Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Leiann asks: Why does the Check Engine light remain lit? I have had various diagnosis, the latest being a solenoid not available, still on order. Otherwise, truck – an ’01 Tacoma – runs great with 145,000 miles original owner.
My reply: Your truck – like almost all vehicles made since the mid-’90s – has OnBoard Diagnostics II (OBD II) which includes a universal language of “codes” that can be used to . . . diagnose what ails the engine and call the driver’s attention to the existence of a problem that might otherwise go undiagnosed..
When the “check engine” light illuminates, it means the OBD system has registered a fault and thrown a code. This triggers the “check engine” light, which is meant to alert you to the code having been thrown and to have the code (and so, the problem) identified, via plugging in a code reader to download and translate the code.
If you look under the steering wheel area, you will see a universal port – which works very much like the USB ports for handheld devices. The technician – or you, if you have a code reader – plugs in the code reader and reads the codes, which tell him (or you) what the issue is.
The code can then be cleared – and the “check engine” light goes off.
When the light comes on, it is usually because of an issue with the emissions system and thus not generally an issue in terms of how the engine runs; however, the problem could lead to the engine not running well and for that reason it’s a good idea to find out why the system threw a code and then get whatever caused that to happen fixed.
It might be something as trivial as the gas cap not having been tightened properly.
. . .
Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!
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