What To Do When Check Engine Light Comes On is a question that must be taken seriously. When it comes to maintaining your car, one of the most important things you can do is keep an eye on its dashboard for potential issues. Of course, nothing sends shivers down a driver’s spine more than seeing that dreaded check engine light appear on their dash—but what does it mean and what should you do when this happens?
In this blog post, Rich’s automotive will take a look at why the check engine light might show up in your vehicle and provide some tips to help diagnose and fix the underlying issue. Armed with knowledge, these easy steps will help minimize vehicle downtime while also keeping you informed about all of your car’s needs. Let’s get started!
What the Check Engine Light Means?
The Check Engine Light, also known as the Malfunction Indicator Lamp, is an indicator on the dashboard of a car that is designed to alert the driver when the engine management system detects an issue. Since the 1980s computers increasingly have controlled and monitored vehicle performance, emitting an array of sensor data from all around the car to the computer. When this data is detected outside of normal parameters, a fault code is stored and the Check Engine Light will be illuminated.
In some cases, the light will either blink or remain constantly illuminated. If the Check Engine Light is illuminated, it could indicate a wide array of issues from something minor, such as a loose gas cap not allowing the fuelling system to provide the necessary fuel or air flow for engine operation, to more serious issues such a faulty catalytic converter that requires professional attention.
It’s important to note that when your car has a check engine light issue, the issue itself may not be felt while driving. Many times the check engine light comes on due to a malfunction or failure that can’t be felt by the driver, but left unchecked can have a major effect on your vehicle’s performance and fuel efficiency.
What Does The Check Engine Light Look Like?
The most common design for a check engine light is a yellow or orange outline of a car engine with the word “Check” or “Service Engine,” usually written inside the design. If a vehicle has a symbol that only shows a general outline of a vehicle or a lightbulb, then this is likely to indicate a broader issue that requires prompt attention from a mechanic.
Regardless of your particular check engine light’s design, it’s important to remember that even if a vehicle seems to be running normally and all other warning lights are off, any time you notice the characteristic golden glow emanating from your dashboard it means that something requires professional servicing and should not be put off or ignored.
What Is The Common Cause Of The Check Engine Light Coming On?
Do you ever find yourself on the road, only to have your check engine light come on unexpectedly? You may be worried that this means something is seriously wrong with your vehicle. While in some cases this issue can become costly to repair, more often than not it’s much less serious – and easily fixable. Below, we explore what actually causes the check engine light to turn on.
Sensor issues are one of the most common reasons for the check engine light to come on in modern cars. Sensors can be used to measure everything from oxygen levels to oil pressure, to the air intake and they are an invaluable tool that helps keep your car running smoothly. Malfunctions with a sensor can cause serious problems with your vehicle’s engine which is why it is so important to address any check engine light that comes on as soon as possible.
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Engine problems are among the most common reasons for this warning signal to illuminate, whether it be something as seemingly minor as a loose gas cap or more serious like an exhaust leak. Issues with components such as these can lead to inefficient engine operations, fuel loss, and other issues that could damage your car if left unattended.
Worn spark plugs
Another common cause of the check engine light coming on is worn spark plugs. This can lead to a host of issues, including reduced fuel economy and lack of power while driving. If your spark plugs are not functioning properly, it could lead to misfires or other potential damage if left unchecked.
Dirty or faulty mass airflow sensor
The mass airflow sensor is responsible for monitoring the amount of air that enters your engine. When this sensor becomes dirty or faulty, it can lead to a decrease in fuel efficiency or cause the engine to run rich (using more fuel than necessary). This will trigger your check engine light and should be addressed as soon as possible.
Any issues with your car’s ignition system can also trigger the check engine light. This could be something as simple as a spark plug needing to be replaced or more complex such as multiple wires leading to an electrical fault in your vehicle’s computer system. Ignition problems are not only dangerous for your car, but n problems are not only dangerous for your can also be extremely costly to repair. Therefore it is always best to have these types of issues diagnosed and fixed as soon as possible.
Transmission problems can also cause the check engine light to come on. If you notice any issues with shifting or slipping in your vehicle, then it’s important to have a professional look into this right away as these types of issues can lead to costly repairs if left unchecked.
Catalytic Converter Problems
One of the more serious causes of a check engine light is an issue with your car’s catalytic converter. This component helps to reduce harmful emissions from your vehicle’s exhaust system, and when it fails or has an issue, it can cause all kinds of problems with your car, including the check engine light coming on.
Damaged or loose parts and equipment
Any issue that causes a part or piece of equipment to become dislodged or damaged can cause the check engine light to come on. This could be something like a loose gas cap which can lead to fuel evaporation and emissions issues, or it could be due to an exhaust system component that has become damaged over time.
Finally, an engine that is running too hot can also cause the check engine light to come on. This could be due to a clogged radiator or failing cooling system components, both of which can lead to catastrophic engine damage if not taken care of in time.
If you find yourself with a check engine light coming on, it’s important to have your vehicle inspected as soon as possible. Diagnosing the cause of the issue and getting it fixed in a timely manner can help keep you safe on the road and ensure that your car keeps running smoothly for years to come.
What To Do When Check Engine Light Comes On?
Have you ever been driving down the street and had that dreaded moment when your car’s Check Engine Light pops on? Don’t panic – though this may be an inconvenient situation, it doesn’t necessarily mean disaster for your vehicle. Below, we will lay out a step-by-step guide to help you understand what to do if the Check Engine Light comes on in your car.
Step 1: Don’t ignore it
The first and most important piece of advice is to not ignore the Check Engine Light if it comes on in your car – this could mean serious trouble down the road. Ignoring a warning signal from your vehicle may lead to expensive repairs or even potentially dangerous situations due to parts malfunctioning or even wear-and-tear issues.
