My “Check Engine” light is on, what should I do?
When the check engine light comes on in your vehicle whether it’s on solid, flashing or just intermittently coming on and then off, your car’s computer usually writes what is called a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC) into its memory. DTCs are used by technicians as a compass when diagnosing the modern-day motor vehicle. In other words DTCs give us a direction to begin our search for root causes of the Check Engine light. Getting the DTCs requires some sort of computer or scan tool to communicate with your vehicle’s computers – yes your car has multiple computers that communicate via a network.
Okay, so what to do? There are distinctions to be made – please read on.
Check Engine light on solid or intermittently;
Your Check Engine light can come on for literally hundreds of reasons.
• If you recently refueled and the Check Engine light came on there may be a connection between the two events. Proceed to step one.
• If the Check Engine light came on read step one but you’re probably headed for step two of this process.
1. Check to see that you properly installed the gas cap. Loose or missing gas caps WILL cause the Check Engine light to come on – not right away but eventually it will. If the gas cap was left loose tighten it. It will take up to several days of driving before your cars computer is satisfied with your repair. If the Check Engine light remains on proceed to step two.
2. Pay attention to all symptoms and characteristics of your car – we are going to need this information from you.
3. Call Colchin Automotive to schedule a time to bring your car in for diagnostics.
Check Engine light flashing;
Any time the Check Engine light is flashing indicates more urgent problems. If driven extensively with a flashing Check Engine light your car can potentially damage its emission systems, most importantly the catalytic converter. If your Check Engine light is flashing it is important to reduce your speed and drive the vehicle to Colchin Automotive if this is logistically practical. How far to drive a vehicle with a flashing Check Engine light is in question. The best we can tell you is drive it minimally or have it towed. Believe it or not this can save you money later.