It's just a vague warning light that could mean anything. It could be that the gas cap is loose, or it could be that something costly needs to be replaced. Either way, you usually have to go to the mechanic to figure it out.
And when you do take your ride into the shop, you're pretty much at the mechanic's mercy.
You just have to hope you have a good one who knows what they're doing and hasn't been featured in a local news investigation on shady repair shops.
This is where FIXD comes in — it's a device that plugs into your car and puts the power back into your own hands.
A little box that fits into the palm of your hand attaches to your car's computer and feeds all that "check engine" info to an app on your phone.
You don't need a fancy new car for the FIXD sensor to work with, either.
It attaches to the on-board diagnostics port, which every car made after 1996 needs to have.
The sensor talks to the car's computer systems, monitors everything that's going on under the hood, and will alert the app on your phone if anything has gone wrong enough to set off that dreaded "check engine" light.
And it doesn't cloud the problem in technical language — you get clear info on the problem, color-coded for the severity, and notes on how the problem can affect your car.
With that info, you can make a better decision about fixing it yourself, calling up a relative who claims to know what every little engine knock means, or trying your luck with a mechanic after all.