My check engine light went off and my local mechanic said the computer reads a manufacturer code of P1251. Will have to take it to a dealership for more review, which costs an arm and a leg. Anyone familar with this code? Help! Last option before taking it in....
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Don't know if this will answer it. O2 sensors send info to the computer to make adjustments to the emissions system. Over time the O2 sensors fail which cause the computer to light the "Check engine" light. Originally the "Check engine" light was dedicated to an emission system fault. Now manufactures use it for a variety of abnormalities. To know what the "check engine" light means you have to either take it to a mechanic or buy a OBDII scanner (around $100) and read the code yourself. I like to read my own codes. These scanners are good for all modern cars. Instructions are included EZ to follow.
Long story short, don't worry about it the check engine light will come on when O2 sensor fails. Happy motoring!
The vehicle computer system has self-testing capability. When the computer senses that there is a problem with some of the components it stores the correspondent trouble code(s) in its memory and lights up the "Check Engine" or "Service Engine Soon" light to tell you that there is a problem and your car needs to be looked at. To properly diagnose what is wrong, you need to take your car to a mechanic or a dealer. The technician at the dealership or a garage will then hook up the scanner to the car computer and retrieve the stored trouble code(s). Then he (she) will look it up in the service manual provided by a car manufacturer. The service manual contains the list of possible codes (about few hundreds) and describes what each code means and what needs to be tested. The code itself doesn't tell exactly what component is defective - it only indicates where to look, what engine parameter is out of normal range. The technician will have to perform further testing to pinpoint a defective part.
Take the car to a local parts store (AutoZone, Napa, Advanced Auto Parts) and they have hand help computers to read the error code and let you know what needs to be fixed. They do this for free in my area so I assume it would be the same for you. Obviously you can also take it to a mechanic to have them read it for you but that will normally cost you. If you get the error code and need help with that, repost and I will try to help you out.
if it's the check engine light. since your car is 1996 and newer take it to the local autzone, advance auto (free) have them plug into it and read the codes (OBDII). take a pen and paper so that you can write down what comes up. Or take it to your local mechanic and have him/her read the codes ($Free-$60). anything outside of the check engine light, you will need to go to a garage / dealer.
Q1: What to do if my "Check Engine" light is on? A1: The simplest way is to visit your local dealer for proper diagnostic. They have all the equipment and information needed to correct the problem. The problem might even be covered by the manufacturers warranty and possibly repaired free of charge.
Q2: Is it safe to drive if my "Check Engine" light is on? A2: It really depends what code is stored and what caused it. In worst cases driving with "Check engine" light may cause more damage to the vehicle. A car may even stall while driving. If your check engine light came on, I'd certainly recommend to visit your dealer or a mechanic as soon as possible, just to be on a safe side. If the Check Engine light is flashing, this means that the engine computer (ECM) has detected that your engine is misfiring, which could damage your catalytic converter. Have the your vehicle inspected as soon as possible.