Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Check Engine Light/Service Engine Light, What Do They Mean?

The automotive industry has developed to a great extent. The invention of computerized vehicles too is a result of this research and development of the industry. Vehicles now are highly computerized, artificially intelligent, and active in terms of their functions. The Check Engine Light in vehicles is one of the examples of technological advancement.
A Check Engine Light is also known as a Malfunction Indicator Lamp (the MIL), and is a part of the On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) System. Engines are now managed through computers in terms of their performance, working condition, service requirements, wear and tear, and the like. It is no more a matter of checking everything manually; rather computers are present to take up this responsibility. A check engine light is usually placed in the instrument panel.
On the other hand, a Service Engine Light is something different. A service engine light indicates that a service is required, probably only an oil change or minor regular maintenance; it never indicates a problem as in the case of a check engine light. Although both are warning lights, they differ greatly in terms of urgency and/or a threat.
The number of people who do not understand what a check engine light means is higher than those who do. Buying a car is easier in comparison to its maintenance. A vehicle's engine requires repair and maintenance at regular intervals, but people do not give this as much importance as it requires. Probably this was the reason why the check engine light was introduced.
A check engine light is an indicator of the engine's condition. When it's lit it signals something that the vehicle's owner or the occupant must understand. Usually a check engine light lights up in following modes:
• A steady light: It signals a minor problem associated with the engine that is not urgent but is certainly important.
• A blinking light: It signals a major problem associated with the engine which is both urgent as well as important.
• A yellow light: It signals that the engine needs to be checked, but it does not identify the exact problem.
• A red light: It signals a potential threat, a serious one.
However, by urgent, it doesn't mean that the problem ought to be fixed then and there; instead it means that the vehicle should be checked by a qualified technician as soon as possible so that the problem could be eradicated long before it harms other parts or components.
It seems like even an engine has its secret codes that are usually understandable for a qualified mechanic or a technician. As soon as a light illuminates over the On-Board Diagnostics System of a vehicle, a code is sent to its built-in computer's memory. This code determines the exact location or the source of trouble.
There are particular electronic scan tools that are designed to decode those codes so that the problem can be fixed. This scanning tool may also be referred as a diagnostic computer which is available at almost all repair shops. In addition, other types of code readers are also available for DIY customers.
Actually it is a check engine light that performs the trickiest function; whereas the manual task comes later in the picture only when the computerized management system has indicated, coded, and retrieved a specific piece of information.
Note that at times it happens too, that a check engine light illuminates without any problem. It may happen because of a temporary change in weather, such as a change in humidity. Such illumination does not stay for long.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/7128874

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