Uh Oh…My Check Engine Light Is On

March 30th, 2017

So you come out to start your car one morning and the Check Engine light on the dashboard comes on…and doesn’t go back off again. You can’t really notice any difference in the way the car runs and drives, but it’s on anyway.

What does it mean?Check Engine Light

Since the late 80s, most engine functions have been controlled by a central drivetrain computer. This includes emissions controls, fuel metering and delivery, ignition timing, shift points and many other elements of drivability and performance. The drivetrain computer relies on information from a chain of sensors that monitor exhaust composition, camshaft position, throttle position and many other factors.

The voltage readings from any of these sensors are supposed to fall within a certain range. When these readings are out of normal parameters, the drivetrain computer stores a trouble code and illuminates the Check Engine light (also known as a Malfunction Indicator Lamp or MIL). Some problems on some makes may take several failure cycles before the MIL will illuminate.

The trouble code could originate from something as minor as a loose gas cap or a loose or corroded wire to a sensor. On the other hand, it could mean something considerably more serious.

The trouble code can be accessed by a technician using a code reader or scanner device, which hooks up to a standardized connector usually found under the dashboard. The code (or codes) can then be interpreted to diagnose the problem. It takes an experienced technician, however, to know why a given code occurred in the first place and find the problem and repair it.

So for you, the driver, what should you do when the MIL is illuminated?

You should, of course, get your vehicle to a shop for a proper diagnosis as soon as you can. If you notice problems like rough running, poor idle, transmission roughness, smoke or other real driveability problems, don’t put it off! The good news is that the whole system of onboard diagnostics has made it easier for a technician to track down a problem and address it, taking a lot of the guesswork out of the process. 

  Posted in: Auto Repair 101
Martin Tire Company
910 Talbot Avenue
El Paso, TX 79835
915-877-9170
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Martin Tire Company
5255 Woodrow Bean Transmountain Road #1
El Paso, TX 79924
915-751-0404
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Martin Tire Company
12110 Montwood Drive
El Paso, TX 79936
915-921-8100
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Martin Tire Company
500 North White Sands Boulevard
Alamogordo, NM 88310
575-437-3912
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Martin Tire Company
1271 East Amador Avenue
Las Cruces, NM 88001
575-527-2360
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Martin Tire Company
1341 North Lee Trevino Drive
El Paso, TX 79936
915-592-6496
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Martin Tire Company
8008 North Mesa Street
El Paso, TX 79932
915-833-5977
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Martin Tire Company
9425 Montana Avenue
El Paso, TX 79925
915-591-9663
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Martin Tire Company
901 Texas Avenue
El Paso, TX 79901
915-532-6519
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Martin Tire Company is the largest wheel and tire distributor in the El Paso, TX and Southwest area with approximately 6,000 custom wheels and 30,000 tires in stock from brands like Michelin®, Bridgestone, Goodyear, and more. Our auto repair department specializes in Wheel Alignments, Cooling Systems, Oil Change, and more. Schedule Your Appointment Today!

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Martin Tire Company has 9 convenient locations conveniently located for the following areas : El Paso County, Downtown El Paso, TX. West Side, El Paso. Transmountain area. Anthony, TX. Clint, TX. Fabens, TX.  Easily accesible for : Fort Bliss, UTEP, Socorro, Horizon City, Ysleta, Vinton, Sunland Park, Zaragosa, Montwood Drive, Lee Trevino, Mesa St., Montana Ave., Talbot Ave., Texas Ave. areas. Close to I-10. Las Cruces, NM. AlamogordoNM.