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Old 12-19-2009, 08:56 PM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 2
Default read check engine light codes without scanner

I was wondering what the correct sequence would be to put the car into diagnostic mode, so I can read the check engine light codes. I dont have enough money for a ODB-II scanner and I wanted to read the codes on my 2000 monte carlo SS so I can figure out why the check engine light is on. Other cars I have owned were able to be put into diagnostic mode where you can count the flashes to figure out the codes. I greatly appreciate your help. I need to get to work.

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Old 12-20-2009, 07:59 PM
RocknSS04's Avatar

Monte Of The Month -- August 2007
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Michigan
Posts: 5,231

#1. Take it to Autozone or Pep Boys and have the codes scanned.
#2. Write the codes down.
#3. Erase the codes (you have to do it, they can't legally)
#4. Google the CEL codes read in #1 above.
#4. Alternate: check the codes on this generic GM list I posted a while back:

There is no "diagnostic mode" The government required all manufactured to use the OBD-II system back in 1997, and it is still the industry standard for diagnostics.

FYI, you can by a bottom dollar Actron OBD-II scanner for about $60 that will read the codes, but like I said above, several placed will read them for free.
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Old 12-20-2009, 11:35 PM
Join Date: Dec 2009
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just go to parts store and get scanned for free

11 sec club & cam only
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Old 12-21-2009, 06:44 AM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 2

That's pretty pathetic that you actually NEED a code reader in order to get the codes. Nissan makes it so you have the choice of using the ODB-II reader and/or do the pedal dance (combination of holding the accelerator down for different periods of time) to put the car into diagnostic mode where you can count the flashing of the check engine light in order to determine the code numbers. I am very disappointed that you cannot do the same on Chevy's. I sure hope you are just ignorant of the procedure and someone else will chime in. I dont want to have to spend another $60-100 or drive to autozone everytime I want to figure out why the check engine light is on.

On another note, encrypted ECU's and FORCING people to use external readers should be illegal, especially when the car is fully capable of telling the owner what code is being thrown.

Encrypted ECU's are anticompetitive because smart mechanics that are not employed by the dealer are not allowed to fix the vehicle because they dont have access to the necessary information to diagnose the problem. Encrypted ECU's stifle innovation and create a fake need to go to the stealership and get raped.

I sure hope someone knows the procedure. If you do, please let us know. You will be helping people help themselves, which is the best form of help.

++KARMA TO ALL. Thanks for your time and consideration.
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Old 12-21-2009, 10:08 PM
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Location: South Dakota
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With an OBD II system, you need a code reader or scan tool to access the codes and delete them. You used to be able to use the paper-clip trick on Gm cars to get the check engine light to flash the codes. However, the trick only works on 93 and older cars.
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Old 12-28-2009, 12:38 AM
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Southern Ohio
Posts: 22

I've seen scanners on eBay for around $30. As far as I know there is no sequence to get the codes to flash to you. If there was, autozone, Pep Boys, Advance, etc wouldn't be using code scanners. Take Autozone for example, $30 X 4,000+ stores adds up to alot of money they wouldn't have shelled out if they didn't have to. Btw, the code key trick works on practically any GM with a diagnostic system other than OBD-II, which usually means 95' and older.
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Old 12-28-2009, 12:38 AM

2004, 2006, carlo, cars, check, clip, engine, light, monte, obii, paper, reader, scanner, ss, tric

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