Clark Automotive is a highly skilled Blaine, MN Auto Mechanic Shop dedicated to providing only quality vehicle repairs. Our previously posted blog went into detail about Tune-Ups, this blog will be continuing that discussion – in order. Clark Automotive Clinic highly recommends that you read the first “Auto Tune Up Blog-Part 1“.
On modern vehicles, the dashboard usually serves as a trigger mechanism that their is a reason to bring your vehicle in for a tune-up:
PART Four: What is that Pesky Check Engine Light?
In general its appearance on your dash is to inform you that the computer has detected a problem, requiring a repair to the ignition or fuel systems. The problem is significant and caused by readings or sensing that is outside of the factory specifications. There are a couple hundred reasons for this light to be on, each being called a fault code. Each fault code has a diagnostic procedure that is many steps long and can lead to many different recommended repairs. Not all fault codes will generate a customer complaint, so the first thing Clark Automotive Clinic will ask about is what the observations of the customer are. As long as your vehicle is running properly, has full power, the alternator light not on, and not overheating you may proceed and get it scanned at your earliest convenience. If the car is not running right, immediate attention is required.
Clark Automotive Clinic will scan your vehicles computers for fault codes free. We will recommend a course of action, and suggest other actions that will support future decision making. If appropriate, we will record the codes and clear your computer and ask you to come back if the light turns on again.
We clear codes when we believe that the fault codes are erroneous and not fully true. We find that generally as a result of sabotage, the result of do it yourself repairs, or a failure of the charging system causing low voltage. When you continue to drive a car, with the check engine light on, you will not know if it is turned on for another reason. There is a point when unrepaired check engine light repairs will lead to other codes being set, further complicating the repair. Generally, most fault codes should be repaired, but there can be some cases were the expense outweighs the advantage of the repair, especially as your car gets older.
Yes, there are some cases when the check engine light repair can be deferred till a better time. Then again there are fault codes that must be fixed very soon, if not immediately. If the check engine light is flashing at you, the engine has a serious misfire and must be repaired immediately, to prevent destroying the very expensive catalytic converter.
Each fault code falls into three categories:
- The first is called a pending (soft) code, some computer sensing’s out of specifications, but intermittent, the light may even turn off. It is still recorded in the computer for future diagnostic support.
- The second type of fault code is called a current (hard) code. The computer is getting sensing consistently out of specification.
- The third type of fault code is called a historic fault. There was a time when sensing were out of specifications, but in the past. Most historic codes turn off the check engine after a specified number of drive cycles. Not all fault codes turn on the check engine light, but are still recorded in the computer for diagnostic purposes.
When your car is running poorly and the check engine light is on we recommend that your vehicle be diagnosed and repaired. The reason being, when your car is running poorly it is causing other damage that will cost you even more latter. Not all problems will set the check engine light, but may cause you’re vehicle to not operate properly. There are at least three, if not five computers in the modern vehicle. All set fault codes, many of them not being allowed to turn on the check engine light.
Other Dashboard Lights
Some of these codes are so important that additional lights have now been placed in your dash. The Anti-Lock Brake computer will set the ABS light and the red brake light. The body controller will set the check vehicle soon light as well as other lights. The transmission controller generally sets the check engine light. The heating and air conditioning controller normally sets no lights, but can be scanned. The low Tire Pressure module will set the TPS light. Finally the traction Control computer has now even been given its own light. These all make for future articles.
If you see the check engine dashboard light on or any other dashboard lights on give Clark Automotive a call at 763-784-7944!