What does check engine light mean?
Wash your car using a chamois, car shampoo and power hose. Start at the roof of the car and work down finishing off with the wheels and tyres. Once the car is clean, allow it to dry and follow up with some car polish to keep the outside protected. YOU’RE driving along in your car or truck and suddenly a yellow light illuminates on your dash telling you to check or service your engine. If you’re like most car owners, you have little idea about what that light is trying to tell you or exactly how you should react.
Call it the most misunderstood indicator on your dashboard, the “check engine” light can mean many different things, from a loose gas cap to a seriously misfiring engine.
“It doesn’t mean you have to pull the car over to the side of the road and call a tow truck. It does mean you should get the car checked out as soon as possible,” says Dave Cappert of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, a Virginia-based organisation that tests and certifies auto technicians.
Ignore the warning, and you could end up damaging expensive components. It also can be a sign that your car is getting poor fuel economy and emitting higher levels of pollutants. What the light means The “check engine” light is part of your car’s so-called on-board diagnostics (OBD) system. Since the 1980s, computers increasingly have controlled and monitored vehicle performance, regulating such variables as engine speed (RPM), fuel mixture, and ignition timing. In The last of the tips to clean your car properly, is to wipe down the tyre rims to remove all dirt. Then apply tyre polish to all four tyres. Grease, rubber, and road-tar deposits picked up from the road often accumulate around the wheel wells and along the lower edge of the body. These can be stubborn to remove and may require a stronger product, such as a bug-and-tar remover. Use a soft, nonabrasive cloth to remove these deposits, as they can quickly blacken your sponge.
Use a separate sponge to clean the wheels and tyres, which may be coated with sand, brake dust, and other debris that could mar the car’s finish. Mild soap and water may work here; if not, a dedicated wheel cleaner may be required. Be sure the cleaner is compatible with the type of finish (paint, clearcoat, chrome, etc.) used on the wheels. A strong formula intended for mag wheels, for instance, can damage the clear coat that’s some cars, the computer also tells the automatic transmission when to shift.
When it finds a problem in the electronic-control system that it can’t correct, the computer turns on a yellow warning indicator that’s labelled “check engine,” “service engine soon” or “check powertrain.” Or the light may be nothing more than a picture of an engine, known as the used on the wheels that come on today’s cars. To be on the safe side, choose a cleaner that’s labelled as safe for use on all wheels. Don’t... wash your car when the body is hot, such as immediately after driving it or after it has been parked in direct sunlight for awhile. Heat speeds the drying of soap and water, making washing more difficult and increasing the chances that spots or deposits will form.
Don’t move the sponge in circles. This can create light, but noticeable scratches called swirl marks. Instead, move the sponge lengthwise across the hood and other body panels. And don’t continue using a sponge that’s dropped on the ground without thoroughly rinsing it out. The sponge can pick up dirt particles that can scratch the paint. Do... rinse all surfaces thoroughly with water before you begin washing to remove loose dirt and debris that could cause scratching. Once you begin, concentrate on one section at a time, washing and rinsing each area completely before moving on to the next one. This ensures that you have plenty of time to rinse before the soap dries. Start at the top, and then work your way around the car.
Work the car-wash solution into a lather International Check Engine Symbol, perhaps with the word “Check.” In addition to turning on the light, the computer stores a “trouble code” in its memory that identifies the source of the problem, such as a malfunctioning sensor or a misfiring engine. The code can be read with an electronic scan tool or a diagnostic computer, standard equipment in auto repair shops. There are also with plenty of suds that provide lots of lubrication on the paint surface. And rinse the sponge often. Using a separate bucket to rinse the sponge keeps dirt from getting mixed into the sudsy wash water.
When rinsing, use a hose without a nozzle and let the water flow over the car from top to bottom. This creates a sheeting action that helps minimize pooling of water. How should I dry the car when I’m done? Don’t... let the car air dry, and don’t expect a drive around the block to do an effective job. Either will leave watermarks, which in areas with hard water are the minerals left after evaporation. In addition, don’t use an abrasive towel or other material that can leave hairline scratches in the paint. Do... use a chamois (natural or synthetic) or soft terry towels. If you choose towels, you may need several. It’s best to blot the water up instead of dragging the towel or chamois over the paint. The drying process can be speeded up by using a soft squeegee to remove most of the water on the body, but be sure the rubber is pliable and that it doesn’t pick up bits of dirt that can cause scratches. — All4women a number of relatively inexpensive code readers that are designed for do-it-yourselfers.
Manufacturers originally used the OBD system to help technicians pinpoint and troubleshoot malfunctions. But the systems now are required under federal laws governing automotive emissions. Although larger trucks have been exempt from the requirement that quickly
“The ‘check engine’ light is reserved only for powertrain problems that could have an impact on the emissions systems,” says John Van Gilder, General Motors’ lead OBD development engineer.
Exactly what the OBD system looks for depends on the make, model and year. The original systems varied widely in their capabilities. Some did little more than check whether the various electronic sensors and actuators were hooked up and working. What to do If your “check engine” light illuminates don’t react like one motorist, who simply poured an extra quart of engine oil into her 2002 Toyota Corolla. Although extreme situations, such as low oil pressure or an overheating engine, might trigger a “check engine” light, your dashboard has other lights and gauges to warn you about those problems and probably a lot sooner. The best advice is to read your owner’s manual beforehand and learn the purpose of the “check engine” light and every other gauge and warning indicator on your dashboard. Periodically, you also should test the “check engine” light and other dashboard warning lights. Usually, you can do this by turning the key to the keyon/engine-off position. Consult the owner’s manual for more information. Replace any bulbs that aren’t working.
The 'check engine' light is part of your car's so-called onboard diagnostics (OBD) system.