Keeping Your Car Clean

I still remember the day that I bought my first car. I thought it was the most perfect vehicle in the world, and I vowed to care for it diligently. Unfortunately, within a few days I had forgotten about my promise, and I started tossing fast food wrappers in the back like everyone else. After awhile I realized that neglecting my car was turning the inside into a garbage pit, and I decided to learn how to take better care of my vehicle. I took a class on auto detailing, and it really helped me to turn things around. I want to teach you what I learned, so you should read this blog.

Should You Ignore Your Check Engine Light?


Most of the items around your house don't come with a flashing light that warns you that your wallet is about to get lighter. Unfortunately, automakers decided to install just such a device in your vehicle. As a result, many drivers choose to ignore their check engine light since it usually means a costly visit to their local, friendly repair shop.

While that little yellow light can be frustrating, it's there for a good reason. The check engine light links to your car's onboard diagnostics system (OBD-II), a sophisticated computer that records operational data from a wide range of sensors. So although a check engine light doesn't always indicate a critical problem, there are many situations where you shouldn't ignore this essential warning sign.

Understanding the Logic Behind the Light

The OBD-II system in your car stores errors known as diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs). Each error indicates that something in your vehicle is not operating up to specifications. In many cases, the computer triggers DTCs due to failing sensors. As devices like your oxygen sensor wear out, they transmit erroneous data that the OBD-II system flags as a source of trouble.

DTCs may also indicate more vague issues with your vehicle, such as vacuum leaks or misfires. In these cases, the computer cannot determine the underlying cause of the problem, but it can detect the symptoms. These trouble codes won't point you at the exact fault, but they provide critical clues for a technician to diagnose the issue.

Knowing When to Read Your Codes

In an ideal world, your car would immediately inform you of the problem in simple, easy-to-understand terms. But, sadly, DTCs can be cryptic, and most cars will not provide any information without a code reader tool. Without this extra data, it can be challenging to understand if that light indicates an actual emergency or a minor inconvenience.

In general, you shouldn't ignore any check engine light accompanied by a change in your car's behavior. This rule includes noticeable drops in fuel economy and more pronounced symptoms such as loss of power or poor idling. These symptoms typically indicate a genuine fault, and you may cause more harm by continuing to drive your vehicle.

Even if your car seems to be driving just fine, don't ignore a check engine light for too long. Many stores will read the code for free, which can provide you with crucial information to decide on the severity of the problem. The small amount of time you spend reading a DTC can allow you to make quick car check engine light repairs.


10 June 2021