Why Is My Check Engine Light On?
Have you ever had that yellow check engine light appear in your vehicle’s display cluster, seemingly at random? You hope it’s just a mistakethat it’ll go away with the next engine start; But it persists, catching your eye and making you nervous. What could possibly be wrong with your car?
The trouble with the check engine light is that it’s the catchall alert to bring your vehicle in for service. The issue could range anywhere from a loose fuel cap to costly powertrain repairs. That’s why it’s important to make a maintenance appointment at your soonest convenience should that check engine light remain for a few days.
However, if you want to know why your car is throwing a code before you book it in for repairs at River City Nissan, it’s possible to connect to your vehicle’s OBDII (on board diagnostic) computer system using an OBD code reader, provided your car. Truck, or SUV was manufactured after 1996.
How to read OBDII codes
The first step is purchasing an OBDII code reader online or at your local auto parts store. They typically range from $20-$30. Plug the code reader into the OBDII slot (usually located under a plastic cover beneath the steering wheel or on the left side of the foot well). Follow the menu prompts and then you will be supplied with a number representing the check engine light code.
What do the codes stand for?
With so much high tech equipment to monitor in today’s cars, there are literally hundreds of codes that can fall under the check engine light alert. A quick online search will show you all of them for free, but we’ve supplied details on the most common ones below:
P0130 – P0177: Relates to your O2 sensor. This part measures the oxygen in your exhaust, so that it can tell your engine management computer to inject more or less fuel.
P0440: This is the most common code we see at our dealership. It simply means that the driver needs to tighten their fuel cap, since a loose gas cap allows gasoline to evaporate out over time.
P0171 P0174: You’ll get this code when the engine monitor senses a drop in your catalytic converter’s efficiency. While you may need a new exhaust catalytic converter, this code could also indicate other problems in your engine.
P0300 P0312: This code range represents problems in your cylinder ignition firing. The number after the 3 signifies the cylinder number and can mean you need a new coil pack or spark plug.
P0101: Problems with your mass air flow sensor, which monitors how much air is entering your engine, throws this code. This can seriously affect your fuel efficiency because the MAF sensor tells your computer how much fuel to inject into the combustion chamber.
P0449: This code represent a fault in your Evaporative Emission Control System, usually caused by leaky hoses.
P0401: This code relates to your Exhaust Gas Recirculation Valve. A problem with your EGR valve will likely cause your car to idle roughly and/or choppy.
P0217: This code means that your engine is overheating, and can indicate that your low on coolant or your radiator is leaking, etc.
P0463: This code is triggered by the fuel level sensor in your car’s gas tank.
P0115: This code will arise when the Power Control Module is detecting a voltage condition that is too high or too low. You might start to notice your car smoking, backfiring, or being difficult to start.
I have my codenow what?
That all depends on the code you found. If it’s a quick fix like tightening your gas cap or swapping out a spark plug, you just saved yourself a trip to the shop! If it’s a more involved repair you can’t do at home, then it’s nice to have the knowledge before you get it serviced.
To get your check engine light fixed in Kamloops, BC, book your vehicle in for service at River City Nissan. We’re certified to repair all makes and models, not just Nissan and Infiniti vehicles.