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What Does the Check Engine Light Mean?

One of the most generally misunderstood lights or indicators in your BMW X1 is the check engine light. The check engine light is part of the critical onboard diagnostics system, and displays in a wide range of different ways. It can say "Check Engine", it can be a symbol of an engine, it can even be a combination of both. This light illuminates in either an amber or red color and is part of the diagnostics system found on your vehicle. Onboard computers increasingly have controlled and monitored vehicle performance since the 80s and do a wide range of things for your BMW X1. Some of these essential duties include controlling engine speed, shifting automatic transmissions ignition timing, and implementing security control, just to name a few. With that being said, the check engine light can mean a variety of different things. It can be as simple as your gas cap being loose or as dangerous as engine knocking. If your check engine light is on in your BMW X1, contact Nalley BMW of Decatur. Contact Nalley BMW of Decatur today! Our BMW service department can help you find out what code is turning your check engine light on or diagnose why your check engine light is flashing.

BMW X1 Check Engine Light Codes

The check engine light turning on can be quite intimidating, especially to see that little light on your vehicle’s dashboard suddenly illuminate, but in reality, it is not something that should cause you to shut down in fear right away. If you hear the term, diagnostic trouble codes (DTC), these are just another name for check engine light codes. These are automotive computer codes stored by the ECM, likewise known as the OBD (on-board computer diagnostic system) in your X1. There are hundreds of different codes that your check engine light can correctly represent. While that sounds daunting, with a little patience, tackling basic diagnostics will give you useful knowledge about your vehicle and will likewise allow that important Check Engine Light to do what it is absolutely supposed to do: be your guide. Sadly, evident and helpful vehicle symptoms do not repeatedly accompany an illuminated Check Engine Light. Since there are hundreds of possible OBD codes, there are likewise hundreds of possible reasons for the light, including:

  • Ignition system faults
  • Old Battery
  • O2 Sensor
  • Computer output circuit issues
  • Transmission issues
  • Fuel and air metering systems problems
  • Loose Gas Cap or Missing Gas Cap
  • Emissions controls issues
  • Bad Spark Plugs

This is why it is critical for someone who does not have a lot of prevalent automotive knowledge to not assume what a code means. When your check engine light comes on, you should get it checked out rapidly by a skillful certified BMW mechanic. Call Nalley BMW of Decatur at 7706285694 today or schedule your check engine light service online today! If the engine light comes on due to a serious concern, you risk damaging your vehicle further by not repairing the issue right away.

BMW X1 Check Engine Light Flashing

Although there are countless potential causes of an illuminated Check Engine Light, we know from years of providing Check Engine Light Diagnosis Service that there are many common causes including something as simple as a loose gas cap. Other generally common reasons for a Check Engine Light are damaged oxygen sensor, defective emissions control part, defective head gasket, a malfunction with the fuel injection system, dirty mass airflow sensor, or faulty spark plugs to name a few. No matter what is the root cause of the Check Engine Light, we have the BMW Certified Mechanics and the certified service protocol to isolate the root problem and utterly repair it as necessary to restore factory specifications. When this happens, the Check Engine Light turns off, and you can leave the service center knowing that your BMW issue was entirely fixed.

Every BMW X1 was designed with a high-technology performance monitoring system with a computer, and a series of sensors positioned strategically throughout the vehicle on its crucial systems. The speedy sensors are continually detecting conditions while sending critical data to the electronic control unit. If the electronic control unit detects that the data is out of factory specifications, the Check Engine Light illuminates telling you that there is a problem. However, unfortunately that is the limitation of the Check Engine Light – it won’t tell you what explicitly is wrong nor what to do about it. That’s where we come in; Nalley BMW of Decatur provides a Check Engine Light Diagnosis Service that isolates the core problem and gives you a recommendation on what to do next from a Exceptionally Qualified Service professional.

Check Engine Light Service BMW X1

What do you do when you’re driving along in your BMW X1 and suddenly, a yellow light illuminates on your dash and says "Check Engine". If you’re like most BMW owners, your heart sinks drastically because you may have explicitly idea about what that light is trying to tell you or how you should react. The fear of the unknown (or the cost of the unknown) can be just as stressful. But take a deep, serene breath and realize the light coming on doesn’t mean you have to pull the vehicle over to the side of the road and call a tow truck, but it is suggested that you get your BMW X1 checked rapidly. Ignoring that warning could end up causing major, major damage to expensive engine parts.

