Why Is My Check Engine Light On?

Why Is My Check Engine Light On?

| By: Brandon Pfaffly, Christian Brothers Automotive Corinth

Check engine lights are a symptom that we cure on a daily basis here at Christian Brothers Automotive in Corinth. The check engine light is there to alert you when your car is not working exactly as it should.

To start - let’s clear up some common misconceptions we often hear about the check engine light:

  1. This light has nothing to do with factory scheduled maintenance.
  2. If the light is flashing, stop driving and call immediately.

Your car has many different systems working together to help it run efficiently, cleanly, and correctly. Those systems are constantly running tests on themselves to ensure there are no errors. If, for some reason, one of those self-tests is not completed properly your vehicle will illuminate the check engine light on the dash. Most vehicles have around eight systems that could potentially issue an error code at any time. This equates to thousands of possibilities of error codes all expressing themselves in ONE check engine light.

Let’s pick on one of these systems for a moment.

Most cars have what is called an “evaporative system”. Most of you have probably heard that if your check engine light were to come on to check the gas cap for proper fit and tightness. This is certainly a good practice. The evaporative system on your vehicle is mainly responsible for containing the raw fuel vapors in your fuel system. This system will routinely perform self-tests to ensure these vapors are being properly contained and managed. If, for some reason, the system recognizes a large air leak it will produce an error code saying there is a large leak. This might just end up being a poor fitting gas cap. However, in many cases the fuel cap has no bearing on the error message being presented.

It’s critical to have a qualified auto technician diagnose the reason a check engine light might be present. Many auto parts stores can simply connect a computer to a vehicle and retrieve an error code, but this is NOT what properly diagnosing a vehicle entails. I always compare this to diagnosing a cardiac condition by going to the grocery store and using the blood pressure machine in their lobby. Not effective.

If you see your check engine light come on - please give us a call. We’re here to help you and get your car running the way it should be. Call (940) 497-8788, or if you prefer, contact us online. - Brandon and Team, Christian Brothers Automotive Corinth

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