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thegeek
Premium
join:2008-02-21
right here
kudos:2

1 recommendation

Ban the Check Engine Light

said by JASON TORCHINSKY via Jalopnik :
It's pretty easy to dismiss the "check engine" light as just stupid, because, well, it is. I suppose if you thought that the cause of smoke coming from under your hood had something to do with the floor mats, then, sure, the "check engine" light is handy, but beyond that, it's useless. But that's not the real problem. The real problem is that the "check engine" light is a tool for the propagation of consumer ignorance about their cars. Which is why it needs to die. Now.
Continue reading the article on Jalopnik. Then go here to sign the petition. It's worth the few seconds it takes.


No_Strings
Premium,MVM,Ex-Mod 2008-13
join:2001-11-22
The OC
kudos:6

1 recommendation

• Mystery benefits the repair lobby, so they will oppose it.
• Improved readouts would mean engineering expense, so manufacturers would oppose it.
• Consumers are apathetic and will not support it.
• The actual codes are often cryptic or misleading. For the average Joe, "random misfire" is as helpful as "Check engine."

Thanks for the link. Fun article to read and I agree with the author's points, but the initiative is going about as far as an Italian cruise ship.



thegeek
Premium
join:2008-02-21
right here
kudos:2

oh i know it won't go anywhere. but it's worth a shot. the biggest benefit of this would be the consumer who goes to a shady machanic and the mechanic tries saying they need a new discombobulator as well as a flush and refill of the widgetmathingy fluid. the consumer would at least have the ability to say that the warning was just for a loose gas cap. and hopefully the consumer wouldn't get raked over the coals.

i especially like the italian cruise ship reference.



CKizer
Premium
join:2003-01-29
Tijeras, NM
kudos:2

1 recommendation

reply to thegeek

The "Check Engine" light serves a very useful purpose.

It tells me it's time to plug in my OBDII scan tool and find out what's bothering my ECU.

C'mon people, it's not rocket science. If it were, the light would say ""Main Bus B Undervolt".



BonezX
Basement Dweller
Premium
join:2004-04-13
Canada
kudos:1
reply to thegeek

cmon, we all know that the check engine light comes on when you need a new flux capacitor and replacement blinker fluid >_>

said by CKizer:

The "Check Engine" light serves a very useful purpose.

It tells me it's time to plug in my OBDII scan tool and find out what's bothering my ECU.

C'mon people, it's not rocket science. If it were, the light would say ""Main Bus B Undervolt".

it would prevent service shops from talking "grandma" or "mom" into $5k worth of repairs that don't actually need to be done(or in some cases actually get done)

matt5

join:2001-10-06
Lagrangeville, NY
reply to thegeek

Sorry consumer is stupid, giving them anymore info will *not* help.

It is bad enough when they pull the codes and it says "cat efficiency low" and they think... O I need a cat, when 90% of the time it is a bad o2 sensor...

The CEL is a mostly emissions light, however that covers like 90% of the sensor in the vehicle.

I really love jackasses like the guy who wrote this article that act like the cars computer tells you EXACTLY wtf is wrong. It does nothing of the sort, it just points you to the FAULT and then you have around 100000 things it could be.

What use is it going to be telling the consumer, "Small evap leak detected" or "Large evap leak detected"

I can still tell them ANYTHING and get away with it.

This idiot says we need the codes displayed for people who can not plug something into the obd2 port... somehow they are going to understand what the car tells them? ROFL.

Anyone want the list on my "special scanner" for a evap leak small on my car?
Even if you now gave the consumer information that is paid for from experience from repairing these fault codes...

Anyone with out googling, what and where is the "roll over valve".

The link in the article does not even show error codes but PIDs ROFL.

»www.obd-codes.com/trouble_codes/

What is telling someone THAT going to do?



TheHarvester
Premium
join:2006-08-25
Dana Point, CA
kudos:3

1 recommendation

reply to thegeek

said by thegeek:

The real problem is that the "check engine" light is a tool for the propagation of consumer ignorance about their cars.

The ONLY thing propagating consumer ignorance is the consumer...period.

I would feel comfortable putting money on the fact that most drivers have NEVER opened their owners manuals. Most drivers don't give a shit about information and have no intentions on learning any more than bare minimum required to drive a vehicle.

We get customers (many) that don't even know how to open the hood let alone how to check the fucking oil. Hell, we have had some who couldn't even back the car out of the parking spot...seriously, they came back in and asked to have it backed out.
--
mbsastronomy.com


TheHarvester
Premium
join:2006-08-25
Dana Point, CA
kudos:3
reply to No_Strings

said by No_Strings:
• Mystery benefits the repair lobby, so they will oppose it.

