Question about 1999 Pontiac Grand Prix
My check engine light will not appear on dash when I go to start the car.
If the light does not come on when you turn the switch on but not start, more than likely the bulb is burnt out. It should come on in bulb test mode. Unfortunately you need that light to diagnose the ECM.
Posted on Apr 15, 2009
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Posted on Jan 02, 2017
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Mar 11, 2015 | Cars & Trucks
Feb 18, 2015 | 1994 Toyota 4Runner
This dashboard light on modern cars sometimes fills
people with dread. In reality it is your friend as a car owner, and one of the
best advances ever to appear on cars. The ECM computer which runs your engine
has many sensors connected to it which tell the ECM about conditions in your
car systems. For instance, it monitors the air temperature in your air filter,
helping it to run your engine in the most efficient way.
When this light comes on it is telling you that the ECM has
stored a diagnostic trouble code, or DTC, based on signals it is receiving. You
could then go to a mechanic or auto electrician to have this code read out. In
some countries (e.g. the USA) you can have this done for free at an auto parts
store, or buy your own tool to read the code, called an OBD II scanner, for
However it goes, if you know the code, you will be much
better able to judge what the mechanic tells you about the repairs needed, and
the likely costs, The codes themselves are not very informative, and you will probably
need to Google it or look up a maintenance manual. A code may appear as, for
There are some codes which appear more frequently, and
deserve special mention:
- Faulty oxygen sensor. There may be 2
or 3 of these in a car, and they do wear out.
- Faulty emissions system. The first
thing to check is the fuel cap. It may be loose or require replacement.
- Faulty knock sensor. This enables the
ECM to adapt to different grades of fuel.
- Faulty catalytic converter. This is
part of the exhaust, next to the muffler.
- Fuel mixture too lean. This will
usually be caused by an air leak in the intake, perhaps a loose air cleaner
cover or cracked hose.
- Engine misfire. Often caused by old spark plugs or cracked plug leads.
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