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The Check Engine light, which is officially called the "Malfunction Indicator Lamp" (MIL) alerts you when your vehicle's OBD II system has detected a potential emissions problem. If no other warning lights are on (temp, oil pressure, charging, etc.), AND your vehicle is driving normally (no unusual sounds, smells, vibrations, loss of power or other signs of trouble), you don't have to do anything immediately. The only way to know why your Check Engine light is on is to connect a scan tool or code reader to the OBD II diagnostic connector under the instrument panel and read out the code.
To connect 1 or more diagnostic computers to your car  to communicate with the various on-board computers for systems such as Engine management, ABS braking systems, Traction Control, Airbags, Instrument panel, Central locking, Windows, Wiper control, Lighting control, Body computers etc etc.
Many people are under the impression that you can simply plug in a diagnostic computer and it will tell you what is wrong BUT, there is more to it than meets the eye!  Diagnostic systems will give the technician some indication of what components were affected by a fault condition but that does not mean to say the problem lies with that component.
Hence the necessity to investigate in depth the live data information before jumping to expensive incorrect conclusions. Are included free books scanned from a mechanic library that you would find at a pretty steep price over the amazon and applestore! Diagnosing an engine problem requires that a person checks the spark plug wires, their vacuum lines, the car battery and more.

Discover how to diagnose an engine problem without using expensive equipment with help from an auto mechanic in this free software for car repair and diagnostics. Tutorial, password and download link (on high-speed server , you will not wait for download) after you complete a stupid survey (sorry for that) ?? ! I completely understand the fact, survey may be annoying sometimes, but it supports the crackers! Depending on the nature of the problem, the Check Engine lamp may come on and go off, remain on continuously or flash.
When the OBD II system detects any fault that may cause an increase in emissions, it sets a "pending code" in the computer's memory. If you do not have a code reader or scan tool to do this yourself, you can take your car to an auto parts store for a free diagnosis (Autozone & Advance Auto are currently offering this).
OBD systems give the vehicle owner or a repair technician access to state of health information for various vehicle sub-systems. Test your car yourself with this free diagnose software and with the help of included manual.

The Check Engine Light doesn't come on yet because the system needs to make sure the problem is real and not a temporary glitch. If you can't get a free diagnosis at an auto parts store, you will have to take your vehicle to a repair shop or new car dealer for a plug-in diagnosis.
Some cars also put up fault codes for lambda sensors in the exhaust when in fact it is the airflow meter which is faulty!! If the same problem occurs on a second trip (under the same driving conditions), the OBD II system will then set a diagnostic trouble code (DTC) and turn on the Check Engine Light.

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