When your check engine light comes on, you may be torn between utter panic and just wanting to ignore it and hope it goes away. That’s perfectly understandable. That same check engine light could come on for anything from a serious engine or transmission problem all the way down to a loose gas cap.
There’s a very common misconception that the trouble codes stored in your engine computer will specifically identify a problem when the check engine light comes on. This isn’t the case, it’s more like pointing to the symptoms of the problem.
Think of it like taking your temperature. Say it’s 101. Your heat sensor (the thermometer) tells you that your temperature is out of the normal range, but it doesn’t tell you why you have a fever. You’ll need more information, more tests before you can diagnose why you have a fever. A check engine light works in the same way.
For any given trouble code, there could be several causes. So, your trained technician takes the trouble code as a starting point and begins a diagnostic process to determine the cause of the problem. Sadly, some problems take longer to solve than others.
When your engine management system logs a problem and illuminates the check engine light, your service technician will plug in a scanner, download the trouble codes and go to work tracing the cause of the problem.
That’s only the first step. This is when your technicians training, equipment, databases and skill get put to work diagnosing the problem and deciding the best way to fix it.
If your check engine light is flashing it means that the problem could lead to serious damage, don’t ignore it. You should get to the service center as soon as possible and get the problem solved. If it’s on but not flashing, you have some time to get your vehicle in at your convenience.
Come in and see us or give us a call if you have any questions.