Some of you have had the inconvenience of having the, “Check Engine” light come on while driving, others have only witnessed this with the key in the “on” position and then go off when the car is running (this is normal). This light isn’t a “service-warning” indicator as a lot of people often think, it is a warning that there is a problem in the engines emission system. It could be a number of different possibilities, depending on the year and model of the car. The only way to know what is causing the fault is to hook up one of our factory testers and retrieve the fault-code information from your engines computer. It isn’t a good idea to drive around with the “Check Engine” light on for too long! The light is there to warn you that serious damage could be done to your Catalytic Converter or related components. We have witnessed people putting tape over the light so it doesn’t “bother” them while driving. It did however bother them when they had to pay several thousands of dollars to repair the damage that had been caused. Some model cars, depending on the year, may have a “Check Engine” only indicator and some may have a “MIL” light-they are essentially the same thing. I often get asked, “How long can I drive with this light on?” My first question would be to ask if the car acts differently at idle or when accelerating. If the answer is “yes” I’d say bring it in right away. If the answer is no then you are probably OK for a short time. If you own a 1995 or later car (OBD 2) and you leave the gas-cap loose this could also cause the “Check Engine” light to come on. So try your gas cap first, especially if you just got gas and the light came on soon after. (To be continued in the next newsletter – OBD Systems and they’re relationship to the “Check Engine” light.)