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Don’t Ignore Your Car’s Check Engine Light

It will cost you more in the long run.

Image result for funny check engine light

You’re driving along and it happens, your check engine light goes on. But nothing seems to have changed with the way your car is running. It’s OK to let it go for a bit, right? Bad idea. The light is an indicator that there’s something wrong with your vehicle. It could mean anything from a loose gas cap to major engine problems.

“A check engine light cannot be ignored,” says Brayan Salazar, an auto repair expert with Bridgewater Motroworks.  “The system is telling you that something has failed and will cause damage to your vehicle that will be costly to repair if ignored. ”

Ignoring your check engine light could result in immediate car problems or deterioration over time. These codes are annoying, but they can be serious enough to leave you on the side of the road.  

What causes a  check engine light to go on ?

You may not be seeing any immediate issues with your car, because your car’s computer systems may have the ability to override the cause, Salazar says. “ But it’s not running as well as it should be. Over time and distance, this problem can become a much bigger problem and affect other sensors and systems,” 

Continuing to ignore an activated check engine light  can also hide other issues, he notes. Because one light indicates so many different possible failures, other items can fail and be hidden behind the first failure. That can become an issue when the vehicle is looked at to fix the problem.The mechanic may get a list of codes telling them what systems or sensors have an issue, Salazar says. There’s a specific order of diagnosis, because one sensor or system failure can cause another to system to fail. “The tech needs to fix one item first, then diagnose the vehicle to see if the other issues were fixed,” he says. To avoid that and keep your vehicle in the best shape possible. 

So why did your check engine light go on in the first place? Here are some common reasons::

  1. Lost or missing gas cap
  2. Bad oxygen sensor
  3. Emission problems
  4. Engine problems

What you need to do when a check engine light comes on 

The best thing to do is to get your car looked at by a reputable mechanic. We do do not recommend stopping by your parts store and getting a free code scan. They commonly use a very cheap and simple scan tool that can only scan for simple codes and will give you a false sense of satisfaction. What ever you do ! Do not clear the codes. This can make it more expensive to get the car repaired properly. This in the long run can cost you much, much more to get the problem fixed correctly. We see this all the time.  There is a reason that professional code scanners are very expensive and hand scanners are so cheap. I hope this gives you and idea about check engine lights. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at Bridgewater Motorworks at 908.218.9100 or bwmotorworks.com

Image result for funny check engine light

Ice & Snow – Remove It Before You Go

Remember to remove all ice and snow from your vehicle before driving, especially from the hood, windows and roof. It’s the law in New Jersey! Motorists who fail to do so face fines of $25 to $75 for each offense, regardless of whether the ice and snow is dislodged from the vehicle. If flying ice or snow causes property damage or injury to others, motorists face fines of $200 to $1,000 for each offense. There are approximately 500 fatalities in the United States per year due to icy road conditions.

Clean your Car’s Gutters

Have You Ever Found Water On The Floor Of Your Car After A Rain ? Your Car May Need It’s Gutters Cleaned

Last week,  I discovered a large amount of water was lying in the foot wells of my car.  What a mess !  There were no obvious problems like a leaking radiator.  I discovered it was a blocked scuttle, or windscreen, drain. Scuttles on a car act the same way as gutters on a house.  If the scuttle drains block the water can backup and enter the cars interior through the air intakes. It took a along time to get the car dry again as the sound proofing material used under the carpet can absorb a lot of water and is hard to dry.  Therefore it is essential to keep these drains running freely because they are rarely checked or cleaned as part of regular car service. 

What is a scuttle drain? A scuttle drain is used to divert any water which falls on your car windscreen to the ground, without coming into contact with your engine or exposed metal. When water falls onto a car windscreen it runs down the face of the glass and is diverted though drainage holes onto a covered collector gutter below. The water drains through holes on either side of this gutter and is then diverted through rubber scuttle drainage pipes which direct the water onto the ground below the car without any splashing onto engine parts, metal or wires. There are usually two, on either side of the car’s windshield. 

How do they get blocked? The dirt and leaves that fall onto the windshield can block the drains. Like most people I had never had mine cleaned and it took a few years for them to become blocked. If the car is parked under trees. There is a higher chance that these drains would clog.

How can they be cleaned? The drains are located in a difficult to access area at the back of the engine compartment. The plastic panel at the base of the windscreen usually has to be removed to access the top of the drains. The drains can then be cleaned out using a flexible wire, high pressure air and flushed with water.  I would ask your mechanic to do it during the next service. As a precaution the car owner should remove any visible leaves and dirt on a daily basis from the base of the windscreen before it is washed into the gutter below.

Bridgewater Motorworks can help with this just ask our service professional to check the water drains for the windshield, sunroof and doors. Any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at (908) 218-9100

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