Have you ever stopped to think about the check engine light in your car? How does it work? How did it come to be? It actually has a pretty interesting history, which takes us back to the 1930s. Interested? Keep reading to find out more.
How do check engine lights work Now?
Before we dive into its history, let’s review some basics. A check engine light is a function of your vehicle’s on-board diagnostics system. It’s a computerized alert that lets you know if there’s a problem with your engine. Located on the instrument panel, it lights up in an orange or red color when triggered. Some check engine lights are depicted as an engine icon, and others will show up as an expression, like “SERVICE ENGINE SOON”. When the light activates, your car’s computer saves a fault code. This code leads our technicians at Brausen Auto to the source of your vehicle’s problem.
Where did the idea come from?
The precursor to the check engine light was called an idiot light (no joke), or warning light. Hudson Motor Car Company of Detroit was the first manufacturer to incorporate these into their cars, doing so sometime in the 1930s. These lights were quite simple compared to what we have today. They only activated when a major issue or breakdown was imminent. The flaw in their design was that they provided drivers with no advance warning of a vehicle issue. Manufacturers discontinued idiot lights in the 1980s when more sophisticated diagnostics systems gained traction.
Manufacturer-specific check engine lights through History
In the early 1980s, some automakers were building vehicles with computerized engine controls. As this new technology became popular, the idiot light was eventually phased out. This is because the newer vehicles had built-in diagnostic systems that tracked engine issues. These diagnostic systems triggered a check engine light when a problem was detected. However, since there was no systematic use of fault codes back then, it took a lot longer to troubleshoot engine issues. Since each manufacturer used its own diagnostics system, getting to the root of the problem was a challenging process.
History when was the check engine light standardized?
In 1996, the government mandated the use of an on-board vehicle diagnostics system in all vehicles sold in the United States. This was done in an effort to reduce vehicle emissions. This new system was called OBD2. Since all new cars were required to have OBD2, a standardized system of fault codes was created. Because of this system, auto technicians can use scan tool technology. This lets them troubleshoot engine issues on any vehicle, regardless of the make or model.
Thankfully, idiot lights are a thing of the past. Compared to the 1930s, today’s auto technicians can do diagnostics in no time. Check engine lights have also come a long way. Instead of just letting you know that your car’s about to break down, they detect small issues before they intensify. This saves you both time and money on repairs in the long run.
The next time you notice your car’s check engine light, just be thankful it’s not an idiot light. Consider it your car’s way of letting you know it needs a little love, and give us a call. You’ll be glad you did.
What You Should Do When You See Your Check Engine Light
Check engine lights don’t make any one happy. But,when you see it light up,you need to know what to do. Nothing good can come from ignoring it. Today, we’re going to discuss the steps you should take when you see the check engine light on your dashboard.
Do I have to pull over?
If your check engine light is activated, it’ll show up in one of two ways. It’ll either be flashing or just lit up. If the light is flashing, it means you have a serious problem. You should pull over and seek help right away. If it’s just lit up, it means you have a more minor vehicle repair. It still needs to get resolved as soon as possible, but you probably don’t need to pull over.
Regardless of whether the light’s flashing or not, look around and take stock of the situation. Does something seem wrong with your car? Some telltale signs of a serious engine malfunction are engine smoke, strange noises, or loss of power. If any of these are happening, the safest decision is to pull over immediately. If possible, get your car towed to a nearby service provider for diagnostics.
How to troubleshoot a check engine light
Assuming you don’t have to pull over because of a serious issue, there are a few things you can do to address the check engine light. The first spot to check is your fuel cap. Oddly enough, a loose fuel cap can set off the check engine light. Take a look and make sure your fuel cap is screwed on all the way. In addition, look for any cracks in it. Tightening the fuel cap can be all you need to do to deactivate the check engine light and be on your way.
Another place you can check is the oil dipstick. Ensure that it’s seated properly. Also, the oil fuel cap, found on top of the engine valve cover, needs to be tightly secured. Following these steps can result in deactivating your car’s check engine light. Another option you have is purchasing an OBD2 scan tool. This device can read the diagnostic trouble code (DTC) that your car’s diagnostics system saved when the check engine light came on. All you need to do is connect the OBD2 scanner to the data link connector in your car. This is usually found underneath the driver’s side dashboard.
A high-quality OBD2 scanner costs around $50 to $100. Remember, these tools only read diagnostic trouble codes. The DTCs can point you in the direction, but they don’t tell you exactly what needs to be fixed. They can give you a pretty good idea of how serious the problem is. This information can help you decide how to move forward with repairs. Seeing the check engine light doesn’t mean you need to panic. Take a deep breath and try to relax. Assess the situation and come up with a plan. If the engine problem seems severe, it’s best to be safe and pull over immediately.
