Check Engine Light – Ignore It or Fix It?

When Glendora drivers’ years ago first saw their check engine light illuminate they not only paid attention to it, they panicked. Many immediately pulled their car over to the side of the road and called for help. Now many drivers simply ignore it. It may be annoying to see it illuminated all the time but they get by. Some drivers have even chosen to cover it up with a piece of duct or electrical tape (yeah…I’ve seen that!).

When your check engine light illuminates it shouldn’t be ignored. No…you don’t need to panic and call for a tow truck but you do need to get it checked out. It is telling you that one of your vehicle’s systems needs attention! Here are the possible systems:

  • Ignition System
  • Fuel Injector
  • Emission Control
  • Faulty Oxygen Sensor
  • Mass Air Flow Sensor
  • Spark Plugs and Wires

Your car in many ways is a multi-computer system on wheels and when a light of any sort illuminates it is telling you something is not right and that it has done all it can do to correct the problem. When a car is brought in to our shop we connect it to a diagnostic scan tool and our technicians analyze the data streams. These include:

  • Idle Speed
  • Throttle Response
  • Engine Temperature
  • Fuel System Pressure
  • Manifold Vacuum
  • Exhaust Emission Levels
  • Other Key Indicators

The scan tool gives them trouble codes stating why the check engine light illuminated. The technicians at Certified Automotive Specialists can then correct the problem and reset your car’s computer. Ignoring the light can cause serious problems down the road that require an expensive repair and at the very least it plays havoc with your fuel economy.

One word of caution…never ignore a flashing check engine light! This is when you need to pull over immediately and call us for a tow. This indicates a critical problem such as catalytic converter damage.

Certified Auto Specialists: the friendlier and more helpful auto shop! Feel free to call 626-963-0814 with any questions, and we will be glad to help, or visit our website at CertifiedAutoCa.com

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

What Does That Warning Light Really Mean?

It doesn’t matter if they are yellow, orange, or red. You probably feel a pang of anxiety when a warning light flares up on your dashboard.

Why?

It’s most likely because you’re not sure what the light means. That’s why we’re here. We’ll break it down and take the mystery out of it. We want you to know how to respond so you can keep your car around as long as you need it!

Oil Pressure Light

Your oil pressure warning light is usually signified by an old fashioned oil can. It can flicker on briefly when you first start your car then turn off almost immediately. If the light remains lit, you must turn off the engine ASAP and check the oil level. If it is low, add some oil and start your car back up. You are good-to-go if the light stays off. Still lit up? Do not drive your vehicle! No or very low oil pressure causes severe engine damage. Give us a call and we’ll talk to you about your options, which might include towing your vehicle to our shop.

Temperature Light

The temperature light—often displayed as a thermometer above water—is telling you that your engine is overheating.  Pull over and turn off your car immediately! Let your engine rest for at least 30 minutes before checking anything. If you try to remove the radiator cap immediately, you can be seriously burned by escaping steam and water. Once things have cooled down, remove the cap and check the coolant mixture level. If it’s low, add the appropriate 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water.

The only way to know for sure if everything is okay with your cooling system is to pressure test for internal links. This is best left to professionals. Call us and we’ll work out a game plan, including making arrangements to get your car to the shop so we can get it fixed and back out on the road!

Brake Light

The brake warning light is often a red circle with an exclamation point inside. It lights when you engage the parking or emergency brake. Make sure the parking brake is fully disengaged. If that does the trick, you’re fine. If it doesn’t flicker off, you might have a fluid leak. This can be quite dangerous, causing your brakes to fail or veer to one side. It is best to bring your car in as soon as you can to get your brake fluid checked. You want to be sure you have full braking capability when you need to stop in a hurry or road conditions are slick!

Alternator Light

A red battery with plus and minus signs indicates trouble with your alternator and tells you your charging system is not working properly. It might mean a slipping belt drive or some other issue. Calling us sooner rather than later will save you from getting stranded somewhere inconvenient, or even dangerous.

Check Engine Light

An illuminated orange motor icon once put fear into the hearts of drivers. It now seems that many car owners are capable of ignoring it for miles. This is probably because most of the time it is just saying that your gas cap isn’t on tight enough or something else minor. Even this isn’t insignificant though. It means you’re wasting fuel and polluting the environment. If tightening the cap doesn’t turn the light off after some driving, it means something is wrong that needs to be looked at.

