Car MaintenanceCar Maintenance – Check Engine Light Part 1

Although drivers should make the maintenance of their vehicles a priority, they often wait for them to malfunction before taking action. This approach has proven to be far more expensive and inconvenient so carrying out prompt repairs and preventative car maintenance is usually the best option in order to avoid possible car troubles in the future.

Located within the instrument panel of most car models is an indicator that alerts drivers in the event their car is encountering a problem. This indicator is more commonly referred to as a malfunction indicator light (MIL) or engine light. This signal indicates a malfunction in the vehicle’s computerized engine management system.

The engine light can appear in two different forms steady or flashing, with steady indicating a minor fault and flashing indicating a more severe issue.

To demonstrate let’s use for example a faulty oxygen sensor. An oxygen sensor is a component that monitors unburnt oxygen from the exhaust and helps to determine how much fuel is being burnt. If an oxygen sensor is faulty it can cause several problems such as increased emissions, reduced gas mileage and impaired ability to convert oxygen and fuel mixture.

Vehicle maintenance

Most cars have between two to four oxygen sensors and they can over time get covered in oil ash and dirt. This can eventually lead to a malfunction in one or more of the sensors.  When this happens the engine light will appear to let you know something isn’t right.

Regardless of the approach taken this should be addressed right away as it can lead to further issues down the road. A quick diagnostic test should be performed where a small computer is plugged in underneath the dashboard.  This provides a code which reveals the exact sensor/s that are affected.

It would be safe to say that the basic concept of this system serves to detect and diagnose any problems.  It also highlights any existing issues in the form of displays that usually show check engine”,service engine soon or a pictogram of an engine.

There are few cases however that MIL lights can falsely be triggered which can mainly be contributed to the application of high amounts of methanol/ethanol (or other additives) to the engine however this is rarely happens .

So if you are driving and you see your engine light appear you should automatically know now that there is an issue that needs to be rectified.  Remember to deal with the it promptly in order to avoid any further issues or complications with your vehicle.  Contact us for more information.