The check engine light is a notification on the dash that functions as part of the OBD (vehicle onboard diagnostics system). Computer systems within a vehicle monitor and regulate the performance of areas such as the fuel mixture, ignition timing, engine speed (RPM), and it can even tell an automatic transmission when to shift. On occasion, a vehicle’s onboard computer will find an issue that it cannot fix by itself, and will consequently inform the driver by lighting up a yellow or orange engine symbol to indicate a problem and the computer stores the specific code related to that problem in its internal memory. These codes are called diagnostic trouble codes, and they help to point us to the source of the problem within the vehicle when the code is retrieved by a scanning tool and explained on a diagnostic computer.
When your check engine light turns on, it will either be a solid light or flashing, based upon the severity of the particular issue. In either case, it is crucial to have your vehicle inspected without delay! While a solid light indicates a problem, more than likely it is not an emergency, but you should still have your vehicle inspected soon after you notice the light. A flashing light typically signals a severe problem with your vehicle. When this occurs you should check your vehicle for a serious problem that would require the attention of a technician immediately; check your dashboard for other lights and gauges such as low oil pressure or overheating, either of these means you should pull over and turn off your vehicle immediately to avoid further potential damage, when safe to do so.
If your light has recently appeared on the dash, bring your car to Doug’s Automotive where we will run a complete diagnostic test to see what part of the vehicle is in need of attention. Our service team’s honest evaluation will help you understand the problem and make plans to fix anything necessary.