Reading trouble codes. [Archive] - Dodge Caliber Forums

: Reading trouble codes.


Michael K.
09-28-2007, 11:13 AM
This is for U.S. spec cars with OBDII systems and is not Caliber specific. I don't know if cars in other countries use OBDII, but it has been mandated by federal law for all cars sold in the U.S. from 1996 on. When your Check Engine Light (CEL) comes on it's because there is a problem and the OBDII computer stores a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC).

Each car has a way to retrieve the DTC, but the method for retreiving the code varries from car to car. Retreiving the DTC usually involves the CEL belinking in a series of flashes. For example, four long flashes followed by three short usually indicates a DTC of P0403.

Another way to get the DTC is to plug in a diagnostic reader. This can be done at the mechanic for a fee, or you can buy a reader. Some parts stores such as AutoZone will scan your car for free.

Once you get your DTC, what do you do with it? The first step is to understand what the code means. To do that, it helps to know how to read the DTC. When reading an OBDII DTC, it helps to know what the different parts of the code mean. A DTC is one letter, followed by four numbers, X####, and is broken into four parts (X/#/#/##). The breakdown of the parts of the DTC are as follows.

Letter:
B=Body
C=Chassis
P=Powertrain
U=Network

First number:
0=SAE (standard "generic" code)
1=MFG (Manufacturer specific codes)


Second number:
1=Fuel and air metering
2=Fuel and air metering (injector circuit)
3=Ignition system or misfire
4=Auxiliary emission controls
5=Vehicle speed control and idle control
6=Computer output circuit
7=Transmission
8=Transmission

Last two numbers:
00-99=Specific fault

For example a DTC of P0304 breaks out like this:
P=Powertrain
0=SAE code
3=Misfire
04=Cylinder 4

All OBDII SAE codes (first number is a "0", X0###) are required to be standardized across all makes and models sold in the U.S. starting in the 1996 model year. It doesn't matter if you own a Dodge, a BMW, a Nissan, or any other U.S. spec car, the SAE codes will all translate to the same set of problems. If the first number is a "1" (X1###), you'll have to get the translation of the DTC from the manfuacturer, since those codes are not standard across makes and models.

Lists of SAE trouble codes are hard to find online. SAE International maintains the copywright to the list of codes and does not permit them to be published online. However, if you do a Google search for you specific code, you can usually find the information you're looking for.

Edited for spelling.

UN4GTBL
09-28-2007, 12:20 PM
Thanks for posting that, i always wondered what the letters and numbers in the trouble codes stood for.

This was mentioned on here somewhere before, but im too lazy to find it maybe somebody else can? ...but with the majority of Chrysler vehicles you can turn the key a set way to get the code to show up on the odometer screen. I'm *pretty sure* the Caliber does this too.

DDC Tech
09-30-2007, 11:56 AM
Is there a way to check codes without a reader if you don't have EVIC?

Michael K.
09-30-2007, 12:27 PM
^ Most Dodge products (I can't guarantee it'll work on the Caliber) use a method of turning the key on and off four or five times in quick succession. Then the CEL will flash the numbers for you. It may have been brought up before somewhere on this board on how to do it with the Caliber. If you do a search, you might be able to find the directions. If not, try searching Google.

Getting the codes is different for each make of car, for my Nissan I have to use a screw driver to turn a switch on the ECU to get the codes.

DDC Tech
09-30-2007, 12:51 PM
^ Most Dodge products (I can't guarantee it'll work on the Caliber) use a method of turning the key on and off four or five times in quick succession. Then the CEL will flash the numbers for you. It may have been brought up before somewhere on this board on how to do it with the Caliber. If you do a search, you might be able to find the directions. If not, try searching Google.

Getting the codes is different for each make of car, for my Nissan I have to use a screw driver to turn a switch on the ECU to get the codes.

I tried on-off-on-off-on with the key, and it did nothing.

bigtsr
09-30-2007, 04:51 PM
It works on my Caliber,only showed ----(dashes) then said "DONE".

GLHS837
09-30-2007, 05:21 PM
Its three times, starting from OFF

On
Off
On
Off
On

Do it quickly, about 3-5 seconds. If there are no codes stored, Done is what you get. I've been told this wont work on 08s, but who knows.

For no money, any ADvance Auto Parts or Autozone will use their code readers on your car.

DDC Tech
09-30-2007, 08:39 PM
Its three times, starting from OFF

On
Off
On
Off
On

Do it quickly, about 3-5 seconds. If there are no codes stored, Done is what you get. I've been told this wont work on 08s, but who knows.

For no money, any ADvance Auto Parts or Autozone will use their code readers on your car.

If I don't have EVIC, how can it "say" anything?

GLHS837
10-01-2007, 02:44 AM
Like the Neons, should read in the ododmeter window.

Another neat trick is to press and hold the odometer reset button, with the key Off, then turn to ON (not Start). Keep holding for maybe 10 seconds........

Then your dash should do a diagnostic, all your warning lights should light up, then go off, and all your needled should sweep through their entire range.

Only really useful as a "Cool, look at this" sorta thing, unless of course a gauge goes dead. Then you can see easily if its the cluster itself thats bad, and not the sensor.

bigtsr
10-01-2007, 05:05 AM
If I don't have EVIC, how can it "say" anything?
Plus as posted previously it will say the total number of hours
on the engine by setting odo to total miles,key to on(don't start)
then press odo button and hold for 6-8 seconds,then release.

HSKR
10-01-2007, 06:01 AM
I tried on-off-on-off-on with the key, and it did nothing.

You have to go from off, past acc to on, and then back to off each time and do it within 5 seconds to work. The codes, if any, will display on the odo spot. If none, then it will show lines, and then "done"

DDC Tech
10-01-2007, 12:44 PM
Plus as posted previously it will say the total number of hours
on the engine by setting odo to total miles,key to on(don't start)
then press odo button and hold for 6-8 seconds,then release.

Cool! I think the problem was that the Ododmeter window was displaying the temp. I switched it to the total miles and it worked.