The dashboard is any Jeep’s heart and soul. With it, the driver can set the right temperature, play some music, and control the vehicle. Plus, the dash is where you’ll find all the error codes. Low fuel levels, wrong tire pressure – these are just some of the issues that the display warns about. And then there’s the Check Engine light.
It signals that there’s something wrong with the motor, the EMS, or the temperature modules. Yes, it’s quite helpful, but sometimes, the CEL can be quite annoying, especially when it comes up and “hijacks” the dash. How can you fix that? Is there a way to solve this? Of course, you can restart it! So, join me, and let’s initiate a full Jeep Wrangler Check Engine light reset!
What is the Check Engine Light? Why does it come up?
Essentially, this is a warning mechanism that kicks in whenever it detects an error in the system. This is actually one of the most common warning signs that drivers see. Sometimes, it blinks; other times, it appears on the board and stays on. Your Jeep has a set of modules and sensors that help the onboard computer keep up with the Jeep 24/7 and set the right air-to-fuel ratio, slow down/boost the air intake, and more.
Sometimes, the CEL comes up, but the issue is not with the engine. It can also point to trouble with the transmission, the emissions control mechanism, and, of course, the ignition system. I’m talking about worn-out coils and faulty spark plugs. So, whenever you see the Check Engine light, the first thing to inspect should, of course, be the motor – the most expensive gear in the Jeep. However, it might not always be the root of the problem.
The Light Appears, But there are no Error Codes
Before we go ahead and restart the CEL, I want to talk about potential issues that you might have with this system. Now, whenever the light appears on the instrumental panel, you can always see the error codes. That allows the driver to quickly identify exactly what’s wrong with the vehicle. So, what are you supposed to do when the codes are nowhere to be found? Is this a serious problem? The good news is – no, it’s not a big deal.
It might not be very easy to figure out what’s causing this, though. In most cases, this happens after a battery reset or when you disconnect the positive or negative terminals. Other times, it’s the fuel to blame. If it’s a low-quality product, it could very well cause the Check Engine light to malfunction. If there’s a funky smell coming out from the engine bay, that’s a strong sign that the gas needs to be replaced. Once you do that, the problem will go away.
Jeep Wrangler CEL Reset Guide
Most experts recommend performing this procedure with an OBDII scanner. It’s an excellent tool that can not only reset the Check Engine light but also read pretty much any codes and help you with diagnostics. It’s not exactly cheap, however. So, if you’re not ready to buy a device that you’ll only be using once a year or so, here’s a quick guide on how to fix a malfunctioning CEL without any expensive units:
- Stop the Wrangler. The engine should NOT be running while you’re doing this
- Next, make sure you’ve removed the key and the ignition is empty
- Go ahead and disconnect both terminals on the battery
- Give it some time to “cool down”. Five minutes should be enough
- Reconnect the battery to the Jeep
- Put the key back in. Switch it to the “run” position
- Don’t start the engine yet. Wait for the Check Engine icon to go away
That’s it – this should clear all the codes. When you disconnect the battery, all the electronic components “forget” the stored codes. As a result, you get a clean slate, with the settings going back to default.
As you can see, there’s nothing hard about resetting the Check Engine light. Now, if you did everything right, but the warning light is still appearing on the dashboard, that means there’s actually something wrong with the vehicle. Again, check the engine first and only then move on to the gearbox, coils, sparks, and the rest of the “regular suspects”.
Sometimes, you can just keep on driving around until the light goes away by itself. But, I would still recommend clearing the codes. For that, you can visit an auto shop you trust. They’ll have an OBDII scanner I mentioned earlier and will fix that right up. This service doesn’t cost much, by the way.