The Check Engine Light

2 06 2016

Dale BertramYour car has many computers that monitor your engine for the best performance; your transmission for proper shifting, your braking system for safe stopping, and they also monitor many other devices to make sure they are working properly. If a system detects a problem, it needs to alert you, so you can bring your car in to Fairway Auto Repair for service. This is the role of the check engine light.

The check engine light looks different from car to car, but it’s always a yellow or orange color, usually with a picture of an engine. If the check engine light comes on solid (not blinking), you can continue to drive the car until you have a chance to bring it in. This does not mean you should ignore it.

When the check engine light is on, the car defaults to a backup system that controls all the important systems. Driving around for a short time until you can set up an appointment is no problem, but continuing to drive more than 20 miles is a bad idea.  However, if the check engine light is blinking rhythmically, there is a serious problem; a computer system has had a major malfunction that will damage the catalytic converter. If you notice a blinking check engine light, you do not need to stop in the middle of the bridge and call a tow truck, but you do need to stop driving as soon as practical. Whether the check engine light is solid or blinking, it’s a good idea to drive gently.

The modern car is more complex than ever, the old plug in a code reader to get a code doesn’t give as much information as it did in older makes. I recommend a full system or health scan to check the computer and modules in the system.

Here is an example. We had a late model Ford come in with a driving issue. We did a quick code read and found no codes, but when we did a health scan, we found several codes that related to the transmission. We were able to fix the car and all was well.

The technicians at Fairway Auto Repair are well trained.  Our mission is to keep Phoenix drivers safe on our roads! To find our more check out our website at


Fairway Auto Repair




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