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Know Your Car's Computer
Most of the cars that are manufactured nowadays, at least contains one computer. It monitors the emission of the engine as well as adjusts the engine to maintain low emission. Car computers have various functions. They perform the same function regardless of which type of car you are driving. It is provided so that information from different sensors can be received, which includes:
It is possible for the computer to control things like spark plugs and fuel injectors by using the information received from the sensors. It can also control the car to run at an ideal speed so that you can get the best performance from it as well as keep the emission at a low level.
The computer has also the capacity to sense if any things have gone wrong with your car. It will inform you with the help of "Check Engine" light. Whenever there are any mechanical problems, the light will get turned on. These codes are usually known as "soft code". When a sensor turns bad, it indicates "hard code" and turns on the check engine light. A diagnostic code will appear, with the help of which you can fix the problem with ease.
Just like the components of home computers, computer components in a car can also be shorted out due to any kind of static shock. Before starting your car, make sure that all the cables are attached properly when the car is turned off.
The computer may also have problem regarding shorting out of the distributor. This problem can be major as there is no engine light.
Varying in mileage is another problem that can be found with a car computer. To test the PCM there is no real procedure as it cannot detect itself and let you know if a computer is bad.
The compute can just provide you a few hints that will tell you about the problems that lie within the computer. When you attach a scanner and receive a number of error codes, there is great chance that the computer has burned up.
The set of soft and hard codes differs from each car. A scanner can easily decode these codes. Pull the car computer and smell the plug-ins, if the car is not starting. If the PCM smells fishy there are chances that it is not working. A different check that can be done is to put cold or heat during diagnosis. For irregular problems use a hair dryer and heat up the computer to find out if your car shuts off.
If your car requires a tune up as well as if the plugs have stopped burning properly, the oxygen sensor will indicate it by turning on the check engine light. The code will get erased by itself once you change the spark plugs. The oxygen sensor will send off a hard code if the wiring or the sensor itself is bad.
Even if the check engines lights are on and your car appears to run smoothly, you should visit your mechanic to scan the codes immediately. He will be able to provide you better advice for your problems.
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