Simple Answers from Town Hill Auto Sales and Service for Bedford PA: Check Engine Light

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Check engine light question:

 My check engine light is on. My boyfriend believes that if he can read the code he will know exactly what part he needs to replace in order to fix my vehicle. I say it’s not that simple. Who’s right?

Town Hill Auto Sales and Service’s Answer:

Good news – you are! Just look at it logically: there are hundreds of things that can go wrong with your vehicle. Some are simple and some are quite complicated.

Let’s take a step back. Over 80% of engine functions are computer controlled. The computer receives information from dozens of sensors. When a sensor reading is out of range, a trouble code is entered in the computer and the Check Engine Light is illuminated.

Diagnosing a check engine light

It’s a common misconception of drivers that the trouble code will tell you exactly what is wrong. For any given trouble code, there are any number of faults that would trigger the code. For example, a code indicating a misfire on cylinder three could be caused by a bad spark plug, a failed coil, ignition problems, compression issues, etc. Each of those possibilities requires additional diagnosis to confirm or rule out a cause.
A complicated diagnosis may take some time. The temptation is often to bypass a diagnosis charge by taking a trouble code reading with an inexpensive scan tool and start replacing parts. You might get lucky, but chances are you’ll end up spending more time and than if you went to a professional with the right equipment.
Did you know that all of the service professionals at Townhill Auto service in Bedford PA are ASE Master certified mechanics? These dealer trained technicians really know their cars. Certified in all makes and models these professionals can easily diagnose and repair anything; from the smallest leak to a major repair. Back that with being a Napa Certified Service Center you can have peace in mind that every repair uses the highest quality parts with industry-leading warranties.
 
A final word – a flashing Check Engine Light indicates that a condition exists that could lead to serious, damage, if this is your case you should get to Town Hill Auto Sales and Service in Bedford PA right away. A steadily illuminated Check Engine Light is less urgent so you can get it checked at your convenience. But keep in mind that a minor issue can become more serious if left unresolved.

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Town Hill Auto Sales and Service : Why Is My Check Engine Light On?

Image of a check engine light - Auto Repair Service in Bedford PAThe Check Engine Light strikes fear into the hearts of some and is totally ignored by just as many. What it means is a mystery to most drivers. In this article we will be discussing what the check engine light means and how it works, if you would like more information about your check engine light be sure to check with your auto repair professional at Town Hill Auto Service in Bedford PA.

Check engine light degrees

If your vehicle’s check engine light is flashing, that means that something is wrong that could cause severe damage to your engine. Naturally, If your check engine light is flashing, you shouldn’t drive at highway speeds, tow or haul heavy loads. You should get it checked out as soon as possible by a reputable service department.

If the light is glowing steadily, you should keep an eye on it for a day or two. If the light doesn’t go off, schedule an appointment with the staff at Town Hill Auto Sales and Service to get it checked out.

 

How does it work?

Most of your vehicle’s engine functions are controlled by a computer, not surprisingly, called an engine control computer. The computer is able to adjust the engine parameters to compensate for environmental conditions, engine condition and even the way you drive.

In order to make these adjustments, the computer relies on a network of sensors to provide the necessary data. The computer knows the proper operating range for each sensor. When a sensor reading is out of range the computer runs some tests and may activate the Check Engine Light if it gets a negative or unclear reading.

A simple example is a loose or missing gas cap. This may cause one of the sensors to read out of range. The vehicle’s computer doesn’t know if it’s a serious condition that caused the reading or just a loose gas cap, so it stores a trouble code and turns on the Check Engine Light.

Now when you tighten up the gas cap the sensor readings will be in the correct range. The computer will keep checking on the report for a day or two. Since the bad reading didn’t come up again, it turns off the Check Engine Light. The computer will also try to make adjustments to compensate for some readings. If it can do so, it’ll then turn off the Check Engine Light. If the problem can’t be resolved then the light will remain on and you should get your vehicle looked at by the pros at Town Hill Auto Sales and Service in Bedford PA.

What should i do if my light remains on?

