Check Engine Light

When your car's "Check Engine" light comes on, it's usually accompanied by a sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach. The light could mean a costly problem, like a bad catalytic converter, or it could be something minor, like a loose gas cap. But in many cases, it means at minimum that you'll be visiting the automotive repair shop to locate the malfunction and get the light turned off.

The Check Engine light — more formally known as the Malfunction Indicator Lamp (MIL) — is a signal from the car's engine computer that something is wrong.

Prior to 1996, carmakers had their own engine diagnostic systems, primarily to ensure their cars were compliant with Environmental Protection Agency pollution-control requirements. Starting with model-year 1996, automakers standardized their systems under a protocol called OBD-II, which stipulated a standardized list of diagnostic trouble codes (DTC) and mandated that all cars provide a universal connector to access this information. It's usually located under the steering column and is easy to access.

Check Engine Light Causes:

There are a number of reasons why your check engine light will turn on, so it is important to bring your vehicle in to get a diagnostic test right away. Here are just a few common reasons:

·        Faulty oxygen sensor

·        Loose or damaged gas cap

·        Failing catalytic converter

·        Failing mass airflow sensor

·        Worn spark plugs

Don't Ignore That Light

So if the Check Engine light comes on and it's steady rather than flashing, what do you do? The most obvious answer, of course, is to get the engine checked. But many people do nothing, perhaps fearing an expensive repair bill. Some drivers with older cars want to squeeze out as many remaining miles as possible without visiting a service garage. But before they can pass their state's vehicle inspection, they have to get the light turned off. And a state inspection is a good motivator for dealing with the problem. If the light is lit, there's a good chance the car is releasing excess pollutants or consuming too much gas.

Our customers have consistently trusted our automotive repair services. Alternative Auto Repair is a top rated automobile repair shop in Redding, and we take our responsibility to live up to your expectations very seriously. We hire only the most capable ASE certified technicians, use the latest in technology for diagnostics and repair, operate in a fashion designed to minimize our environmental impact, and keep our facility stocked with the highest quality, most innovative automotive repair equipment.

If you are unsure of what is wrong with your vehicle, or your Check Engine light is on, bring your vehicle Alternative Auto Repair for a diagnosis! Every new car is equipped with a computer, or ECM (electronic control module) that monitors and controls the vehicle’s powertrain, consisting of the engine and transmission. The ECM is designed to keep your vehicle running at maximum efficiency with the least emissions. With today’s new regulations concerning emissions, it is imperative that you maintain your car’s health by ensuring the parameters of the ECM are set correctly. We have the technology to take information from your vehicle’s ECM and start the diagnostic process. The ECM does not necessarily tell us exactly what is wrong with your vehicle, but it does give our technicians a great starting point and speeds up the entire repair process.

Contact us today for an Estimate with the most trusted auto repair shop in Shasta County, Alternative Auto Repair!  


Start simple and check your gas cap to make sure it is tightened correctly. This could eliminate any leaking fuel vapors and may turn your check engine light off.

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