Check Engine Lights and Diagnostic Checks

Check engine lights and diagnostic checks go hand-in-hand. Urb’s Garage does diagnostic checks for numerous reasons and an illuminated check engine light is one of them. Why? Please allow us to explain further.

The Check Engine Light Itself

Your vehicle has numerous dashboard warning lights that illuminate when you first start your automobile and then turn off one by one. The reason why this happens is when you first fire up the engine, your car, truck, or SUV’s onboard computer checks each system to make sure everything is running properly. As the system reports back all is well, the computer turns off the warning light. Pay attention to your dashboard the next time you turn on your car and you’ll see this happen.

The check engine light is a catch-all. You have individual lights or gauges for your engine temperature, motor oil level, tire pressure, brake system, etc., but the systems without their own warning light rely on the check engine to alert of trouble. As such, the check engine light will turn on to warn you if there is something wrong with your exhaust system, your transmission, or even if it’s time for service on some makes and models of automobiles. So how do mechanics isolate what the check engine light means?

Diagnostic Tests

An engine diagnostic test tells auto technicians why a vehicle’s check engine light came on. The test taps into the vehicle’s onboard computer and collects data that includes error codes. These error codes identify specific engine problems, such as a failing mass airflow or oxygen sensor, trouble with the catalytic converter, or electrical issues. These are just some reasons why your check engine light might come on. It might also illuminate to tell you the gas cap is loose or your spark plugs need to be changed.

Because today’s automobiles are, in essence, moving computers, the diagnostic check clues mechanics into problems that would not be seen by the naked eye. We have come to appreciate these checks because they help us help our customers. We cannot always isolate an electrical problem that is computer-related, for example. This new automotive service tool is critical in properly diagnosing and repairing car trouble, especially when a customer brings the vehicle in because the check engine light came on.

Urb’s Garage in Burlington, KY, would be happy to find out why your vehicle’s check engine light came on. 

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