CHECK ENGINE LIGHT
WHAT IS A CHECK ENGINE LIGHT?
The check engine light (CEL) is a warning indicator that comes on in the dashboard of modern vehicles. The CEL is part of the onboard diagnostic (OBD) system that continuously monitors the engine and emissions systems. The OBD system uses various sensors and modules to monitor the vehicle’s performance, including engine speed, temperature, and emissions output.
The OBD system records an error code in its memory when it detects a fault. These error codes, which are standardized and given a unique identifier called a Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC), correspond to specific problems identified by the system. Although there are hundreds of different DTCs available, they merely serve as a starting point for diagnosis. Usually, further testing and inspection are necessary to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem.
A diagnostic tool can read these codes from the OBD system’s memory. The diagnostic tool connects to the OBD port located under the dashboard of the vehicle. Once connected, the tool retrieves the error codes stored in the OBD system’s memory.
WHAT DOES A FLASHING CHECK ENGINE LIGHT MEAN?
The check engine light is part of the OBD system and comes on when a fault is detected. A flashing CEL is a warning of a severe engine problem that requires immediate attention. A flashing CEL usually happens when there is a misfire in one or more engine cylinders. A misfire occurs when the fuel in the cylinder fails to ignite or burns incompletely. Causing the engine to run rough or shake. Other possible causes of a flashing CEL include a faulty oxygen sensor, a malfunctioning ignition coil, a clogged fuel injector, or a problem with the engine’s computer or wiring.
If you see a flashing CEL, it is essential to call Have Tools Will Travel immediately. Ignoring the problem can cause severe engine or catalytic converter damage, leading to costly repairs or even engine failure.
SCANNING FOR CODES IS NOT DIAGNOSTICS
A mechanic can use a diagnostic tool to read the error code and identify the cause of the problem. After the cause of the problem is determined, the mechanic can proceed to take the necessary steps to repair the vehicle. However, scanning for codes is not a complete diagnostic in and of itself.
Scanning for codes is an essential step in diagnosing vehicle problems. Further testing and inspection are usually required to identify the root cause of the issue accurately. The OBD system’s error codes only indicate the system or component that is experiencing a fault, not the specific cause of the problem. Therefore, the mechanic will need to perform additional testing and inspection to pinpoint the exact cause of the issue.
For example, if the OBD system detects a fault in the oxygen sensor, it will store an error code indicating a problem with the sensor. However, the actual cause of the problem could be a failed sensor, a faulty wiring connection, or a malfunctioning control module. Further testing and inspection are required to identify the root cause of the issue accurately.
In addition, some issues may not be detected by the OBD system. Such as mechanical problems with the engine or transmission. These types of problems may require a more in-depth diagnostic process. Which could include a visual inspection of the affected components or running performance tests.
Therefore, while scanning for codes is an essential step in diagnosing vehicle problems, it is not a complete diagnostic in and of itself. The mechanic needs to perform additional testing and inspection to identify the cause of the issue accurately. The mechanic may use various diagnostic tools, including pressure gauges, oscilloscopes, and multimeters, to diagnose the problem accurately.
The diagnostic process may involve various steps. Such as checking the engine’s compression, inspecting the spark plugs and ignition system, checking the fuel pressure and injector operation. All of which take time to conduct.