Were you just driving down the road when you noticed your engine light come on? This is very common and in most cases is not a huge reason to worry. However it is important that you have your vehicle diagnosed properly to figure out what is causing the warning light to come. You can always bring in your vehicle for a free engine light check, our certified technicians will quickly diagnose the issue and get you back on the road in no time.
What Does A Check Engine Light Mean?
Todays modern vehicles are equipped with an onboard computer diagnostic system that constantly monitors your vehicle’s major operating systems, specifically the power-train (engine and transmission). The main purpose of monitoring these systems is to insure that the vehicle is operating at top efficiency with the lowest possible emissions. If the computer reads that any of these parameters are out of the acceptable range for operating the vehicle, your CHECK ENGINE LIGHT will appear to warn of a potential problem. This light mean you should check the faults, make any necessary repairs and restore it to manufacturer’s specifications.
What Does a Check Engine Diagnosis Do?
When a check engine light the vehicle is telling us that something is wrong with the cars operation. In order to get more details of the issue our technicians plug our vehicle software tool into the cars onboard computer system which tells us the symptoms the car is experiencing. Similar to a doctor checking your blood pressure or taking a blood sample to understand what may be causing a certain illness. The codes then point us in the right direction of what is causing the problem. There are literally hundreds of codes that can trigger a check engine light and dozens of reasons that can cause a code to appear. Our technicians will properly diagnose these codes to figure out what repairs are necessary. Below are a few common codes for a check engine light:
Catalyst System Efficiency
The oxygen sensor is detecting the catalytic converter is not working as it should be. This could be anything from a failed oxygen sensor to a damaged exhaust manifold or bad catalytic converter.
Knock Sensor Malfunction
The vehicles computer is constantly adjusting and retiming the engine so it doesn’t produce pre-ignition detonation or knock. If faulty you could notice knocks or lack of power and hesitation. This usually requires a replacement of the knock sensor or there could be a wiring short in the knock sensor circuit.
Mass Airflow Problem
Sometimes you may not notice any drivability problems although common symptoms are a decrease in power or sluggishness. Sometimes it is a simple connection problem or it could be that the mass air flow sensor is bad and needs to be replaced.
System Running Lean
The oxygen sensor detects the level of oxygen in the exhaust. Too much oxygen in the exhaust will cause the vehicle to run lean which will trigger the oxygen sensor and therefor the check engine light. This can be caused by a dirty mass air flow sensor, air filter or exhaust leak. You will typically notice a lack of power or a hesitation during acceleration.
System Running Rich
The same oxygen sensor also measures when there is too much fuel to oxygen ration. Too much fuel to oxygen ratio can trigger misfires. This can be a dirty/faulty mass air flow sensor, air filter or a fuel pressure, fuel injector or fuel delivery problem.
When there is an engine misfire the vehicle will typically be harder to start, the engine can idle rough or hesitate among other things. This could be bad spark plugs, spark plug wires, a bad ignition coil or a vacuum/air leak among other problems.
Insufficient Exhaust Gas Recirculation
Vehicles recirculate exhaust back into the combustion chamber to optimal temperature in the combustion chamber which reduces NOX, a harmful greenhouse gas. When there is insufficient exhaust gas recirculation you may notice pinging in the engine at higher speeds. This could be a faulty sensor or possible valve blockage.
If your check engine light is on it is important to have your vehicle checked by a certified mechanic to determine what is causing the warning light to appear and what the appropriate repair is necessary.