If you've ever owned a vehicle that's had the "check engine" light turn on, you'll know what we mean when we say "sinking feeling in your gut and in your wallet." But, if you see the light, stay calm; it's not necessarily a death sentence, it just means it's time for a diagnostic test. If you're not sure what a diagnostic test is, have no fear, because we're here to help you at Phil Wright Toyota. 

All vehicles run on and are monitored by a computer. This computer communicates with all the internal sensors (the average car has about 60-100 sensors) and most of the electronic components inside your vehicle. When the computer registers an abnormal read from one of these many sensors, or if it detects that one of the sensors is not functioning properly, it marks an "error code" in its data log and turns on your vehicle's check engine light. 

Now comes the diagnostic test. To learn exactly what has triggered your check engine light, a scanner is plugged into your vehicle's OBD-II port (all vehicles manufactured in the United States after 1995 are fitted with this system). The scanner can read your car's computer log of "trouble codes;" basically, this is just a categorized list of all the abnormalities picked up by the sensors. Trouble codes can begin with a P, B, or C for Powertrain, Body, or Chassis. A trained technician can interpret these trouble codes, give you an experienced run-down of all the information gathered in the diagnostic test, and help you come up with a service plan.