I See the Light
The check engine light may cause you a bit of anxiety, but the first thing to do is not panic. If the check engine light comes on, it will either blink or remain constantly illuminated, depending on the problem.
A blinking light, or in some cars a red light instead of a yellow or orange light, indicates a problem that needs immediate attention. A light that does not blink means you need to get your vehicle into an auto repair center as soon as possible.
What Does the Check Engine Light Mean?
The check engine light can mean many different things, from a loose gas cap to a seriously misfiring engine. The check engine light is part of your vehicle’s onboard diagnostics system.
Since the 1980s, computers increasingly have controlled and monitored vehicle performance, regulating such variables as engine speed, fuel mixture, and ignition timing.
When the check engine comes on the computer stores a “trouble code” in its memory that identifies the source of the problem, such as a malfunctioning sensor or a misfiring engine. The code can be read with an electronic scan tool or a diagnostic computer. The code will typically point you in the direction of the problem, but it still requires an experienced professional to fully diagnose and repair the malfunctioning component.
How Long Can I Drive With the Check Engine Light On?
Getting your car, truck or SUV checked out quickly is advised. Ignore the check engine light warning and you could end up damaging expensive components. It can also be a sign that your car is getting poor fuel economy and emitting higher levels of emissions.
BECK'S DIAGNOSTIC LEVELS
Each level consists of but is not limited to the following tests and procedures.
- Basic diagnostic to check for surface level issues.
- Test drive
- Rack vehicle
- Gain Access
- Test coolant pressure
- Check for fluid leaks
- Check steering/suspension noises
- Check operation of windows,
motor, or switches
- Test starters
- Research manufacturers database for
bulletins and programming updates
- Determine diagnostic path for concern
- If multiple concerns could have
multiple diagnostic paths
- A deeper dive into the fuel, ignition, and electrical systems. Includes use of digital volt meter, multi-channel scope, and borescope.
- INCLUDES LEVEL ONE
- Smoke machine test
- Test block / head gasket
- Fuel pressure
- Small wiring repair
- Fluid leak tests
- Small tear down for the diagnosis
- Test the starter and alternator
- Remove the driveshaft to test for u-joints
- Test fuel pumps, oxygen sensor and exhaust gas regulator (EGR) valve
- Test spark plugs and ignition coils and/or distributor
- Test radio/stereo
- Test camshaft or crankshaft sensors
- Service bay test
- Live data stream analysis
- Check circuit continuity and voltage drops
- Parasitic draw test
- Level 3 goes further into electric parts, electronic modules, and medium tear down to spot issues within covered spaces.
- INCLUDES LEVEL ONE - TWO
- Oil pressure tests
- Check the timing
- Medium wiring repairs
- Waveforms test
- Oscilloscope test
- Medium tear down for noises from level two
- Intermittent concerns
- Remove interior pieces to access wiring or noises
- Minor dash parts to be removed
- Test heated seats
- Bidirectional tests
- Pinpoint tests on:
Powertrain control module
Body control modules
Transmission control modules or any other module
- Additional team members for further tests
- Could include repair
- A major dive into the engine, suspension, and dashboard to inspect and repair parts that are harder to get to.
- INCLUDES LEVEL ONE - THREE
- Gain access to inspect timing
- Major wire repair
- Major tear down
- Remove valve covers & front covers
- Remove intake to check injectors
- Remove major parts of the dash
- Remove suspension components to see if they are bent
- More staffing needed to check concerns
or use of paid subscriptions to offsite troubleshooting networks to help support repair
Hear what our happy customers have to say about our excellent service.
Rob Hancock and his great crew of Auto technicians know what they are doing. I trust them to give me the correct diagnosis and proper repair that is needed. Highly recommend Beck's Auto Center!