Drivers often ignore their check engine light until they have a costly problem, but many issues can be caught and corrected if you act when the light first appears. That’s why it’s recommended for your car’s performance and safety to have it looked at by an expert right away.
Cars have become increasing dependent on their on-board diagnostic (OBD) systems to keep them running at peak efficiency. Your car’s OBD system is constantly checking the various computers that control a multitude of operations including engine idle speeds, fuel mixtures, emissions and engine performance. Whenever the computer controls cannot adjust for a problem, the OBD system records a trouble code and illuminates the warning light on your dash. Your car can detect major malfunctions as well as small irregularities, triggering the warning light to alert you before any serious damage or performance issues arise.
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While almost any maintenance issue will eventually lead to serious problems if left alone, the typical OBD fault issue should be checked out within a few days. Unless the light is flashing, you don’t need to stop and call a tow truck. In most late-model vehicles, if the fault requires immediate attention the light will flash or turn from yellow to red. That’s when you should pull over in a safe place and call for a tow.
First, make sure all your gauges are in the normal ranges. Typically if there’s a serious situation like overheating or low oil pressure, the other dash warning lights will alert you before the OBD system detects the fault. Next, you should make time for an Auto Pro-to-Call technician to take a closer look. We will retrieve the OBD trouble code and see what fault has been reported. We can identify whether the problem is as simple as a loose gas cap or if the problem requires more extensive testing.
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The on-board diagnostic (OBD) system is consistently performing a variety of “self-tests” to determine if your vehicle is working as efficiently and cleanly as possible. When a potential problem or failure is identified, the system will compensate if possible, and many of these tests are delayed or turned off. This is especially true if you have continued driving with the check engine light on for several days.
Once repairs are completed, the OBD system resumes its self-testing process, and some of these tests require specific conditions to provide thorough and accurate results. For example, one requires an 8 hour delay before starting the engine to provide accurate results while another requires the vehicle to be driven for several minutes above 50 mph. This is why the testing phase is so important to scheduling and conducting a proper repair the first time.
Of course, if you have any questions or concerns about your Check Engine or Service Engine lights, our specialists at Auto Pro-to-Call will be happy to answers your questions. Stop in or call us today!
Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual to see the service schedule that suits it best.