What to Do When Your Check Engine Light and Traction Control Light Come On

A check engine light and traction control light are two common warning lights that may illuminate on your vehicle’s dashboard. The check engine light is usually a sign that there is an issue with the vehicle’s engine or emissions system. This could include any number of problems, from something as simple as a loose gas cap to a more serious issue such as a failing oxygen sensor. The traction control light typically indicates an issue with your vehicle’s stability control system. This system helps you to maintain control of the car when driving in slippery conditions, and if there is an issue with it, it can be dangerous to drive the car until it’s fixed. If either of these lights come on, you should take your vehicle to a mechanic for diagnosis and repair as soon as possible.

Causes of Check Engine Light and Traction Control Light

The most common causes of the check engine light and traction control light being illuminated in a car are due to faulty sensors, ignition system problems, or vacuum leaks. A faulty sensor may be caused by a build up of dirt or debris, which can lead to inaccurate readings. Ignition system issues can be caused by worn spark plugs, defective spark plug wires, or a faulty distributor cap. Vacuum leaks are usually caused by cracked or loose hoses or an intake manifold gasket that has failed.

Diagnosing the Problem

In order to diagnose the issue causing the check engine light and traction control light to be illuminated, it is best to use a code reader. This type of device is able to read diagnostic trouble codes that are stored in a car’s computer system. These codes are specific to each type of vehicle and can provide valuable information on what is causing the issue. By using a code reader, it is possible to pinpoint exactly what is wrong with the vehicle and make any necessary repairs.

How to Reset the Lights

Once any necessary repairs have been made for the check engine light and traction control light, it is important to reset these lights so they will not come back on again. The best way to do this is by disconnecting the battery from the vehicle for at least 15 minutes. This will allow all of the car’s systems to reset themselves correctly without any issues occurring when restarting the car. It is also important that all repairs have been completed before resetting these lights as otherwise there may still be an issue with one of these systems that could cause further problems in future.

When To Take It To A Mechanic

If diagnosing and repairing the issue yourself is not possible then it may be time to take your vehicle into a mechanic for further investigation. Warning signs that something serious could be wrong include if either one or both of these lights remain illuminated after having been reset several times or if they begin flickering intermittently while driving. These types of issues require professional attention as they could indicate more serious underlying problems with your vehicle’s electrical system or other components such as your brakes, transmission, or steering mechanism.

What To Expect In Terms Of Cost

The cost associated with repairing either one or both of these lights depends largely on what exactly needs repairing and whether it requires replacing parts or simply making adjustments/repairs on existing components. In some cases, minor repairs such as replacing spark plugs may only cost around $50-$100 whereas more serious repairs such as replacing an engine part may cost well over $1000 depending on what exactly needs replacing and how much labor is involved in doing so.

Automobile Maintenance Tips

Regular check-ups and inspections are essential to keep your vehicle running smoothly and safely. Regular maintenance can help you spot small problems before they develop into major ones, saving you time and money in the long run. Regular maintenance also helps to keep your car’s resale value high.

Some of the specific maintenance tasks that should be performed regularly include checking tire pressure, changing oil, rotating tires, checking brakes, checking all fluids, and inspecting belts and hoses. It’s also important to check for any signs of wear on parts such as spark plugs or fuel filters. Additionally, it’s important to ensure that the suspension system is in good working order.

Signs of Poor Vehicle Maintenance

Low tire pressure is one of the most common signs of poor vehicle maintenance. If a tire is overinflated or underinflated it can cause decreased fuel efficiency as well as increased wear on the tire itself. Additionally, regularly changing your oil can help prevent engine damage due to dirt and debris buildup over time. Finally, not rotating your tires regularly can cause uneven wear on the treads which will reduce their lifespan significantly.

Common Questions About Check Engine Lights and Traction Control Lights

When a check engine light or traction control light comes on in your vehicle it is important to understand why these lights are illuminated and what action needs to be taken to resolve the issue at hand. Generally speaking, these lights indicate that something is wrong with one of the systems in your vehicle such as an emissions system or brake system malfunctioning. Depending on the severity of the issue, it may require professional repair services from a qualified mechanic or dealership service center.

