Your “Check Engine” light is on, and you have no idea why the light is on. You were simply driving down the road, and suddenly the yellow (orange, or red) check engine light illuminates on your dashboard-with no strange noises or warning symptoms. What causes the Check Engine light to go on? Like most drivers, you have no idea what the light is trying to tell you.
What the Check Engine Light Means
It means your car’s computer system has noticed some kind of problem that needs attention. This can include anything from:
- A brief lapse in some performance that may only be temporary, and will go away on its own;
- An engine service reminder (factory scheduled maintenance, as noted in the car’s owners’ manual;
- A minor problem with a simple fix. (A loose gas cap or wire connection can set your check engine light on.)
- A failure of a major electronic, fuel system or exhaust component-sensor.
If the check engine light comes on and off, or only blinks temporarily, the issue may be minor or sporadic in nature. To be sure, an engine electronic diagnostic scan on the system is needed to determine the nature of the “check engine” fault.
What You Can Do To Help Diagnose A Check Engine Light
Like telling a doctor how your body feels, since you are driving the car when the check engine light first appeared, it helps to tell the auto repair diagnostic technician the conditions that occurred when the light came on.
- Was it just after the engine started (cold engine), or after it had been running while (hot engine)?
- What speed were you driving?
- Were you accelerating,or slowing down?
- Were you shifting gears?
- What engine electrical systems went on just prior to the light on (cruise control, A/C system, heater, etc.)?
- If the “check engine” light is blinking or you notice any serious performance problems, such as a loss of power, reduce your speed and try to reduce the load on the engine. Have the car checked as soon as possible to prevent expensive damage.
In addition to turning on the light, the computer stores a “trouble code” in its memory that identifies the source of the problem, such as a malfunctioning sensor or a misfiring engine. The code can be read with an electronic scan tool or a diagnostic computer-we have the tools to scan any make or model vehicle you drive.
In most situations, if your “check engine” light illuminates don’t overreact. Although extreme problems, like low oil pressure or an overheating engine, might trigger a “check engine” light, your car’s dashboard has other lights and gauges to warn you about those problems (and most likely a lot sooner).
GT Automotive has ASE certified technicians for car repairs for all make and model vehicles. We can inspect your car during our Express Oil change, and help keep your vehicle operating safely in all seasons. Call us today, 801-302-0912, about auto repairs and service in Salt Lake City.