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CARS Newsletter

CARS = Complete Auto Repair Service - Engine Light

Posted by D on July 15, 2019 at 8:45 AM

Check Engine Light -
 What the light means and what to do if it comes on.

      Call this the most misunderstood indicator on your dashboard, the "Check engine" light can mean many differnt things.  From a loose gas cap , poor fuel economy to a seriously misfiring engine.

     " It doesn't mean you have to pull the car over but it can mean you should get your car checked out " says Dave Cappert of the National Institute for Automotive Service." 

What The Light Means

      1) Onboard Diagnostics (OBD)
          A)  This controls and monitors your vehicle performance - such as engine speed,  (RPM)
                 fuel mixture, ignition timing.the computer also tells the automatic transmission when to shift.
          B)  When the computer finds a problem it can't correct, it turns on a light that is labeled 
engine, or Service engine"
          C)  When the light come on the computer has stored a "trouble code" in its memory that
                that identifies the source of the problem. (such as - malfunctioning sensor or a
               misfiring engine.
          D)  This is then read with an electronic scan tool or a Diagnostic computer.

What to do

If the 'check engine" light comes on it will either blink or remain constant, depending on the problem.  But it means it is time to get your car/truck checked.
      1 In late - model cars it usualy indicates a misfire that can be burning up your fuel dumping it into
            your exhaust system.( Have car or truck looked at a.s.a.p.)
                 *This can quickly damage your catalytic converter- requiring expensive repair.
     2) If the light is steady - Just schedule and appointment  - not usualy an emergency.

Today's automotive computers often try to compensate when there's a problem; so you may not notice deterioration in performance, even though your fuel mileage is suffering and your vehicle is emitting levels
of hydrocarbons & pollutants.

Tips if you Check Engine Light Comes On   

     1) Check your dashboard lights / gauges for 
           A)     Low oil pressure
           B)     Overheating     
                      These conditions mean you should pull over and shut off the engine a.s.a.p. in a safe 
                             On most cars - Yellow "check engine" means investigate - giving you time to 
                             investigate and schedule an appointment.
          C)     Try tightening your gas cap. ( keep in mind, it may take several trips before the light
          D)     Reduce speed and load.  If  the 'check engine" light is blinking or you notce any serious
                         *Performance problems, such as a loss of power, reduced speed.  Reduce your speed & try to reduce the load ( if your towing a trailer) on the engine.  ( make an apt. to have code read)
          E)      This is not the time to get a state emmissions test. (Which should be eliminated in 2013) It will most likely fail.

The best advice is to read your owner's manual beforehand and learn the purpose of the "check engine" light and every other gauge and warning indicator on your dashboard.

C.A.R.S. = Complete Auto Repair Service
Bellingham Wa. / Ferndale WA.
(360) 922-0553
(New Location)
= 5640 barrett Rd.
Ferndale WA. 98248
Exit 262 Off I-5  Just up the Road from old location

Map / Location


Categories: 2019