What the Check Engine Light Means

Your Dashboard Warning Lights

Do you know what to do if your check engine light comes on? The first thing to know is what exactly the light means. While you’ll need the help of the skilled technicians at Austin’s Pro Max in Tacoma, Washington to diagnose the specific cause of the warning light, a basic understanding can still help you handle the situation and prevent further damage to your car.

Your Car’s Computer

The check engine light or malfunction indicator lamp (MIL) was introduced to all vehicles to help drivers identify when an issue could put their car’s health at risk. Using internal computers and sensors to monitor the function of key components, your car can tell when something isn’t working right. It then triggers the light and sends a trouble code to help both drivers and technicians fix the issue.

Diagnosis

If you have an advanced diagnostic tool, like an OBD-II scanner, you can read the trouble code from the car’s computer to tell what the exact issue is. If not, you’ll need a certified professional who has one to diagnose the issue. Your first step when you notice the check engine light is on should be to seek these answers as soon as possible. While you don’t have to stop driving immediately, you don’t want to let the problem linger for long. You’ll put your car at risk of developing serious damage!

Using the diagnostic equipment, technicians find out what specific component is malfunctioning -- like the oxygen sensor, spark plugs, coil packs, or catalytic converter. Because the light can be signaled by any number of parts, it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis. From there, you can be sure that your car will get the right repairs!

Avoid Damage

Replacing a minor part like an oxygen sensor or spark plug is relatively affordable and simple. What really hurts your wallet is when the problem worsens. If you ignore one of these failed components, your car won’t be able to adapt for optimal performance. You might be getting poor fuel economy or releasing harmful emissions and not know it. Certain problems devolve into major ones that require extensive repair. Save yourself from this stress by handling check engine lights at your earliest opportunity!

Written by Developer Autoshop

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