When your BMW X1's ECM (electronic control module), which is the vehicle's onboard computer, finds a problem in the electronic control system that it can’t correct, a computer turns on your check engine light. This amber or yellow light is ordinarily labeled “check engine” or “service engine soon”, or the light may be nothing more than a picture of an engine, or a picture of the engine with the word “check.”

When the light turns on, the ECM stores an engine code or “trouble code” in its memory that can immediately identify the issue, whether it's a sensor or a failing engine part. This code is read with an electronic scan tool that is used by our BMW auto repair mechanics at Nalley BMW of Decatur. There are likewise a number of relatively inexpensive code readers that are designed for do-it-yourselfers, should you pick that route too. While this code will tell you the issue that is detected, a true diagnosis still requires an experienced professional to determine the specifically correct issue and repair it.

BMW X1 Check Engine Light

A flashing light reveals that the problem is very serious and if not taken care of promptly may result in major and serious damage to the vehicle. If the check engine light in your BMW X1 starts flashing, that means that the problem needs attention promptly and your BMW should be brought in instantly. This blinking light frequently signifies a severe engine misfire allowing unburned fuel to be dumped into the exhaust system. There it can instantly raise the temperature of the catalytic converter to a point where damage is likely, requiring an costly and major repair. Some owners ask if spark plugs cause the check engine light to flash? This can definitely be the cause. A faulty, old or dirty spark plug can cause the engine to misfire. If the problem is totally ignored or you continue to drive, this can spread to the spark plug wires, catalytic converter, or ignition coils which can lead to a remarkably costly repair. If your check engine light is constantly flashing, please contact our team of automotive experts at Nalley BMW of Decatur immediately by calling 7706285694.

Will the check engine light reset itself?

The check engine light on your BMW X1 will normally shut itself off if the issue or code that caused it to turn on is fixed. For instance, if the cause of your check engine light coming on was a loose gas cap, if it's tightened, the light will quickly turn itself off. Likewise, if your catalytic converter is working accurately, and you did a lot of stop-and-go driving, that may have turned on the check engine light due to the high usage of the converter. In most cases, your BMW X1 light will go off after about 20-40 miles. If you drive over that amount and the light is still on, you will need to bring it in to Nalley BMW of Decatur so the light and code can be double-checked and reset.

What could cause the check engine light to come on in a BMW X1?

When your check engine light comes on, this could be as simple as tightening or replacing your gas cap. Still, the check engine light could again be a warning of an essential problem that could cause serious damage to your engine and come with a hefty and pricey repair bill. Depending on your make and model, the check engine light will illuminate or blink. A steady and continuous glow usually means something less serious but a flashing check engine light indicates that your vehicle’s engine is in significant trouble and helpful service is needed rapidly. If your check engine light is flashing in your BMW X1, we exceedingly advocate not to drive the vehicle and schedule BMW service today. Below is a list of the most common reasons your check engine light can come on:

