The Dreaded Check Engine Light

Posted on: July 12th, 2016 by Accurate Auto Body Shop No Comments

check engine light At some point in the life of your vehicle, chances are that the check engine light is going to come on. Unfortunately, that pesky little light doesn’t do much more than alert you to the fact that something is out of whack in your vehicle. But don’t panic! Our Aurora auto body repair pros are here to explain what that light means and how to handle the situation so that your vehicle doesn’t sustain lasting damage.

What is the Check Engine Light?

The check engine light is actually a part of your onboard diagnostic system (OBD) which is made up of a series of computers which monitor all sorts of things. Whether its air to fuel ratio, temperature, or ignition timing, it is all being monitored by the OBD. When something goes wrong and the computer cannot adjust things to fix the problem, the light goes off and a diagnostic code is stored in the system.

That was the old system. With the advent of OBD II, which was federally required for monitoring vehicle emissions, the check engine light was redesigned to apply only to emissions related problems.

What does the check engine light mean?

When the light goes on, it will either be solid or blinking. A blinking light means that your vehicle needs to be serviced immediately. A solid light means that it is not a dire situation, but you do need to have your vehicle checked. Keep a close eye on your gauges to make sure the vehicle is not heating up or the oil pressure is dropping. Try to reduce your load and speed until you reach a shop, taking pressure of the engine.

If you continue to drive with a blinking check engine light, chances are you are going to do lasting damage to your vehicle, which will require extensive repairs.

Diagnosing the Problem

The truth is that it is very difficult to identify why a check engine light has turned on without a diagnostic code reader. Luckily, every auto shop worth your money now has one.

However, before you take it down to a shop and spend money on the problem, be sure to check your gas cap. A loose fitting or not tightened gas cap can cause the check engine light to turn on. Keep in mind that it might take a couple drives before the check engine light resets.

How to use this information

At Accurate Auto Body, we have the tools to help you identify exactly what is wrong with your vehicle when a check engine light turns on. If that pesky light is on next to your gauges, be sure to give Accurate Auto Body a call at 303-344-2122 or contact us through our website to set up an appointment and we will be happy to help!

How long do you normally let the check engine light stay on before having it checked?

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