Did you know that all of the service professionals at Townhill Auto service in Bedford PA are ASE Master certified mechanics? These dealer trained technicians really know their cars. Certified in all makes and models these professionals can easily diagnose and repair anything; from the smallest leak to a major repair. Back that with being a Napa Certified Service Center you can have peace in mind that every repair uses the highest quality parts with industry-leading warranties. If your check engine light is on your Town Hill Auto Sales and Service technician will plug a scanner into the on-board diagnostic port and read the trouble code stored in the computer. The trouble code will give the Town Hill Auto Sales and Service technician a starting place as he diagnoses the cause of the problem. He will then be able to repair the problem and get you on the road again. 
 

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Why is it more complicated to work on modern cars that it was before?

At Town Hill Auto Repair Service in Bedford PA. one of the most often asked questions that we get is “Why is it more complicated to work on modern cars that it was before?”

While the simple answer is that technology has made improvements in all areas of the vehicle systems and components, that answer is not necessarily the best one.

Our 2 cents on the matter

To be honest we don’t believe that all improvements that have been made by the auto industry over the years are necessary or beneficial. Many of the areas of the vehicle’s system, on cars driven in Bedford PA., were not changed for the reason of better technology but rather the increase in governmental regulations. These particular changes were instituted in 1996 and steadily increased over the years with major jumps in 2001, 2003, 2007 and 2012. These changes were mandatory by the federal government to auto manufacturers placing emission monitoring equipment and exhaust recirculation components that were advertised as a way to make a vehicle easier on the environment; but in reality, they have decreased fuel efficiency on many vehicles along the way.

Now there’s no reason to “cry over spilt milk,” these emission system components are mandatory and because of the computer systems that are on modern vehicles your car simply will not run correctly without these emission systems functioning properly. You can also rest assured that if your vehicle is experiencing any problems with these emissions systems that your trusted ASE Master certified, dealer trained technicians at Town Hill Auto Repair Service in Bedford PA. has been thoroughly trained on all aspects of emissions technology and can quickly diagnose and repair problems if they should arise.

Why does my car have a computer?

An automobile computer is probably one of the biggest reasons why a vehicle is more difficult to work on today than it was before. The PCM, or powertrain control module otherwise known as an ECU or electronic control unit, has steadily grown in its ability to monitor and regulate everything from engine timing and emissions to the temperature of your seat heater. These Computers have also been tuned with the engines on cars produced after 2007 so much that they can increase horsepower and increase fuel economy. In some cases you can even control from the dash the driving conditions, a common feature of modern muscle cars.

These computers, however, have a catch 22 for auto repair service technicians in Bedford PA.. While these computers can make the repairs, at times, more difficult they can also assist greatly in the diagnosis of a vehicle repair. Vehicles manufactured after 2012 can monitor dozens of sensors that, with the proper diagnostic equipment, can quickly narrow down a problem.

The ASE Master certified, dealer trained technicians employed by Town Hill Auto Repair Service in Bedford PA. are expertly trained in diagnosing these modern vehicle systems. Relying on years of experience combined with state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment we can quickly narrow down the problem and present options and solutions for the vehicle repair.

Are there any vehicle improvements in technology that are beneficial?

That’s actually a great question. There is no doubt that safety improvements over the years, whether federally mandated or not, has greatly improved the safety of most modern cars. Compare just the last 10 years in front end collision technology. With the use of the crumple zones and energy absorbing materials used in the construction of bumpers and the firewall; the likelihood of surviving a crash has been greatly increased. With the advances in anti-brake locking systems (ABS), stability control and computer-assisted steering there is no question that these improvements, while at times difficult to diagnose and repair, are well worth it.

Conclusion

There are many reasons why modern vehicles in Bedford, PA. are more difficult to work on today versus before. The few things that we’ve looked at in this article just scratch the surface of the complexity of many modern systems. One thing you can be sure of is that Town Hill Auto Repair Service in Bedford PA. is up for the challenge. Whether you’ve got a ‘69 Mustang or ‘12 Honda Civic our ASE Master certified, dealer trained master technicians are ready and able to keep your car running in top condition.

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