auto maintenance December 11, 2017

Your Check Engine Light in Burke, VA - What Does it Mean?

Do you know what to do if you see your vehicle’s check engine light in Burke, VA? Before you panic or pay for unnecessary, costly auto repairs, learn about your on board diagnostic system functions.

The check engine light is a dashboard indicator integral to your vehicle’s onboard diagnostic system (OBD), which monitors, controls and regulates many elements of vehicle performance, including ignition timing, fuel economy, and engine speed. Auto makers initially created the OBD system to help identify and diagnose malfunctions in critical vehicle systems. However, increasing international pressures to curb harmful pollution from auto tailpipes led the federal government, through revisions to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) laws, to require OBD II systems that primarily measure, monitor and control vehicle tailpipe emissions and fuel efficiency.

Our first reaction to the check engine light in Burke, VA is often alarm - what if something is seriously wrong with my car and driving is unsafe? If that were the case you would experience other symptoms - noises, an odor, or noticeable changes in your ability to safely drive your car. The second generation OBD II systems try to address this with a two-phase check engine light - constantly on or blinking. A steady light means you should see your qualified auto technician for auto repairs in Burke, VA as soon as possible, but there is no emergency. The blinking light signals there may be a serious issue with your catalytic converter. See your local mechanic right away to prevent additional damage and avoid further risk.

When the OBD II electronic-control system identifies a problem it attempts to make corrections. If these correction attempts fail the computer turns on the check engine light and stores a trouble code in it's memory. Diagnostic trouble codes (DTC) help to locate the problem source, such as a malfunctioning oxygen sensor or a misfiring engine, and stores a DTC that is read with a professional auto repair scan tool or a diagnostic computer.

The beauty of understanding the check engine light warning indicator is that these systems alert you before your car requires extensive auto repair in Burke, VA. So instead of being concerned when your check engine light comes on, Burke, VA motorists can take comfort in knowing that little light means a minor adjustment or repair that can actually prevent major auto repairs and dangerous, avoidable accidents down the road.

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