The first thing to do is not panic. If the check engine light comes on, it will either blink or remain constantly illuminated, depending on the problem.
A blinking light, or in some cars a red light instead of a yellow or orange light, indicates a problem that needs immediate attention. A light that does not blink means you need to get your vehicle into an auto repair center as soon as possible.
What is the Check Engine Light Telling You?
The check engine light can mean many different things, from a loose gas cap to a seriously misfiring engine. The check engine light is part of your vehicle’s onboard diagnostics system. Since the 1980s, computers increasingly have controlled and monitored vehicle performance, regulating such variables as engine speed, fuel mixture, and ignition timing.
When the check engine comes on the computer stores a “trouble code” in its memory that identifies the source of the problem, such as a malfunctioning sensor or a misfiring engine. The code can be read with an electronic scan tool or a diagnostic computer. The code will typically point you in the direction of the problem, but it still requires an experienced professional to fully diagnose and repair the malfunctioning component.
Getting your car, truck or SUV checked out quickly is advised. Ignore the check engine light warning and you could end up damaging expensive components. It can also be a sign that your car is getting poor fuel economy and emitting higher levels of emissions.
View our video on “Check Engine Light.” It has a great explanation of what your vehicle is telling you when the check engine light appears.
Need Help Diagnosing Your Problem?
Beck’s Auto Center has the diagnostic tools to evaluate the problem associated with the Check Engine light and can help determine how best to proceed with fixing the issue. Go to Beck’s Auto Center to schedule an appointment.