reset your odometer to get out your vehicle error code:

Step 1

Start by turning the ignition key to “ON.” While turning the ignition key ON, press the Reset and Trip button on the Odometer.

After turning it ON, you can now take your hands off the button to check if the DTC codes appear on the Odometer.

If any fault code displays, you’ve successfully been able to get out a trouble code without needing a scanner.

Now, note down the trouble codes and refer back to your manual for the definitions of the DTC.

Step 2

This step is optional. It requires you to flip your ignition key multiple times. If the reset method fails to work, try again.

This time, you have to flip the ignition key to the ON, OFF, and ON position while pressing down the rest and Trip’s button on the Odometer. Note that it’s crucial and necessary to end the action with “ON”.

After this, release the reset and Trip’s button on the Odometer. Now check the screen of the digital Odometer. The fault code should appear at this point.

Step 3

As a Chevy user, step 3 seems to be the most reliable step for you. All you have to do is use a jumper wire to get out the codes.

Let’s show you how. First, ensure your vehicle engine is turned off, then follow the steps below:

  • Take a wire or paper clip wire and bend it in such a manner that both ends of the wire are in the same direction.
  • Insert one end of the wire into a hole of the connector of the OBD scanner while inserting the other end into the next hole. There are a couple of holes in the connector, hence may be a little confusing.
  • The next thing to do is to turn the ignition on, turning the key to the ignition position. After that, you’ll notice that your meter has lit up and some light is blinking. Among these lights, you’ll see one for the Service Engine Soon. You have to count the number of blinks carefully.
  • Expect the number to be 10, 13, or more than that. However, be sure to commit this number to memory.
  • Now head to the vehicle manual books and find the section of the engine code. You will find the number of blinks that match a code on the manual. Now you can then go ahead and solve the problem of the faulty code you find.

How to read OBD2 codes without scanner Chevy Tahoe

The process of retrieving an OBD2 code is quite similar to that of the engine that supports OBD1 codes.

The difference between the OBD1 and OBD2  cars is that while running the diagnostic procedure for the trouble code, OBD 2 cars would mostly display the trouble code on the Odometer rather than have the check engine light flicker.

OBD 2 trouble codes are one of the built-in troubleshooting systems your vehicle uses to track down where your engine problem is coming from.

To retrieve the code without a scanner, you need one of the procedures outlined here.

Let’s run you down the procedure.

  • First, turn the ignition to the ON and OFF position without cranking the engine. For your Chevy Tahoe, you have to do this about 3 times. Ensure you end this by turning the ignition lastly, to “ON.”
  • Now monitor the check engine light on the dashboard. It will light up and begin to flicker. Each pulse stands for a number in the diagnostic code. A pause in a two-digit code typically stands between one digit and the next one. For example, for code 23 you will get the following pattern: a pulse, another pulse before a pause, then two last pulses.
  • Now write the codes down as you see them flash in the dash.

For the Odometer procedure, here is how you carry it out:

  • Hold down the rest and Trip button of the Odometer while turning, simultaneously the key to the ON position. Now take your hands off the buttons. The odometer would then display the numbers digitally.

Most cars are compatible with OBD 2. A few, however, aren’t. If you’re using a vehicle that isn’t compatible with OB2, there are a few things you can do to make it compatible.

  • You may install an OB2 adapter. This allows you to connect your vehicle to an OBD 2 scanner.
  • The second option is to buy a car that is compatible with OBD2.

You may be wondering, how do I know a car that is compatible with OBD2? Well, all you should know is that such cars are built into them an OBD2-compliant data link connector.

Most cats made post-1996 have an OBD-compliant DLC built into them.

Even if your car isn’t compatible with  OBD2 and you desire to scan for a diagnostic code, you can still connect the scanner to the diagnostic port of the car.

Bear in mind, though, that you will not have access to all the OBD2 data. The scanner, too, may not be able to read all the sensors of the car.

A note of warning is that if you seem unsure about what the codes mean, do not attempt to repair anything on your vehicle. This job is exclusive to a mechanic.

Also, remember that some check engine light problems could be a result of malfunctions in fuel pumps and alternators that are not related to emissions.

As a safety precaution, consult a technician if you get any serious messages regarding your emission equipment.

If, in an intermittent manner, your check engine light comes on, keep it on and take down the codes that display while it is on.

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Top Questions (FAQs)

If I don’t use a scanner, how often do I need to check my vehicle codes?

The frequency of checking your car codes would depend on how severe the car situation is. If you notice that your vehicle is performing optimally, then there is a need to check your codes.

Likewise, if you notice your check engine light coming on, it’s time to run a diagnosis to find out what the problem is.

The more you dedicate time to checking, the easier it’ll be for you to spot problems before they escalate into more serious issues.

What should I be aware of about checking for codes without a scanner?

These are a few things you should be aware of about checking for trouble codes without using a scanner.

  • After your mechanic has solved the problem, your OBD1 and OBD2 will clear automatically.
  • Reading the flash codes from the car’s check engine light may take some effort and a few attempts before you get it right. This is especially the case where there are multiple codes.
  • If you can’t read or generate the faulty code using the Odometer or, alternatively, the ignition key method, you should contact your mechanic.

Can the check engine light automatically reset itself?

The check engine light was programmed to come on in situations where the vehicle computer senses an issue with the emission control system or engine.

When you have fixed the problem, the light is meant to go off. If it fails to go off, you can try a few things to make it work.

One of them is disconnecting the battery for about 30 seconds. Another is trying a driving cycle.

My Last Two Cents

So can a car’s code be read without a scan tool? The short answer is yes. Your vehicle can generate or store faulty codes even if the check engine light doesn’t come on.

As a Chevy user, to be able to access the code, we have provided some workable step-by-step guides to aid you.

Check them out and see a mechanic fix the error codes as soon as you have diagnosed them.

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