Chevy Equinox Check Engine Light Reset | 3 Easy Methods

The Chevy Equinox is a popular SUV famous for its reliability and affordability. But like any other vehicle, it also experiences problems occasionally. One common issue with the Chevy Equinox is the check engine light coming on.

The check engine warning light has numerous potential causes, ranging from minor problems like a loose gas cap to serious issues like a damaged catalytic converter.

If the check engine warning light comes on in your Equinox, it’s important to identify the exact cause of the problem. Once the cause is identified, it is necessary to fix the problem to reset the warning light.

Sometimes, a severe underlying issue causes the check engine light to illuminate. In this case, you should take your vehicle to a professional mechanic for proper treatment.

In this article, I have discussed the meaning, major causes, and resetting methods of the check engine warning light in your Chevrolet Equinox, along with some preventive tips.

The 03 methods of Chevy Equinox check engine light reset are: the manual reset, the OBD-II scanner reset, and the professional reset.

Method 1: Manual Reset

In the manual resetting method, there are two ways to reset the warning light: turning the engine on/off and disconnecting the battery cable.

Starting the engine on/off process:

  1. Turn on the ignition without starting the engine.
  2. Wait for 10–15 seconds.
  3. Turn the ignition key to the “off” position.
  4. Repeat steps 1–3 two more times.
  5. On the fourth time, start the engine and let it run for 30-35 seconds.
  6. Now shut off the engine and check the warning light. If it is off, the reset was successful.

If the first method doesn’t work, then try the second one.

Disconnect the negative battery cable:

  1. Detach the negative battery cable correctly.
  2. Wait for 30–40 seconds.
  3. Connect the negative battery line again.
  4. Turn the ignition on and wait 10–15 seconds.
  5. Now start and let the engine run for 30 to 35 seconds.
  6. Turn off the engine and check the indicator.

If the warning light is off, the reset was successful; otherwise, the reset failed. However, remember that these methods do not work on some Chevy Equinox models. In this case, go for an advanced diagnosis and treatment.

Method 2: Reset Through the OBD-II Scanner

Resetting a car with a OBD-II Scanner

The OBD-II scanner is the most definitive and precise method to reset the check engine light in the Equinox. This device directly connects with the vehicle computer and provides a clear picture of internal issues.

Follow the steps given below to reset the check engine light with the OBD-II scanner:

  1. Connect the OBD-II scanner to the OBD-II port under the steering wheel.
  2. Turn on the ignition key without starting the engine.
  3. Turn on the OBD-II scanner.
  4. Navigate to the “Diagnostics” menu.
  5. Select the “Read Codes” option.
  6. The scanner will read and display diagnostic trouble codes stored in the ECU.
  7. Once the trouble code is detected, select the “Clear Codes” option.
  8. The scanner will clear the DTCs from the ECU storage.
  9. Turn off the ignition key and disconnect the OBD-II scanner.
  10. Now check the warning light after starting the engine.

The warning light should turn off after the final step.

Note: Resetting the check engine light will not fix the underlying problem. If any internal component is faulty, the warning light appears again. In that case, you should go for the professional method and get the help of a professional mechanic.

Method 3: Professional Reset

An auto mechanic smiling

If methods 1 and 2 do not work and the warning light comes on again, it indicates that there is a serious underlying issue. In this case, you should take your vehicle to a professional mechanic.

You can also try to fix the problem if you have some mechanical knowledge and the necessary tools. To solve this problem by yourself, do the following things:

1. Check the Gas Cap

Check the gas cap for damage or cracks. If there is any damage, replace it. In another case, tighten the gas cap and drive the vehicle for a few miles to see if the light goes out on its own.

Check the other components or take your vehicle to a professional mechanic if the light does not go out.

2. Check the Oxygen Sensor

If your Equinox oxygen sensor is faulty, you will experience reduced fuel mileage, increased emissions, or rough idle symptoms. Replace the oxygen sensor if it is faulty. It is relatively inexpensive, and it is easy to replace yourself.

Watch the video below to learn how to replace the oxygen sensor in your Chevy Equinox:

3. Dirty Mass Airflow Sensor

The symptoms of a dirty mass airflow sensor are difficulty starting the engine, engine stall, or jerking during acceleration. Carefully clean the mass airflow sensor with an MAF sensor cleaner. However, replacing the faulty MAF sensor is the best option.

4. Fuel Injector

Inspect the fuel injectors for leaks. If the fuel injector leaks, it causes the engine to run rich or lean and also causes the warning light to come on. Replace the fuel injector if it is leaking.

5. Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter is an essential component and, most of the time, responsible for the check engine light in a Chevy Equinox. Replacing the catalytic converter is the best option if it is damaged enough.

It is an expensive replacement, costing you around $1,200 to $1,400, including labor costs. Having your Chevy Equinox’s catalytic converter replaced by a professional mechanic is recommended.

6. Spark Plugs

Chevy equinox spark plug holding in a hand

To examine the spark plugs, you will need a specialized machine. So, you should take your vehicle to a mechanical shop to properly inspect the spark plugs. Replace the entire set of spark plugs if they are faulty and causing misfires.

7. Emission Control System

Emission control systems can also cause check engine warning lights. So, take your vehicle to a mechanical store to check the emission control system. After examining the system, the mechanic will determine the next action.

