Girls Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide by Patrice Banks

Girls Auto Clinic Glove Box Guide by Patrice Banks

Author:Patrice Banks
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Touchstone

Onboard Diagnostics and the Dreaded Check-Engine Light

Each of the networks we just learned about is constantly collecting information about the various processes going on in your car. When there’s an issue, the modules tell the driver about it through simple dashboard symbols or messages. If one of those signals is the check-engine light, you’ll take your car to your PCT so that he or she can communicate with your car’s powertrain control module on a whole other level.

Using what’s called a diagnostic scan tool, your PCT will plug into a port called an OBD (onboard diagnostics) connector, which spits out trouble codes and live data about your car. These codes give your PCT hints about what could be causing the check-engine light to illuminate. Remember, the check-engine light illuminates when the powertrain control module detects a problem in any of the air, fuel, lubrication, exhaust, and emissions systems that could be causing you to burn fuel inefficiently.

There are hundreds of trouble codes, so this is where things get tricky. Along with electrical issues in general, the diagnosis and repair of a problem triggering the check-engine light can be a particularly challenging corner of auto repair, and for this reason it is sometimes time-consuming and expensive. Best-case scenario, the issue is something as simple as the gas cap being loose. Worst case, you’re up for an expensive repair. But the costs may rise if you continue to drive without addressing the problem.

As we discussed back in the dashboard chapter, static check-engine lights shouldn’t cause you to panic or pull over right away. Driving a car with a static check-engine light on isn’t unsafe, but it does mean that you are burning fuel inefficiently (you may actually notice that you are using more gas) or that you’re spewing extra pollution into the environment (which you won’t notice unless it’s really bad, in which case your exhaust will be black and smelly).

If your check-engine light comes on, take your car to your PCT ASAP for a diagnosis. Can’t afford to fix the issue? Ask your mechanic how long you can put off the repair without compromising on safety or causing further damage to your car.


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