Q: There’s a check engine light on my dash. Should I worry?
David L. – Mattawan, MI
MM: To be honest David, there’s always room for a little concern when a light or service message appears on the dashboard, especially a Check Engine light
The Check Engine light is indicative of an issue with your emissions system, engine or engine controls, and the codes used to indicate the issue are many and vary. The light permanently affixing itself on your dash every time you start your vehicle now is a warning that something isn’t working correctly. In some cases, it’s entirely fine to drive on it, but as it’s signaling an issue, it’s important to get it looked at.
The real concern comes in when the light begins to flash. If the light begins to flash (much like you would see with the arrow lights on your turn signal/hazards), and you are on the road, you should immediately and safely pull off to the side of the road, then shut the car off. Flashing check engine lights signal a critical issue and could cause damage and even irreparable damage to the engine if continued to run and operate.
If a Check Engine light does appear on your dash, you should make an appointment bring it in and have it looked at and to evaluate and eliminate any potentially critical issues. The light is letting you know something is wrong, and a problem not fixed will just get worse.
All else aside, if you personally are weary or uncomfortable about driving a vehicle with a Check Engine light illuminated, you should bring it in. Better safe than have an expensive sorry.
Q: What is the difference between the prices at your dealer and the prices at a local shop?
Lauren C. – Portage, MI
MM: Lauren, a great question as one of many working on the service drive, this question/situation comes up often.
Really, pricing comes down to a couple of things. Note that being a Chevrolet Certified Service drive, we have on hand many of the original parts needed to repair our vehicles, but within a certain range of years . Good news is, oil filters we most likely will have on hand (unless we have a day with all Equinox oil changes and then maybe we wouldn’t, but that probability is highly unlikely). Sometimes the more problematic issues we see on vehicles coming in consistently (looking at YOU old Cruzes and Equinoxes) might have parts on hand as well.
And original parts purchased in our Service Department are accompanied with a warranty to cover the part if there are any issues with the particular part installed on your vehicle. The warranties vary pending on the part replaced. If you want to know how long that specific part is warrantied, ask your Service Advisor or Parts Department.
The other benefit of your visit with a dealer compared to your local shop is all of our technicians here are Chevrolet Certified Service Technicians. What that means is we send them to training classes specifically put on by General Motors, so your Certified Technicians know how to work on your vehicles. And with that backing, our technicians are the GM experts on finding the problems specifically to your ride. They are also expected to keep their ASE (Automotive Service Excellence) updated and/or their state certification to work on vehicles which again, reinforces you have the best people servicing your vehicle and its components.
It’s not that other shops are not capable of doing the work by any means, but in the case with your Chevrolet or GM vehicle you gain the best of both reassuring and competent worlds.
“For the Miles Ahead” blog is a weekly series dedicated to demystifying automotive maintenance and service needs for the friends, family and customers of DeNooyer Chevrolet. If you have a question about service maintenance or car-related troubles, write to Motor Maven at MotorMaven@denooyer.com, and it could be included in the next publishing of “Ask Motor Maven.”