At Brausen Auto, our experienced technicians are here to help. We can diagnose and repair your vehicle in no time. You can request your appointment online, or by phone. Give us a call at (651) 633-4100 for our Arden Hills location, or (651) 488-8800 for our Roseville location. We look forward to serving you.
SIGNS THAT THE HEADLIGHTS ARE IN NEED OF RESTORATION
Check and restore the headlights on your car now. The easiest way to tell if you need headlight restoration is by looking at it during the day. If you notice the plastic-covered completely with fog, it means oxidation has set in. Early stages may not seem troublesome, but you need to keep an eye over time. Some people ignore scuffed lenses, but it is a huge deal that must be dealt with as soon as detected.
How to Restore the Headlights
This task does not require a lot of supplies for cleaning – you will need:
- Old rags or towels
- Water for rinsing
- Latex gloves if you have sensitive skin
- Mild cleanser
- A soft-bristled brush
- Baking soda or toothpaste.
Clean and wipe gently the surface that is full of debris and dirt. Wipe down the surface using a towel or a rag and apply headlight restorer. Use the brush to remove the cleanser and finally clean off the excess of it with a rag or towel again.
You will notice the change in brightness and visibility instantly. But if you think the work is too much for you, then simply ask for professional assistance.
Comment: What should we do with the baking soda or toothpaste? And you mentioned applying headlight restorer – which was not mentioned above.
WHAT ARE THE LONG-TERM EFFECTS?
It’s all about the driver’s and the passenger’s safety. If you continue to ignore these issues, you will end up in a bigger one. Headlight restoration helps you with visibility so that the vehicle before you can see you and the other way around.
Ignoring or overlooking such issues can cause accidents and other damages. So, if you detect any scratches, dents, or fog, anything that can cause poor visibility, get it fixed as soon as you can.
Now that you know the importance of getting the headlight restoration to hire a professional to check your headlights for you! Brausen Auto provides you with both experience and expertise to help you keep your item clean. And you can acquire these services right here in Arden Hills and Roseville, MN. Don’t keep your vehicle waiting and keep the air inside your vehicle clean!
Going back to school means that there will be more young drivers on the road in the early morning. Always make sure that you are aware of those around you when driving.
BACK TO SCHOOL – CHECK THE LIGHTS
Winter is approaching, which means days will get shorter, and darkness will grow longer on the streets. It is advised by the Institute of Advanced Motorists to turn your headlights on before the sunset and keep them on at least an hour after sunrise.
It is no rocket science when someone asks you to drive carefully in the dark. Of course, it is about your safety and the safety of others on the roads as well. Here are some safety tips while driving in the dark:
- Keep your windows clean to avoid any increased condensation and glare.
- Help other drivers notice you in twilight by turning the headlights on.
- Do not dazzle others.
- Get your eyes checked regularly.
- Be prepared for other drivers to behave erratically.
- Watch out for people, especially pedestrians near clubs and pubs around closing time.
- Do not drive under pressure.
- If it’s possible, dim your dashboard lights and avoid reducing night visions.
BUMPER TO BUMPER INSPECTION
The bumper to bumper inspection is a very thorough examination. We choose a car care provider because we believe they have professionally skilled in handling the situation of cars.
The biggest change that the automotive industry has seen is Autonomy. Most of the modern cars have autonomous systems like the AEB system. The way cars have upgraded and designed is now complex, which asks the car care providers to step up their game as well. Without proper and updated information, an auto shop can face huge issues that can lead them to bigger problems.
Repair shops and inspection teams are supposed to keep themselves updated with technology and new parts that make or affect a car or its performance.
Now that you know all about back to school driving, it’s time for you to hire a professional to help you with your concern! BRAUSEN AUTO provides you with both experiences, and you can acquire these services right here in ADREN HILLS AND ROSEVILLE, MN. Let us help you!
The cabin air filter has made traveling in cars much more comfortable than ever. People who suffer from allergies are particularly thankful for these. Also known as pollen filters, these are essential to control the quality of air inside vehicles. To put it into perspective, filters are an essential part of a vehicle’s HVAC system. Cabin air filters function in pretty much the same manner as filters in your home’s air conditioners. The air that is drawn in by the air conditioner is filled with almost invisible dust and pollen particles. These particles can be hazardous for your health as well as that of your loved ones traveling with you. As these particles enter the air conditioning system, they pass through the filter’s pleated media. They are stopped there, allowing the car’s occupants to breathe in healthy air.
Cabin Air Filters and Air Conditioners
While your car’s AC would not stop functioning without cabin air filters, it would certainly not function up to optimal capacity before leading to a severe malfunction. Once your air filter has reached its usable life, the particles from outside start entering the HVAC system and accumulate on the heater and air conditioner. If this happens for too long, the AC clogs up before (if you are out of luck) breaking down completely, causing you to invest in a replacement.
