I won’t blame many car owners who have resorted to D-I-Y methods to solve the check engine light problem on their dashboard. Due to the awful experiences that they have gone through in the hands of so called professional mechanics. Also how to get free car diagnostic check engine light services.
While there are honest ones (apologies to them), most local mechanics are dishonest with their diagnostics because they want to make more money out of the situation.
We’ve heard stories of people who had just minor check engine light issues that shouldn’t have cost them more than $50. But they’ve spent more because the local mechanic has said so.
To worsen the case, it could be quite expensive to secure a thorough car diagnosis in a standard garage considering the exorbitant rate they charge for just quotation (some reaching up to $150).
The dashboard check engine light is there to ensure your vehicle’s safety. If your check engine suddenly pops up, you may need to either spot the error code yourself using a check engine light scanner, visit an auto parts store or your mechanic to get a free car diagnostic.
Yes. You just read that. It’s possible for you to get a free car diagnosis for your check engine light that suddenly pops up.
Before we proceed on how to get a free diagnostic for your check engine light, let’s run through some of the reasons why your check engine light may suddenly come on.
Common Reasons Why Your Vehicle Check Engine Light May Suddenly Come Up
When your check engine light suddenly comes up, it means a part of your engine is malfunctioning and requires urgent attention.
Your check engine light can either be still or flashing.
If it’s permanently still, you may need to take it to a repair garage as soon as possible because it could have developed a minor fault.
However if the check engine light is flashing or blinking repeatedly, you may need to pull over and tow it to a repair garage because it may have developed a major issue:
According to automotive experts, they all agree that the following are some of the popular reasons why your car check engine light suddenly comes up:
- Bad Oxygen Sensor: A faulty oxygen sensor could lead to more fuel consumption and reduce your car’s efficiency. So, if your oxygen sensor has gone bad, your check light will come on. The solution for this is to replace it. You can contact a local mechanic in your area to help you with this.
- Faulty Catalytic Converter: If your car isn’t able to properly clean up its emission, then you could be driving a car with a faulty catalytic converter. And this could trigger your check engine light. If the catalytic converter isn’t fixed early enough, it could lead to overheating of the engine and you don’t want this because it could lead to other damages.
- Faulty ignition coil and spark plug: When there’s a misfire, sudden power outage, slow acceleration or reduction in gas mileage, there may be a problem with either the ignition coil or spark plug. And this may trigger on the check engine light. You should replace the ignition coil and spark plug as soon as you notice these signs on your vehicle.
- Loose Fuel Cap: Your check engine light may come on if your fuel cap is loose or broken. In this case, you should tighten or replace the fuel cap as required.
- Faulty Mass air flow sensor: If your vehicle’s Mass air flow sensor can’t properly measure the air flow coming into your vehicle, your check engine light would come on. You can solve this by replacing your Mass air flow sensor.
Where to Get a Free Car Diagnostic Check Engine Light?
From A Local Mechanic
A local mechanic should have an OBD II scanner and would be glad to help you inspect your check engine light error. They are ready to do a free car diagnostic because they know that they’ll be the one to reset the errors, if it’s a major one and you’ll then have to pay them for that. But if it’s just a minor issue such as a loose fuel tap, you may not spend much.
From A Dealer
You can also get a free diagnostic check engine light if you have a long term warranty with your car dealer. Without a warranty, it may be difficult to get the free diagnostic check.
From An Auto Parts Shop
If you are near an auto parts shop, you can also get a free car diagnostic check engine light from their garage. They’ll gladly offer the service because they believe that you’ll buy whatever is spoilt or needs to be replaced from them
Do It Yourself
If you want to reset your check engine light yourself, you need an OBD II scanner. There are various types on the market. You can get the cheapest kind for about $15.
To use the OBD II scanner, locate the OBD port below your steering and connect the scanner to the port.
You need to be familiar with the check engine code provided by the car computer system. So, when the error code comes up, you can check up what it means on google or bing.
You need to be careful here so as not to just focus on a general issue. If you can’t decide the specific issue, you can visit a local auto part store or your local mechanic to help you read the code for free.
If you don’t have an OBD II scanner, below are some cheap tools you can use with either android or iphone that could help you read your diagnotic trouble code:
Bluetooth OBD 2 Scan Tool for Android: To use this tool, you need to download a check engine light code reader app such as Torque pro. Then, connect this tool to your android phone using bluetooth. The app will help you identify the error code and also help you reset it.
Wifi OBD 2 Scanner for Iphone: To use this tool on your Iphone, you need to download a check engine light code reader app such as Dash command. Then after you plug in the scanner to the OBD port, connect the app to the scanner using WiFi. You’ll get the specific error codes and the app will guide you on how to fix it.
How To Get Free Car Diagnostic Check Engine Light Video
How Can I Check My Check Engine Light Code Without A Scanner?
- If you don’t have a car scanner with you and your engine light suddenly comes on, then you should check your ignition coil or spark plug.
2. If it’s not faulty, then you should check your fuel cap to be sure it is tightly in place.
3. If the light is still on after all these checks, you could have a bad oxygen sensor or a faulty mass air flow sensor.
4. If it still remain the same after all these checks, then you need to get a scanner to identify the specific error code.
Can Check Engine Light Come On For No Reason?
If your check engine light is on, you shouldn’t ignore it. What may start as a minor ignition leak could result into a bigger crisis for the catalytic converter and you don’t want this to happen. It could lead to more expenses.
If your check engine light is on, then you really need to ascertain what’s wrong with it so you won’t have to find yourself in unpleasant situations.
The dashboard check engine warning light is different from the service light which could just come on because the car is due for scheduled maintenance. Remember maitaining your vehicle regularly is the best practice for all car owners.
Unlike this which may be ignored, you shouldn’t ignore your dash check engine light. It does not come on for no reason.
The Cost of Check Engine Light Diagnostic
If you are opting for a D-I-Y approach to fixing your check engine light, then you may not need to spend much.
Basically, all you’ll need to buy is the spoilt part and you can pay a local mechanic a few bucks to install it for you.
So, for instance, if you have a faulty fuel cap, it might cost you $20 to get a new one from your local auto part store. If you have a trusted mechanic, he could help you fix it for a few bucks if you can’t replace it by yourself.
However, if you have to go to a dealer or a diagnostic center, then they may charge you up to $155 for merely getting their quotation and reading diagnostics. And if you are experiencing a faulty spark plug, they could charge you about $50 for replacement; bringing the total to about $205.
Generally, you could spend between $20- $1200 fixing a check engine light problem, depending on the extent of deterioration.
The following are the cost of replacement for common car check engine light problems:
- Bad Oxygen Sensor-$259
- Catalytic Converter-$1,190
- Ignition coil and spark plug-$401
- Loose Fuel Cap-$17
- Mass air flow sensor-$378
Bottom Line To Free Car Diagnostic
If you want to cut cost on diagnostics by identifying why your check engine light is on, you have to be careful. It is okay to want a free car diagnostic test.
It’s however more important to be on a safer side and avoid a case of D-I-Y gone wrong. So, the best you can do is to identify why your check engine light is on and then get a local mechanic to install the faulty parts for you.
If the mechanic tells you it could be a different problem, it’s advisable you share your findings with them and both of you can reach an agreement on why the check engine light is on.