Why Does my Check Engine Light Come On When the Car is Running Just Fine?

I can't begin to tell you how often we get asked this question. Believe it or not it is not a reminder to you to look under the hood and make sure you still have an engine (We actually had a customer think it was an indicator that her motor had been stolen). While still others think it is just some light that comes on to drive you crazy while on a long dark highway.

The check engine light comes on for many reasons. On some vehicles it is a maintenance reminder light. It comes on at specific mileage intervals to gently remind us that it is time for a checkup.

On other vehicles it serves as a warning that some part on your car has malfunctioned and set a code in the car's computer. In this case you would need to make an appointment and bring the car into Imports Plus. We would then use our scan tools, hook them up to your computer and "pull the codes". Then using either our ALLDATA information system or other technical literature we would then run the appropriate test to pinpoint your car's problem. Keep in mind that the scan tools only tell us which tests to run. It takes a skilled technician to run those tests and decide which parts are faulty. This procedure most often takes 1 - 1.5 hours but can take up to 3 hours.

Either way you will need to call us and make an appointment. If you are in doubt call us and we will try to find the best solution to fit your individual situation.


Insight to Air Conditioning:

It seems that the hot summer months go hand in hand with air conditioning problems. We receive phone calls daily that pertain to air conditioning that is blowing but is just not cold enough. There has been a lot of confusion as to what goes into checking your air conditioning. It is my hope to help clear this up for you.

First of all you need to realize how many parts there are that work together to give you that refreshing blast of cold air. Most cars have the following components: condenser, compressor, compressor clutch, evaporator core, expansion valve/block, orifice tube, suction hose, discharge hose, liquid line, receiver drier/accumulator, clutch cycling switch, low/high pressure cut off switch, numerous electronic controls and o-ring fittings at most connections. The entire system is then filled with refrigerant. If any one of these components fail then your air conditioning system will not work.

Diagnosis on air conditioning system is not cheap. There needs to be a monetary commitment on your part before you even come in the door. The initial diagnosis usually takes about an hour and a half, plus the cost of refrigerant.

If your system begins cooling properly, we would then begin our search for the source of the leak. Refrigerant does not wear out. It has leaked somewhere. Finding your leak is a time consuming process. We use several methods: sniffer detectors, ultraviolet dyes and black light detection. Not all parts of the air conditioning system are visible. At times we will have to disassemble parts of your car to gain access to all of your AC components.

We would then provide you with an estimate for the recommended repair. There are times that we, together with the customer, may decide the leak is so minor that it does not warrant an immediate repair.

Please remember that all components are rarely changed at one time. Therefore the parts that were not replaced / repaired could fail at any time in the future.

It would be best if you scheduled an appointment for this diagnosis. Feel free to call us at 781-6259 or 781-6003.


Note from a Customer

by Susan Laney Kirby on Monday, August 22, 2011 at 1:03pm

This is a true note left to us by a client more than 15 years ago... we have kept it on the wall every since.... it was written w/ a type writer if that tells you how long I have held onto it, lol.


" Dear Folks at Imports Plus,

I screwed up and am hoping you all can bail me out. The Toyota never seemed to get warm, so I thought it might need a new thermostat. I thought I could handle that, so I ran over to Autozone and bought one and a gasket to match.

I soon realized that it wasn't located under the radiator cap, so reading the directions on the back of the thermostat package, it seemed that is was under a "thermostat cover" on the block. I spotted what seemed to be the thermostat cover, tracing the top radiator hose to the engine. To get at that rascal, I had to take off what appeared to me to be the distributor. I took that off and took off what seemed to me to be the thermostat cover. I realized that there wasn't enough room in the cavity I had created by removing the "thermostat cover" to fit the thermostat which I was holding.

Deciding that I had gone far enough in my ignorance, I attempted to put the pieces back together. I though I had at least done that correctly. However, the engine never cranked after my attempt.

Perhaps I put the distributor back in the block at slightly the wrong position, and it resulted in a bad timing. Perhaps I twisted a wire, resulting in the spark not feeding through. Perhaps I should remain in a field which I know something about and not get into the auto repair field.

I would appreciate your diagnosis and repair of the Toyota and getting it to work again. If you would spot where the thermostat goes and put it in, I would appreciate that too. I drained much of the antifreeze, so I need some of that added before we drive it.

My wife made me promise never to attempt this again."







est. 1984 - All Rights Reserved is designed/hosted by CC eXchange LLC