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Old 01-18-2012, 03:17 AM   #1
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Post Why the check engine light must be banned

This ought to be good for some debate.



A friend showed me an interesting article and petition on why the check engine light should be outlawed.

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If it sounds like I'm making a big deal out of this, it'* because I am. The continued use of a generic, uninformative "check engine" light in cars keeps car owners in the dark about the condition of their vehicle, and ensures they stay dependent and subordinate to car dealers and mechanics. The frustrating thing is it doesn't have to be that way.
It'* not about reverting to the pre-computer days, or even changing anything about OBD-II. It'* just in favor of getting rid of the current idiot light, and giving the dashboard an easy-to-read display.

Some members here own at least one scan tool (myself included), so this probably doesn't apply to you. But everyone else, what do you think? Good idea, or just useless bells and whistles?
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Old 01-18-2012, 07:28 AM   #2
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even for people who have scan tools this would be a good idea, you dont always carry it. i was about 400 miles away from home when my cel came on one time and in VA apparently no parts stores read for free. the mech wanted to charge me 100 bucks to read the code, and i told him thats what i paid for my scanner. it ended up being a evap and if you know right away its just something like that you can wait till you get home to fix it.
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Old 01-18-2012, 08:15 AM   #3
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I work with a mechanic buddy pretty often. I'm not in favor of it.

My reasoning is that even when people know the code, they only look at it'* generic name and don't do any further research etc. A P0171 for example is Lean Bank 1, most people replace an O2 sensor immediately. That'* not the cause for it.

A P401? EGR insufficient flow, this code typically has nothing to do with an EGR. Unless it'* followed by a bunch of other EGR codes. It'* a flow monitoring issue typically, aka Map sensor.

Then add to it that once people know the code and they think they understand how the manufacturer labeled codes, they attempt to tell the mechanic what part to fix. That'* all good in some cases, when the customer tells you to replace the EGR and that doesn't fix the problem...the customer then blames the mechanic for not fixing the problem. He did exactly as they stated, probably warned them it wasn't likely to fix the problem. Now had he diagnosed it, he'd have watched the EGR open and close etc on the scanner and also noted the map sensor didn't show a change in flow.

Same thing with people getting codes read and parts store employees (most with little or no automotive background) trying to answer their questions instead of letting the customer know that they don't know the problem.

The sheep simply don't know enough to have the code given to them. Now..if you wanted to put something in there that said..."your car is about to blow up, turn it off now". I'd be all for that.
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Old 01-18-2012, 08:51 AM   #4
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I think the SES light needs to have an option to read the codes. Use the driver info center. That keeps the light for idiots, and still gives info for the rest of us.
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Old 01-18-2012, 08:59 AM   #5
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with the prevalence of cheap scanners and free parts store readers i think that negates that, and all it becomes is a inconvenience for the owner to have to either carry their reader or go to the parts store to get it read. and having the car give the info lets the parts stores off the hook to stop doing the reading., i agree they should not be giving any advise either. the owner of the car should be given the info and the choice to use it as they please it shouldnt be some mystery that they get all worked up about and go out of there way if its not important.

i dont think they should get rid of the check engine light, they should have two, one for potentially damaging condition that states get to safety and cut the car off, and another that is service as soon as possible. thats the real problem is the sheep arent given the info and cant determine which it is with just what we have now. so its up to someone who has no idea about the car to determine how serious it is.
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Old 01-18-2012, 09:12 AM   #6
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I like the Chrysler set up. When the CEL comes on you turn the key off and on 3 times and the DTC is displayed in the DIC.
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Old 01-18-2012, 01:28 PM   #7
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thanks to this thread i just watched the top gear india special. lol. as for the ses light, i agree with roy. it was nice in our old 96 neon to be able to do the key on/off thing and have it flash the ses light to tell you what code it was. its cool that theyve adapted it now.
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Old 01-18-2012, 01:32 PM   #8
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They already do have two CEL lights in my opinion and your "Your car is about to blow up" indicator. The flashing CEL indicates situations in which you should immediately shut down your car, isn't that what you are looking for?
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Old 01-18-2012, 02:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danthurs View Post
I think the SES light needs to have an option to read the codes. Use the driver info center. That keeps the light for idiots, and still gives info for the rest of us.
I like that idea. Even with my current DIC I was able to diagnose a failing alternator before it gave out completely.
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Old 01-18-2012, 04:45 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ymmot04 View Post
They already do have two CEL lights in my opinion and your "Your car is about to blow up" indicator. The flashing CEL indicates situations in which you should immediately shut down your car, isn't that what you are looking for?
the flashing doesnt work, my wife just thought thats what it does when it comes on, it needs to be simple and plainly understandable for the sheep to do the right thing.
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