When the Check Engine Light comes on, you may experience engine performance issues such as poor acceleration, rough idling, or an engine that won’t start. In some cases, no abnormal symptoms will be experienced. Other systems like the transmission or ABS can cause the Check Engine Light to illuminate and lights for those systems can come on at the same time. Similar lights may say “Check Engine Soon”, “Malfunction Indicator Light” or just “Check”. In rare case the engine can overheat.
There’s a common misconception that mechanics can plug a computer into your car and tell you what’s wrong. This is only partially true. The data retrieved from the computers give them clues about what system has registered a malfunction, but not what part has failed. You know how sometimes a light in your house stops working, but it can be the bulb, light socket, wiring, switch or just a power outage? Cars are similar…you may get a diagnostic trouble code for the oxygen sensor but the sensor can be OK and the code is set by a bad connector, wiring, exhaust leak or another sensor in the system. This is why it’s crucial that a mechanic performs a proper diagnosis to determine exactly why the light was illuminated. Otherwise they will likely replace unneeded parts before identifying the real issue.
Many novice DIY’ers attempt to address this issue by purchasing a diagnostic code reader and replacing the part identified by the code. We receive an abundance of stories where consumers replace multiple parts at a guess without resolving their issue. In some cases they are successful but when it goes wrong it can get expensive very quickly. For these reasons we recommend leaving check engine light diagnosis to US professionals.
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