The dashboard is rich in controls. Red usually means that you have to stop your vehicle. Yellow doesn’t necessarily require that, although the “check engine light” might mean trouble, sometimes very expensive. What should you do when it appears?
When you turn the key in the ignition, the dashboard usually shows all the icons that are worth learning so you’ll recognize them even in your sleep. Green and blue are informative. They indicate low coolant temperatures, turn on direction indicators or traffic lights.
More serious is the situation with orange signals which mean a failure of one of the on-board systems. This is a clear sign to meet a mechanic.
The jokes end with a red signal. This color can indicate a malfunction in the brake system, ABS, power steering or airbags. You should react immediately and try to remove the defect as soon as possible, because it affects the comfort and safety of your driving experience. However, let’s go back to the infamous “check engine” light.
It’s a Basic System Since 2001
European legislation forced manufacturers to use self-diagnosis systems in 2001. More serious defects that pose a risk to passengers or the environment are illustrated by appropriate graphics. The check engine belongs to this group.
Sometimes it’s enough to start the car again and the “check engine” will disappear.
It’s also worth knowing that the irregularities of algorithms assigned to particular sensors differ from each other. One-time errors sent by an electronic sensor can cause a short orange light to appear, which doesn\t necessarily mean a malfunction.
After years of operation, electronics can play tricks and record momentarily erroneous readings (contact or moisture has fallen asleep). Then, after restarting the engine and restarting the system, the disturbing graphics will go out and the situation will return to normal. Such a phenomenon may also occur during severe frosts, when the system has too low voltage or the ignition falls out during start-up. Lack of symptoms in the form of lower power of the drive unit or increased demand for fuel should not generate any cause for concern.
When the Orange light just doesn’t disappear
Owners of cars where the orange light doesn’t go out have more to worry about. At that time, the OBDII diagnostic system, which recorded more than 1000 errors, detected a fault that allowed the vehicle to continue driving. Yes, you can risk it, but in the end it’s not worth it. It’s better to go to a mechanic in order to connect a computer. Each error is recorded in the records under the appropriate code. Database verification with diagnostic equipment will quite quickly assign the failure to a specific component, which will facilitate the work of a professional. Such a service should not cost more than a good meal at a restaurant.
What may be the reason for the appearance of the “check engine” control light?
In petrol engines, quite often the culprit turns out to be the wrong signal sent by the lambda probe. Its task is to analyze the composition of exhaust gases and partially regulate the proportion of the fuel-air mixture. This in turn translates into better engine condition and lower emission of harmful chemical compounds to the atmosphere. Unfortunately, this device isn’t eternal. Usually it lasts about 150-200 thousand kilometers and qualifies for replacement. In most modern cars there are two probes. Replacement of one of them is an expense of about 100-300 USD.
Different cars, different problems. The p0410 code on Chevy can be caused be either Malfunctioning air pump, faulty air pump check valves or blocked air injection system. Even if you don’t own a Chevy check if those aren’t causing the problem.
Another element on the checklist are ignition coils. Apart from the orange message, their defect is manifested in the form of a wave of revolutions, power drop, higher fuel consumption or jerking the power unit. What is important, it is a set of connected dishes, so it is worth checking spark plugs, a distributor and cables. The replacement of the coil itself, which is the source of problems with the ignition system, is about 100-140 PLN (on the example of the engine 1.4 TSI). To this should be added the work of a mechanic valued at 40-70 PLN.
Catalytic Converter and the Turbo
The decrease in catalyst efficiency is another source of problems. This inconspicuous hidden from unwanted eyesight contains a precious metal cartridge more expensive than gold. Platinum, rhodium and palladium are designed to reduce toxic compounds contained in exhaust fumes. This is the result of a chemical reaction with exhaust gases. As a result, the catalytic reactor isn’t only an object of sighs of local thieves, but also a real cause for concern for the user.
Its failure manifests itself in a decrease in power and higher fuel consumption. “Check engine” is obligatory in this case. An additional problem is the price of the device. Due to expensive metals, its value in authorized service can reach as much as 3 thousand dollars. It’s definitely better to go to an independent workshop for this purpose, where the replacement of the cartridge itself should not cost more than 200-400 USD.
Problems with the turbocharger appear almost immediately after the failure. This sensitive component sometimes surrenders after only 40-60 thousand kilometers. Nevertheless, the driving style itself has a big impact on its life cycle. A damaged turbo contributes to higher fuel consumption and faster catalyst wear. An incorrectly adjusted device distorts the air-to-fuel ratio, which directly affects the composition and temperature of exhaust gases. A new turbine with variable blade geometry costs around one thousand dollars. Regeneration will bring some savings, the price of which should not exceed $750. After a professional repair, the error with the “check engine” control is going to disappear. Forever, never lose hope.
Pay Attention to the LPG Engines
The orange light is also quite common in cars equipped with LPG installations. The problem is usually caused by improperly selected components and unnecessary savings. An unreplaced gas filter clogs up relatively quickly, causing impoverishment of the mixture (replacement of about $10).
On the other hand, at idling speed, difficulties are caused by worn out injectors generating a wave of rotations. The reason for this is the incorrect dosage of fuel. The replacement will cost from 100 to 300 USD. It’s also worth looking for the source of problems in the evaporator. Its low efficiency is usually visible during rapid acceleration. The new one costs 150 USD. Add to this the error resetting, which will turn off the orange light on the dashboard.
It’s not worth waiting for the “check engine” to disappear by itself and do nothing!
Ignoring the orange check engine light is like ignoring your wife’s weird behaviour. After some time, the engine may stop working correctly, switch itself to emergency mode, increase fuel consumption, and in units with variable camshaft phases, the system may even shut itself down. As a consequence, further faults may cause an avalanche causing tremendous expenses and you don’t want that, trust me.