The check engine light first started being used around 1990.  The original purpose was to provide information about the emission control status of the vehicle.  Check engine lights are normally orange in color because the main purpose is dealing with emission controls.  However, emission controls now encompasses a variety of additional components.  A yellow light typically means you can keep driving if the performance is normal until you can get it checked by a technician.  Emissions concern air pollution-so, for example, if a spark plug is miss-firing, it causes the car to pollute more than it should triggering the activation of the check engine light.  Your vehicle’s onboard computer will store a code from the faulty spark plug and turns on the check engine light to warn you that there is an issue that needs to be addressed.  Originally, a bad spark plug wouldn’t cause the check engine light to be turned on.  It would be activated if you had a fuel canister that was saturated with gasoline or if the EGR (Exhaust Gas Recirculation) system failed.  Now the check engine light covers a wide array of things.  There are roughly between 600 and 900 different reasons for the check engine to be activated.  A technician would need to perform tests on the system to determine the actual cause of the activation so that a correct fix can be performed.  Even if the vehicle seems to be running normally, there are a multitude of things that can activate the check engine light that would cause expensive repairs if not addressed in a timely manner.  What is a $200 failure repair today could easily become a $1500 nightmare the next week if left unaddressed.  Another reason NOT to ignore the check engine light, the light will always be on and you as the driver will not know if the computer detects another malfunction that needs to activate the check engine light.  Don’t be one of those people who ignore a check engine light, the downside to this is the many hundreds of dollars in repairs because of the ignored warning.

Express Auto/RV Care Center in the Foothills can diagnose and repair the check engine light on your vehicle.  Call them today!