How to detect if it is time to change the filter
One of the most common symptoms that indicate that a cabin filter needs to be replaced is reduced airflow. When the filter is dirty or clogged, the air inflow decreases. It requires the car us more power than usual. This not only undermines the performance of the air conditioning but also engine. A clogged cabin air filter creates additional stress on the motor of the air conditioning system. This forces the pump to work harder and blow less air than it should. Mostly due to the increased power usage.
In critical cases, there can be a noticeable reduction in power when the air conditioning is turned on. Another sign that the cabin air filter needs to be replaced is when you notice more dust in the environment. If the filter is clogged, it cannot purify the air efficiently, and the flow through it may not be adequately filtered. This can also be a sign that the filter, apart from being dirty, may also be broken.
How often should you change your cabin air filter?
The question is very subjective and may vary from city to city. Cities with higher pollution and dust levels might require it more often than those that have lower pollution levels. As a rule of thumb, however, many experts suggest that you should replace your cabin air filter every year or 15000 miles, whichever comes first. One thing to keep in mind is that repair and maintenance experts recommend that the filter should also be replaced before the arrival of the spring season. The air is filled with pollen during this period, and it is always a good idea to be proactive in this regard.
Where do you go for air filter replacement in Arden Hills?
If you reside in Arden Hills or Roseville, Minnesota, and are looking for cabin air filter replacement, then look no further than Brausen Auto.
Listen To this Blog
Getting the best mileage from your vehicle as you drive is important to help the life and longevity of it. With a few easy tips, the fuel mileage can improve. One way to do so is to obey the speed limits. Speeding and braking rapidly can waste gas. Depending on the vehicle, it can affect the mileage by up to 33 percent. Even slowing down to 60 miles per hour can help save fuel consumption. Not only will it help save money, but also help maintain control of the vehicle when you drive.
Tips for the Best Mileage
Also remember to remove any extra weight that might be in the car. Extra things that are not needed but are stored in the trunk can reduce the fuel mileage. With as little as one hundred pounds, the mileage can decrease by two percent. This will add up quickly in savings. The extra weight can also cause more strain on the rear axle of the vehicle. This will also decrease the efficiency of the tires as well. Always make sure that air pressure is the best it can be. If it is too low, then extra gas is wasted because the tires are not in ideal contrition. When checking the air pressure, also look at the tread wear. If it is wearing unevenly, a new set of tires may be recommended. When they have proper traction on the road, less fuel is wasted as well.
When driving, make sure to use cruise control when you can. This will reduce fluctuating speeds when you drive. Driving at speeds that are constantly changing can result in poor fuel mileage. When the roads and traffic are ideal, using cruise control can save money. Make sure to never have it on when the traffic is heavy, road construction, or if it is storming. This can increase the chance of an accident happening.
The summer can bring warm and uncomfortable temperatures. As you drive, you will want everyone in the vehicle to be cool and comfortable. Without a properly working air conditioner, it may make the trip less enjoyable. Always make sure to contact us once you notice any issues. Even a slight issue should always be inspected as soon as possible. One problem to be aware of is if the air conditioner is blowing out cool air, and not cold air. As the air conditioner starts to go out, this can be the first sign and should be inspected quickly. Otherwise the drive will be warm and uncomfortable.
Air Conditioner Leak
One of the most important things to do is look under the vehicle for any sign of a leak. If there is a puddle that has formed after it has sat for several minutes, there could be a leak in the system. While there are several fluids that could leak from the vehicle, it is always best that we inspect it. Over time, hoses can become old and brittle. This can result in a leak from the air conditioner system. If the leak is not fixed right away, it will lead to further issues and result in warm air blowing out of the vents.
Also the compressor and fan components should be inspected as well. As it becomes damaged, the amount of cool air produced will decrease as well. Make sure that any debris under the hood is removed. This can include leaves, twigs, or even dirt. If these are around the fan, it will restrict the airflow. The air conditioner will no longer be able to work as efficiently as it should. Also be aware of any odd smells from under the hood or coming through the vents. If it smells like burning, this should be looked at as soon as possible.
With kids or pets in your vehicle, make sure to never leave them in the vehicle, especially when the vehicle is turned off. Even if you think you will be only a few short minutes, it is still not worth the risk. The vehicle can start to heat up quickly once it is turned off on a hot day. The interior temperature can rise over 100 degrees in a matter of ten minutes. This occurs when the outdoor temperature is 85 degrees. If it is any warmer, then the car will get hotter more quickly. Even by cracking a window, the hot air will be at a dangerous temperature.
As the sunlight comes through the windows, it will act as a greenhouse. The heat will then collect in the vehicle and warm it up. Without any windows down, there will not be any air circulation either. The sun will also start to warm up the dashboard and seats of the vehicle. As they heat up, they will radiate heat in the vehicle as well. These will all add up quickly to increase the temperature inside the vehicle. Even parking in the shade will not help reduce the temperature by much.
