how do i know what my check engine light means

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  #1  
Old 01-01-13, 01:09 PM
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how do i know what my check engine light means

i have a 1988 buick century. the check engine light is on. how can i check to see what this means myself
 
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Old 01-01-13, 01:20 PM
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Because of the age...I don't think you can use a reader. Might do a search for "interpreting check engine light" or "check error codes" for your year and model. Normally it involves turning the ignition key on and off in a set sequence...or holding buttons on the radio during the process. A series of flashing lights or a code in the radio display will show up.....then you can search for that.

Often a check engine light may be due to a simple sensor error if the vehicle is running correctly...other times it can be very bad if you continue to drive.
 
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Old 01-01-13, 01:21 PM
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You need a code reader OBD 1 I think. Go to the local auto parts store. they usually perform this function for free. Well at least the local Autozones here in NJ do.

Often the gas cap is the most common cause, but it could be anything...
 
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Old 01-01-13, 01:25 PM
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Old 01-01-13, 01:28 PM
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Oops...Lawrosa is right. I guess I was a few years off on readers and OBD eras.

An auto parts store may be able to do it for free...IF they have the right connectors and readers. I'd call around.
 
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Old 01-01-13, 01:59 PM
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your right it is to old for check. i did google for check ideas before i posted. it gave me an idea but it didnt work. do you have any ideas on how to do it
 
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Old 01-01-13, 03:04 PM
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your best bet is to spend $65 or so and have pro shop scope it for you. Parts stores do not do pre-OBD reads.
When they scope it, you tell them to NOT do any repairs and come over and ask them to point at parts in question. THEN you replace them yourself.
 
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Old 01-01-13, 07:49 PM
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if you look at the dlc connector (where a scan tool would connect). you can see the pins. on the connector there will be two pins "side-by-side" jump them with a wire, paper clip. turn on the key. it will flash a code. slow flash is the first digit fast flash is the second.might flash a 12 and a 55 meaning start and finish.
 
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Old 01-02-13, 05:32 AM
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Another info source:

http://www.troublecodes.net/GM/

Start and finish should both be "12".
 
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