What Does The Check Engine Light Mean

Check-In, Check-Out, Check Engine - Encinitas Foreign & Domestic Auto Repair

When your vehicle's check engine light illuminates, you may feel confused or even have a sense of panic or dread. Will this be the end of your car? Can you make it to the repair shop? Although you shouldn't drive your vehicle long term with the check engine light on, it's okay to travel the distance to your local automotive technician. And, yes, your car will be okay! If you find yourself in this situation, bring your vehicle to Encinitas Foreign & Domestic Auto Repair in Encinitas, California, for diagnosis and repair.

What Is That?

As soon as the dashboard indicator lights up, one question comes to mind. What is that? The lamp itself may appear slightly different between manufacturers and models, but it is standardized industry-wide. Regardless of what your vehicle's symbol looks like, it represents the Onboard Diagnostic System that generates universal trouble codes that are read by an OBD-II computerized reader that helps technicians identify the sources of trouble. Implementation of this system was an important advancement that made identification and repair easier. The OBD-I was found on some of the 1980's and early 1990's vehicles, but it was manufacturer specific (meaning that trouble codes were not the same across all makes). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandated that the second-generation system, also called the malfunction indicator lamp (MIL), be used in all vehicles beginning in 1996. Their goal was, and is, to protect the environment by controlling exhaust emissions. There are a variety of problems that can trigger a warning, but our staff has noticed a few common culprits. For instance, the oxygen sensor, which measures the amount of unburned oxygen in the exhaust, can malfunction and cause an alert. Surprisingly, a loose or damaged gas cap may also do the same. Converting carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide, the catalytic converter can go bad, impacting performance and resulting in the check engine warning. Likewise, the mass air flow sensor could be the problem. This part is needed to regulate the amount of fuel for combustion by measuring the amount of air going into the engine. Finally, spark plug or spark plug wires that have aged or degraded are sometimes the underlying issues.

Check It Off Your List

When your check engine light warns you of the need for an auto repair, check in with us at Encinitas Foreign & Domestic Auto Repair in Encinitas, California, let us check out the problem and fix it, and check car trouble off your list. Our certified technicians have the expertise necessary for efficiently targeting the specific issue. This is important because while the OBD-II reader helps by providing a trouble code, this simply points the user in the correct direction. The person performing the work must be able to hone in on the exact problem within the category provided by the trouble code. Thus, you can't rely solely on the machine, so let us assist you as you navigate the possible causes of the check engine alert.

Written by Developer Autoshop