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Check Engine Light On? Engine Lost Its Get Up and Go?

CHECK ENGINE LIGHT & ENGINE DIAGNOSTICS

MY CHECK ENGINE LIGHT IS ON, NOW WHAT?

Check Engine Light, Service Engine Soon in Libertyville, ILNothing puts a damper on your day quite like the unexpected appearance of a Check Engine light or Service Engine Soon light on your car's dashboard.

Here’s our advice for responding to that emissions light or an engine that's idling rough, hesitating on acceleration or otherwise not performing up to speed:

 

What Should I Do When My Check Engine Light Comes On?

Today's cars have so many dashboard lights that it's nearly impossible to instantly know what they all mean. You'll recognize the "Check Engine" light by its amber or orange color, a symbol that looks like the outline of an engine or simply the words "Service Engine Soon."

  • If your Check Engine light comes on and begins flashing, we urge you to head to your auto repair shop ASAP. A flashing light indicates a serious problem.
  • If the light turns on and stays on—it's not flashing—you can continue on to your destination, but you'll need to schedule an auto repair appointment at your earliest convenience.

Is there a different light on? Is your dashboard lit up like a holiday tree? Check out our article: What to do if a dashboard warning light comes on.
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Do I Really Need to Repair the Car? Isn't The Check Engine Light Just Warning Me About An Emissions Problem?

Yes, you should repair the vehicle as soon as you can. Here's why: The Service Engine Soon light can indicate anything from a quick fix, such as a loose gas cap, to a big-time repair need, such as a catalytic converter.

By responding promptly when the light comes on, you can save yourself from larger and more expensive problems. For example, if your oxygen sensor is at the end of its lifespan, replacing it right away can spare the catalytic converter. But if an oxygen sensor is failing and allowing excess raw fuel to flow into the catalytic converter(s), ignoring the light will dramatically shorten the lifespan of the converter(s). And yes, most cars today have more than one catalytic converter. You don't want to replace one any sooner than necessary, let alone two.

It's also important to know that you won't be able to take your vehicle in for its emissions test if the Check Engine Light is on. That's an immediate failure.
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Why Should I Choose Auto Lab Instead of the Dealer?

At Auto Lab, we offer everything you’re looking for and more:

    • Competence: Our ASE-Certified Master Automotive Technicians are the best of the best. They're an amazing powerhouse of skill who expertly tackle every auto repair or diagnostic challenge. In fact, some of the local dealers ask us to troubleshoot their “problem cars.”
    • Confidence: When we tell you something is wrong with your car or truck, that’s what it is. We won’t repair it and then call you back to say the vehicle needs something else.
    • Peace of Mind: We stand behind all of our repairs with a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty.
    • Time Savings: We offer free loaner cars and a free shuttle service.
    • Accuracy: The final bill will never be more than what we quoted you.

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What Else Should Be Done At the Same Time?

Depending on what triggered the Service Engine Soon light, we may recommend accompanying maintenance or repairs. For example, if the sensor that monitors the engine coolant temperature failed, we may recommend a cooling system flush. But this all varies with the specific repair.
It's important to know that if a repair is done in order to pass the emissions test, you or your auto repair shop need to drive the vehicle extensively before taking it to the emissions test lane. This is because the on-board computer needs sufficient time to monitor the performance of the emissions sensors in a range of driving conditions - stop and go, highway, cold start in the morning, warm cruising in the afternoon. If the car is taken immediately to the test lane and the monitors have not completed their tests, the car will fail.
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