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Check Engine Light - ECU

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We all the know the feeling, going about our day normal as can be, driving to work or school and then it happens. The check engine light begins to glow in the dashboard of our car. The worst part is not knowing how sever the problem is or will be. That is where Automotive Excellence Inc. steps in to help you. We can diagnose the problem quickly and let you know what your car needs. Don't hesitate, the problem may be minor or it can pose a serious safety hazard. Below we offer some information regarding the different warning light in your vehicle.

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Bring your car to us if the dreaded Check Engine Light appears

Every year, cars get more and more complicated. Cars today might have as many as 50 microprocessors on them. Although these microprocessors make it more difficult for you to work on your own car, some of them actually make your car easier to service. With the enactment of increasingly stricter emissions laws, sophisticated computers were needed to regulate the air/fuel mixture so that the catalytic converter could remove a lot of the pollution from the exhaust. The engine control unit (ECU) is the most powerful computer on most cars.

The ECU knows the coolant temperature and engine speed. The transmission controller knows the vehicle speed. The controller for the anti-lock braking system (ABS) knows if there is a problem with the ABS. One benefit of having on-board computers is that they store the faults and can communicate them to an off-board diagnostic tool. This can make it easier for technicians to diagnose problems with the car, which are notorious for disappearing as soon as you bring the car in for repairs.

Engine Control Unit (ECU)

Car engine control unit - ECU

Think of it like a home's electrical fuse panel. When the fuse panel notices a short in the electrical system on a specific circuit in the home, the panel switches off the electricity to that area that has a problem. In cars, the OBD (on-board diagnostics) system doesn't shut anything off, but sends a signal to the driver, via a light on the dashboard, to indicate a potential problem. Automotive maintenance shops can then diagnose problems based on which sensor has been triggered.

Engine Warning Lights

check engine lights and service engine soon light

The MIL (Malfunction Indicator Lamp) is typically a yellow or orange-color light and may display the image of an engine. When the MIL comes on, taking your car to the repair shop may not be immediately necessary; that is, unless the light starts flashing. A flashing MIL indicates that there is a serious problem with a part of your engine, or perhaps a potentially serious problem, and immediate auto maintenance is required.

Brake Warning Lights

brake warning lightABS warning light

The brake warning light is another common dashboard warning light that will display when an area of the braking system needs attention. The light is typically red, and will usually display the word "brake." If the anti-lock braking system (ABS) warning light comes on, then there's a problem with the ABS and it may shut itself off until the issue is corrected.

In addition to the check engine and brake warning lights, there are other important warning lights including the battery warning light, which can indicate that the battery has a low charge, that the alternator is not charging the battery properly, or possibly both. The oil warning light indicates low oil pressure in the engine or that the engine is running low on oil. The airbag warning light denotes that one or more airbags may not function correctly in an accident. The temperature warning light is usually a thermometer symbol and will display when the engine is overheating. All of these warning lights are the way the on-board diagnostics communicate to you some system in your vehicle might need attention.

Warning lights - Why they come on and why you should come in