The "Check Engine Light" in a Chevy Aveo illuminates when one of the emissions components on your car fails. When the emissions component fails it sends an electrical signal know as a "trouble code" to the engine"s computer ,which stores the code so it can be read by a diagnostic code scanner. Beside the status of your vehicles emissions system, reading trouble codes can tell you a lot about the overall health of your engine.
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To read the trouble codes stored in your engine"s computer you will need a diagnostic code scanner. Code scanners come in two varieties, handheld units and cables that work in conjunction with software installed on a computer. Either will work to read trouble codes. Before you invest in a code scanner, make sure it is compatible with your Chevy Aveo. Some scanners are universal, others only work with specific makes and models. In addition, if you do not own a code scanner and do not wish to purchase one, many automotive parts stores will read and clear trouble codes for free.
To read the trouble codes stored in your engine"s computer, begin by connecting the diagnostic cable to the diagnostic port located underneath your vehicle"s dash. Insert the key into the ignition and turn it to the "run" position. Do not start the engine. The scanner will have a button labeled "scan for trouble codes" or something similar. Press this button. Wait for the scanner to finish. The trouble code will appear in the scanners display. It will be expressed as a "P" followed by a four-digit number.
The diagnostic code scanner will give you the trouble code but it will not give you an explanation of what the code means. Some diagnostic code scanner manufactures offer services to explain the codes mean. If the manufacturer of your scanner does not, the internet is a great resource for decoding trouble codes. Sites like obd-codes.com allow you to search for your specific code and will offer an explanation. You can also use a search engine. Type Chevy Aveo the year of your vehicle and the trouble code (P0123 for example) into the search engine. It will compile a list of forum postings that will explain the code and provide suggestions for remedying the situation. As a last resort you can contact a Chevrolet dealer. They should be able to explain what the code means.
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After you have read and decoded the trouble code, then fixed the appropriate emissions component, you must clear the trouble code to turn off the check engine light. Begin by connecting the diagnostic code scanner to the diagnostic port on your Chevy Aveo. Turn the ignition to the "run" position and scan the engine computer for trouble codes. After the scan is completed. Look for the button that says "clear all codes" or something similar. Press the button to clear the code. Remember clearing the codes will not solve the underlying problem that caused the check engine light to illuminate. If you clear the trouble code without fixing the problem, the light will illuminate again in a few miles.
Jeffrey Caldwell has been a freelance writer for over five months and has published over 250 articles on websites like eHow and Trails.com. Caldwell writes articles on a wide range of topics including travel, camping and automotive mechanics. He has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Millersville University.