When the “Check Engine Light” goes on in your car. What does that mean?
The light can mean something simple like the gas cap is loose or something more serious. The light is part of your On-Board Diagnostics System. It lights up for any number of issues and needs to be hooked up to a diagnostic computer in a repair shop to find out which “trouble code” was registered.
First, check that your gas cap is secure and if it wasn’t, tighten it and ride approximately 5 miles and you should see the light clear. If not, and the car is under warranty, take it to the dealer.
If your car is not under warranty, take it to a local AAMCO, Pep Boys or AutoZone. They will diagnosis the trouble for free and even give you a computer print-out. If you go to a dealer to diagnosis, they will charge you approximately $150.
After you find out what’s wrong and while you are at AAMCO, Pep Boys or AutoZone, price out the parts you’ll need. This will give you information to negotiate with your auto mechanic. Information is leverage.
A client of mine went to turn-in a car to the dealer and the “check engine light” was on. They charged him $150 + $1,250 to fix the car. This was a unexpected out-of-pocket expense that could have been reduced. Call me if you are in this situation, I can walk you through the steps.
Tip: This tips will save you approximately $150+. Depending on the reason the light is on, it can save you much more, by giving you the knowlege to ask the right questions.