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My emission control light has just come on, what could this mean?

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Check gas cap first that its secure and sealing correctly if good trouble light can be 1 of about 100 different codes have car scanned most auto stores such as auto zone/advanced auto do this service for free the trouble code will give u your area or component problem so u can repair the problem

Posted on Jun 01, 2010

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There are literally hundreds of possibilities as to why a check engine light(CEL) comes on. The system would have to be scanned to retrieve whatever fail codes there are. Then, we would use a manual (that is literally 3 inches thick)that contains flow charts with pinpoint tests, using a voltmeter, to hand diagnose, and find out what is wrong. This process can take a few minutes, it may take a couple of hours, depending on what is actually wrong.

Now here is the "why" of a CEL: What is actually turning on the CEL is the Powertrain Control Module(PCM), commonly known as the engine control computer. Inside of a PCM there are actually two separate systems. One is control, the other system is diagnostics. PCM diagnostics acts as "big brother," constantly looking over the shoulder of the control side of the PCM. Diagnostics is constantly monitering systems to see if the expected voltages and values are present. For example: If the PCM diagnostics knows that it has been so many minutes since the engine was first started, then the engine temperature should be around 195 degrees. In our senerio, if the engine is still 160 degrees, it sees a problem, and sets the CEL. The technician has to use pinpoint diagnostics to see if we have a stuck thermostat, if the Engine Coolant Temp(ECT) sensor if sending a false signal, if the wiring between the ECT and the PCM is bad, or if the PCM is faulty and interpreting the signal recieved from the ECT incorrectly. But the PCM is not capable of monitering everything all at once, so it basically goes down a checklist, over and over again, as you are driving down the road. Sometimes a problem can come and go intermittantly, at the right times so as to avoid detection by the PCM. That is why sometimes a CEL dosen't always come on everytime there is a problem. Sometimes you can unplug a sensor even while the car is running, and it takes a while for the CEL to come on, just because the PCM diagnostics hasen't gotten back around to looking at that area yet.

Our senerio only talked about one area that a PCM moniters. There are dozens of sub-systems that the PCM looks at, and dozens of possible failures within each of those sub-systems, that could cause a CEL.

Posted on Jun 01, 2010

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    I checked the codes and one comes up its po446. i dont under stand what it mean so i cant fix it to get the light to go out.


    P0446 Evaporative Emission System Vent Control Circuit.
    The following are descriptions of all Evaporative possible codes:

    P0441 Evaporative Emission System Incorrect Purge Flow
    P0442 Evaporative Emission System Leak Detected (small leak)
    P0443 Evaporative Emission System Purge Control Valve Circuit
    P0444 Evaporative Emission System Purge Control Valve Circuit Open
    P0445 Evaporative Emission System Purge Control Valve Circuit Shorted
    P0446 Evaporative Emission System Vent Control Circuit
    P0447 Evaporative Emission System Vent Control Circuit Open
    P0448 Evaporative Emission System Vent Control Circuit Shorted
    P0449 Evaporative Emission System Vent Valve/Solenoid Circuit
    P0450 Evaporative Emission System Pressure Sensor/Switch
    P0451 Evaporative Emission System Pressure Sensor/Switch Range/Performance
    P0452 Evaporative Emission System Pressure Sensor/Switch Low
    P0453 Evaporative Emission System Pressure Sensor/Switch High
    P0454 Evaporative Emission System Pressure Sensor/Switch Intermittent
    P0455 Evaporative Emission System Leak Detected (large leak)
    P0456 Evaporative Emission System Leak Detected (very small leak)
    P0457 Evaporative Emission System Leak Detected (fuel cap loose/off)
    P0458 Evaporative Emission System Purge Control Valve Circuit Low
    P0459 Evaporative Emission System Purge Control Valve Circuit High
    ---
    At least the cap isn't loose for the gas tank.

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