When you check engine light turns on, it can be a scary situation. You probably don’t know what the problem is. It could range from just needing a maintenance tune-up to a malfunction in the engine. In other words, it is important to check the problem. But, how do you check the meaning of the light? Can you find answers for free?
What Does the Check Engine Light Do?
A check engine is an indicator lamp that lets you know that something is wrong with your engine. Specifically, it illuminates when there is a problem that would impact the vehicle’s emissions. This can be a broad range of problems, primarily ones with the drivetrain or exhaust system. However, the light wouldn’t come on when there is a problem with the headlights, for example.
When the check engine light turns on, it is because the engine control unit has detected a fault. The ECU will store a code then illuminate the light. Because the light is binary (on or off), it is important to check the codes to figure out the problem.
How Do You Check Your Codes?
When you have your check engine light on and need to check the codes, you can use a system called OBD-II (short for on-board diagnostics version two). Every vehicle built after 1996 in the U.S. (and most other countries) has a port that can accept an OBD-II scanner. Using a code reader, you can check what the current diagnostic trouble codes set in the ECU are.
You can easily find OBD-II scanners of different complexities and price points at stores like AutoZone. Additionally, any mechanic you visit will have one and can check the codes for you.
It is worth noting that the code is just the first step in troubleshooting. In many cases, you may need to take a closer look at the system to find the problem. Nonetheless, it will let you know which subsystem is the cause. Trouble codes provide a lot of detail and can help you find a step-by-step troubleshooting and fixing process.
Where Can I Get My Check Engine Light Checked for Free? Check Engine Light On? Get it Diagnosed Free
One of the AutoZone free services is to check your codes for you. An associate will bring a scanner to your car and check the problem with you.
Some other places may be willing to scan your codes for free also. Just try asking. However, if you want to be 100% sure you are heading somewhere that will check for you, go to AutoZone and ask about getting your codes scanned.
Check Yout Codes and Fix Your Car
Whether you decide to pick up a code reader for yourself or take your car to be checked somewhere like AutoZone, you should take your check engine light seriously. Although some check engine light causes are relatively minor, some can be very serious. You don’t want to simply ignore the problem and let it get worse. Check out the problem and pick up some parts to help you fix it.
While you’re at it, learn some basic maintenance such as how to change a headlight. You’ll be glad you did when you are saving money and working on your car yourself.