What Are Some of the Most Common Automotive Diagnostic Codes?

November 18, 2021 Published by Leave your thoughts

If you’ve bought a car in recent years, chances are that it has an ECU (engine control unit) that controls its performance. These internal computers are responsible for ensuring that the cars run well and alert drivers when anything goes wrong. This is generally expressed via codes that pop up on a scanning tool.

When it comes to diagnosing car codes, it may not be as simple as you’d think.

Here are the top diagnostic codes in cars.

Oxygen sensor

This is often related to codes P0171 and P0175. This code comes up when your vehicle’s oxygen sensor isn’t working. The oxygen sensor measures the level of oxygen in the exhaust so that the engine computer may change the level of fuel mixture to optimize fuel economy and improve emissions. Your gas mileage will decrease with a faulty oxygen sensor, and your car may sometimes stall.

Cylinder misfires

Associated with code P0300, this often doesn’t appear on its own. Instead, it comes up when there are several engine misfires. The internal computer is detecting that the engine cylinders aren’t working properly. Often, this code is linked to a check engine light and/or a shaking steering wheel that occurs when the car is idling. The root cause could be a faulty fuel supply line, a fuel pressure regulator that is failing or a clogged fuel filter. In this case, it’s time to bring your car to a trusted mechanic.

Evaporative system

This issue is tied to a number of codes such as P0411, P0440, P0442, P0446, P0455. The evaporative system is responsible for containing and eliminating vapors that are produced when the fuel burns. It’s possible that a loose gas cap is the culprit, which can allow vapors to escape from the fuel tank. The system includes a charcoal canister, a pressure sensor, vent hoses and a purge valve.

Catalyst efficiency

P0420 and PO430 are codes that the car’s computer generates when there’s an issue with the catalytic converter. This part of the car is a device that converts pollution and toxic gas by burning off the hydrocarbons that are found in combustible gases. If your catalytic converter isn’t working properly, you’re damaging the environment. Your car will also not be able to pass state emissions inspections and will suffer from poor gas mileage.

Running lean

Codes like P0171 and P0174 are linked to a lean running condition. This means that the car is burning too much air compared to fuel. It could be receiving too little air or not enough fuel. This code may be connected to a check engine light, a loss of power or a coughing engine. The root problem is a range of possibilities including a clogged air filter, bad fuel injectors or disconnected hoses.

Do you need auto service you can trust? Then turn to the pros at M & M Tire & Service Center. For more than four decades, we’ve served all our customers’ automotive needs. The next time you need repairs and service at reasonable prices, give us a call.

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