Whenever a warning light remains on, you can refer to your owner’s manual. It will give you general explanations and let you know if it’s safe to continue driving. To speak with helpful professionals about your warning light or other automotive issues, Certified Automotive has great prices, responsive customer service, and the highest-quality workmanship. To figure out what your warning light is trying to tell you, schedule an appointment online with us or call 253-854-6762 today!

The Role of the Check Engine Light

Car Talk

Your car has many computers that monitor your engine for the best performance, your transmission for proper shifting, your braking system for safe stopping, and it monitors many other devices to make sure they are working properly. If a system detects a problem, it needs to alert you, so you can bring the car in for service. This is the role of the check engine light.

The check engine light looks different from car to car.  It is usually a yellow or orange color. It will rarely be red. Most of the time it illuminates in the shape of an engine. If the check engine light comes on solid (not blinking), you can continue to drive the car until you have a chance to bring it in. This does not mean you should ignore it.

When the check engine light is on, the car defaults to a backup system that controls all the important systems. Driving around for a short time until you can set up an appointment is no problem, but continuing to drive more than 20 miles is a bad idea.

If the check engine light is blinking rhythmically, this indicates a serious problem! A computer system has had a major malfunction that will damage the catalytic converter. If you notice a blinking check engine light, you do not need to stop in the middle of the bridge and call a tow truck, but you do need to stop driving as soon as it is practical. Whether the check engine light is solid or blinking, it’s a good idea to drive gently.

The modern car is more complex than ever, and many folks believe a small hand-held code reader will tell you what’s wrong with the car. This is incorrect information. It is called a code reader for a reason; it reads the trouble code for the major systems only. A code reader will not tell you the complete story of the car’s condition.

Please don’t diagnose or replace parts based on a code reader device. The only way to correctly find all the issues with your car is to use a scanner. The scanner does what it says; it scans all the modules and systems of the car, instead of a select few that a code reader does. Most cars have 20 to 100 modules; a code reader is not set to read even half of those.

Quick story; we recently had a car come in with a catalytic converter code. It would be easy to recommend and replace the part. The cost was $1200.00. Testing and analysing the system with scan data revealed that an oxygen sensor (one of the four that are on this car) was the culprit. The cost was $400.00. We felt good doing a proper diagnosis and repair. The customer was also happy!

No one wants to pay for expensive testing, but it beats changing parts and losing that hard-earned cash we all want to spend elsewhere. Please use a shop that is well equipped and don’t rely on the old code reader any more.

Certified Auto Specialists wants to be your GO-TO place! Feel free to call 626-963-0814 with any questions and we will be glad to help.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

The Check Engine Light

Gene-Car-Talk

Your car has many computers that monitor your engine for the best performance; your transmission for proper shifting, your braking system for safe stopping and they also monitor many other devices to make sure they are working properly. If a system detects a problem, it needs to alert you, so you can bring the car in for service. This is the role of the check engine light.

The check engine light looks different from car to car, but it’s always a yellow or orange color, usually with a picture of an engine. If the check engine light comes on solid (not blinking), you can continue to drive the car until you have a chance to bring it in. This does not mean you should ignore it.

When the check engine light is on, the car defaults to a backup system that controls all the important systems. Driving around for a short time until you can set up an appointment is no problem, but continuing to drive more than 20 miles is a bad idea.  However, if the check engine light is blinking rhythmically, there is a serious problem; a computer system has had a major malfunction that will damage the catalytic converter. If you notice a blinking check engine light, you do not need to stop in the middle of the bridge and call a tow truck, but you do need to stop driving as soon as practical. Whether the check engine light is solid or blinking, it’s a good idea to drive gently.

The modern car is more complex than ever, the old plug in a code reader to get a code doesn’t give as much information as it did in older makes. I recommend a full system or health scan to check all the computer and modules in the system.

Here is an example. We had a late model Ford come in with a driving issue. We did a quick code read and found no codes, but when we did a health scan, we found several codes that related to the transmission. We were able to fix the car and all was well.

Please use a shop that is well equipped and don’t rely on the old code reader any more.

Please call us with any questions at 626-963-0814 or visit our website at www.CertifiedAutoCA.com.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

 

Check Engine Light Diagnosis At Certified Auto Specialists

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Hello Glendora drivers. Have you ever had your check engine light come on? Did you panic? Or just scowl and ignore it? What should you do? Pull to the side of the road and call a tow truck? Or just keep driving? What does that little light really mean for Glendora drivers?

