The check engine light on a car is designed to notify you that the vehicle requires auto repair service. Many folks aren't necessarily spooked when the light comes on, though, because they don't see anything else wrong with their car. You should pay attention to it, however, even if the issue seems minor or non-existent. Take a look at why you'll want to visit an auto repair place when your ride's check engine light appears.
One thing that can make it seem like a car is okay when it's not is what's called limp mode. This is a computerized setting in the engine. Limp mode allows the car to reduce certain performance characteristics to keep from damaging the engine when there is a failure condition.
This can make the vehicle seem perfectly drivable under some conditions, but the limp mode is only meant to keep the car operational long enough for you to get to an auto repair service provider. Pushing it too far is an invitation to trouble.
A common reason for a check engine light to come on is because something is wrong with a sensor. There are lots of scenarios where the sensor is the only problem, but you should ask an auto repair technician to address the problem anyhow.
Vehicles can't distinguish whether they're dealing with a buggy sensor or a bigger underlying problem. Consequently, the car's computer has to assume something is up. That means it will make changes to the fuel mixture, power, and other performance characteristics to compensate. Such changes can damage the engine, leading to bigger problems. For want of a $100 sensor, you might end up paying thousands for a new motor.
One of the reasons the check engine light may come on is because there's a problem with the system's timing. An engine has a lot of moving components, and the timing system ensures they all work in unison. Typically, there is a heavy chain inside the motor that handles the timing process. If the timing is off, parts inside the engine can start to misfire or even work against each other. In the worst scenario, this can cause the motor to scatter, sending parts flying and bringing the car to a catastrophic halt.
As previously noted, the computerized limp mode will try to keep this from happening. However, you'll need to get the car to an auto repair professional as soon as possible. It's best to get the car off the road as soon as it is safe to do so.
For more information, contact a local auto repair service today.