As a car owner, it can be incredibly frustrating when your check engine light turns on. Knowing about your vehicle’s check engine light and OBD (On–Board Diagnostic System)—what it is and how it works—will go a long way in saving time and frustration when problems do come up with your car.
What should you do if the light comes on while you’re driving? What if it stays on? What if it starts flashing? What do you do? Instead of frantically scouring the internet when the problem occurs, you can equip yourself with some knowledge about your OBD system.
What is the OBD II?
f you purchased your car after 1996, it will most likely have an OBD II system. The OBD II system is a newer, improved version of the OBD I that is found in vehicles manufactured before 1996. The OBD II is a computer system that monitors your engine’s critical components, like mileage, speed, emissions, engine, and transmission sensors.
While you drive your vehicle, the OBD II system also runs active checks on some important systems like oxygen sensor response, oxygen sensor heaters, catalyst efficiency, etc. to ensure that they are operating properly.
The OBD II is connected to the check engine light (also known as the malfunction indicator lamp) on your dashboard, and together they act as a warning system for vehicle owners. Your engine light helps alert you to any potential problems in your car before they become major headaches.
Under normal circumstances, your check engine light will flash briefly when you turn the ignition on. If your vehicle is functioning optimally and no problems are detected, your engine light should remain off while you drive.
What if your engine light turns on while you’re driving?
The first thing to do once your engine light turns on is don’t panic. When your engine light turns on, this means that the OBD system has detected a problem and is alerting you to it. If your car starts smoking or completely stalls, you should call a mechanic immediately. Otherwise, check your gas cap to ensure it is fitted properly and not missing.
Once you are able to pull over, you should check the gas cap, retighten it if necessary, and examine the cap for any cracks. Then, you can continue driving and see if the light goes off.
Otherwise, you can buy a gas cap at an auto parts store, remove the old cap and screw the new one on. A loose or cracked gas cap can cause a leakage of fuel vapors, which can possibly cause the fuel system to malfunction. This eventually reduces gas mileage and harms the environment by increasing emissions. If the light does not turn off after tightening or replacing the gas cap, it is best to get your car serviced by a licensed and certified mobile mechanic.
What if your engine light is blinking?
Blinking engine light is a warning sign for a more critical problem, such as a misfire that can damage your catalytic converter. Although you can continue to drive safely, you should get a licensed and certified mechanic to attend to your vehicle as soon as possible. Avoid driving at a high speed or with heavy weight. Once you contact us and let us know the symptoms that your car is showing, we will provide you with an upfront quote.
Our Meks will come to you equipped with all the necessary tools to diagnose the problem with your car, including comprehensive diagnostic scanners. We will diagnose the problem with your car, and let you know the diagnostic results. You will receive a new quote for the work that your car needs. After you accept our quote, we will come back with the right parts to fix your car and get it running in no time.
Remember that your engine light will remain on until your car completes three consecutive trips with no faults detected.