Signs of Problems

Your vehicle’s alarm clock is the MIL (malfunction indicator lamp). Also known as the “Check Engine” or “Service Engine Soon” light, when the MIL is illuminated a DTC (diagnostic trouble code) is stored in the PCM’s memory. A trained technician with an approved scan tool needs to access your PCM to check which of the many DTC’s has set as the first step in the course of a proper diagnosis.

What to do When Your MIL Light Comes On


    If the light comes on steady while driving you should make a service appointment to allow our technicians to scan the PCM and begin gathering data. Some problems are basic and simple. A loose gas cap can cause the MIL to come on. Other problems can be more extensive BUT the longer you wait to repair the problem the greater the chance for increased cost.


    A blinking light means a serious problem. Engine misfire is occurring requiring immediate attention. Slow down and seek immediate service. Consider towing the vehicle.

After the problem is resolved, your vehicle needs to run and complete its monitoring and self-tests. The PCM will mark these completed after certain testing and operating conditions have been met. There are currently up to 11 readiness monitors on OBD II vehicles that can require driving the vehicle anywhere from 1 hour to 2 weeks in order for them to achieve completion status. Once monitors are complete, the vehicle is ready for normal operation and if needed, NJ State Inspection.

vehicle check engine light

Don’t Ignore the Light!

Ignoring your ‘Check Engine’ light is only asking for trouble. No vehicle manufacturer causes the light to go on without reason. If the light is lit, something is wrong. Period. As cars have gotten better (and they have) the technology to keep them that way has changed also. Yearly PCM scanning is fast becoming industry standard. Knowing what is right with your vehicle can help tell a trained technician what is wrong faster and more efficiently when there is a problem.

Help Prevent the ‘Check Engine’ Light

Your vehicles MIL is an integral part of the on board computer diagnostic system. It can help alert you to a vehicle problem early on before a little problem becomes a bigger and more expensive one. The light is tied to NJ State Inspection on vehicles today. This requires diagnosis and repair in order for a vehicle to pass inspection should the light illuminate BUT just as important, in order for the vehicle to operate properly and insure longevity. If your light is lit, get it diagnosed

Keep your vehicle's recommended maintenance current.
Check your owners manual for a list of recommendations or ask us. We keep a computer database on individual vehicle “real world” maintenance.
The bulb should briefly illuminate when starting and then go out. That tells you the bulb is good