Check Engine Light is On? The Secret Behind the Light

You got the car recently or even had your car for a while now but the check engine light came on? I am sure we are for the most part alike when it comes to car costs especially if the light comes on and typical way to go about this is to take it to the mechanic that will most likely charge you $100 to diagnose it, then just to find out that there’s nothing wrong with your vehicle. Now, I am not saying that you should ignore it but there are just more affordable ways to go about this than paying for “labor” which in this situation is just disappointing if you knew how simple it is.

When Check Engine Light comes on, it means that something is not quite right in your vehicle, the code that it gives is stored in your cars computer, so when plugged in, the computer gives the code and description that tells the mechanic what the issue is.

OBD-II: On-Board Diagnostics System (version 2)

If your vehicle is 1996 or newer and it was purchased in United States then your car will have an OBD-II because the federal law started requiring all the cars to have one. OBD-II helps to self-diagnose a variety of vehicle issues through the diagnostic computer. Whenever the Check Engine Light come on and you are on-board, it will output a code, and this code can be read by an OBD-II code reader, or scanner.

OBD-II can diagnose emission, powertrain, and other vehicles problems when it is plugged in. You can find a list of codes here.

Check Engine Light is on? The Secret Behind the Light

Your mechanic most likely won’t tell you that you needed to shell out that $100 just for them to plug in the OBD-II scanner to check why the light is on because why not? it is an easy money for them. You really must consider the store around you because big brands for the most part offer this diagnose check for free. This businesses do this because they know that people will most likely but the part from their store or even get it services there. It literally takes them a minute to diagnose. How do you feel now for paying money for this “labor”?

In many instances, I’ve heard the problem is usually very small like a gas cap leak for example which costs barely anything. Another thing about OBD-II is that it can be reset and then if the light comes back on again, that means that the problem was not fixed. IF it doesn’t, then the problem was fixed.

Get Yourself an OBD-II Scanner

Amazon has them for $129.99 the one that I currently use.

I would highly recommend getting your own because they are just so affordable and in fact I have been using one that does a lot of other things as well as listed below. Currently there are two versions, but this is such a great investment especially if you live in an urban area. Here are some benefits from their website. Check out the Automatic website.

Bottom Line

I worked for a big brand and very reputable dealer of a car maker and saw many things but things like this and as simple as that you should really not worry about it too much. I would love to help you if you have any questions, please contact me here if you have a question.

Richard Barnett is a student majoring in finance, entrepreneur, marketer, content writer, traveler, and financial blog “Student Money Adviser” owner. You can read more about me here.

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