First of all, the Check Engine or Service Engine light does indicate that something is wrong. That’s why it is called a warning light. But the something that is wrong might be a loose gas cap, or it might be serious sedan engine trouble. That’s why Los Angeles auto owners often don’t know how to respond to it.

The check engine light has two modes: it flashes or it stays on. A flashing light is serious. You need to get your vehicle to Certified Auto Specialists in Glendora ASAP. No, you don’t need to call a tow truck, but, yes, you can’t wait to get your car serviced. If your check engine light is on and flashing, you should not tow trailers, haul heavy loads or drive at California expressway speeds. Any of these could lead to serious damage that could result pricey repair bills for Glendora drivers who ignore it.

A steady check engine light is less serious, but that doesn’t mean it can be ignored by San Dimas auto owners. You should plan to get your vehicle inspected at your local Glendora automotive service center the first realistic opportunity. Not the first convenient opportunity, but the first realistic one.

Before you take your sedan in, however, check the gas cap. A loose gas cap can trigger the check engine light. If it is loose, twist it until it clicks three times. If that was the problem, your Glendora engine light will reset after several days. However, if it stays on, then you need to schedule an inspection at your Glendora auto repair center center or Certified Auto Specialists.

Modern automobiles have a computer in the engine that monitors and controls many of the engine functions. When the computer senses something wrong, it first tries to fix the problem itself by adjusting the sedan engine. If the problem persists, the computer signals the check engine light to come on.

This process stores a trouble code inside the sedan engine’s computer. Your technician scans the computer and reads the code. This does not tell the technician exactly what is wrong with the car, but it gives him a good idea as to where to start looking.

It is NOT good auto advice to deal with a check engine light by disconnecting the battery. Yes, this makes the light go off, but it doesn’t solve the problem. It’s rather like trying to put out a fire by disconnecting the smoke detector. Also, disconnecting the battery will erase your sedan’s computer memory. An engine’s computer, over time, learns to adjust for peculiarities of the specific sedan engine, for driving conditions in your Covina area, and for your driving habits. Losing its memory means it has to learn and adjust for these things all over again.

Also, don’t buy a cheap consumer scanner or get a trouble code read at your nearest Glendora auto parts store, then try to fix a problem yourself — unless, of course, you are a trained Los Angeles mechanic. Today’s auto repair equipment is fairly high-tech and knowing a code is only an indication of where a problem might be, not the answer to what is wrong. Trying to save a little money by doing it yourself may end up costing you big in the long run.

Of course, the best thing to do is to keep that pesky check engine light from coming on in the first place. Good car care and routine preventive maintenance go a long way to keeping your sedan out of your Glendora auto repair shop. But, if that light does come on, be smart. Take care of the problem early, and take care of it professionally.

Is Your Check Engine Light On? Don’t Ignore It

One of the most vital signals of an improperly functioning vehicle is the check engine light and when illuminated, it alerts the driver to a variety of existing potential problems. Vehicle check-ups during community car care events throughout the country reveal that the check engine light is on in nearly one out of ten vehicles.

When the check engine light comes on, it means that a vehicle system, such as the ignition, fuel injection or emission control, is not operating properly, even if the vehicle appears to be running normally. A glowing check engine light doesn’t mean you have to immediately pull the car to the side of the road, but it does mean you should get the car checked out as soon as possible. Ignoring the warning light could result in costly repairs. At the very least, the light could alert you to an engine problem that is negatively impacting fuel economy.

Some common malfunctions that can cause the check engine light to illuminate include a faulty oxygen sensor, mass air flow sensor, or spark plugs and wires. If the light flashes, the condition is more critical and must be checked immediately to prevent severe damage, which may include catalytic converter damage.When scheduling service, make sure the automotive shop that examines your vehicle has professional technicians who are trained and certified in OBDII diagnosis and repair. The technician will connect your vehicle’s computer system to a diagnostic scan tool, which will provide trouble codes indicating why the check engine light was activated.

While the diagnostic tool is connected, the technician can analyze data streams such as the idle speed, throttle response, engine temperature, fuel system pressure, manifold vacuum, exhaust emission levels and many other key indicators. Once the problem is fixed, the car’s computer is reset to initiate the computer’s release process. The technician should then advise the customer of the proper course of action, potential warranty coverage, further testing if necessary and recommended repairs.

Give us a call and schedule an appointment if your check engine light is on. Let us check it out!