Check engine control light is on right after starting the engine
CHECK ENGINE LAMP
Monitoring the operation of the various inputs
and outputs is what on-board diagnostics is all about. When computerized
engine controls went nationwide in 1981 to comply with federal emission
regulations, the "Check Engine" lamp became a new feature on the
The "Malfunction Indicator Lamp" (or MIL as it
is called today) is supposed to alert the driver when a problem occurs
in the engine control system. Depending on how the system is configured
and the nature of the problem, the lamp may come on and go off, remain
on continuously or flash. Some types of intermittent problems will make
the lamp come on only while the fault is occurring. When the problem
goes away, the lamp goes off. Other types of problems will turn the
light on, and it will remain on until the fault is diagnosed and
The Check Engine lamp has proven to be a great
annoyance to many motorists (as well as many professional technicians)
because it seems to have a mind of its own. For one thing, it doesn't
tell you anything about the nature of the problem. It might be something
serious - or it might not. There's no way to tell without plugging in a
scantool, such as AutoTap.
Consequently, many motorists ignore
the warning light and keep on driving if they don't hear, feel or smell
anything unusual (even then, some continue to push onward until things
get worse or the engine dies altogether). It's amazing the lengths some
people will go to just to avoid a quick diagnosis when the Check Engine
lamp is on. Many people don't really want to know what's wrong with
their vehicles because they fear it will end up costing them several
hundred dollars to get it fixed. So they'll put tape over the lamp,
attempt to disconnect the bulb or cut the wires to the bulb - in an
attempt to make it go away. But engine performance problems don't go
away and they don't fix themselves. And for motorists who live in areas
with vehicle emission testing, the day of reckoning arrives sooner or
later since modern emissions testing uses a scantool to check if the
Check Engine lamp is on, and if the light has been tampered with.
Whenever the Check Engine light comes on, a "diagnostic trouble code"
(DTC) is also recorded in the on-board computer's memory that
corresponds to the fault. Some problems can generate more than one fault
code, and some vehicles may suffer from multiple problems that also set
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