Frequently Asked Questions

There will be a rotating group of articles on this page that answer some of the common questions we are asked in daily business. If you miss an article, previous articles will be linked at the bottom of the page.

The Check Engine Light

Few components of a car inspire so many questions and confusion. This is partially due to the many different warnings a check engine light can represent. There is some standardization among the various automobile manufactures, but many of the messages are unique to particular brand or even model of car.

The majority of vehicles that have a check engine light use it to display messages from the on-board computer usually located under the dash or in the engine compartment. This computer based on various programed parameters, performs tests on the systems of your car that it controls or monitors. When the data it receives in the results of these tests differs from the data that the computer has stored in its memory as "correct", it triggers a visual indicator, the check engine light.

So, what should you do if your check engine light illuminates as you are driving down the road? First take note of the color of the light. A red light means there is a significant problem and you should pull your vehicle off the road as soon as it is safe to do so. At this time call for assistance from a mechanic. Driving the vehicle any further with a red light on could damage further components and cause considerable expense.

If the light you see is yellow or orange you may continue to drive cautiously. Watch your gauges carefully and listen for any noises that are not typical of your car. If you hear or see anything atypical or if the check engine light starts to flash, safely pull over and call for help. It is best not to risk damage to your vehicle.

When you bring your vehicle that has a check engine light on to our shop, the first thing we do is connect it to one of our state of the art diagnostic computers. With these computers we can read the information stored in the memory of your car's computer. We can also access additional data, such as time of occurrence and how many times the particular problem was detected. This is just the start of the diagnosis. As advanced as the computers are, they still need to be supplemented with diagnostic tests preformed by trained automobile technicians. We take the results of all the tests and with the latest information available pinpoint the cause of the problem. We can then repair or replace the offending part and complete the repair. There are times where certain malfunctioning components can prohibit your car's computer from executing groups of self-tests. After that problem is corrected and the computer is able to preform the tests that it couldn't, other problems may be uncovered and need to be repaired. This is why you should bring your car to a qualified repair shop, and have it diagnosed as soon as the check engine light is illuminated. It will help you avoid costly repairs and prolong the life of your car.

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Robert L. Myers, Inc.
515 New Holland Avenue
Lancaster, PA 17602