Dash & Check Engine Lights

Do ABS lights burn out? Any way the on board computer system would stop working? Is there a way to test to be sure it still works?

If the engine starts and runs, the ECM is working…Dashboard warning lights are frequently removed or disabled on used vehicles being offered for sale…

Lesson learned. Come to Cartalk, research and be informed before repair. Yes, I was scammed. Had muffler replaced, unknowing, they removed my expensive working converter. When the check engine light came on, I researched, went back to shop. They said original converter was already scrapped. Sure it was! After calmly letting them know Fed Laws about converter replacement they upgraded the whole exhaust system the best they could.

So the computer works if the engine starts. To test my check engine light was not disabled?

??? Surely there is more to the story than taking your car in to replace a muffler and getting it back without a catalytic converter…

Anyway, turn your key to the “run” position without starting the car. The engine light should illuminate as a bulb test to let you know it works.

Responses were really helpful. Regarding the catalytic converter they had put a new cheap converter on when they replaced the muffler. All I can say now is live, learn and don’t make that mistake again. Thank you for your help.

Do ABS lights burn out?

Yes. In most cars they turn on with the key in “on” but the engine not started. That is to inform the driver if the bulb burns out. Same with the Check Engine Light. Both bulbs should come on with the key in “on” before the engine is started. If they don’t, either the bulb is burned out, has been disconnected, or something in the ECM (computer) has failed.

Any way the on board computer system would stop working?

Yes, but if it did the check engine light would probably remain on after the engine is started. And while the car might run, assuming your are referring to the engine or power train computer, it would be running in open loop mode and this would probably be observed by the owner as a drivability problem.

Is there a way to test to be sure it still works?

Yes, a mechanic would hook up the appropriate scanner to the OBD II port and run the suite of test diagnostics.