If you enjoy reading about cars and other related topics, we’d love to share our Auto Care Blog with you. At CARS of America, Inc., our highly trained auto mechanics deliver the very best in auto repair services through our two locations in Glenview and Evanston. One way we accomplish that is in the time we take to help educate our customers so they feel confident making auto repair decisions. Our Auto Care Blog is just one way we meet that goal. Let us know if there’s a topic you’d like to hear more about!

 

Category Archives: Check Engine & Dashboard Lights

Do you know what to do when your "Check Engine Light" comes on?

Do you know what to do when your "Check Engine Light" comes on?

Know how to respond if and when a dashboard warning light comes on. When I started to drive, there were only three warning signs I needed to be worried about on the dashboard: the battery light, the oil light and the engine temperature gauge. On today’s vehicles, the dashboard lights up like a holiday tree even when you’re starting the car—let alone when there’s a problem. The oil, battery and engine temperature lights are still there. But you also have warning lights for traction control, light bulbs, tire pressure, air bags, catalytic converters, air suspension and even trailer tow hitches. It’s nearly impossible to memorize the meaning of every last light. Dashboard Light Basics But when a dashboard light does come on, you need to know what to do. We recommend: Keeping your owner’s manual in the glove compartment so you can first iden ... read more

How to diagnose the Check Engine light

How to diagnose the Check Engine light

A Check Engine light isn’t cause for panic. It is a preventive maintenance safeguard that equips vehicle owners with a warning signal that something simple or serious could be afoot. The not-too-great news is its presence can signal any number of under-the-hood snafus. Hard to believe, but that light can pop on for more than 1,400 different reasons–all related to your vehicle’s tailpipe emissions. Part of your vehicle’s on-board diagnostics system, the Check Engine light can indicate anything from a quick fix (such as a loose gas cap or faulty spark plug) to a mid-sized problem (mass air flow sensor or oxygen sensor) all the way up to a big-time repair (such as a catalytic converter that’s on the fritz). Make an appointment to diagnose the check engine light. In some cases, you can avoid those larger repairs by responding immediately to an illuminated check engine light. For ... read more

TPMS? Warning signs you can’t ignore

TPMS? Warning signs you can’t ignore

On a recent service visit at our Glenview location, a young couple expressed concern about how to maintain tire pressure on their family van. They stopped in after they returned from a weekend day trip to a corn maze. Before they left on this autumn adventure, they filled up their gas tank, checked the oil, buckled in the kids and then hit the highway. A glowing orange light on their dash almost kept them from reaching the maze. After checking their owner’s manual, they discovered this was the tire pressure light indicating that one or all of their tires might be low. Every time you stop to buy gas, you should check your tire pressure. This light that usually looks like an exclamation point (!) is a warning indicator sign that your tire pressure may be low. With fluctuating temperatures as the season changes from summer to fall, dramat ... read more

Escaping fuel vapors can trigger 'check engine' light

Your car’s “Check Engine” or “Service Engine Soon” light can flash on for more than 1,400 different reasons. The light is part of your vehicle’s on-board diagnostics (OBD) system and can indicate anything from a quick fix like a loose gas cap to a major repair like a catalytic converter. And here’s another example of a problem that can trigger the light… Trouble code: P0456 Evaporative Emissions System – Small leak detected The EVAP system is a closed system that captures fuel tank vapors and prevents them from escaping into the atmosphere. When the light comes on for this reason, you most likely won’t notice the car driving any differently. Everything will seem fine, except for the glowing check engine light on the dashboard. Here are some possible causes: Missing or loose fuel cap Incorrect fuel cap used Evaporative emission canister or fuel tank leaks Evaporative emission system hose leaking ... read more

Know when to stop! Overheated coolant triggers "check engine" light

Your car’s “Check Engine” or “Service Engine Soon” light can flash on for more than 1,400 different reasons, and in the coming months, we’re going to share with you what some of those reasons are. The light is part of your vehicle’s on-board diagnostics (OBD) system and can indicate anything from a quick fix like a loose gas cap to a major repair like a catalytic converter. Trouble code: P0217 Engine Over Temperature If this code is discovered, it means the engine coolant temperature is excessively high under normal engine speed. The engine coolant is overheating if it’s around 240 to 250 degrees. This is a critical light! It means your engine is beginning to overheat. In addition to the check engine light, you might also see some other type of warning on the dashboard, such as a red temperature gauge or maybe the words “engine hot.” The warning lights should come on before any damage to your engine occurs, but you need to shut ... read more

‘Check engine’ light on? Could be the engine coolant temperature sensor

Your car’s “Check Engine” or “Service Engine Soon” light can flash on for more than 1,400 different reasons, and in the coming months, we’re going to share with you what some of those reasons are. The light is part of your vehicle’s on-board diagnostics (OBD) system and can indicate anything from a quick fix like a loose gas cap to a major repair like a catalytic converter. Trouble code P0115 – Engine Coolant Temperature (ECT) Circuit Malfunction The engine coolant temperature sensor measures the ever-changing engine coolant temperature. It provides important data that helps the powertrain control module (PCM) to control the air fuel ratio, ignition spark timing, the cooling fans and many components of the emissions control systems. The ECT sensor essentially is a thermistor that changes resistance with temperature. As the temperature of the coolant changes, the resistance changes on the ground signal to the powertrain control m ... read more

Check Engine light: What's that code?

It’s never a good feeling when you’re driving down the road and your “Check Engine” or “Service Engine Soon” light flashes on. The light is part of your vehicle’s on-board diagnostics (OBD) system and can indicate anything from a quick fix like a loose gas cap to a major repair like a catalytic converter. The Check Engine light can turn on for more than 1,400 different reasons, and in the coming months, we’re going to share with you what some of those reasons might be. Trouble code: P0300 One code that can set the onboard computer off is P0300, random misfire, which means the car’s computer has detected that not all of the engine’s cylinders are firing the way they should be. If this is a problem, the engine might be harder to start or might stumble and/or hesitate. Of all the reasons your Check Engine light can come on, this is one of the more serious ones. Imagine the literal equivalent of, “not firing on all cylinders.” A code P0300 may ... read more

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