how to check codes on hyundai 2004 sonata

Is there a way to check the code for the "check engine" light? I know I can go Auto Zone and have them check it for free, but the closest one is 40 miles away. I don't want to drive the car if I can do
further damage. I did a Google search but couldn't find an answer. Isn't there a way to flip the ignition and watch for some indicator flashes? I thought I remember reading about this before. Anyway, any/all help would be appreciated.
Brian
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On 7/6/2011 12:05 PM, Brian Matthews wrote:

Brian, Go buy yourself a code reader. I think that it's an extremely useful gizmo for everyone to own. They typically cost $100 or less. I tried three of them a few years ago.
Two of them imposed logic that was crazy-making. But I like the one that's marketed under the name "Equus." The manufacturer's regular name is different; I've forgotten it, and my reader is out in the car, where it resides all the time. It's a Taiwanese company with an office in Los Angeles where they may do their design work, too. This meter does not display the meaning of the code on its screen, but the explanations of them are provided in the excellent book that comes with the device. And I really mean excellent.
The code reader displays the codes, but it's not what a mechanic uses, which is called a "scan tool." The mechanic's version essentially shows the reasons behind the codes too, but the basic meter is extremely useful. For example, it also shows the status of the system's "monitors," which verify that all internal tests have been run. If enough of these monitors have not completed their cycles, your car will not pass a California smog test. Your code reader will tip you off in advance, or give you the green light to go into the smog test station. The thing's a godsend.
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