The check engine light is a very useful tool for drivers to instantly know if something is wrong in their car’s system. A lot of drivers are either unaware of what a check light engine could mean or they simply ignore this crucial signal. If the check engine light of your car illuminates, you should never ignore it. Instead, you should try to understand what the signal means and get the issues fixed without any delay. When your car is trying to talk to you, you can’t ignore it.
4 Useful Tips to Help You with Check Engine Light Diagnosis
If you’re like most drivers, you don’t know much about check engine light and the diagnosis of issues. Given below are some of the most important tips to help you with the same so you can take action in time.
Tip #1: There are Two Types of Warnings
It’s a no-brainer that the check engine light will give you an indication that there is some kind of issue with your car’s system. While it is important to not ignore the signal, you should also remain aware of the types of warnings and what they mean. The check engine light gives two types of warnings.
- Check Engine Light Steady:
Suppose you are driving the car and the check engine light suddenly appears on the dashboard. First, see whether the light is steady. If the light is on and steady, this could signal a wide range of issues. So, you should take this as an indication that your car needs to go to an auto repair shop. The sooner you visit the repair garage, the better.
- Check Engine Light Flashing:
If the check engine light starts to flash or blink while you are driving, you should halt the car at a safe location. A flashing light tells you that your car has some really serious issues. Therefore, it can be consequential to continue driving your car in this condition. Turn off the engine and get in touch with an auto shop so that your car can be towed for repair.
Tip #2: Don’t Confuse Service Light with Check Engine Light
If you are a movie or lack experience in this area, you may confuse service light with check engine light. Actually, these are two different lights or indication tools. When a service light illuminates, this means that your car is in need of a maintenance service. This means you should get your car serviced, which could mean an oil change or simply regular scheduled care.
On the other hand, the appearance of a check engine light is entirely unrelated. If this light illuminates, as mentioned above, you should know that your car is having some kind of minor or major problems.
Tip #3. Know the Common Reasons for a Check Engine Light
The illumination of check engine light indicates you have issues in your car’s system. There are some issues that are very common in all cars when the check engine light starts to flash or blink.
These common reasons include:
Failed Oxygen Sensor: Also commonly known as O2 sensor, the automotive sensor makes it easy to manage the fuel injection and emission. So, a failed or faulty oxygen is unable to tell how much fuel is actually getting burned. To keep the air-fuel ratio under control, you’ll need to replace your car’s faulty oxygen sensor with a new one. This could be one issue with your car’s system.
Loose Gas Cap: The gas cap is also called the fuel filler cap. Though this is a simple and small component in a car’s system, it plays a key role. Having the gas cap ensures any dust or debris don’t enter the gas tank. The blinking of your check engine light may be due to the loose or improper sealing of the gas cap. It is important to replace a loose gas cap with a new one immediately.
Bad Catalytic Converter: The function of a catalytic converter is to bring down harmful emissions from a car’s engine. You’ll be able to drive a car even if it has a bad catalytic converter. The absence of a catalytic converter means your car will give out toxic emissions. If you have an inspection coming around, you’ll fail the test due to the air pollution generated by your vehicle.
MAF Issues: MAF or Mass Airflow sensor issues are one of common reasons for your check engine light to come on. With the help of this apparatus, the engine control unit can correctly balance and supply the fuel mass to the vehicle’s engine. It is a crucial component and needs immediate fixing.
Spark Plug Problems: The function of this component is to ignite the air-fuel mixture and help the engine generate power. Spark plugs are not very expensive and replacing them is quick. However, not getting the spark plug issues fixed in time can lead to major problems in your car’s system. It can even damage the catalytic converter, which is quite an expensive component.
Apart from these common problems, your car’s system may have many other small or big issues. Depending on the nature of the problem, the repair can cost you a couple of dollars or several hundred dollars.
Tip #4: Decipher the Engine Light Code
When it comes to diagnosing the problem with your car, the engine light code needs to be understood. Broadly speaking, the codes have been categorized into Powertrain (P), Body (B), Classic (C) and Network Communications (U). For easy understanding, there are further divisions of these codes.
If you want to get the code, you’ll need to purchase a code reader from an automotive parts store. However, fixing the problem is a lot more than just getting the code. Even if you have got the engine light code, it doesn’t always help you diagnose the problem in an accurate manner. If you have a code for a minor issue, the problem may not go away after fixing that minor issue. This means that your car’s system has other problems which needs fixing. Interpreting the codes on your own can be difficult – even when you have some mechanical experience.
Get Your Check Engine Light Codes Scanned for FREE
Equipped with an OBD-II scan tool, you can check the check engine light codes on your own. Once you have the code, you can go to Google and do some research to make sense of that code. However, deciphering the codes and diagnosing the exact problems are not always the same things. If the check engine light of your car, SUV or minivan has tripped, the best idea is to take your vehicle (or have it towed) to an auto repair shop for accurate diagnosis and repair. Auto repair shops have skilled technicians who have experience in dealing with a wide range of problems in all makes and models of cars as well as custom vehicles.
At 10 Degrees Automotive, we offer free scanning for check engine light codes. If you are located in Corona, CA, simply head straight to our auto repair shop for top quality vehicle service. Our expert technicians will dig deeper into the problem and fix it – and do the job right the first time.