  • New Spark Plugs or Plug Wires are necessary for your BMW X1. The spark plugs are the part of your engine that ignites the air/fuel combination in the combustion chamber of your vehicle. This explosion is what moves the pistons and makes the engine run smooth. The spark plug wires deliver the spark from the ignition coil to the spark plugs. If your spark plugs or spark plug wires are bad or old, you will experience a noticeable poor performance and reduced power. In some extreme cases, your engine will have trouble starting or continuing to run. Worn spark plugs and plug wires can cause clogged catalytic converter or damage to ignition coils and O2 sensors, leading to more pricey repairs.
  • The battery is low or dead. The battery in your BMW X1 is every critical. Without a vehicle battery, your vehicle won’t start, light up the road in front, play the radio or charge your phone. Today’s vehicle batteries last much longer than they did a few decades ago, and they don't genuinely require maintenance. The price of a new one depends on the type of BMW you drive, but check our current service coupons and specials.
  • Your mass airflow sensor (known as MAF) needs to be replaced. The mass airflow sensor in your BMW X1 is what determines how much fuel is necessary to run your engine efficiently by measuring the amount of air entering the engine. As a part of the engine management system, the mass airflow sensor helps adjust to certain changes, like altitude. If your BMW X1 is having trouble starting, idling rough or has a sudden rapid change in the position of the throttle pedal, this could be a vital sign of a broken mass airflow sensor.
  • Your catalytic converter is bad or going bad. The catalytic converter is a part of your BMW X1’s exhaust system. The catalytic converter's function is to turn the carbon monoxide created by the combustion process into carbon dioxide. A broken catalytic converter is ordinarily caused by repeatedly neglected maintenance, which is why Nalley BMW of Decatur offers a complimentary multi-point examination with every BMW service. If you have an issue with your catalytic converter and don't get it repaired, your BMW X1 will not pass an emissions test, show a lack of engine performance and will negatively affect your fuel economy. Your vehicle may run at a higher temperature, too, which can cause other delicate problems from overheating.
  • Your BMW X1 has a vacuum leak. Every BMW X1 has a vacuum system that performs a wide variety of functions. The vacuum system again helps lower adverse emissions by routing the fumes as gasoline evaporates through the engine. If you notice that your RPM is high in idle or randomly surges, a vacuum leak could be the cause. Over time, vacuum hoses can dry out and crack, exceptionally if they’re exposed to intense heat or extreme cold.
  • Issues with any aftermarket items. An aftermarket alarm, exhaust or other item can wreak extreme havoc on your BMW X1 if it’s not installed correctly. These aftermarket components and accessories can drain the battery, trigger the check engine light, or even prevent the vehicle from starting. If these issues sound familiar, bring your X1 to BMW and have our team of talented certified mechanics guarantee that your aftermarket items were installed properly and aren't causing any issue. Getting accessories, exceptionally aftermarket parts and accessories, or utilizing OEM components first place might cost a little bit more but could help you save considerably from having to get poor work and damage caused by poor installation work corrected.
  • Your O2 Sensor (Oxygen Sensor) needs to be replaced. The Oxygen sensor, known as the O2 sensor, measures the amount of oxygen in your exhaust system. If there is excess oxygen in your exhaust system, fuel burns more instantly and your vehicle will be less efficient when it comes to fuel economy. So what happens if I don’t replace your O2 sensor? A broken sensor can not only affect your miles per gallon, but it can cause meaningful damage to your catalytic converter and your BMW X1's spark plugs. The O2 sensor sends data to the vehicle’s onboard computer to determine the precisely correct combination of air and fuel that enters the cylinders in your engine. A broken O2 sensor can again cause a vehicle to fail an emissions test.
  • One of the most common and frequent cause is that your BMW X1 gas cap is loose, broken or missing. The gas cap for your BMW X1 serves different purposes. It prevents unpredictable gas fumes from being released when you aren't driving, it seals the fuel system and helps maintain pressure within the fuel tank. What happens if you have a broken fuel cap? If your gas cap is old or has a ruptured seal, you can lose fuel through evaporation which will result in more trips to the pump and be more expensive. Luckily, to replace a gas cap isn't pricey. If your check engine light turns on promptly after you put gas in your BMW X1, first thing you should check is to make sure the cap isn’t loose — or that it's still on your car’s roof or at the fuel pump.

How much does it cost to get the engine light checked?

The check engine light warns of issues ranging from a gas cap that's not properly tightened to a more serious failure like a bad catalytic converter or a problem with one of the car's oxygen sensors, so it good to get the proper code reading and diagnosis. The average cost for a check engine light diagnosis & testing is generally between $88 and $111. The good news, Nalley BMW of Decatur offers totally free multi-point inspections and free diagnostics, in most cases, to help determine the cause of your check engine light.

Is it safe to drive your BMW X1 with the check engine light on?

If the check engine light is flashing, this means that there is a serious issue and it is suggested to service your BMW X1 quickly. This question is not tremendously simple because it all depends on the severity of the issue. If the cause is a minor issue, such as a loose gas cap, it should be safe to drive. This is generally indicated by a steady glow of the check engine light. If you notice a difference in the performance of the vehicle, it could be an indication of a more serious problem. Call the experts at Nalley BMW of Decatur by dialing 7706285694 so you can describe the issues. Or reduce your speed and bring your BMW to our certified mechanics as in the near future as imaginable.

How many miles can you drive with the check engine light?

It could be anything from a bad sensor to plug wires needing to be replaced. If you check engine light is flashing, we propose that you pull over and contact Nalley BMW of Decatur to help determine if your car is secure to drive in or if we propose a tow truck. Since each check engine code has its own level of severity, it is ordinarily difficult to predict how many miles you can be secure in driving with the warning light on. The safest bet is to decipher the code and then plan your strategy accordingly.