What Happens During an Engine Inspection?

An engine with different components.

Discover Engine Basics

Cars have come a long way in technology since the first Ford came off the assembly line. They have ‘brains’ now, so to speak, in the way of computer chips and sensors. And through those brains, the check engine light, CEL for short, will illuminate if a sensor picks up signals something is wrong. 

What issues does the CEL sense?

When sensors in the engine and transmission identify there is a problem, signals are sent to the check engine light, causing it to illuminate. Several possible problems can cause this to happen, which is the indicator to the driver to have a check engine light inspection done by their mechanic. Some of those possible problems are: 

  • Loose or worn gas cap
  • An internal issue within the engine
  • An issue with the catalytic converter
  • Faulty ignition coils, spark plugs, or spark plug wires
  • Oxygen sensor malfunctioning
  • Mass airflow sensor damaged or malfunctioning
  • Bad gasoline

Will an illuminated check engine light cause a vehicle to fail state inspection?

Yes, if the CEL is illuminated on the dashboard, a vehicle will fail the state vehicle inspection in the state of Florida, as it will in other states. For a vehicle to pass, the car should be taken to a mechanic for a check engine light inspection to identify the problem. 

Can a mechanic turn the CEL off? 

Yes, when a vehicle is taken to a mechanic for a check engine light inspection, it will turn off automatically when the problem is resolved. A mechanic can also deactivate the CEL manually. After that, if the check engine sensor doesn’t pick up any more signals, the CEL will remain off.

What does a clear engine light inspection cost?

Every mechanic shop has different rates, some are by the hour, and some charge a flat rate for a specific job. In the Venice, Florida area, a check engine light inspection can range between $100 and $300. This will allow the mechanic to get a complete diagnostic report to pinpoint the problem and provide a recommended solution. 

How long should you wait after resetting the engine light before having the state inspection?

In general, after the mechanic has completed a check engine light inspection and cleared the computer, the car will need to be driven between fifty and one hundred miles. In most cases, this will turn the CEL off permanently, but if not, then the car should be inspected by the mechanic again, or another mechanic for a second opinion. 

Some factors that can affect how quickly the CEL deactivates include:

  • The overall size of the vehicle
  • The condition of the vehicle
  • The MPG the vehicle gets

Why does the vehicle need to be driven after deactivating the CEL? 

This allows the onboard computer to scan the sensors and confirm the coding is back to its original settings.  If after driving the car for specified mileage and time, the check engine light comes back on, the mechanic will need to perform a check engine light inspection again, perhaps go further into the inspection to find the cause. 

What is the most common reason for an illuminated CEL?

If the check engine light illuminates on your vehicle dashboard, you may be able to fix the problem yourself. Simply check the gas cap is securely closed, and if that doesn’t deactivate the CEL, then purchase a new gas cap.  If that doesn’t work, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with your mechanic for a check engine light inspection. 

Can I clear my check engine light before inspection?

If your car fails a Florida state inspection because the CEL is illuminated, you can clear the codes that will deactivate the light by resetting it using an OBD device, (On Board Device). An OBD device can be purchased at most auto parts stores or online. However, without doing a thorough check engine light inspection and fixing the cause, the CEL may come back, and the underlying issue will still show in the state inspection process. 

In Conclusion

The check engine light can be irritating for a driver, but it should also cause concern. With all the possibilities of problems that the check engine light could be indicating, getting a check engine light inspection done as soon as possible is recommended.  It may be a small issue like a bad gas cap, or it could indicate a more serious issue within the engine. Some of those serious issues could be any of the following: 

  • The oxygen sensor
  • The mass airflow sensor
  • The thermostat catalytic converter 

Any of these things will require the experience of a mechanic to perform a check engine light inspection to diagnose the matter, and make any repairs or replacements needed. 

Is the cost of a check engine light inspection worthwhile? Especially if you only have one vehicle. For your vehicle to pass inspection, the inspection and the repairs are a must. Do you need a check engine light inspection in Venice, FL? If so, give us a call at __PHONE__ today!