Members of the automotive industry are often asked the following question: “Does it matter if I leave my CHECK ENGINE light on? Will it hurt my vehicle?” Perhaps many of you have asked this same question. Or maybe you will be staring into the radiance of a glowing CHECK ENGINE indicator the next time you drive your vehicle.
In 1990, Congress passed a bill of legislation (The Clean Air Act), which required auto manufactures to install an On-Board Diagnostic computer (OBD) in every automobile. The engines in today’s vehicles are largely electronically controlled. Sensors and actuators identify the operation of specific components (e.g. the oxygen sensor) and actuate others (e.g. the fuel injectors) to maintain optimal engine control. An on-board computer, known sometimes as a “powertrain control module”(PCM) or an “engine control unit,” controls all of these systems. The CHECK ENGINE or SERVICE ENGINE SOON light will illuminate when the PCM detects a malfunction in one of these systems. When this happens a numerical code is stored and it requires a hand held computer to retrieve the code information.
Therefore, YES, it will hurt your automobile to ignore your SERVICE ENGINE SOON indicator. You may not immediately notice the affects of the particular code your computer is reading, but 3 months down the road you could! I always advise customers to save their own time and money, and have your CHECK ENGINE light analyzed by a specialist as soon as possible. Don’t let a small, inexpensive repair cost you dearly in the long run. So don’t let a little light fool you. It could be a sign that further failure of your automobile is on the way.
Bring you vehicle by Professional Automotive during the Month of June, and we will perform a Check Engine Light Analysis for FREE on all vehicles manufactured on or after 1996.