No mystery going on there. There is nothing stopping the consumer from buying a code reader to obtain a little information...If they wanted to.

quote:
• Improved readouts would mean engineering expense, so manufacturers would oppose it.
Maybe they could trade some of the bells and whistles for function and information?
Do we really NEED color changing speakers and door sills?

quote:
• Consumers are apathetic and will not support it.

I agree with you here.

quote:
• The actual codes are often cryptic or misleading. For the average Joe, "random misfire" is as helpful as "Check engine."

When you leave out a key piece of the code, it can seem cryptic. The actual code (P0300 to be exact) reads random or MULTIPLE misfire. I am sure you can figure out that means more than one cylinder is misfiring.
--
mbsastronomy.com

matt5

join:2001-10-06
Lagrangeville, NY

Ha, you would be shocked, at what people do and do not know. Next question will be "what is a misfire" rofl.

And misfire that code still does nothing, cause now at most, the consumer knows the car/truck is misfiring.

A shop can still charge a HUGE bill... you did not answer the BIG question... *why* a shop can say the motor has a blown head gasket, bad plugs, wires, coil packs, rings, etc. Anyone can be correct, anyone can be lied about, so really, this extra information solved what?

Consumer can still be screwed... just now they think they know what they are talking about, making it so they will be screwed over by themselves as well telling a shop what to do and being wrong.

Look at all the posts in the tech forum "code scanner said X I replaced X, I still have problem Y"



thegeek
Premium
join:2008-02-21
right here
kudos:2
reply to matt5

matt5 See Profile, it's not that a system that gives you the codes on the dash with a small explanation is going to let a consumer automatically know what is wrong. the point is the consumer could use this information and google it and find information on what the problem could possibly be. it's not about the consumer will magically be able to fix the problem. it's about providing a simple way for a consumer to protect themselves from immoral mechanics. the current system is such that 99% of people are completely reliant on the mechanic to provide truthful information.

most mechanics are honest people. you can't run a business for very long by being dishonest. especially one that relies on word of mouth for a lot of its business. but there are a lot of dishonest mechanics out there as well.



Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4

1 recommendation

reply to thegeek

An online petition? Well, now the manufacturers will really have to listen to us!


Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
reply to thegeek

what is needed is to take things like the gas cap off the CEL. if that is not tight it does not mean the engine is going to get harmed.. in that case maybe make the information center found on most cars simply display "Check Gas Cap"...

Outside of NJ and Oregon id imagine most people know what their gas cap is.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports


matt5

join:2001-10-06
Lagrangeville, NY
reply to thegeek

So buy a $50 code reader... problem solved. You want car makers to spend how much for something you could buy for $50.

$50 code reader will pull odb2 codes... and give you as much info as anything you want indash + then you can google.

Or am I missing something? Kinda seems lazy to me... spend $500 $1000 for it in the dash vs $50 for those who care.

lol @ gas cap.

First off, as said the CEL is an emissions light, and the "check gas cap" is a "evap leak small" or "evap leak large" the cars computer has no way to know the cap is causing the issue
50 other things can cause either evap leak, so you get a CEL, go to the mechanic... and they find the issue (you know current situation) any GOOD place will charge you very little for checking the cap and send you off...

Just because the first thing is checking the gas cap... does not mean the computer KNOWS. This is the whole point, too much information is bad.

When people come in with 5-6 quarts too much oil in the car... you really think this in dash code crap is going to help? and no I aint making it up...



thegeek
Premium
join:2008-02-21
right here
kudos:2

but buying a $50 code reader requires the consumer to know that they are even available, then figure out where to plug it in, and then figure out how to operate the code reader. vehicles already come with the necessary hardware required to display the codes on the dash. it wouldn't take much programming to make it work. it's not like an entirely new lcd display would be needed for this.



DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3
reply to thegeek

With the computers that cars have nowadays they could easily tie in the OBD2 port and atleast offer an option to review the codes

I wouldn't kill the light but just offer something so if you see it you could just turn to the built in console

the last time I got a CEL it was after idling for awhile while I made use of the brake booster for easier brake bleeding, and later when I started it up again I had a code for lean fuel mix, cleared it to test if it was due to the long idle and it was

but that required me to get my tool out to read the code and then google the code, with whats in cars now they could atleast have a diag menu on the console to display the code



thegeek
Premium
join:2008-02-21
right here
kudos:2

1 recommendation

with what is in cars now the fucking satnav voice should read you the contents of a web search for the code while simultaneously posting about your issue on facebook for you.



DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3

1 edit

No don't post on Facebook post here

Or better yet have it monitor when your warrenty will run out and if its not run out yet have it text your chosen dealer that you need code xyz fixed on your car and to set a time for you to be there

and if the warrenty is out then have it text your favorite shop, or just display a message to get you to trade in.



thegeek
Premium
join:2008-02-21
right here
kudos:2

now there is a fucking brilliant idea. have it notify not only the consumer, but also the dealership of the issue. then the dealership could contact you to arrange for warranty service. i'd actually like that if i got a warning that a widget was loose and then a few minutes later a gal with a sexy voice from the dealership called to ask when a convenient time would be for me to drop by.



DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3

Better yet have a gal with a hot body show up in person where ever you are to talk about when you can be there.



dhs02

@level3.net
reply to matt5

said by matt5:

So buy a $50 code reader... problem solved. You want car makers to spend how much for something you could buy for $50.

$50 code reader will pull odb2 codes... and give you as much info as anything you want indash + then you can google.

Or am I missing something? Kinda seems lazy to me... spend $500 $1000 for it in the dash vs $50 for those who care.

lol @ gas cap.

First off, as said the CEL is an emissions light, and the "check gas cap" is a "evap leak small" or "evap leak large" the cars computer has no way to know the cap is causing the issue
50 other things can cause either evap leak, so you get a CEL, go to the mechanic... and they find the issue (you know current situation) any GOOD place will charge you very little for checking the cap and send you off...

Just because the first thing is checking the gas cap... does not mean the computer KNOWS. This is the whole point, too much information is bad.

When people come in with 5-6 quarts too much oil in the car... you really think this in dash code crap is going to help? and no I aint making it up...

on most Cadillacs you can pull the codes from the dash board, no need to even buy a code reader. Maybe having something like that standard on more cars would help. Would save you from taking it in every time the check engine light turns on. You can also clear all the codes from the dash as well.

matt5

join:2001-10-06
Lagrangeville, NY

1 recommendation

reply to thegeek

Okay so they are sooo dumb, they can not google "how to tell what check engine light means"
"what to do check engine light" etc

BUT they are smart enough to pull it from the computer screen and understand it.

The person who is too dumb or lazy to google what to do is the same person who will NOT pull the code.

I also find it interesting that you know that the cars display is tied into the OBD 2 computer.

Cause I mean you do know cars have like 20 30 40+ computers now.

ALSO obd 2 standard is under drivers dash.

Operate, "read codes" push... scroll.

»www.amazon.com/Autel-MaxiScan-MS···m_auto_1
sorry "enter" rofl

Again... too dumb to do this... but smart enough to okay first off, know they can pull the codes from the screen, and then understand it.

Sorry but if they are too dumb to google / know you can read them... well I mean the second part kinds implies they would not read them on the screen. But either way they aint gona be any better off.



r81984
Fair and Balanced
Premium
join:2001-11-14
Katy, TX
Reviews:
·row44
reply to thegeek

A check engine light is needed as it tells you something is wrong with a sensor or function.

Now cars should allow the driver to display and clear codes without an external reader.
As it was said cadillacs have that feature. Now for OBDI you could just jumper two pins and the light would flash the code number and to clear it you unplugged the battery.
With OBDII you need an external reader on almost all cars.

The real shame with auto manufactures is they do not freely release the communication spec for commands and sensor response commands.
I should be able to activate any function and read any sensor with a simple usb interface and command line or a program gui for my car.

To get that kind of functionality to test your own car you need to pay a fortune to toyota for an offical scan/test tool.

You could build a device for under 30 bucks and program it to do all the test functions if you knew what they were. It is not right that they can add in sensors and computer control, but not give you the commands so you can troubleshoot.
Its like if you bought an expensive machine and the company refused to give you access to the PLC or HMI for troubleshooting.
--
...brought to you by Carl's Jr.


dave
Premium,MVM
join:2000-05-04
not in ohio
kudos:8
reply to matt5

Well, it works with computers. Tell a person that they've got a bugcheck because IRQL_NOT_LESS_OR_EQUAL and they know exactly what to do about it.

