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Check Engine Light - What does it mean?

Here's a good read on what it can mean if your check engine light comes on. If this should happen & you need help, give us a call and we'll take a look! Check Engine Light - What does it mean?

 The check engine light is part of your vehicle's onboard diagnostics (OBD) system.  Computers have control and monitor vehicle performance, regulating such variables as engine speed (RPM), fuel mixture, and ignition timing, and may even tell the automatic transmission when to shift.

When the electronic-control system finds a problem it cannot adjust, the computer turns on a yellow warning indicator and stores a trouble code in it's memory.  These diagnostic trouble codes (DTC) help identify the probable source of the problem, such as a malfunctioning sensor or a misfiring engine and can be read with a scan tool or diagnostic computer.  

What does it mean?If the check engine light illuminates, it will either blink or remain constant, depending on the problem. Either way, you should have the vehicle checked by a Qualified Service Technician at Precision Auto Repair as soon as possible.  

If the light is steady. The problem is not an emergency, but you should schedule an appointment as soon as possible. 
 
A blinking light usually indicates a severe engine misfire allowing unburned fuel to be dumped into the exhaust system. There it can quickly raise the temperature of the catalytic converter to a point where damage is likely, requiring an expensive repair. If this occurs, you should reduce power and have the vehicle checked as soon as possible. 
 
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 may be emitting unacceptable levels of hydrocarbons and/or other pollutants. 

Have the code read and the  problem fixed. 
Take the vehicle to a professional. Some automotive parts stores will read and interpret the code for you. However, unless there is an easy solution to the problem, you should have the vehicle diagnosed by a qualified service technician directly tell what's wrong, so you have to test to find the real culprit. This is where the real meaning of codes comes into play. The only thing a code really indicates is which system or circuit to test in order to isolate the actual problem. 
 
Each numerical code has a matching-numbered test procedure. Following that test will direct you to the problem. Each step of each test must be performed in absolute sequence. skipping steps or performing steps out of sequence could make the entire test worthless. Tests may also give you voltage, resistance, temperature, or time specifications, which are exact values. Close doesn't count. 
 
Don't confuse the Check Engine light with the maintenance reminder or service interval light. These lights illuminate when a routine service is due. They are  usually triggered by mileage, amount of fuel consumed, or some other type of vehicle-use measurement. 

Thanks for reading and if you have any questions call us today 763.497.1677

Precision Automotive Repair "Where Your Neighbors Go For AutoCare"

11110 61 Street NE 

 www.precisionautorp.com

 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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