How to Retrieve Trouble Codes without Scanners

You no longer need to rely on your mechanic or technician to let you know what’s going on with your car. If owning an on-board diagnostics (OBD) scanner is not on your list of priorities, there’s no need to worry. Almost anyone at home can troubleshoot codes manually with cars that require OBD2 or OBD1.

When a car’s dash lights appear, trouble codes are saved by your car when it realizes something is wrong. Car manufacturers make these codes easy to access for anyone, not just car techs.

It’s As Easy As 1-2-3

You will need a paperclip without plastic covering the outside, jumping wires, the repair manual, and a pen and paper. Flip your car’s ignition on and off a couple of times without cranking the engine and finish with the key in the on position.

Your car will then check for any saved trouble codes. All the lights on the dash should light up until one remains on—usually the “service engine” light. The light in this box will blink, be attentive now!

Each pulse represents a number, and a pause between represents a break to the next number that will pulse. Quick flashing will usually represent a “0”. For example: pulse, pulse, pause, flashing means “20”. Write down these codes and then check your repair manual for what it means. These often show where your odometer reading is, sometimes the code shows without even pulsing!

Alternate Methods

Alternatively, if your odometer is electronic and doesn’t use the method mentioned above, there is another way to get your code. This is where your paperclip or jumping wire comes in handy. Press the trip and reset buttons on your odometer while engaging the key in the same way mentioned above. The code should appear on the odometer reading.

Another way to read codes is to find the car’s assembly line diagnostic lead. It is almost always near the driver’s side, under the dash. The car’s manual should list where this is located if it is not there. Turn the ignition on without cranking the vehicle again. Connect the two terminals of “A” and “B” with your handy little paperclip or wire. The dash will flash with your code, as mentioned above in the same flashing, pulsing, and pausing. This method usually works best for cars that require OBD1.

Contact MAS Repair

Diagnostic trouble codes let technicians know what is wrong with your vehicle, whether it be bad sensors or faulty modules. Contact MAS Repair for services with light control modules, mileage correction, airbag module reset, climate control, ECU cloning, and much more.

MAS Repair is located in Duluth, GA. Send a message online or call (678) 228-8422 to learn more about our services.