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How to Read and Reset Fault Codes From Your Vehicle

Updated at 15 Feb, 2022

— With our guide, learn to read/reset fault codes in your car, troubleshoot check engine light issues & save on costly repairs. Start troubleshooting today!

How to Read and Reset Fault Codes From Your Vehicle

The AutoPi IoT platform is much more than your regular OBD-II black box. The device is built on Raspberry Pi and thus the device can also perform all the things a regular OBD-II black box does as well as additional exceeding abilities.

In this blog, we will go over how you can read out the details regarding fault codes and how it is done with the AutoPi TMU device as well as how you can combine fault codes with triggers to make automatic alerts.

Getting a vehicle’s diagnostic fault code on your dashboard can be frustrating and confusing because the Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) doesn’t precisely describe the problem or the severity of the problem.

A common example of this is the Check Engine Light:

An illustration of a check engine light icon

The check engine light is a dashboard warning indication that glows when the vehicle's onboard computer detects a problem with the engine or its emissions control systems. It generally indicates the presence of a problem, such as a faulty sensor, a loose gas cap, or a problem with the catalytic converter.

Ignoring the light might result in more damage and costly repairs, so have it examined as soon as possible.

However, sometimes you may be able to save a few hundred bucks by fixing and clearing the error code(s) yourself.

Reading error codes

When you are driving, the AutoPi TMU device will automatically log all diagnostic trouble codes (DTC), together with a timestamp and the GPS position.

This means that you will also be able to see where on your trip the DTC became active and also where it became inactive (if it went away on its own), no more driving to the mechanic and leaving because he couldn't see any issues.

This is all shown on a map on your trips page, so you can easily get an overview of it:

An interpretation of a map showing diagnostics codes

Another advantage of using the AutoPi TMU device is that it will show you a precise description of the error code, and a severity range and also give you a possible solution to the problem.

When the indicator light goes on during a live trip, your precise error, severity, and possible solution will be shown in a widget on the dashboard:

An example of diagnostics shown in widget

You are also able to cross-reference the error code with any other logged information. For example, if the time of the DTC occurring, matches the spike on the accelerometer, you may have a loose or faulty sensor - and your mechanic can use this information to get a fix on the real issue.

The fault codes with a higher severity can then be solved faster by you or the mechanic while the lower severity error codes can be dealt with at a slower or your own pace.

Resetting error codes

For some error codes, it might be possible to fix the error on your own, if you know what you are doing. Or sometimes you get an error code with low severity, which you don't need to react on right now because there is nothing to fix.

For this, it is possible to reset error codes directly from the AutoPi Cloud. The error codes and all details will still be present on the dashboard but will be marked as cleared, and of course no longer visible in the car.

The AutoPi TMU device gives you an insight into your vehicle’s diagnostic codes and makes it easier for you to clear, read and reset the trouble codes.

Resetting error codes is very easy. Just open up your dashboard, find the widget containing error codes, and press the reset button.

Please note: Resetting an error code does not necessarily mean the issue has been resolved. We recommend you investigate and take all error codes seriously. Contact a mechanic if you are not sure what you are doing.

If you want to know more, please contact us, and we'll happily answer your questions. - Mihnea Radulescu

Article by

Mihnea Radulescu

Hardware Development / Shipping

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