Check Engine Light

The Dreaded “Check Engine” Light.

One of the most common problems people encounter on modern vehicles is the “service” light on the Dash. It may say “check engine”,    “service engine soon“, or just be a picture of a gear or a blinking light. Regardless of what the light looks like or is called, it is there to tell you that  the computer has detected something wrong with the drive train. It may be something important like the engine missing or the transmission slipping, or it could be as simple as the gas cap being loose. Either way, it is important to get it checked soon. Many times something that seems serious, like a transmission that is stuck in 3rd gear and won’t shift, really is only a speed sensor that is no longer sending a signal to the computer. If the computer doesn’t receive continuous, accurate data from ALL of it’s many sensors, it can’t send the right commands to the engine or transmission. Sometimes people  will ignore the light because it was previously checked and found to be something simple, so when it comes back on they assume it’s the same thing. The trouble with ignoring it is you can’t tell when more codes come on. The light looks the same if you have one trouble code or ten. Sometimes it costs a lot more money to wait because some simple problems cause other more expensive problems. A good example of this is a simple bad spark plug causing a miss. If it’s not fixed right away, all the fuel in that cylinder is left unburned. Besides wasting up to 25% of your fuel and causing more pollution, this causes the catalytic converter in the exhaust system to overheat and melt the substrate inside. Then a simple tune-up will have several hundred dollars added to the repair bill because it wasn’t done promptly. Here at Snohomish Transmission, we always offer free test drives and we will plug in to your vehicle  and read the codes for free on your ’96 and newer vehicle, usually while you wait.

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