What does the check engine light mean?

What does the check engine light mean?This has happened to so many drivers out there. You hop in the car and start it up, fiddle with the heat or air conditioning, check your mirrors, put it in gear, and back out of the driveway. Then, as you’re heading off to work you glance down at the dashboard, maybe to check your gas level, and in horror you find that your check engine light is on. (Insert expletive here!) It’s a bad feeling that leaves you with nothing but questions and concerns.

What does your check engine light mean? In most cases there’s just an issue with the car’s emissions system. The vehicle’s engine control unit and on-board diagnostics system monitor many different functions, and when they get an abnormal reading, up pops your check engine light.

The real problem could be any number of things depending on the make, age, and condition of your vehicle, but in most cases you shouldn’t need to panic. Unless the check engine light is flashing, the engine is heating up, or other lights are on as well, it’s best to keep driving. Bring your vehicle in for diagnostic testing at your earliest convenience.

The list of malfunctions that will trigger a check engine light is lengthy. Anything from a faulty fuel injector to a loose gas cap could be to blame. Other potential culprits include:

  • Bad oxygen sensors
  • Loose or cracked hoses
  • Sticky valves
  • A blown gasket head
  • Worn-out spark plugs
  • Deteriorated fuel injector O-rings

There’s one thing you can do on your own to possibly solve the problem and get that pesky light to turn off. Make sure your gas cap is on and tightly secure– give it a few more clicks. If that doesn’t work, bring it down to Grease Monkey. A few of the issues listed above are inexpensive to fix, but you may have a bigger, more important problem. Even if your car seems to be driving just fine, you could be wasting fuel and damaging the engine. Additionally, your car may not pass an emissions test if your check engine light is on.

Whatever you do, don’t ignore an illuminated check engine light. While it may be a minor issue, neglecting it could lead to more expensive problems down the road.

Bring your vehicle to Grease Monkey for a diagnostic test! We’ll make the repairs you need and we won’t try to sell you anything that’s unnecessary. Get only what you need, guaranteed!