Step 2: Have it inspected right away
Once the Check Engine Light has been illuminated, it’s important to get your car inspected by a qualified mechanic as soon as possible. This will allow you to identify and address any underlying problems before they become more serious or costly repairs are needed.
Step 3: Determine the cause of the light
Once you have taken your vehicle in for an inspection, the mechanic should be able to diagnose the cause of the Check Engine Light and provide you with a list of repairs that need to be done in order to fix it. Possible causes could include ignition issues, transmission problems, catalytic converter issues, damaged or lost parts, and overheating.
Step 4: Get the repairs done
The most important step is to make sure that you actually follow through with the recommended repairs. Remember, if you ignore the Check Engine Light and don’t get your vehicle fixed, it could lead to more serious problems down the line.
Step 5: Monitor your car’s performance post-repairs
Once the repairs have been made, it’s important to monitor your car’s performance in order to ensure that the issues have been fully resolved. If you notice any unusual behavior or if the Check Engine Light re-illuminates, bring your vehicle back for further inspection as soon as possible.
By following these steps and making sure to act quickly and responsibly when the Check Engine Light comes on, you can ensure that your car remains in top condition and will be able to continue running smoothly for years to come.
How To Prevent The Check Engine Light From Coming On?
One of the most pressing concerns that car owners may have is preventing the check engine light from coming on. Thankfully, there are certain preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of a malfunction in your vehicle. To keep this light from turning on, monitoring your vehicle’s fluid levels and air filter can help maintain optimal performance.
Additionally, regularly checking belts, hoses, spark plugs, and other parts for signs of wear and tear is essential.
Finally, it’s important to stay up-to-date on any recommended preventative maintenance services for your make and model as outlined by its manufacturer. Doing so will minimize any potential issues that could impede its performance over time. By taking these measures, you can avoid a costly repair job and keep your car running smoothly for years to come.
By following these steps and properly maintaining your vehicle, you can ensure that the Check Engine Light stays off and your car will remain in top condition for years to come. Taking the time to understand what to do when the light comes on and taking preventative measures before it does can help minimize unnecessary repairs or damage down the road.
How Much Does a Check Engine Light Repair Cost?
A check engine light repair can range in cost, depending on the underlying issue or component that needs repair. The majority of check engine light repairs. However, usually fall between $100–$400. It is important to note that an accurate diagnosis from a certified mechanic is required to determine any necessary repair and replacement parts needed for the job.
Doing so will help ensure your car operates safely and you get accurate pricing for the repair. If it’s caused by something minor such as a loose gas cap or just running out of fuel, it generally won’t cost more than $100 to fix.
In the end, the most important thing to keep in mind is that getting a check engine light diagnosed and repaired should be taken care of as soon as possible so you can drive confidently and safely on the roads.
FAQs about What To Do When the Check Engine Light Comes On?
What should I do first when my check engine light comes on?
The first thing you should do when your check engine light turns on is to have it diagnosed by a certified mechanic. This will help identify the underlying issue and give you the best course of action for repairs.
Is it OK to drive with the check engine light on?
It is not recommended to drive for an extended period of time with the check engine light on. Doing so could lead to further damage or even a breakdown, and it should be inspected as soon as possible by a certified mechanic.
How long will it take to fix the problem when the check engine light comes on?
The length of time for the repair will depend on the underlying issue. Some repairs can be fixed in an hour or less, while others may take a few hours. It’s best to get it diagnosed by a certified mechanic as soon as possible to determine what type of repair and how long it will take.
What does a solid check engine light mean?
A solid check engine light indicates a non-emergency issue, such as a loose gas cap. It is important to have it diagnosed by a certified mechanic and repaired so that your car can continue running smoothly for years to come.
Can I reset my check engine light myself?
It’s not recommended to reset your check engine light yourself. Doing so could cause further damage and you should have it diagnosed by a certified mechanic to determine the underlying issue that caused the light to come on in the first place. Taking the proper steps to address the issue will help keep your car running smoothly for years to come.
Will replacing the gas cap turn off the check engine light?
In some cases, replacing the gas cap can turn off the check engine light. It’s best to have it diagnosed by a certified mechanic to determine if this is the underlying issue and what steps need to be taken for repair. Doing so will help ensure your car operates safely and you get accurate pricing for the repair.
Can check engine light is on and that nothing is wrong?
Yes, the check engine light can sometimes be on and nothing is wrong. The light may come on due to a minor issue such as a loose gas cap or it could indicate a more serious underlying issue. The best course of action is to have it diagnosed by a certified mechanic so they can identify the underlying cause and give you the best steps for repair.
Conclusion for What To Do When Check Engine Light Comes On?
What To Do When Check Engine Light Comes On? Keeping an eye on your vehicle’s check engine light is essential for extending its lifespan and avoiding costly repairs. Hopefully, this post has equipped you with the knowledge and strategies you need to appropriately and effectively handle any issues that arise when the check engine light turns on.
If caught early, many issues can be fixed in a timely and cost-effective manner. Do not hesitate to bring your car into a reliable repair shop if needed – do not try to diagnose or fix problems yourself unless you have experience doing so.
Finally, share this post with your friends and neighbors who also own vehicles; as preventive maintenance goes a long way in making sure your cars last for years to come. With these tips in mind, you can feel confident driving safely wherever life takes you.
William Moore is an automotive specialist with two decades of experience, ready to give your car the care it needs. He understands all facets of auto maintenance and repair, from oil changes to brake jobs. Working with the latest tools and technologies, he provides complete service on all makes and models of cars. With his attention to detail and commitment to quality workmanship, you can expect excellent results.