There’s nothing more unnerving than your check engine light coming on as you’re driving down the road. Every driver will probably experience this at some point in their life. The light might get activated without any other warning sign, and it might be hard to immediately understand what it is trying to tell you. If you are like most people, you probably aren’t too keen on taking the risk of driving around with a problem affecting your vehicle. In most cases, a trip to the auto repair shop will certainly be the best course of action to prevent any issues.
The check engine light can be confusing and somewhat frustrating for many people. The light comes with no other attached information, and it could represent a host of different issues. This is why it isn’t immediately easy to tell what the problem is.
Don't confuse the Check Engine Light with the maintenance or service light. These lights illuminate when a routine service is due. They are usually triggered by mileage, gallons of gasoline consumed, or some other type of vehicle-use measurement.
What To Do When The Check Engine Light Comes On Sometimes drivers attempt to ignore this light, or perform do-it-yourself diagnostics and repairs when they see this light, for fear that it might be harboring a hefty repair bill. In reality, this is counter-intuitive, as letting problems go unresolved could lead to a larger problem. Sometimes a failure of one component may lead to the failure of others, particularly if the vehicle has been driven at length with the Check Engine light on. Additionally, the failure of one component can cause the malfunction of multiple vehicle systems, generating numerous trouble codes. These situations can make repairs more complex, often involving performing one repair and then “retesting” to ensure further repairs are not required. Improper diagnoses and repairs could create additional new problems that previously didn’t exist – all of which result in much more expensive repair bill. For that reason and others, it’s important that you get your car checked out by a trustworthy, certified service technician as soon as possible. They have the appropriate diagnostic equipment, tools and experience to accurately diagnose the underlying condition and perform any required repairs. This will ensure an expedient resolution while minimizing any further complications and
maximizing the longevity of your car’s lifespan. Even if your car seems to drive just fine with the check engine light on, you may not realize that further damage is being caused to things like the catalytic converters, for instance, and there will be no additional ways of warning you when those have failed, too.
What are some of the most common causes for the check engine light to come on? While there are literally hundreds of conditions that could cause the check engine light to be illuminated that can range from minor to major issues, some of the basic possible reasons are:
Diagnosing a Check Engine Light To diagnose why a check engine light comes up, a qualified technician at 5 Star Auto Care will connect a scan tool (diagnostic tool) to your vehicles on-board computer system. The on-board computers will communicate to the scan tool in the form of special codes or data that will help the technician track down the problem. In most cases, the technician will have to go through a complicated diagnosis flow chart procedure to not only track down the problem, but to also determine why it happened in the first place so it can be repaired properly and not be a recurring problem for you.
Why Do We Charge for Diagnostics Labor?
VERY IMPORTANT! SIMPLY KNOWING A CODE (DTC) OR CODES THAT THE COMPUTER RECORDED WHEN YOUR CHECK ENGINE LIGHT WAS ACTIVATED DOES NOT DETERMINE WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE VEHICLE, THIS IS A MISCONCEPTION THAT MOST PEOPLE BELIEVE. There are certainly devices available that you can buy to tap into your onboard computer yourself to pull a code, and there are companies advertising that they will pull a code for free. The code alone is simply a reference to the affected system or component and does not tell you what is exactly wrong with the vehicle.
Today’s vehicles aren’t simple. Your car contains between 14 and 37 on board computers which contain around 100 million lines of software code to operate, and that is expected to grow to 300 million lines of code by 2030. For comparison, the current generation F35 fighter jet has around 24 million lines of code to operate.
Many drivers today don’t understand just how complex modern vehicles have become. We as professionals also haven’t done a good job showing them how much skill; expensive equipment; and time go into diagnosing these vehicles properly. This has created a situation where some people don’t see the value in diagnostic charges; or don’t understand why they should pay for diagnostic time at all.
What's included in the charge?
Our Commitment to Invest In State-of-the-Art Equipment Every vehicle manufacturer has a different scan tool specific for that car’s make. A typical car dealer only has the scan tool for the particular car they sell (Toyota for example), which means that is the only vehicle they can diagnose. 5 Star Auto Care has invested in multiple factory level and aftermarket scan tools for every common vehicle on the road today. So, whether you drive a Ford, Lincoln, Dodge, GM, Nissan, Honda, BMW, Audi, Volvo, Mercedes, and so on, we have the tools to diagnose the problem.
Whether your check engine light recently came on, or you’ve been looking at it anxiously for hundreds of miles, do not delay. Continuing to drive with the check engine light on can potentially cause serious damage and costlier repairs. Moreover, you may see diminished fuel efficiency and performance from your vehicle.
Call us and we can help diagnose and resolve your car or trucks problems.