If you have tried to fix the cause of the warning light and have been unsuccessful, you should seek professional mechanics’ help.

What Does Chevy Equinox Check Engine Light Reset Mean?

What Does Check Engine Light Mean on Chevy Equinox

The check engine light in the Chevy Equinox is a warning light indicating that the vehicle’s computer has detected an engine or emissions system issue. The issue can range from minor to severe. Driving with the check engine warning light on can damage the vehicle.

So, if the warning light comes on in your Chevy Equinox, diagnose the underlying problems and solve them as soon as possible.

Why Does Check Engine Light Come On

The warning lights are an important indication system for a vehicle. They are generally illuminated to inform the driver that there are some problems with the engine.

Sometimes, problems in the emissions system also cause engine issues. Ultimately, the check engine warning light illuminates due to the engine problem.

Overall, the check engine warning light is a proactive measure designed to prevent minor issues from escalating into major complications.

Common Check Engine Light Codes Chevy Equinox

Some common check engine warning light codes for the Chevy Equinox are as follows:

  • P0422: Catalyst system efficiency below threshold
  • P0171: System too lean (bank 1)
  • P0304: Cylinder 4 misfire
  • P0172: System too lean (bank 1)
  • P0101: Mass airflow sensor circuit performance problem
  • P0302: Cylinder 2 misfire
  • P0442: Evaporative emission control system leak detected (small leak)
  • P0420: Catalyst system efficiency below threshold
  • P0014: Camshaft timing issues
  • P0303: Cylinder 3 misfire
  • P0301: Cylinder 1 misfire
  • P0455: Evaporative emission control system leak detected (gross leak)
  • P0300: Random or multiple cylinder misfire detected

You can use an OBD-II scanner to detect the code and problem. Once the problem is detected, you can easily solve it.

What are the Possible Causes of Check Engine Light on Chevy Equinox

Several problems can cause the check engine warning light to illuminate. However, some problems are most common and are mainly responsible for the warning light, while others are less common.

The most common causes of check engine lights on Chevrolet Equinox are:

  • Loose Gas Cap: If the fuel cap is loose, it can let fuel vapors out, which usually triggers the warning light.
  • Dirty Mass Airflow Sensor: The mass airflow sensor measures the quantity of air that enters the engine. The ECM triggers the warning light if it is faulty and sends incorrect information.
  • Faulty Oxygen Sensor: The oxygen sensor determines and controls the volume of oxygen that is unburned in the exhaust gas. If the oxygen sensor is faulty, it provides incorrect information and becomes a reason for the warning light.

The less common causes of check engine lights on Chevrolet Equinox are:

  • Defective Head Gasket: A defective head gasket leaks coolant into the combustion chamber, triggering the warning light.
  • Damaged Spark Plugs: If the spark plugs are damaged, they cause the engine to misfire and trigger the warning light.
  • Clogged Catalytic Converter: The catalytic converter helps to convert harmful emissions into harmless gases. If the converter is clogged, it causes several problems, including the warning light appearing.
  • Faulty Fuel Injector: A faulty fuel injector can also cause the check engine warning light to illuminate by reducing engine power.
  • Engine Misfires: A misfire occurs when an engine cylinder fails to fire properly. If the engine misfires, it can cause the warning light to illuminate.

According to research, the emission system is the culprit 40% of the time the check engine warning light comes on. The sensors are responsible 50% of the time, while the catalytic converter is responsible 10% of the time.

When the warning light illuminates your Equinox, first check the most common causes and then the less common causes. If you can’t determine what’s causing the check engine warning light, seek professional assistance.

How to Stop Check Engine Light from Coming On

To stop the warning light from coming on, you need to fix the underlying problem that is causing it. Follow these 6 tips to prevent check engine warning lights from coming on:

1. Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance is crucial for a vehicle’s optimum health. Regular maintenance includes getting oil changes and tune-ups on schedule and replacing air filters, spark plugs, and other parts as needed.

2. Check the Gas Cap Regularly

A loose or damaged gas cap causes the check engine warning light to come on. So, after refueling, always ensure the fuel cap is tightened correctly and regularly inspect it for damage.

3. Use High-Quality Fuel

Low-quality fuel usually contains impurities that damage the engine and emissions system. So, always use the recommended engine oil and fuel to avoid the warning light.

4. Smooth Driving

You should drive smoothly and avoid jackrabbit starts and stops. This will help to reduce wear and tear on the engine and emissions system.

5. Avoid Running on a Low Gas Tank

Driving on a low gas tank causes the fuel pump to overheat and fail. Therefore, your vehicle’s computer illuminates the warning light. So, avoid such kinds of activities and refill gas before it runs out.

6. Fix Any Known Problems

If you are aware of any problems with your vehicle, such as a loose fuel cap or a bad oxygen sensor, fix them as soon as possible. Fixing known problems helps prevent the check engine warning light from coming on.

Final Thoughts

The check engine light on the Equinox and other vehicles is an early warning system, indicating potential vehicle engine or emissions system issues. Manual methods like the engine on-off, battery disconnect, or more advanced resetting methods are available to reset the warning light in the Chevy Equinox.

You should remember that a general reset does not solve the underlying problem. So, if the warning light reappears, go for the professional reset method or take your vehicle to a professional mechanic for proper treatment.

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