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Is Your Check Engine Light Telling A Lie? How To Tell With An Engine Data Scan

April 1, 2018   |   By Liam Arthur Is Your Check Engine Light Telling A Lie? How To Tell With An Engine Data Scan - image Capture-156 on https://www.4wdsupacentre.com.au/news

If you own a modern vehicle then you’ve probably already at some stage experienced the dreaded Check Engine Light. That painful little light that pops up on your dash looks innocent enough but the problem is that it could be referring to one of literally hundreds of different error codes. The main purpose of a check engine light, in the manufacturer’s eyes, is to tell the owner of the vehicle they should simply take it to a mechanic who could plug his tens of thousands of dollars worth of diagnostic equipment into the vehicle and see what the problem is. Sure, you could do that, or you could do the exact same job with the incredible Engine Data Scan from 4WD Supacentre!

Mechanics have minimum labour charges, and that’s fair enough. They’ve gotta pay the bills and keep the lights on in their workshop, so even if a diagnostic job is as simple as plugging in a scan tool and reading an error code, you’ll end up pay at least half an hour or an hour’s labour. That could be anything up to $150 or more, depending on where you take your car, but the beaut thing is the E.D.S can do the exact same thing!

Here’s something that a lot of mechanics won’t tell you about error codes. Many times, a vehicle can throw a false error code when there isn’t actually anything wrong – well, nothing permanently wrong, at least. What happens is in some scenarios, one of the up to 100 or more sensors in a modern car or 4×4 reads some sort of parameter that the vehicle’s computer system sees as being abnormal. In a 4WD situation, it’s very common for a bogged vehicle throw an ABS error code, for instance, when the tyres are all spinning in the sand. The computer’s looking for a particular reading, it sees something completely different, and bam – Check Engine Light.

Now, in that scenario there isn’t really anything wrong, and you could spend that $150 having a mechanic reset the Check Engine Light and tell you they found exactly nothing. Or, you could be a clever consumer, and use the EDS to scan for the code, note it down on a piece of paper and then clear to the code to see if it comes back.

If it does come back, then you’ve got an actual problem on your hands, one that needs investigating. Even if then you have to pay a mechanic, you can help save money off the final bill by doing some of the diagnostic work yourself. Instead of telling the mechanic ‘it’s making this whirr-whirr-clunk noise when going around left-hand corners and sometimes when I turn into the driveway’, you can use the EDS to clear the codes and let you hunt down the exact specific scenario that leads to the Check Engine Light. Being able to tell your mechanic ‘it happens under heavy acceleration, between 2,800rpm and 3,000rpm, just as the gearbox shifts into a higher gear’ immediately lets them start honing in on the problem. And it’s all thanks to your EDS!

Of course, an Engine Data Scan isn’t just a fault code reader and clearer. It has bucketloads of other functions too. In fact, one of our favourite functions is the ability to read all sorts of engine parameters in real-time. Monitor boost pressure, alternator voltage, engine coolant temperature, real wheel speed and a bucketload more conditions at the press of a button! That’s particularly useful even if your 4WD does have factory gauges that read things like engine temperature, because the vehicle manufacturers program in a ‘dead spot’ in the temp gauge so make it look like the motor is sitting at a steady temperature. In reality, that ‘doesn’t budge’ spot on the gauge could cover a range of temperatures between 40°C and 95°C!

The next time your 4WD throws an error code, do yourself a favour and investigate it yourself. For about the same price as half an hour’s labour charge at your local mechanic, you can invest in an Engine Data Scan scan gauge tool that’ll arm you with the power to check fault codes yourself. It’ll pay for itself the first time you can clear a code and continue on your way!