What You Need to Know.
We’ve all been down that road before. You’re driving along minding your business and everything is in working order. Suddenly, your vehicle’s warning light comes on which means there might be something wrong with your engine. What do you do? When you need a check engine light diagnosis, the ASE certified technicians at Pat’s Auto Service Center are here to ensure that you get safely back on the road.
What Does a Check Engine Light Do?
The check engine light, also known as a malfunction indicator lamp, is a warning light that is controlled by sensors in your vehicle’s engine bay. When your engine isn’t running properly, the check engine light will illuminate on your dashboard advising you to get your vehicle checked. The check engine light can mean any number of issues might be taking place under the hood. However, until you take it to an automotive specialist you may never know if the problem is credible or just a false alarm. Check engine lights come in a variety of shapes and colors including amber, yellow and orange. But no matter what they look like, they can make all drivers equally anxious.
Check Engine Light Issues, and How We Diagnose Them.
Vehicles that have been manufactured since 1996 usually have a set of “troubleshooting codes” that your vehicle’s computer will then initiate. This protocol is also known as OBD-II. Usually a problem is diagnosed by having a certified automotive technician hook an electronic diagnostic scanner into your vehicle’s main computer. This automotive electronic port is often located just underneath your dashboard towards the driver’s footwell. Once plugged in, a technician can read what your vehicle computer is trying to tell you. Issues that can throw off a check engine light can include an emissions issue, engine misfire, ignition coils, mass airflow sensor, bad thermostat or even a loose gas cap! Here is a little more detail about what some of these issues entail:
- Emissions: Devices called catalytic converters are responsible for helping your vehicle to emit a cleaner exhaust emission, so it can abide by automotive regulations in your state. An issue here can easily set off a check engine light. This issue will cause your vehicle to fail an inspection.
- Ignition Coils: These coils are located deep inside your engine and, along with the proper spark plugs, help to give life to your engine when you crank it up. Trouble here can lead to slower cranks, no starts and will certainly illuminate your check engine light.
- Engine Misfire: Every engine has its own rhythm. Your cylinders will fire in a specific order when your engine is running, and when the engine is running smoothly, you’ll feel it! Consequently, when your engine is firing out of order, you will feel it as well. The engine will stumble while running, and this is typically referred to as, “your vehicle is running rough.”
- Mass Airflow Sensor: Also known as the “MAF,” is controlled by your vehicle’s computer. It’s an electronic component that senses how much air is flowing into your engine, and thus regulating how much fuel the computer directs to your engine to mix with the air and create power. A bad sensor, which can be caused by improper installation, moisture or faulty wiring can result in a loss of power or even a no-start situation.
- Bad Thermostat: Your vehicle’s thermostat is a sensor that helps to regulate and report your vehicle’s temperature. Electronic problems with this part can also set off the check engine light.
No driver deserves to be kept in the dark about why their check engine light is on. If your check engine light is illuminated, let the knowledgeable staff at Pat’s Auto Service Center help alleviate your worries! Our certified professionals will diagnose any possible sensor or engine computer issues and determine if a deeper issue is present. If there is, we’ll provide you with up to date information on your vehicle every step of the way. Pat’s only uses electronic diagnostics equipment from top leading brands such as Snap-On, Modis and Autel. Top notch equipment and certified professionals ensure that your vehicle’s code is always read correctly, and that the job gets done right the first time. Stop by Pat’s for your check engine light diagnosis and put your automotive troubles to the curb.