The Mysterious Check Engine Light

Auto BuyPerhaps the most mysterious warning light on the dashboard of your car is the “check engine” light, which may explain the apparently without any reason and lead to an unexpected bill just to diagnose the cause. However, it is possible to diagnose, and sometimes even repair, the cause of the warning lights without paying a mechanic.

Check your vehicle’s engine light is related to its on-board system diagnostics, which measure functions such as engine speed, ignition timing, fuel mixture and, sometimes, when shifting gear. He then uses that information to identify problems with the functions that may affect emissions and performance. There are numerous problems that cause the lights to illuminate, ranging from small to big, so it is important to determine the cause immediately.

Before you find yourself in a situation with a check engine light on, read your owner’s manual to understand why it can illuminate, and if it has a distinct warning to help you understand the problem is minor or something more serious. In many cars, check engine lights rhythmic – not just the movie and off – indicating a serious problem that requires immediate attention, while the light is on solid shows a more serious problem.

When you really understand how to run the engine check light, here are three strategies you can try before you pay your mechanic for a diagnosis.

Remove and reinstall your gas cap, and make sure it is tight. Since the check engine light is emissions associated with your car’s system, he will remember a fuel vapor leak from around your gas cap and turn off the warning lights. A gas cap is loose or not installed properly is the most common reason for light to illuminate. If the light does not appear next to checking the gas cap and the car seems to work, do not assume that this is not a problem. It may take a few trips to the system to reset.

Get the diagnostic codes from a pro automotive engines for free. If you have a General Motors vehicle with OnStar, contact OnStar advisor who will read the code from your car remotely. Many auto parts stores and oil change franchises and convenience stores, service delivery will read codes for free, even though they may push you to do a repair on them. If you get a code to read through one of the stores, ask for the code itself – usually a single letter, followed by the numbers – and then use the shop for repairs if you are sure the job.

Get the code itself. For $ 50 to $ 100, you can buy-diagnostic code reader system at your local store or online car parts. Some of the new scanner system can connect right to your smartphone, such as GoPoint GL1.

Many cars have some way to display the code problem, usually using the same buttons and rotate among the accessory position (a position where you can power radios and other accessories under the car running) and “on” position (without starting the car) to a certain number of times. In some, you save the extra key position, and push and hold trip odometer and reset button. To find clues, do an Internet search on year, make and model of your vehicle with the words “check engine code” and “manually.”

Once you know the code, you can research what is associated with websites such as (for on-board diagnostic codes) or In some cases, you can get instructions on how to fix your own car on this site.

Keep in mind that, if there is a problem out of the gas cap is loose, trouble code generated by the diagnostic equipment is usually associated with more than one problem. In the end, it is good to work with a trusted mechanic that could end the cause of the problem with your car.

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