When your car’s CEL (Check Engine Light) comes on, it can be very alarming. Every time you get in your car, it sits there on the dashboard, reminding you it’s time for a check-up. So, where do you go to get your check engine light and check engine codes examined?
There are two main ways that you can get your check engine codes read: at a dedicated auto shop or doing it yourself with the right tools. Here’s everything you need to know about both options.
What Causes the Check Engine Signal to Turn on?
Part of what bothers people about the Check Engine Light signal is that it is a very vague warning. It can be caused by dozens if not hundreds of different issues that are going on inside your car. The issue may be extremely minor and not of any urgency, or it could be a massive problem with your car being on the verge of failure. There’s no way to know for certain until you get your car examined and diagnosed.
If you’ve noticed no changes in your car’s performance, the way it starts up or the sounds it is making when being used, chances are the Check Engine Light is referring to a minor issue. But, if the signal is accompanied by new changes in your car’s behavior, it could be pointing to a more severe problem.
Some common problems that are related to the Check Engine Light signal are:
- A loose gas cap
- A failing thermostat
- Fuel Injectors in bad condition
- Diminished air flow
- Faulty Spark Plugs
- Faulty wiring
- Faulty ignition coils
- Coolant leaking
While some of these problems are minor and can be fixed with simple DIY methods, others are much more complicated and will require a professional mechanic to repair or replace parts.
Checking Engine Codes at an Auto Parts Store
The most obvious way people read their check engine codes is by taking their car to an auto shop or an auto parts store. It is here where car mechanic professionals can analyze and diagnose your car with their tools to find out why your Check Engine Light has turned on and fix the issue, as well as turning off the Check Engine Light.
While Check Engine codes aren’t always specific, they are written in a way to at least tell the mechanic where the problem is coming from. Then after a thorough examination of the related area, they can pinpoint the issue and solve it as timely as possible.
Check Engine codes come in four main categories, each with a corresponding letter:
- P refers to the powertrain
- B refers to the body
- C refers to the chassis
- U refers to unknown, meaning any car trouble that lies outside the prior three categories
After each letter there will be a series of four numbers that will provide more specific information about the nature of that code and its corresponding issue. Again, some check engine codes are more specific than others.
Learn more: Where Can I Buy an OBD2 Scanner?
Reading your Check Engine Codes on Your own with a Car Tool Scanner
The other option you have at your disposal is to diagnose and check engine codes by yourself with your very own car tool scanner, more specifically an OBD-2 tool. OBD stands for On Board Diagnostics and is the standardized worldwide system to check engine codes of cars.
To use a car tool scanner or OBD2 scanner, all you have to do is plug it into your car via the DLC port that is usually located close to and beneath the dashboard. After it connects to your car, it will perform a scan that should take a couple of minutes. After the scan is complete, it will display all the error codes it could find.
Once you have the error codes, you can freely look them up online to see what the exact issue is with your car. There are many check engine code databases on the internet that will tell you what every OBD2 error code means.
Once you know what the issue is, you can take matters into your own hands. If the issue is minor, perhaps you can fix it on your own or not have such an anxious sense of worry. If it’s a big problem, you can then strategically plan your next visit to an auto shop. Either way, checking engine codes on your own is very simple and provides a lot of peace of mind.
Buy Your very own Car Tool Scanner
If you’re interested in getting your own scanner to read check engine codes on your own, you will be best off going for Ancel. Ancel is proof that car tool scanners can be very affordable, making them accessible to car owners all over the world. Even if you know nothing about car engineering or mechanics, anyone can learn how to use these no-hassle devices.
If all you want is something simple that can be used to only read check engine codes, you will want to use the Ancel AD310.
Not only is it easy to use thanks to its simple user interface, but it can perform vital tasks like testing the car battery, testing for excess CO2, freeze frame car data and of course reading check engine codes. It is also one of the cheapest products that Ancel offers, so you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get it.
While there’s a lot to be said about trusting your car with a certified professional, the peace of mind you can get by owning your own check engine codes tool is ultimately priceless.
If your check engine light came on recently, you don’t need to panic. You can always take your vehicle to an auto shop, but that is not the cheapest options by any means. The best thing to do is pick up an OBD II scanner for yourself and check the CEL to diagnose what the trouble is. If it’s not something serious, you’ll save a lot of money!
Where can you go to get your check engine light and check engine codes examined?
You can go to a dedicated auto shop or use the right tools to do it yourself.
What are some common problems associated with the check engine light signal?
Some common problems include a loose gas cap, failing thermostat, faulty spark plugs, coolant leaking, and more.
How can you read your check engine codes on your own?
You can read your check engine codes on your own by using a car tool scanner, specifically an OBD2 scanner, and plugging it into your car's DLC port. The scanner will display the error codes, which you can look up online for more information.