Motorists must do their part to keep air clean

"An orange engine light indicates that your vehicle is likely polluting the atmosphere..."

I reckon there are a lot of people driving around with their “check engine”, “service engine soon”, “lambda” or simplified engine caricature light on. They may have no intention in ever fixing the problem that is keeping that light on.These people may have been told why the light is on or they may have surmised (googled it).

What we hear at the shop is “that light is always on”.” My car runs fine. Don’t worry about.” It is often difficult to sell the repair that will turn that light off. Often the repair will not be as difficult or expensive as one might think.

An orange engine light that is aglow indicates that your vehicle is likely polluting the atmosphere at a rate of more than 1.5 times that which it was designed to.

Excess pollution  many times is associated with burning excess fuel. Noticeably higher fuel costs will many times force the customer to get the vehicle repaired.

What about the situations where fuel mileage has not changed? As far as the customer is concerned that light is only a nuisance. All of us mechanics have slipped behind the wheel of a vehicle where this light is covered by black tape, maybe a sticker, or just maybe some keepsake strategically placed to block the orange glow.

As your vehicle ages, one common problem that turns that light on is a loss of catalytic converter efficiency. In a previous article I discussed the operation of this emission control device. Suffice to say it is a device that does some final cleaning up of your vehicle’s exhaust.

The converter takes carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides and turns them into water, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and oxygen.

The operation of your catalytic converter is monitored with oxygen sensors. Some fancy mathematics is required to measure its function or lack thereof. Believe me your vehicle’s manufacturer went to a great deal of trouble to measure its operation. They absolutely would like to keep that check engine light off.

When the check engine light is on for this reason, (P0420 is the code we mechanics banter about) provided your exhaust system is sealed correctly and your oxygen sensors or air fuel ratio sensors are operating correctly, then the exhaust coming out your tailpipe is not as clean as it should be.

Living next to a smelter makes us well aware of the importance of emission control systems.

When things aren’t going well “on the hill” we all suffer the consequences. Government regulations along with industries’ technological advancements have been very beneficial to those of us that inhabit the Kootenays.

Many of us would not hesitate to criticize industry and their perceived lack of concern for our environment but before pointing fingers we should make sure we are at least doing our personal best to keep the air clean. A new catalytic converter is usually a significant expense but clean air benefits us all. Turning the light out is doing your part.

Trail’s Ron Nutini is a licensed automotive technician and graduate of mechanical engineering from UBC. E-mail:

Just Posted

Stolen sax, sheet music, impacts Trail big-band and after school band

Anyone with information is urged to call the Trail RCMP detachment at 250.364.2566

Extensive road repair nears completion in Fruitvale

The scope of work includes new water and sewer service connections as well as road resurfacing

Community invited to check out mining trade show in Trail

Trade show free and open public on Wednesday and Thursday in the Trail Memorial Centre

Columbia Basin Trust announces grant for technology upgrades

The deadline for organizations to apply is Dec. 17

Christmas blooms in downtown Trail

The Artisan Craft Co-op recently celebrated its 30th anniversary in downtown Trail

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Canucks’ 50/50 jackpot expected to surpass $1 million

The guaranteed prize for one lucky winner will be $500,000 minimum when Vancouver hosts LA Nov 27

Most Read