The Dreaded Check Engine Light

By Mister Transmission

Some of us are old enough to remember the pre-1981 vehicles, which weren’t equipped with on-board diagnostic systems. Much has changed and now we can learn about problems before they ruin our ride!

Cars born before 1981 would indicate a malfunction usually through one of four “idiot” lights, which would tell us that our car had lost oil pressure, over-heated, stopped charging the battery, or lost brake pressure. The problem with these lights is that they usually came on after the damage was already done due to their simplistic sensor systems.

Also, these sensors and systems didn’t give a hoot what was coming out of our tailpipes as far as pollution was concerned. That changed in 1981 when new regulations came out requiring catalytic converters for all domestic passenger vehicles.

The Advent of On-Board-Diagnostics

It was taken a step further in 1996 when automakers were required to upgrade their vehicles to a sophisticated system consisting of central processing units (CPU), sensors, actuators and valves known as OBD II (On-Board Diagnostics). When a problem with the vehicle’s engine, transmission, emission system or any of the myriad of sensors monitoring the aforementioned systems occurs, a code is stored in the computer and the “engine light” is illuminated to alert the driver.

As you may know, almost everyone (including the manufacturers who should know better) refers to the light as “the engine light”. This is one of those situations where one of the first manufacturers to equip their vehicles with on-board diagnostic (OBD II) systems called it an engine light, and now it’s the generic name for lights of that nature.

A few manufacturers did refer to it more accurately by calling it the Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL), since it true purpose is to indicate a malfunction in the systems the computer monitors, but not many.

The problem causing the light to come on could very well be a transmission fault. A technician would perform a scan to retrieve the trouble code from the computer and then cross-reference it to determine what area is at fault.

Where most technicians make an error, is to find a transmission-related trouble code in the computer, and then assume that it merely needs a flush, service, or “magic potion” poured into it to correct the problem. Fluids or aftermarket additives cannot fix worn clutch plates, broken gears or defective solenoids… only replacing them can.

When your vehicle has a transmission-related fault code in the computer, let us remove the pan for a visual inspection. If there is excessive metal on the magnet and/or the fluid is burnt, the transmission is going to need to come out.

If your engine light is on, please contact your local Mister Transmission and book an appointment for our FREE 21-Point Multi-Check Inspection which includes removing the pan on your transmission.

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Customer Reviews
Great service , friendly and...
John Neven
Great service , friendly and very knowledgeable.Excellent work
Date: July 23, 2021
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Workers are very nice and...
Ely Bolivar
Workers are very nice and explain thing clearly. Also they have an option to finance your repairs.
Date: July 22, 2021
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They assessed the problem quickly,...
Colleen H
They assessed the problem quickly, quoted a good price, provided fast service, in a no-pressure, friendly manner. I've been telling everybodyService: Transmission
Date: July 20, 2021
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I took my differentials down...
Kieran Massicotte
I took my differentials down to get rebuilt and Steve was very professional and the total was 200 bucks cheaper than the quoted price and there was a few things during the whole process that didn’t go as planned as I had brought all the bearings parts and some bearings were the wrong ones and I had brought 4.88s to put in end they would not work and before continuing with anything Steve would call and double check to let you know what needs to be done and get the ok from me first before they would continue overall amazing place Steve and the guys were awesome and the work was done perfect and the diffs have never been more smooth highly recommend.
Date: July 20, 2021
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Excellent customer service.Service: Transmission
Eduardo Vieira
Excellent customer service.Service: Transmission
Date: July 20, 2021
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Thank you Kyle and the...
Roman Danko
Thank you Kyle and the Mr. Transmission team for very professional and friendly customer service and repair. I definitelly recommend their services.Service: Transmission
Date: July 19, 2021
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Great service from these guy...
Chris Schweitzer
Great service from these guy vary happy
Date: July 19, 2021
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Always accommodating and understanding of...
Tony LePage
Always accommodating and understanding of the needs of a customer who earns his living driving. Fast friendly and great owners and staff...great of my go to's for anything mechanical.
Date: July 19, 2021
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Thank you for your very...
Todd Galagan
Thank you for your very professional,honest service kyle. l high recommend !
Date: July 16, 2021
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Outstanding service, very honest and...
Lacey Skistad
Outstanding service, very honest and helpful men work here.Service: Transmission
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