It used to be as common as falling leaves in autumn for people to work on their own cars. And while this red-blooded American pastime has not completely disappeared from our world, the expense and complexity of newer cars make some repairs best left to the professionals.
Here is a quick list of, "Don't try this at home"' auto repairs:
1. Check Engine Diagnostics - With everyone from big box parts stores to smartphone app developers making it possible to talk to the computer in your car, many drivers think they can deal with a check engine light themselves. Here's the problem: many check engine codes are vague and require more sophisticated equipment to really get to the bottom of the story. And please don't just turn the light off thinking you will fix the problem. This is like trying to cure a heart attack by unplugging the EKG. Let the pros read the codes, apply their educated ability to de ...[more]
So you come out to start your car one morning and the Check Engine light on the dashboard comes on…and doesn’t go back off again. You can’t really notice any difference in the way the car runs and drives, but it’s on anyway.
What does it mean?
Since the late 80s, most engine functions have been controlled by a central drivetrain computer. This includes emissions controls, fuel metering and delivery, ignition timing, shift points and many other elements of drivability and performance. The drivetrain computer relies on information from a chain of sensors that monitor exhaust composition, camshaft position, throttle position and many other factors.
The voltage readings from any of these sensors are supposed to fall within a certain range. When ...[more]