Car Codes

Free use photo from

By Mike Johnson

The “Maintenance Required” light drives me crazy.
I change my oil, use the correct octane gas and garage my vehicles.
So when the car alerts me to an issue, I get annoyed.

I’ve learned that many “issues” are merely pre-programmed alerts to scare you into the dealer so they can harvest more money.

My world changed when I learned that auto supply stores will read those codes for free.
Once they share the translation of what the car is saying, you know whether it’s important or not.
If a part is required, the store will happily help.
As an aside, they’ll usually change your wipers, headlight or battery for free, if you ask nicely. It’s good manners to give them a tip.

Once you understand what the code means, fear and annoyance vaporize because you now know what, if anything, to do.

I recently had my dealer change my synthetic oil a couple hundred miles before it was due.
A few days later, the “Maintenance Required” light appeared on the dash.
I looked at the mileage and it was the exact number when the prior oil change expired.
So I knew the code was telling me to change the oil that I had already just done.

So how to get rid of that annoying message light?


A quick search for my make, model and year provided a 2-minute video.
Sure enough, holding the odometer button in, while turning the ignition key two clicks, erased the alert.


I was finally master of my cars’ annoying code system!

It turns out that "annoyance" is the universe’s code system too.

Any annoyance is telling you that your brain needs service.
Usually, it's something minor, like new learning.

Once you learn, that annoyance disappears.

As we age, with enough practice and experience, we eventually learn that our own awareness and critical thinking are able to translate and erase any “code.”


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