Express Car Care Answer: Good news – you are! Let’s look at it logically: there are hundreds of things that can go wrong with your vehicle. Some are simple and some are quite complicated.
Let’s take a step back. Over 80% of engine functions are computer controlled. The computer receives information from dozens of sensors. When a sensor reading is out of range, a trouble code is entered in the computer and the Check Engine Light is illuminated.
It’s a common misconception by drivers that the trouble code will tell you exactly what is wrong, but for any given trouble code there are any number of faults that would trigger that code. For example, a code indicating a misfire on cylinder three could be due to a bad spark plug, a failed coil, ignition problems, compression issues, and others. Each of those possibilities requires additional diagnosis to confirm or rule out a cause. Once a trained service tech with access to state-of-the-art diagnostic tools and extensive research databases is able to nail down the problem, then he can set about getting it.
A complicated diagnosis may take some time. Your boyfriend might be tempted to bypass a diagnosis charge by taking a trouble code reading with an inexpensive scan tool and start replacing parts. He might get lucky…but chances are you’ll end up spending more time and possibly more money, than if you went to a professional with the right equipment.
A final word – a “flashing” Check Engine Light indicates that a condition exists that could lead to serious damage. You should get your vehicle into a shop right away. A steadily illuminated Check Engine Light is less urgent so you can get it checked at your convenience. But keep in mind that a minor issue today can become more serious tomorrow, if left unresolved. Give us a call and let us help.