One of the most dreaded lights to pop up on your vehicle’s dash is the check engine light. For most of us, when this light appears, all we see is dollar signs. You basically have two choices when you see your check engine light. First, you can cut a piece of black tape and cover that little warning light and go on like you never saw it (which we don’t advise), or you can find a local and highly trusted automotive repair shop in Mesa and have them take a look at it to determine what the actual issue is. We want to help you realize that when this dreaded light turns up it doesn’t always means a costly fix, especially if you don’t ignore it.
What is the purpose of my check engine light?
Your check engine light is a way for your vehicle to warn you that something isn’t right. We all have a pretty good idea how high tech and smart most of the new vehicles on the market are and that they have many computers that are controlling and monitoring just about everything your car is doing. What most of us don’t realize, me included before I met my husband, is that even older vehicles are pretty sophisticated with many computers that are working with one another and making sure your vehicle is working at an optimal level. Every time you start and drive your vehicle its many computers are running countless different tests to ensure that there are no issues detected. If during one of these cycle of tests, your vehicle notices a parameter that is out of spec, it notes this and it notifies you by turning on the check engine light.
What do I do when I notice my check engine light is on?
The first thing you should do when your engine line turns on is take a deep breath and realize this may not be as bad as you think. Every time the check engine light comes on, it does not necessarily indicate a catastrophic failure in your car. After you have taken a few deep breaths, you should either call your local Mesa automotive repair shop, or if you are close by just stop in for a quick check engine light analysis. In most cases, we will be able to quickly hook your vehicle up to one of our scanners and let you know what is causing your check engine light to come on.
Flashing check engine light?
When your check engine light is flashing, and not simply lit up, you should pull over as quickly and safely as you can. This is not one of those instances where you can simply cover your check engine light with a piece of tape. You can’t ignore a flashing check engine light. This is basically your car screaming at you that a catastrophic failure is happening and if you continue to drive you will likely cause even worse damage to your vehicle. Call your trusted and trained mechanic in Mesa, and let them know what happened and you will need to have your vehicle towed in and inspected to find the source of the problem.
What if my check engine light turns off by itself??
Normally, if your check engine light turns off on its own it means your vehicle’s computers are no longer detecting the issue after it has gone through a couple of its cycles. Once your vehicle doesn’t see any more issues it will turn off the check engine light. An example of when this may happen is if you recently filled your vehicle with gas and didn’t tighten your gas cap down well afterwards. Your vehicle computers may note that some of its parameters are off and turn on the check engine light. In the meantime you may have tightened down your gas cap and after driving for a while your vehicle no longer senses an issue. In this instance, we still suggest that you stop in and see your favorite automotive repair shop in Mesa and let them scan your vehicle to make sure all issues have resolved themselves and be sure that there is nothing more pressing going on.
Do I turn the light off myself?
When there is a problem with our cars, the first source we usually turn to for a quick fix is Google. It’s fast, easy to operate, and usually there is a solution that seems like it could be the answer to all of your problems. If you do a quick search for check engine lights, some of the search results include many “how to guides” about how to turn off your check engine light. This is a very bad idea, and is likely to cause you more harm in the long run than if you would have just addressed the initial issue.
Another suggestion you may see is to go to your local parts store such as NAPA or AutoZone to have them scan your vehicle for you. There are a few reasons we suggest you are very cautious if you decide to take this route. First, the scanners they use normally are more of a basic scanner and may not always tell you all the reasons the light is on. Secondly, in most cases, they are not ASE certified technicians. I’m not saying they aren’t knowledgeable in certain areas, but let’s face it, you wouldn’t go to the grocery store to buy Band-Aids and ask the store clerk if they thought the sore on your arm looked infected, and what course of treatment you should take. So why would you want to take a shortcut with your vehicle and possibly end up fixing something that isn’t broken? There are times that the reason the check engine light is on might not be the broken part, but the part that is being affected by the actual issue.
Lastly, when you have a relationship with your local mechanic, they know your vehicle and its history, and in most cases will be able to resolve the issue for you the first time. And because they know the history of your vehicle, if there is a faulty part, they may be able to warranty the part for you. These are just some of the many benefits to visiting your regular mechanic in Mesa.
Best way to avoid a visit from your check engine light?
Maintenance…Maintenance…Maintenance. It is hands down the best thing you can do for your vehicle to have it run for a very long time with less of a chance to have the flashing check engine light come to visit.
So when your vehicle sends out its check engine light warning, it is best not to ignore it with that black piece of tape. Take a deep breath and realize that taking it to a local Mesa automotive repair shop to have it evaluated is the best course of action. Especially, if it is something as simple as needing a new gas cap.
334 W 10th Ave #5
Mesa, AZ 85210
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