Check for Kids and Pets
Check the backseats as you get out ensuring that a child or pet is not left behind. Running into a store quick could turn into several minutes, especially if the line is long to check out. The last thing you will want is to have an accident occur that could have been avoided. Also some newer vehicles have a special feature that alerts you to anything in the back. It can sense extra weight that is in the backseat. This is also beneficial for if you buy groceries and might forget things in the backseat. It is also a good habit to get into to check the back seat each and every time you get out of the vehicle.
As the temperatures start to heat up, make sure your vehicle is in prime condition to handle the summer. With regular maintenance, we can always give it a bumper to bumper inspection to ensure it is working well. This includes checking under the hood so the engine is in an efficient condition. If there are any issues that are causing the vehicle to overheat, we can inspect them and repair them quickly. This will help with having a comfortable and safe driving experience.
How The Heat Affects Tires
The heat will affect the tires over time. It can cause them to dry out, which results in cracks and damage to the rubber. When the tires are in less than ideal condition, it will increase the chance that an accident can happen. Remember to also check the air pressure of each tire. If they are too low, then there is an increased chance they could blow out. When a tire continues to lose air pressure, make sure to schedule an appointment. We can inspect the tire to find the issue and repair it. Even an issue that you may think is minor should always be checked.
Having warm temperatures will also increase the chance of the vehicle overheating. If you start to notice the temperature sensor rise, then that is the start of a problem. Anytime it rises into the red part of the thermostat, make sure to pull over when it is safe to do so. You will want to turn your vehicle off and even pop the hood of the car. This will allow the heat to move away from the engine. Doing so will allow it to cool down quickly. If the vehicle is constantly overheating, having it inspected by a professional will help to determine this issue. It will also reduce the chance of a costly repair bill in the long run.
Memorial Day weekend typically will have more traffic. This is because it is the unofficial start to summer. While so many are on the road, make sure to take proper precautions to ensure a safe and reliable ride. If there are any issues that are happening with the vehicle, always make sure to contact us. Scheduling an appointment will allow us to inspect the vehicle for the source of the issue. We can also give the vehicle a bumper to bumper inspection. This way we can notice any issues that might be starting to form, and catch them before they get worse.
Remember when driving over the holiday weekend, to allow extra time for you to reach your destination. Now that road construction has started, it would be rare not to come across any as you drive. This can slow or stop traffic when the road construction is taking place. Also it is a good idea to look up the route, to see if there are any detours that might happen. By leaving in plenty of time, it will reduce any frustration at slow or stopped traffic. It will also help to reduce the urge to speed and make it to your destination by a certain time.
Make sure that you drive with care as well. Leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle in front of you. If they slam on the brakes, you will want enough room to brake or adjust your driving without causing an accident. Also remember that if the windshield wipers are on, then the lights should be as well. This will help others to see your vehicle. Before traveling, always make sure to check the lights of the vehicle and the blinkers. If one is not working properly, schedule an appointment to bring it in.
To keep the tires in the best condition possible, always remember to follow regular maintenance inspections. Doing this will help to ensure that they are in the best and most efficient condition to drive on. If the tires are less than ideal, it can quickly lead to issues happening sooner than it otherwise should be. You will want to check the tread of each tire before driving. If you take a penny, place it upside down in the tread groove. As you do this, if you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, then the tread has worn down and it should be replaced. If you continue driving on tread that has worn, you will notice the vehicle pulling in a direction. The handling when driving will decrease. This is especially noticeable when the roads are wet and the car hydroplanes easier.
As the tread reduces, so does the ability to grip the road properly. You should visually check the tires for any issues. Look for any high or low areas that may be unusually smooth or damaged. Also remember to check the sidewalls for each tire. Any cuts, bulges, gouges, or damage should be inspected by a professional. If you notice something and ignore it, the problem will only become worse. This will increase the damage to the tires and cost you more in the long run in fuel consumption and repairs.
Anytime you hit a pothole or curb, you will want to have the vehicle inspected as soon as you can. This can cause the front end to get out of alignment. When this happens, the tires will wear unevenly. No matter if it is the front or rear end that has poor alignment, you will notice fast tread wear to the tires. When you bring the vehicle in for a bumper to bumper inspection, we can inspect the tires and alignment for you. Otherwise be aware if the vehicle has a pulling sensation as you drive. You may also feel a vibration when driving because the tires are not rotating properly. No matter what the issue you notice, you will want to make sure to have it inspected. Having it brought in can improve the safety and reliability of your vehicle.
Thank you for considering Brausen Repair Centers!
We look forward to earning your vehicle service and repair business.