We have all had our check engine light come on and think the worst. Well just because the light came on doesn’t mean there is a monumental disaster around the corner. In fact, most of the time, it is something small such as a faulty o2 sensor or your gas cap is on incorrectly. There are two different ways your check engine light warns you. First is a steady light; this indicates not an emergency, but still important enough to make an appointment. Second is flashing, this usually means there is a severe problem. If this happens, stop your vehicle immediately to avoid further damage. Don’t stress, you can find out exactly what is going on by using an (On Board Diagnostics) OBD2 Scanner, or you can go to your local auto repair shop.
An OBD II Scanner tool can help you retrieve the error codes that trigger your check engine light. These codes are defined specifically and are either (generic) universal or manufacture specific and there are five digits. I will explain them briefly below.
1st Digit: signifies the system the trouble code is related to.
B = Body C = Chassis P = Powertrain U = Undefined
2nd Digit: signifies whether it is manufacturer specific or generic.
1 = Enhanced (manufacturer specific) and 0 = Generic (the # not the letter “O”)
3rd Digit: signifies the sub system the code pertains to.
1 = Emission Management Air or Fuel 2 = Injector Circuit Air or Fuel 3 = Misfire or Ignition 4 = Emissions
5 = Idle Control & Vehicle Speed 6 = Output Circuit & Computer 7 = Transmission 8 = Transmission
There are a handful of problems that are the usual suspects of the dreaded Check Engine Light. The first being your gas cap. If it is not properly attached it can cause your check engine light to illuminate. The second culprit is your O2 sensor. If the sensor is malfunctioning or broken, it can effect your emissions and reduce gas mileage. Third would be your Mass Air Flow sensor. This sensor is responsible for supplying the right amount of air to your engine allowing for proper fuel distribution. Spark Plugs are also a common factor when your check engine lite is on. Your spark plugs ignite the compressed gas within your engine, when there is spark plug failure damage to the catalytic converter can happen. Additionally it can affect your engines overall performance and fuel economy. Your check engine light can alert you to more problems than I have discussed here. So if you are experiencing check engine light problems check get the codes from an OBD II Scanner Tool or visit your local auto repair shop to diagnose your vehicle’s trouble codes.