My "CHECK ENGINE" light is on, what should I do?
automobiles built since 1992 have a “CHECK ENGINE” warning light. Since 1996, they are referred to as the “Malfunction Indicator
Light”, or the “MIL” for short. What does this mean when it illuminates? This is one of the most common calls we receive.
“My check engine light is on what should I do and what caused this to come on?” When ever the MIL is illuminated one of the
computers, often referred to as CPU’s, has detected a problem, or a value that is out of range. The first thing you should
note is how the car is running. Does it appear to be running and performing normally? This will determine the urgency of the
situation. If it appears normal make a note of it and continue to pay close attention to any change that may occur. Then call
us as soon as possible with any information and make an appointment to have the car checked. If you notice a major change
in the way the car is running, such as skipping, surging, hesitation or hard starting, this could mean a more serious problem.
You should call us immediately and we will arrange to get the car in quickly to determine if it should be driven at all, until
corrective measures can be performed. In either case this will involve checking the engine or transmission CPU’s for diagnostic
fault codes. This is sometimes referred to as a “SCAN” of the systems. This must be done as the first step of the diagnostic
procedure. We can then tell the severity of the situation, and determine if any repairs are necessary or if further diagnostics
are required. Today's automobiles are very complex and require this procedure be followed. Most of the changes we have today
are a result of the Federal Government mandating ever stricter emission regulations and higher fuel mileage requirements.
The good thing is that today's automobiles run much cleaner and get much better fuel mileage than cars did 10 years ago.
accomplish these diagnostic test properly we have made major investments in sophisticated “Scan” tools dedicated to Mercedes
and Volvo cars. These most often consist of laptop computers running specialized software and computer interface boxes and
cables. This in effective allows our computers to talk to your cars computers. Be aware that with out this equipment the
diagnostic procedures are very limited. I am proud that we are able to do this for you our customers, also be aware that most
other repair shops have not made this necessary investment and rely on “generic” scan tools that give limited information
at best, and at worse can give erroneous information.
So what does all of this mean? If you experience a warning light
coming on, don’t ignore it and hope the problem will go away. It could be something simple, but needs to be checked, and rest
assured we can help you with a correct diagnoses and only the repairs that are needed.