/sarcasm


Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
reply to thegeek

So really CEL goes off even for minor things like the common example of the loose gas cap because if it said "Emissions Error" or something most people would be "Eh I'll get to it"
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports


matt5

join:2001-10-06
Lagrangeville, NY

I swear this thread is PROVING the point here.

EVAP leak small can be AGAIN 1 of 10000 things the gas cap is ONE. The 1min evap system explanation is as follows.

To stop venting of gas vapors your fuel system is a CLOSED system, no air can enter / escape this is monitored by the EVAP system... (EMISSIONS) if you leave the cap loose, or the gasket fails, the computer will read a LEAK, as it can not hold vacuum on the system. A small leak will throw one code a large another.

You can have the gas cap fail, the vsv fail, a line dry rot and crack, a line be damaged in another way, you can have the canister get damaged, and 20 other things. The computer knows it has a LEAK, it does not know from WHERE.

Yep seems minor... except it could also be damage to the top of the tank... side of the tank... etc etc etc.

and lol @ dave's reply =p

O and the let people play with all the sensors and crap for way cheap cause haha... um... read = easier than pin jumping, now I have no idea what you mean by specs, I can tell you what your MAF should run, your temp sensor, etc... all those specs... want it cheap (free lol wut come on) buy a factory service manual.

I love how programming is free in this example. They do build a device and program it... andddddd it costs what it costs.

ALSO let's look at the fact that, in 96... eh... you had obd1... few pins... etc... and then the next logical thing it seems you think is USB... in 96? wut lol.

The car runs off a serial bus not a USB bus, you are talking about a MAJOR change to the hardware and software... I'd rather not have someones car's OS crash cause they plugged something into the USB port rofl.

While I wish the car could tell you EXACTLY what the issue is, it can not. And letting people who do not want to take the time to google a code reader really should not have access to this sort of information.

And this is coming from someone who dealt with a damn CEL (evap) for a cracked valve that did not matter (okay it shut off fuel from leaking from the tank if the car rolled over but did not matter to me) Had to fix to pass NYS inspection.

O lol wut about readiness monitors should we show them too? *waits for everyone to google* lol

Look at the PC world, users are loser power over the OS cause they can't be trusted.



No_Strings
Premium,MVM,Ex-Mod 2008-13
join:2001-11-22
The OC
kudos:6

I'm still confused. What's the difference between "wut lol" and "lol wut"?

The rest of your post will become clearer once we get past the definitions, I'm sure.


neonturbo

join:2009-02-27
Lansing, MI
reply to thegeek

Almost every Chrysler has had the capability of pulling codes without any special tools since 1984. From about 1998 or so, if your Chrysler has an electronic odometer it will display the full OBD2 code right through the odometer itself. All you have to do is turn the key on-off 3 times, leave the key on the last time.

GM had this capability by using a paperclip, but did not continue it after OBD2. There are, or were many other manufacturers that did something similar where you could blink the check engine light and get the code.

If everyone would drive Chrysler products, the author of that article would not need to complain.


matt5

join:2001-10-06
Lagrangeville, NY
reply to No_Strings

Exactly what you do not understand, it is conveying what it should perfectly (that would be lack of understanding for what it was in reference to) =p

Correct me if I am wrong, onstar will tell you this info too no? Thinking of a commercial where they "check the health of your vehicle" and e-mail it to you. I think it was onstar, pretty much just checking the obd2 computer and sending you any faults.

Don't really remember however, no tv for like a year and a half so it's been a while lol.


Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
reply to thegeek

The comment on the first page about Main Bus B Undervolt reminds me of the thought I had once.. It takes a soccer mom more electronics(based on whats in a modern car just to make it run) to get to Sams Club than Apollo needed to get to the moon.

of course I bet lots of sensors on cars and the data systems in cars likely can be traced back to the space program.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports



Gemstone
Premium
join:2000-12-20
Long Island
reply to thegeek

I had a misfire in my Chevy Impala that caused my CEL to start flashing... The misfire was obvious by feel when driving the car, even without the CEL... Plugged in my code reader and got a code for "random misfire"... Duh... Nearly useless information to troubleshoot down to the root cause of the problem... So I began to check and change obvious things... First were my OE plugs and wires that had 100K miles on them... Still had a misfire... Checked fuel injectors, filter, FPR, etc etc... Still had a misfire... Long story short I had a failing ignition control module (ICM)... As a test I bought a $50 ICM from a salvage yard and it cured the problem... If my local mechanic did all of this it would have cost several hundreds of dollars... But the CEL and DTC reader was nearly useless to me with this problem...
--
Go Mark Martin!