My Check Engine Light Is On, What Should I Do?
Extremely realistic scenario: You’re driving home one night and out of the corner of your eye you notice a little light near your speedometer is illuminated. Maybe you’re familiar with this little “submarine-looking” light, or maybe this occurrence is a new, first-time thing for you. Regardless, you know your car is trying to communicate something with you. What’s going on? What’s wrong with my car? What does this newly-lit light mean? How much is this going to cost me? First of all, calm yourself… This light is known as your “Check Engine” light. It illuminates when your onboard diagnostics system (OBD) notices an issue in one of many various components in your vehicle electronic-control system that it can’t correct. Fortunately, these lights pop-up for minor issues like a loose gas cap, but sometimes it could be tied to an underlying major issue in one of your vehicle’s engine components.
Since its introduction, the OBD system monitors vehicle performance, and regulates variables such as engine speed (RPM), fuel mixture, and ignition timing. When it finds an issue in one of these components that it can’t correct, it lets you know through the “Check Engine” light. It also stores a trouble code in the vehicle’s memory that identifies the exact source of the problem. You can find this code using an electronic scan tool or a diagnostic computer. This tool is standard in most, if not all, auto repair shops. For the do-it-yourselfers out there, these tools can be purchased inexpensively online too. The meaning of each code can be found in the scanner’s manual, or a simple Google search could provide you with a bit more detail (i.e. the meaning of the code, why it happened, what you need to do to fix it, and how to fix it).
In today’s vehicles, these OBD systems are much more sophisticated system that essentially act like a built-in state emissions testing station. The computer monitors and adjusts dozens of components and processes.In most cases, if a problem occurs, the computer will wait to see if the vehicle corrects itself before turning on the light. Modern OBD systems are so thorough that state testing centers have moved to checking for any stored trouble codes and foregoing the traditional tailpipe emissions test. As such, if your “Check Engine” light is on, DO NOT take your vehicle to an emissions testing. You will automatically fail! It is best to contact the agency who oversees the testing, explain your situation, and try to reschedule or get an extension to avoid wasting time and potentially, money.
A “Check Engine” light could signify a minor issue that is easy and cheap to fix, or a major issue that could detrimentally impact the performance and life of your vehicle. The longer you put it off, the worse this condition can get. So, while it is not absolutely crucial to pull over and get it checked out as soon as it illuminates, it is important that you set aside some time and have a repair shop or yourself run diagnostics and determine the issue. The sooner the issue is identified and fixed, the less likely you will be to run into any future negative consequences.
Along with the many services offered, the Krietz Service Team can scan your vehicle’s OBD and pinpoint the exact issue behind your vehicle’s sudden “Check Engine” light illumination. Our honest, quick service team will have the issue identified, fixed, and have you out in no time at an affordable cost. If your “Check Engine” light is on, especially if it has been on for a while, please, GET IT CHECKED OUT! To schedule your service appointment, give our service team a call at: 888-577-3621 or click here to schedule online today!