How long does it take for these lights to turn off? After any necessary repairs have been completed and all systems have been put back into proper working order, most vehicles will reset the check engine light or traction control light automatically after a few minutes of driving time. However, if this does not happen then you may need to reset them manually by disconnecting the battery for 30 seconds or using an OBD-II scanner tool.

What is an OBD-II Scanner and How Does it Work?

An OBD-II scanner (On-Board Diagnostic) is a device used to diagnose issues with vehicles that display codes related to various systems within a car such as engine performance or emissions systems. It works by connecting directly into the onboard computer system which then displays diagnostic trouble codes that can be read by technicians in order to identify what issue needs attention within a vehicle’s system(s). Once identified they can then take appropriate action such as replacing faulty parts or performing necessary repairs in order for the vehicle’s system(s) to function correctly again.

Benefits of Regular Automobile Maintenance

Regular automobile maintenance offers numerous benefits including improved performance, enhanced safety features for drivers and passengers alike, prolonged lifespan for car parts such as brakes and suspension components which helps maintain resale value; plus better fuel efficiency due to fewer necessary repairs down the line due to early detection of possible issues with regular maintenance checkups from qualified mechanics or dealerships service centers .

FAQ & Answers

Q: What causes the check engine light and traction control light to come on?
A: The check engine light and traction control light may come on for a variety of reasons, including a loose gas cap, faulty sensors, or other issues with the engine. It is best to use a code reader to diagnose the exact cause of the lights coming on.

Q: How do I reset the lights?
A: To reset the lights, you will need to disconnect the battery. This should turn off both lights. However, it is important to note that this will not fix any underlying problems that caused them to come on in the first place.

Q: When should I take my car to a mechanic?
A: If you are seeing warning signs of serious issues such as smoke or strange noises coming from your car, you should take it to a mechanic right away. It is also recommended that you bring your car in for regular check-ups and inspections.

Q: What can I expect in terms of cost for repairs or replacement parts?
A: The cost of repairs or replacement parts will depend on what type of problem your car has and what parts are needed for repair. It may be cheaper in some cases to replace certain parts rather than repair them. Your mechanic can provide you with an estimate before performing any work on your car.

Q: What is an OBD-II Scanner and how does it work?
A: An OBD-II Scanner is a diagnostic tool that reads trouble codes from your vehicle’s computer system. It works by connecting to your vehicle’s onboard diagnostic port and retrieving data from its onboard computer system regarding any potential issues with your vehicle’s engine or transmission systems.

In conclusion, a check engine light and traction control light are two of the most important indicators of a vehicle’s health and performance. If either of these lights come on, it’s important to have a professional mechanic diagnose and repair the issue as soon as possible. Ignoring these lights may lead to more serious problems down the road. By being proactive and taking care of any issues quickly, you can help ensure your vehicle runs in good condition for years to come.

Author Profile

Carl Frisch
Carl Frisch
With more than 30 years in the bicycle industry, I have a strong background in bicycle retailing, sales, marketing and customer service. I have a passion for cycling and a dedication to excellence. As a manager, I worked diligently to increase my capabilities and responsibilities, managing up to eleven mechanics (at Palo Alto Bicycles) and later as a working partner in my own store.

As the shop owner of Spoke n’ Word Cycles in Socorro, NM, the success of the mission was my responsibility, which I pursued passionately since we opened in 2003 through the spring of 2011. I am adept at managing owned and loan inventory, preparing weekly & annual inventory statements, and managing staff. The role as managing partner also allowed me tremendous freedom. I used this personal freedom to become more deeply involved in my own advancement as a mechanic, to spearhead local trail building, and advocating for cycling both locally and regionally.

As a mechanic, I have several years doing neutral support, experience as a team mechanic, and experience supporting local rides, races, club events. I consistently strive to ensure that bicycles function flawlessly by foreseeing issues and working with the riders, soigners, coaches and other mechanics. Even with decades of experience as a shop mechanic and team mechanic, and continue to pursue greater involvement in this sport as a US Pro Mechanic, and UCI Pro Mechanic.

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