Ask the Mechanic

Why is my engine light on?

Let me guess you're driving along minding your own business and the dreaded "Check Engine Light" has come on? What does it mean? What is wrong with my car? Why do these things happen at the most inconvenient time? Well we wish there was a one simple answer for the dreaded "Check Engine Light"......but it's not that simple.

We would love to be able to tell you right here, right now; what your engine light means and why it has come on. Unfortunately though, with most cars, a "Check engine light" can mean many things. The check engine light — more formally known as the malfunction indicator lamp — is a signal from the car's engine computer that something is wrong in one or more of you electronic components that your vehicle has. 

Is it safe to keep driving? Without carrying a diagnostic check of your vehicle this is very hard to determine. It is best to seek professional advice before proceeding. We will run you through a series or questions to determine whether it is possible to keep driving. Our best recommendation is if you're unsure arrange for your vehicle to be towed, this will provide peace of mind and save you money on causing unnecessary damage to your vehicle.

Why does my engine light sometimes go away after i turn the car off then back on?

The Check Engine Light is a signal from the car's engine computer that something is wrong in one or more of you electronic components that your vehicle has. A quick and simple process to try, is to safely get your vehicle off the road, turn off of the ignition and turn it back on again.  This will restart your vehicles computer which will reset you engine light. This is very similar to when your computer or mobile phone isn't working as it should, we simply turn it off and back on again. Should the engine light return immediately contact your mechanic and discuss how best to proceed. 

Whilst your engine light may reset, when the car has been turned off, this does not mean it won't return. Therefore it is always advisable to contact your mechanic to arrange a time to have a diagnostic scan carried out to check what the fault was as this will be stored in your engine computer. 

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How often should I service my car?

So, what’s the magic number? Well, most car manufacturers suggest every six months to a year or every 10,000kms, whichever comes first. But keep in mind, this is just for an average vehicle. Cars that perform more heavy duty tasks are advised to have more frequent services. Plus, if you drive an older car, it might be worth booking in a little earlier and keeping a close eye on your odometer. Good mechanical repairers should look at your car and individually diagnose it (just like if it were a person going to the doctor - everyone’s different!).