Your vehicle isn't starting when you press the remote start button and the check engine light has been on all day long. You have no idea why this is happening. We have researched this issue and can share what we've learned.
It is normal for your remote starter to stop working when the check engine light is on. This is a safety feature that prevents you from starting your car if it detects a problem with the car's engine.
To isolate a remote starter issue, you can replace its battery with a new one and see if it works. If it doesn't, then you will need to resolve what caused the check engine light to come on.
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There are numerous things that can cause the check engine light to come on. However, we will only cover the most common error codes in this article. Keep reading to learn more about what causes the check engine light to come on and how to diagnose and fix the problem.
Diagnosing Check Engine Light Error Codes
Check engine light error codes are codes that represent a specific malfunction in your car. They are usually displayed on your car's dashboard. You may be surprised to know that some check engine light codes are not always related to engine problems.
For example, if your car has a clogged air filter, then the check engine light may come on. The check engine light can illuminate in this case not because it has detected a clogged air filter per se, but because a clogged air filter can affect the combustion in the engine.
Additionally, you may also get two error codes in this situation: one for the clogged air filter and one for running too lean.
There are many different check engine light codes and they can represent different types of malfunctions. This is why it is very important to understand what each code means.
There are four major categories of check engine light codes. Each category has codes that are very specific and unique. They are as follows:
- Body - If the error code starts with the letter B, then it means you have generic issues related to the passenger's compartment.
- Chassis - Any error code that begins with C indicates problems related to your car's chassis.
- Network communications - An error code that starts with the letter U means your car is experiencing connectivity issues so you have to check the data bus and wirings. This may also require you to update your ECU's software.
- Powertrain - the P stands for powertrain and indicates a problem in the transmission, engine, differential, axels, and driveshaft. This means that there is some sort of internal component failure.
What Are The Most Common Check Engine Light Error Codes?
Some of the most common error codes that occur in automobiles are related to the powertrain system. The powertrain system, simply put, is the system that makes your car move.
Unsurprisingly then, the powertrain is the place where wear and tear is most likely to occur. Powertrain errors could mean any number of things from a bad transmission to a bad axle. Some of the other types of errors that may occur are:
Codes P0171 to P0175
If you ever see any of these codes, it's either you have a defective oxygen sensor (which is usually the reason for low oxygen level readings) or there's something wrong with your car's oxygen level.
The sensors are installed between the catalytic converter and the tailpipe. The oxygen sensor monitors the oxygen levels in the exhaust gases, and it can detect when the air-fuel mixture becomes too rich or lean.
Codes P0300 to P0305
These error codes indicate that your engine is misfiring. An engine misfire is caused when there is a problem with one or more cylinders that are causing the engine to run less efficiently.
You should be careful when dealing with this error code because it can be dangerous. It is essential to identify the problem in order to resolve it. The car error code related to engine misfiring is not something that should be taken lightly.
The problem can be minor, such as a bad spark plug, but it could also mean that one of your cylinders is warped or chipped.
Codes P0411 to P0455
If you see any of these error codes, it means the ECU is detecting some kind of malfunction in the car's evaporative emission control system (EECS).
The EECS is part of the car's emissions control system, which is designed to reduce pollutants such as carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons (HC) from the tailpipe. You could have an issue with the following:
- Incorrect flow in the injection system
- Leak in the fuel tank or a faulty vapor pressure sensor
- A bad vent control valve
Codes P0420 and P0430
These error codes are associated with a faulty catalytic converter or oxygen sensors on your car’s dashboard.
Basically, a catalytic converter helps in the conversion of harmful gases emitted by your vehicle to more benign ones. This is achieved by means of a catalyst that is composed of platinum and rhodium.
For a complete list of error codes and their corresponding meanings, check out this handy automotive error code manual on Amazon.
Can You Still Drive Safely With Check Engine Light On?
According to Scotty Kilmer, if the check engine light comes on randomly while you're driving and it's steady, it's not really something to be worried about. When driving, your car's computer is checking the entire system at the same time.
Sometimes, the computer comes across some irregularities that are just minor and negligible. When the car stabilizes, the check engine light will just go away on its own, probably after a few kilometers.
You can continue driving until you arrive at your destination and check the error code thereafter. However, if you see the check engine light flashing, it means that something is wrong with your car.
This could be a warning that there is a serious problem with your car’s system that requires immediate attention.
Here's what Scotty has to say:
Can A Loose Gas Cap Cause Check Engine Light To Illuminate?
A loose gas cap can be an unsuspecting culprit for why your check engine light is on. It is usually caused when it's not tightened after refueling.
A loose gas cap is not necessarily dangerous, but you should know that loose gas caps can lead to safety concerns. If you don’t tighten it properly, it can allow some of the gasoline to evaporate, leading to a decreased fuel economy.
How To Know If My Remote Starter Is Starting To Fail?
A remote starter can be a handy tool if it is working properly. If you’re experiencing problems with it, then you should check its batteries first and replace them. However, if it still doesn't work after replacing it with new batteries, then it's probably time to get a new one.
There are signs you can look for to check if your remote starter is starting to fail. You may experience one or two of these signs.
- No response when you press the button.
- Sensitivity is decreased. You have to click the button multiple times for your car to establish a connection.
- You have to go near your car for the remote starter to work.
Can Dirty Oil Cause The Check Engine Light To Illuminate?
Dirty engine oil has a diminished flow rate because of the contaminants that restrict the flow of oil to the engine's most important components, and this can be detected by your car's ECU. If the oil has a hard time reaching and lubricating every nook and cranny of the engine then this will lead to the engine overheating.
Maintaining a car is not rocket science. The secret to making your car last a long time is to make sure you regularly change its oil.
If you drive long distances and the oil changes are not done according to the manufacturer's recommendations, it will affect the overall efficiency of the engine.
If the engine is not functioning properly, it could cause the check engine light to come on. Common causes include:
- The level of engine oil is low.
- The oil has been contaminated.
- The engine is overheating.
How Much Will It Cost To Diagnose Check Engine Light Error Code?
While the cost of fixing your car's check engine light can vary depending on the complexity of the problem, you'll almost always end up spending anywhere from $90 to $150 for a professional diagnosis.
Keep in mind that this estimate is just for the diagnosis alone. Your mechanic will then need to go over his findings with you and give you an estimate for any repairs needed.
Where Is The On-Board Diagnostic Port Located In Your Car?
While you can DIY if you want to avoid the diagnostic fee, a mechanic is most likely going to double-check your diagnosis anyway. Here's how to figure out the error code yourself and avoid getting ripped off by a false diagnosis.
The first step is to check the car's computer diagnostic port. If you're not familiar with where it's located, it's a port located under the steering wheel or dash near your gear shifter.
Plug in the OBDII scanner and turn your engine on. When you get a check engine light code reading, you'll be given a description of the problem.
The first thing you should try to do if you're having trouble with your remote starter is to check to make sure it isn't defective. If you're able to get it to work, you will then need to figure out what is causing the check engine light to come on, and take the correct steps to make repairs.
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