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check engine light
coolant temperature
emission systems
gas tank
trouble code
scan tool
What To Do When Check Engine Light Comes On
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What to Do When Check Engine Light Comes on

There is a yellow light in an instrument panel called Check Engine light. Some people are really scared of it, some people are not paying attention of it as if it's a part of illuminations in the panel. Here is some tips on what to do when check engine light codes comes on.

But, first, let me tell you how the light comes on. When a vehicle's computer finds a problem it turns on check engine light. The computer not only turns on the light but also stores Diagnostic Trouble Code or DTC. DTC tells you what system is having a problem. Getting DTC is the first step for a mechanic, do-it-yourself-er, for everyone to do an auto repair.

When check engine light comes on, check if there is another warning in an instrument panel, such as oil pressure indicator light, coolant temperature gauge. If it exists, you'd better not drive. Go straight to a repair shop or pull over and call a tow truck. And you might clearly notice a change of engine performance, such as loss of power, you can go home but you should have your car checked as soon as possible.

When check engine light comes on, but you don't see any performance change or any other warning indicators, you can continue to drive. But you need to have your car checked as soon as possible. By the way, if the light comes on right after you went to a gas station for gas, check if a gas cap is loose. One of emission systems called EVAP monitors pressure of a gas tank. When the computer detects low pressure, which means that gas vapor is escaping from a gas tank, it turns on check engine light. So if it is loose, just tighten it. The light will goes off itself if that is the cause of turning of the light. But remember, the light doesn't goes off right away, you need to drive several trips. So you'd better to have your car checked at this moment.

In any cases, you need to have your car checked anyway. And the sooner, it's the better. Some auto shops scan the computer for free. For weekend mechanics and do-it-yourself-ers, it is a good idea to own a scan tool for yourself. They cost from $30 to hundreds, depending on the model and features. Some of them display only codes, some of them display the readings of many sensors.

Recently, you may often see obd2 interface and obd2 bluetooth adapter on the internet. These items can't work alone. They need a laptop or smartphone to work with. Yes! your laptop or smartphone can turn into a scan tool!! They beat most cheap conventional scan tools. Because a laptop and a smartphone is a much more sophisticated machine. Prices are from as little as $20 to $100. They have some extra features such as 0-60 miles time, fuel economy display, recording route, etc.

Anyway, ignoring the light is not an option. It would damage not only your car but also your wallet.


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