You are traveling down the road and you notice that yellow light just came on that says service your engine soon, or check engine. Like most drivers, you have no idea why it came on and what should I do, pull over and call a tow truck or just keep driving the vehicle since it seems to be running fine. The check engine light can point to several different problems, it can be as simple as a loose gas cap to your engine misfiring. What is does not mean is you do not have to panic and pull over and call a tow truck. But, you do not want to ignore the check engine light either. It has come on for a reason and it needs to be looked at by a qualified mechanic. By choosing to ignore the warning could result in damaging expensive engine components or getting poor fuel mileage.
The service engine or check engine light is part of your car’s OBD system which stands for onboard diagnostics. The OBD system monitors and controls the performance of your vehicle like fuel mixture, ignition timing and the RPM of your motor. In many vehicles today the computer will also let your transmission know when to shift.
When the computer realizes there is a problem that it can not correct, the computer will turn on a yellow light with a symbol that says check engine or service soon. When the light comes on it will store a trouble code in the computer that will identify the problem, which in most cases will be a misfiring engine, loose gas cap, or bad sensor. In order to know what is triggering the check engine light you will need to go to a mechanic that has an electronic scan tool. He can plug his scanner into your OBD system and read the code that is triggering the check engine light to come on. Once he identifies the code he can tell what necessary repairs will be required to correct the problem.