all of the warning lights that might light up on your dash, nothing
strikes fear in the hearts of motorists more than the "check
engine" , or "service engine soon" light.
But do you know what? Even though "check engine" sounds
expensive, it might be something very simple causing the light to come
on. Let me explain how the system works.
Your car has a computer
that runs the engine and many other systems on your car. There are many
sensors placed throughout the engine that constantly send information to
the computer. The computer knows exactly what the normal readings should
be from each of these sensors, and if any of them send a reading that is
not normal, the computer will set a code, and turn on the check engine
light. If the computer considers it a big problem, the light will flash
off and on as you drive. That is a warning telling you that you should
take it real easy with the car, and get an appointment made ASAP
to have it checked.
If the light is not flashing, it usually does not mean that you
need to pull over and stop the car. Just take it easy, and you should be
fine to continue driving.
The mechanic will hook
up a diagnostic scanner to the car, and it will tell him what code was
stored in the computer. But this is not a magic box that tells him what
is wrong. It only gives him an idea of the affected area, and he needs
to do some diagnostic work from there. What might start out as a misfire
code could turn out to be any of a number of things like spark plugs, or
a sensor of some kind. You just don't know until you go through some
steps and run the problem down.
Sometimes the problem
can be surprisingly easy. Believe it or not, the fuel system even has
sensors associated with it, and one very common reason the check engine
light comes on is if you don't tighten the gas cap enough. So if your
check engine light ever comes on after you filled up with gas, try
tightening that cap before you go through the expense of having a
mechanic look at it. It might save you some money.
The Auto Guy – Jim Champion
Charlie Graham Body and Service
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