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Posts Tagged ‘check engine soon light’

 

I left the dealership this past Friday, and hadn’t gone a mile until my “low tire” light came on. Don’t know how you would react, but my heart sank. So, I thought I would provide some insight about this feature. I had not given it any thought, but vehicle manufacturers began to phase in TPMS beginning in the 2006 model year and were required to install it in all vehicles manufactured after September 1, 2007.  I talked to one of our Service Advisors and asked for him to explain to me how the feature works: There are two kinds of monitoring systems direct and indirect. To keep it short and sweet, the direct system monitors the actual pressure in the tire while the indirect system uses existing sensors in the ABS system which watches wheel speed to detect smaller tire diameter caused by under-inflation.

So, the culprit that caused my light to come on? When the temperature outside the tire changes, it will affect the pressure inside the tire. In the fall, the colder weather will significantly lower your tire pressure. If your tire pressure has been set during the hot summer months, the first major cold wave will cause the air to contract inside your tire, lowering the pressure, thus setting off your TPMS.

 

 

Word of advice: To alleviate that annoying tire light, check your tire pressure monthly, during the morning, when tires are cold. During this time, make sure all tires are at the PSI indicated in your manual. Additionally, you might consider replacing the air in your tires with nitrogen. My Service Advisor explains: by using nitrogen the molecules are larger than oxygen molecules. Seepage is thus reduced through the tire walls and where the tire meets the rim. Any moisture in the tire is also eliminated, which can affect inflation.

Questions about using nitrogen vs air in your tires? Check with one of our Service Advisors at your next Express Lane Service visit – no appointment needed!

Or, Schedule your appointment today…. CJDR Greenwood location / CJDR Indianapolis location / Toyota Scion location.

Your friends at O’Brien Automotive Family!
“Our family works for you. Since 1933”

Your leading Greenwood, Franklin, Indianapolis, Carmel, Plainfield, Avon, Lawrence, and Noblesville Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram FIAT Toyota and Scion Dealer!

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So, what does this light mean? The “check engine” light is part of your car’s onboard diagnostics (OBD) system. Since the 1980’s, computers increasingly have controlled and monitored vehicle performance, regulating such variables as engine speed, fuel mixture, and ignition timing. In some cars, the computer also tells the automatic transmission when to shift. When this onboard diagnostics system finds a problem that it can’t correct, the computer turns on a yellow warning indicator that is labeled by either “check engine,” “service engine soon,” or “check powertrain.”

Don’t you wish the alert could be a little more specific? Nope, it can’t. Unfortunately, the check engine light comes to life if anything, and I do mean anything isn’t 100% under the hood. This means that you could be staring at a major repair; or, your gas cap could be too loose (no kidding).

The most common problems that trigger the light are emission control malfunctions. The emission control system is what your car uses to try to keep our air a little cleaner. Here are a few of the more commonly occurring issues:

  • Your gas cap isn’t on tight enough. — Obviouosly, if this is what triggered the light, this is an easy enough problem to fix. Tighten the gas cap, and usually after 4 normal “global starts and cool downs”, the light will go off. (In layman’s terms: Drive the car as normal and after it has been driven 4-times, with the car being shut off and the engine gets cold between the starts / equals a “global start”)
  • Your engine got wet where it didn’t like it — Any electrical burp under the hood can cause one of your car’s gazillion sensors to take a funny reading. When it does, you can expect to see the Check Engine light. More common than rain water getting in there is the overzealous owner who sprays his engine down at the high pressure car wash, shooting water into every crevice of the engine, thus lighting the light.
  • Your spark plug wires are bad — As your spark plug wires start to get old, they may develop tiny cracks which can let little bursts of electricity out. This electricity was supposed to be going to a spark plug, and since it didn’t, the engine will misfire slightly, meaning one of the spark plugs didn’t spark enough.

What happens when I ignore the CHECK ENGINE LIGHT or put off the recommended service? There are two kinds of CHECK ENGINE LIGHT alerts. A non-flashing, but lit CHECK ENGINE LIGHT, is usually a less severe problem that shouldn’t cause immediate problems but needs to be checked as soon as possible. There is also a flashing and illuminated CHECK ENGINE LIGHT means your vehicle senses a critical system error (such as a major cylinder misfire ) and you need immediate attention before potentially breaking down and possibly damaging other critical and expensive parts. In this case, continuing to drive can lead to further damage rather quickly or can leave you stranded.

Bottom line; when the “check engine” light comes on, It’s like someone saying “My leg hurts a little,” or “I get out of breath when I climb stairs.” A doctor — or, for your car, a mechanic — still has to figure out what’s really causing the problem.

Schedule your appointment today…. CJDR Greenwood location / CJDR Indianapolis location / Toyota Scion location.
Your friends at O’Brien Automotive Family!
“Our family works for you. Since 1933”

Your leading Greenwood, Franklin, Indianapolis, Carmel, Plainfield, Avon, Lawrence, and Noblesville Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram FIAT Toyota and Scion Dealer!

Read Full Post »

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