Redondo Beach & Whittier Auto Repair

Check Engine Light in Redondo Beach and Whittier

The Dreaded “Check Engine” Light

Redondo and Whittier Check Engine Light | Pacific Tire Motorsports

Whether it's a "Check Engine" or a "Service Engine Soon" light that misteriously illumiinates on your dash, it's never a welcome sight.  It puts the fear in us that something is wrong, it's never a good time, and we feel it's going to cost thousands of dollars to fix. Well, there’s a reason. Let’s discuss what it means when you get a “Check Engine” light and what you need to do about it.

Why the Light Turns On

There are around 4,000 reasons why the check engine light can come on in a modern vehicle; don't ignore it. All newer vehicles have a computer (Electronic Control Module) that controls just about everything electronic. It also runs tests on all of the electronic sensors constantly.  The main reason cars of today have these electronic "Brains" is to keep the engine running at it's peak efficiency with the lowest emissions (smog). Today’s smog regulations are not very easy to achieve – to keep it in compliance, the engine needs to be constantly adjusted based on various conditions such as speed, load, engine temperature, gasoline quality, air temperature, road conditions, etc.

The best thing about the “Check Engine” light is that it often detects smaller problems before they become big, expensive problems. Not every problem gives you obvious indications like you get with such things as hard starting, rough running, stalling, etc. That’s why it is very important not to ignore this little light. The “Check Engine” light alerts you to problems like poor fuel mileage, reduced performance or excessive exhaust emissions.

Redondo Beach and Whittier Check Engine Light | Pacific Tire Motorsports

What if My “Check Engine” Light is On?

First, the light is telling you a story. If it's glowing steady, it's saying something like "Take me to Pacific Tire Motorsports at your earliest convenience, but don't wait too long".  If it's flashing, it's telling a whole different story, more like "Pull over now, turn the engine off and call Pacific Tire Motorsports because if you keep driving, something bad could happen".  Either way, give us a call or stop in where we will read the computers memory and see what fault it is reporting. Sometimes it's as simple as a loose gas cap and other times further testing is required. We have all the equipment and skills needed to determine and correct the problem. In the event the problem is something covered under the manufacturer’s warranty, we will notify you so you can have it repaired at the dealer free of charge.

What if My “Service Engine Soon” Light is on?  What's "Soon"

Since the “Service Engine Soon” Light is primarily emissions related, there is no need to panic. The overheat or oil pressure red warning lights require an immediate shutdown of the engine, where the "Service Engine Soon" light is a warning and is yellow or orange. Chances are that the car won't quit, but it's still asking for help. Think of the “Service Engine Soon” light as if it were the glowing tip of a cigarette. Your car is polluting as well as performing below its design potential. Plus, the average cigarette only burns for seven minutes and it is out, the car meanwhile will run for hours, days, weeks and even months.

My guy turned the light off and it came back on a week later. How come?

A Check Engine Light can be fixed properly at Pacific Tire Motorsports in Redondo Beach and Whittier. The onboard diagnostic system is constantly performing a series of “self-tests” to determine if everything is working as designed and your car is running clean. When a failure is detected, the system will compensate if possible and many of these tests are temporarily turned off. This means the repair process can often lead down a trail of multiple problems. This is especially true if you have been driving with the check engine light on for several days. You can trust Pacific Tire Motorsports for your Redondo check engine light needs. 

Once repairs are completed, the OBD system re-starts its series of self-tests. Some of the self-tests require specific conditions to occur before they can be run. For example, one requires the engine to not be started for at least eight hours. Another requires the vehicle be driven for several minutes above 50 mph. This is why the testing phase is so critical to effecting a proper repair the first time.

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